As an expecting mom, it’s important to know how to advocate for yourself and your baby during labor and delivery. Contrary to popular belief, you can have more control over what happens during each of these important phases of pregnancy. In this post, I’m going to share a few tips and advice to help you communicate your requests and do so confidently.
There’s no doubt that medical professionals serve an important role and purpose, especially when it comes to bringing a bundle of joy into the world. However, there are times when you may want things a certain way and may feel resistance when asking for them. In some cases, moms feel completely ignored when trying to communicate their birth plan desires. Below are a few ways suggestions for getting what you need most during labor, delivery, and postpartum.
Know and understand your options.
Whether you are planning to give birth in a hospital, birthing center, or at home with a midwife, it is very wise to know and understand your options. You can begin doing this as early as you’d like and I don’t recommend waiting until the end of the third trimester. Instead, start asking important questions as soon as you’ve chosen your doctor or midwife.
As specifically about their policies and procedures around labor, delivery, and postpartum care. Be sure to read any fine print before signing documents and don’t hesitate to ask questions in the event you don’t understand something.
Hire a support person (like a doula).
Having a support person on board can greatly increase your chances of advocating for the birth experience of your dreams. In addition to your partner (we’ll talk more about this next), a doula is a trained professional who can attend your appointments with you and be present during delivery day. Your doula will know how to communicate with the doctors and nurses as well as ensure your birth plan is followed at all times.
Make sure your partner is on board with your wishes.
It’s easy to assume that your significant other knows how you’d like your labor and delivery to go, but this isn’t always the case. Remove any guesswork and obstacles by intentionally voicing your birth plan. Again, this isn’t something you want to necessarily wait until the end for. As soon as you are certain about what you’d like, being communicating that with your partner.
You can also get their feedback and suggestions as well. This will make the process go much smoother once it’s showtime, and they will be able to step in without question to help in any way necessary.
Use the BRAIN acronym to make informed choices.
BRAIN stands for benefits, risks, alternatives, intuition, and nothing. Each one of these provides you with a way to address a situation and make an informed choice. Here are questions to consider for each facet of this acronym:
- Benefits: What are the benefits of making this decision?
- Risks: Are there any risks involved?
- Alternatives: What are the alternatives?
- Intuition: What is my gut telling me to do?
- Nothing: Do I need to wait it out and do nothing?
When it doubt, keep in mind that you can use the “BRAIN” method to help you make an informed choice.
Write a birth plan.
Your birth plan is very beneficial when it comes to advocating for yourself during labor and delivery. If you’ve never considered writing one, I recommend that you do so. The earlier you write one, the more time you will have to go over it with your partner, healthcare provider, and anyone else that will be involved in the birth of your baby.
Having your birth plan written down on paper is often seen as one of the best ways to advocate for yourself. Once you have your plan created, make several copies and make sure everyone that is part of your labor and delivery team has one. If you make any changes, be sure everyone has an up-to-date copy.
When it comes to knowing how to advocate for yourself and your baby during labor and delivery, the tips and suggestions above are sure to help. When in doubt, never hesitate to ask questions or for clarification about a matter. Be confident in knowing that you have options and you also have a voice in bringing your precious baby into the world.