For many women, childbirth is both an exciting and anxious time. Being prepared and knowing your options will help to alleviate some apprehension and guide you into a birth experience that is positive and all about you. Here are our tips for a better birth:

Follow a Healthy Lifestyle – Staying active and eating a balanced diet will help you prepare mentally and physically for labour. Visit the Health Canada website for information and answers to your healthy pregnancy questions.

Surround Yourself with Positive People – Surround yourself with friends and family who have positive attitudes, mothers who had positive birth experiences, and care givers who support you in your birthing preferences.

Choose a Care Provider You’re Comfortable With – Whether you decide on a midwife, obstetrician or family physician, it’s important to select a care provider who supports your birthing preferences, takes the time to listen to your questions, explains things clearly, and offers appointments that fit your schedule.

Have a Birth Coach – Whether it’s your partner, a friend, a family member or a doula, studies suggest that having a birthing coach and continuous emotional support throughout labour can significantly improve your labour experience.

Have a Birth Idea – Communicating with your partner and care giver regarding the type of delivery that is right for you ahead of time will help alleviate anxiety leading up to and on the day you give birth. Determine where you prefer to labour (i.e. hospital, birthing centre or home childbirth), who you’d like in the room with you (i.e. your partner, your doula, your mom, etc.), what positions you prefer and what pain relief, if any, you would like administered to ensure your needs will be met at a time when you’ll be focused on delivering your baby!

Study Relaxation Techniques – Relaxation techniques during labour can contribute to a positive birthing experience.  Breathing exercises, massage, a warm bath, relaxing music, an ice pack, and visualization are all said to help with childbirth. Read more about different childbirth relaxation tips here.

Learn Various Birthing Positions – Learning different birthing positions will help you feel as comfortable as possible when the time comes.

Some labour positions to consider include:

  • Squatting – Squatting is said to help shorten the depth of the birth canal and increase pelvic diameter which helps to give the baby more room to move down.
  • Hands and Knees – Being on all fours while in labour can help alleviate back pain.
  • Side-lying – This position can help you avoid compression of major blood vessels that may occur when lying on your back. This position has also been known to slow a birth that is moving too fast.
  • Walking or Standing – This position may help speed up labour thanks to gravity. It can also help reduce back pain and offer a needed distraction in the early stages of labour.

Know the Stages of Labour – Knowledge is power. Knowing what to expect will help you feel empowered and mentally prepared for labour. Labour often moves in three stages: early and active labour, delivery and delivery of the placenta. To learn more about the stages of labour and management of labour, visit The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada.

Surrounding yourself with a positive support system, staying well informed and embracing the unknown will all help contribute to a positive birth experience that is unique to you.