You will have made the big decisions by now about where you hope to deliver. Who your obstetrician and paediatrician will be and who will support you in labour.
Now is the time to consider other more subtle aspects of the birth.
It’s important to view this as birth preferences rather than a plan. Babies have a habit of declaring their own will and the best-laid plans can go awry without notice. Decide on your birth preferences, but keep an open mind if matters don’t progress as planned. With this mindset, it’s more likely that your birth will still be a very positive experience.
Lighting and Positioning
The clinical team, your partner or doula will want to know your choices. Knowing your preferences for lighting and positioning can help them better support you. Share your hopes for how the birth might be.
You may want to bring in your own choice of music. Especially if you have been using this for your relaxation or hypnobirthing classes.
Food & Drink
You may want to specify what you are planning to bring with you to eat and drink during the early part of labour. While it is ok to freely drink clear fluids, it is advisable to avoid heavy foods. Some women can feel quite sick during labour. This is because stomach emptying slows down during labour so solid food remains in the stomach for longer. It’s best to stick to light foods such as toast, yogurt or fruit. Remember your birth partner needs food and drinks too.
If you chose not to reveal the baby’s gender during pregnancy, you might like to consider who will tell you the sex of the baby when it’s born. Do you want the doctor or midwife to announce it? Or for you or your partner to discover the sex?
Are you happy for delayed cord clamping providing the baby is born in good condition?
Skin to Skin
Do you want the baby delivered up on to your abdomen? Some women are keen for skin to skin as soon as possible after birth. Others would prefer to hold the baby once it’s been wrapped.
Third Stage of Delivery
How would you like the third stage of delivery to be managed? This is the stage when the placenta is delivered. Most obstetricians would recommend active management with a hormone injection. Most women don’t even notice the injection. It encourages the womb to contract and deliver the placenta without delay. Active management significantly reduces blood loss and the risk of needing a blood transfusion. Some women prefer a natural third stage and this choice is available to you unless you start to bleed heavily.
Breastfeeding is the best for babies but not all women are happy to breastfeed. It’s important to make your preferences clear. Ideally, you would start breastfeeding soon after birth. This is to give the baby the first milk called colostrum and to help establish milk production. Some women who aren’t sure about breastfeeding at least try this so the baby gets the important first milk. It is rich in nutrients but also carries antibodies to give the baby immunity against infections. If you prefer bottle feeding then the midwife won’t be putting your baby to your breast.
Are you happy for the vitamin K injection to be given? This is strongly recommended for all babies to prevent a serious bleeding disorder in newborn babies. Babies in Cayman are also routinely offered Hepatitis B vaccination straight after birth. So you need to consider this carefully. Hepatitis B is a very serious liver infection and vaccination is recommended. It would be a good idea to ask your Paediatrician about this if you need further information to help you decide.
It is still important to view this as birth preferences. If your doctor or midwife suggests a different course of action they will be able to clearly explain why they think an alternative is better for you or your baby.