When you become pregnant there are so many things to consider. Planning for the days and months ahead will make the transition into motherhood not only a bit easier, but a more joyous and confident one as well! Making preparations for your new arrival will be essential, but one of the most important decisions you’ll need to make is…how you want to bring your precious little baby into the world.
Image via @southwales_birthphotographer
In the last decade, alternative approaches to childbirth have become more favorable as women around the world transition away from traditional methods. Today, there are a number of viable options for labor and delivery that better suit an individual woman’s preferences, needs, personality and financial situation. Many of these options include enlisting the help of a midwife or doula for support to choosing where and how you want to birth your baby. For any new mom, the following alternative methods are a few options you might want to consider:
Home birth- ‘back in the day’ having a baby at home was considered the norm. It has become a popular option for women considered to have low-risk, healthy pregnancies. Involving the participation of a trained nurse or midwife, this childbirth method promotes immediate bonding with your baby and encourages early breastfeeding. It also allows your family and friends to be present during the birthing process. Home birth costs significantly less than a hospital delivery.
Water birth- is performed under the supervision of an obstetrician or a midwife. It involves a specially designed birthing tub where a woman labors immersed in warm water. Many women choose to remain in the tub for both labor and delivery. Water birthing creates a similar environment to a baby being submerged in fluid by the amniotic sac for 9 months; resulting in a gentler arrival into the world for the baby and a less stressful labor and delivery for the mother.
Hypnobirthing- is a new age birthing method involving self-hypnosis combined with relaxation techniques. The objective is to help women feel spiritually, mentally and physically prepared throughout their pregnancy. This method also aids in reducing the fear, anxiety and pain women feel during childbirth. Its focus is on a woman’s mental state with a goal of achieving a calmer, more comfortable birth by learning how your muscles work, along with using a woman’s natural birthing instincts.
Doula- doulas are professionally trained in every aspect of labor and delivery. They are ideal for helping a new mother gain a better understanding of the procedures and possible complications relating to pregnancy and childbirth. As a labor support companion, a doula provides emotional, physical and educational support to a woman who is expecting. In addition to the support they provide, doulas can also administer relaxation techniques that aid in any pain or discomfort. Teaching breathing techniques, using the power of touch and massage therapy are all used by doulas to help reduce anxiety and stress.
Midwife- midwives are trained professionals who provide individualized care, education and support throughout a woman’s pregnancy and beyond. They can also offer diverse health care services such as gynecological examinations, contraceptive counseling, prescriptions and hands-on medical assistance during labor and delivery. Midwives offer a new mother a more economical option for birthing care. Midwife assisted births can take place in a hospital or at home. Some of the many benefits of a midwife include: decreased risk of needing a cesarean and pre-term birth, reduced use of regional anesthesia, reduced rates of labor, decreased infant mortality rates and increased satisfaction with the quality of care and overall birthing experience.
Each pregnancy, labor and delivery experience is unique to the individual, so it’s a good idea for a new mother to explore all her options. Today, women have more choices than ever before in planning the birth of their child. Being well informed about the options available will enable you, your baby and family to have a personalized and positive experience during this very special time in your life.