Thursday, February 18, 2016

Preparing for Childbirth

If you've been following this blog for a while, you know that I am a major proponent for women understanding their bodies, their health, their healthcare options and advocating for what is best for them and their family. You also probably know that pregnancy and childbirth fascinate me and I quite literally can't learn enough about it. Yes, I have gone through the labor and delivery process before {you can read Kenley's birth story HERE} but I know that every experience and every baby is different, so my passion for learning about the options and the process is just as strong as it was 3.5 years ago. No matter what kind of birth experience you desire, it's important to be educated! A quote from one of the recent books I read really stuck out to me:

"Birthing is so integral with life—so common—that choices surrounding it often get relegated to chance. We tend to go along with what everyone else is doing, assuming that must be for the best. Living in a technological society, we tend to think that the best of everything is the most expensive kind available. This is generally true, whether we are talking about cell phones, cameras, cars, or computers. When it comes to birth, it ain’t necessarily so."  —Ina May Gaskin

This quote is exactly why, I personally, think educating yourself on the process of labor and delivery and the different risks involved with different interventions {or lack thereof} is so very important. Going with the flow is a fantastic quality but when it comes to your health and the health of your baby understanding the process and possibilities and standing up for what is best for you is crucial. You wouldn't buy a house or a car without doing your research so why would you have a baby without doing the same? 

When preparing to give birth, whether it's your first time or your fifth, I have a few things that I would recommend to all my friends {like you guys!} no matter what kind of birth experience they hope to have.


Ina May's Guide to Childbirth
I have been wanting to read this book since I was pregnant with Kenley but just never quite got around to it. It's a classic in the realm of natural childbirth so I was curious what all the fuss was about. Overall, I really liked the book. The first section is birth stories, and normally I'd be all over that. I love me a good birth story. BUT, these particular stories seemed more like an ad for The Farm {the community Ina created with a team of midwives for women to give birth at}, so I was a little offput. I ended up skipping over most of that section and getting to the good stuff. Whether you want a natural birth or are sure that you do not, I would recommend this book. It is very biased towards natural birth, but I figured that would obviously be the case. Even though I know I will give birth in a hospital and will likely request an epidural {again} it is still empowering and incredible to read information on how our bodies were made for this and how our emotions affect the process. You can't give yourself a heart transplant without medical intervention but you absolutely CAN {even if you don't want to} give birth without it. For me at least, it really motivated me to trust myself and my body to get my baby here and even though I will have help from doctors and nurses, I don't need {or want} to utilize everything that they have to offer.


Birth Plans for Dummies
I know, I know. It sounds so ridiculous right? But this book was actually really educational and super helpful. Even if you aren't planning on writing a birth plan, this is a good one to check out. It was kind of like reading a childbirth education class. It was a quick read as it was to the point and got right to the information. This really doesn't have any kind of bias towards natural birth or not, it simply delivers the facts and the options that women should be aware of before birth. If you are planning on putting together some kind of birth plan, absolutely read this book. It was a huge help to me {details on my birth plan for Ziggy coming up at some point soon}.





The Business of Being Born
I love this movie. Again, incredibly biased toward natural childbirth, but so so so educational. It's really eye opening and something all women should see before giving birth {in my opinion}. I wrote a longer review on the movie when I was pregnant with Kenley, you can read that HERE if you'd like.













Childbirth Education Classes
These classes seem to be a sort of a right of passage for first time expectant parents and while a lot of people roll their eyes at them I think they are so helpful. Sure, everyone learns differently, but I found the classes we took so extremely helpful and beneficial. It's so important for the daddy-to-be {or whoever your birth partner may be} to understand the process as well so they know what to expect and how to help you. I knew Jason wasn't about to read books on childbirth, so for us this was the perfect way for us to learn together. We decided we didn't need or want to take a class this time around, though, I know a lot of places offer a condensed refresher course for second time parents.

Birth Stories
Every woman's experience is so very different no matter what her plans or intentions are which is why I LOVE reading/hearing birth stories. I think reading the experiences of other women {or asking friends/family to share theirs} is an awesome way to learn about all the different things that can happen throughout the process. I am lucky to have had quite a few amazing women share their birth stories right here on mama and mou and believe me when I say I go back and read them often...especially now! 




So there you have it. My personal opinion on preparing to bring a baby into this world!
If you have any books, movies, blogs, etc that you recommend on the topic PLEASE pass it on...I can't get enough!




10 comments:

P!nky said...

Birth plans for Dummies, that is amazing. I agree, it's good to KNOW what you want and how your body works going into the process. I find birth stories fascinating!

Jenn said...

So many great resources! I think it's so smart to plan and prepare...knowledge is power! :)

Erin LFF said...

I JUST went to the library this week and checked out some books on all things pregnancy/childbirth/newborns and I am devouring them already! I love reading birth stories too.. EVERY single one is so different!!

Hope @ Hope in a Blog said...

Love this post! Thanks for sharing :)!!

Tiffany Smith said...

I loved "The Orgasmic CHildbirth". You should definitely check it out. It goes through the physiological changes of the body during delivery, as well as interventions and their effects. Really neat anecdotes about labor and deliver as well.

Marcie said...

The best book I read is called The Birth Partner. It's good for mamas AND daddies and really outlines what to expect as well as every available option for nearly everything.

Lisa @ Naptime Chai said...

I'm obsessed with labor/delivery/birth, too! I recently had a friend (28 weeks pregnant) tell me that she doesn't plan on reading anything or going to any classes on childbirth and I was just so confused! Great recommendations. -- Lisa | Naptime Chai

Lauren Honeycutt said...

I love reading birth stories! It's amazing how each one is so different but with the same result!

The Lady Okie said...

I love reading birth stories now that I've had a baby, but I never really did before... Honestly I just didn't understand them and so they didn't mean as much to me. I probably should have educated myself more like you! My husband and I weren't able to attend a childbirth class before I had my baby.... oops! I cannot say I was very informed before I went into labor! People should probably be more like you :)

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