The list of choices one must make during this nine month journey can seem daunting and infinite. Our goal at the Ramona Women’s Clinic is to be a trusted resource for you, where you feel comfortable asking questions and sharing any concerns. Although your birth plan is the culmination of the last decisions you’ll need to make this side of pregnancy, it’s still a good idea to explore your options early on.
Once you have chosen your healthcare provider outside of our clinic, it’s important to learn what resources and options are available to you within that facility. If you have chosen to birth within a hospital, they will most commonly expect you to labor and deliver in bed. Some hospitals have showers or tubs for pain relief, however they can only be utilized if you choose to labor naturally, meaning without an epidural. This is because the epidural is an anesthetic injected into your spine relieving the pain brought by contractions; however limiting the feeling of pain simultaneously limits feeling and control of the lower half of your body. For this reason choosing to receive an epidural removes the option of moving from your bed during labor, however your relief from the pain should also subside your desire to move.
If you choose to pursue a natural birth, without an epidural then the inclusion of water, whether in the form of a tub or shower can act as a form of pain relief during contractions. The ability to move and adjust positions to comfort your body is another benefit that a natural birth allows, rather than being confined to your bed. If a natural birth is what you choose to pursue, it would be important to inquire what resources the hospital allows and how lenient they are on the patient’s freedom of movement. Beneficial aids would be first and foremost access to water, as well as birthing stools, squat bars, etc.
In the case that you choose a natural birth, it may be worth considering a birthing center and midwife, as these facilities are targeted towards natural births and provide the necessary resources to allow your body to move at its own pace. If a birthing center is not available to you, some hospitals employ and offer midwives that are trained with the goal of natural and limited intervention births; in this case they would act as your advocate in a hospital setting.
While the choices are seemingly endless, it’s important to make an educated decision that you feel comfortable with. If you begin to feel overwhelmed with all of the information in front of you, remember that you are advocating for your body and your baby. This is a period that can overcome you if you let it, so resist the urge to surrender your control rather, find empowerment in making the best decision that will best strengthen your sense of security during such a vulnerable time; and remember, we’re here for you every step of the way.