My thoughts on birth preparation
Birth preparation is an important part of pregnancy, at least this component is very widespread. There are to this topic, as to probably all topics, again and again positive, but also negative voices.
In this article I would like to describe my experiences with birth preparation and also my opinion, my thoughts, to this topic kundtun.
In the meantime, I have been able to gather various experiences myself: Birth preparation course in the hospital, birth preparation with the help of books, yoga with birth preparation, as well as birth preparation with hypnosis. In addition, in the course of my work with families, I have of course heard reports about their courses and experiences again and again.
But do we need birth preparation at all? Doesn't birth happen anyway the way it happens, no matter how and if I prepare myself?
Yes and no. Of course, we can't influence everything about a birth 100%. But there are definitely things we can influence.
I experienced it myself and perceive it just as much in women and families I have accompanied, that a large part of uncertainty and fear during birth is caused by the fact that it is unclear what is happening and why.
It is difficult when it is not clear that there are different stages of birth and what makes each stage special. It should be understood what is happening in the body, why it is happening and what it takes for the body and baby to do their birth work.
In my opinion, it helps to have knowledge about what I can do in each stage of birth to support myself and my baby. And equally, what possible birth companions, such as my partner or my doula can do to support me through it.
Within a birth preparation course (or by reading books) I can gather knowledge around birth. I can talk with my partner about how we want to experience birth together and what we can do to prepare for birth.
At this point I think it is really significant to write that I consider the inclusion of all birth companions to be very important. It is only of limited help if I myself go into the birth well prepared and with a lot of knowledge, if my partner then panics at loud sounds, for example, and can no longer concentrate on me or scares me.
Therefore, it can also be an option, for example, to decide against experiencing the birth together as a couple if this simply does not seem coherent. The important thing is that you both really feel good about it.
Birth preparation courses always have different focuses. Sometimes it is more about relieving pain or the possibilities of medication in the hospital, sometimes inductions and cesarean sections are discussed in detail. Then it may be more about breathing exercises, movement and birth positions. In addition, other topics related to pregnancy and the postpartum period are sometimes discussed more and sometimes less.
With all the choice of courses, it is not so easy to get an overview and decide on a course, if there is (still) a choice at all. It depends on the region you live in, whether only courses that are financed by the health insurance are eligible, and at what time you apply for them. In the last trimester, for example, it can be difficult to find a suitable place in many places. When making your choice, your gut feeling about the respective contents as well as reports of other women's experiences can help you.
The choice of course also depends on what you have chosen as your place of birth. For example, if you want to give birth at home, a preparation course in a hospital makes less sense than a course with a midwife who offers out-of-hospital birth care. In my experience, the focus of the courses in the hospital is more on pain relief and options for this in the hospital, although there are certainly differences here.
Safety is an important factor in experiencing a good birth. It takes safety, confidence and letting go to not disrupt the birth process and its hormones necessary for it. Birth is a very complex process and requires the coordinated interaction of a wide variety of hormones and body parts.
However, if I do not feel safe, for example, or if I hastily consent to or demand non-necessary interventions without knowing what will happen as a result, this can lead more quickly to excessive demands, trauma and a cascade of interventions or other negative consequences.
One of the ways I can achieve safety is by knowing what is happening and how I, my companion, and the environment can influence what is happening positively, as well as negatively. Knowledge creates trust.
But in my opinion, safety encompasses even more. It also includes real confidence in myself, my body and the baby to be able to cope well with the birth. This confidence and self-assurance cannot be gained from one moment to the next.
We are often influenced by negative birth reports from our environment, the non-realistic birth scenes from the media, as well as experiences from our past. If, for example, increased fears already occur during pregnancy, it makes sense to deal with them specifically and to work through possible issues so that they do not get in the way during birth.
Of course, previous birth experiences also play a major role here, so it always makes sense to discuss and reflect on previous births during another pregnancy.
This reappraisal can take place in self-reflection. However, it is often better to seek real support for this.
But back to childbirth classes: If there is no possibility of attending a suitable childbirth class, many women read books about childbirth to prepare themselves. This can be just as complementary to a course. Both have their advantages and disadvantages. Reading books, like video online courses, is flexible in terms of time and you are not tied to a specific location.
However, the exchange with others and (usually) practical exercises are missing. Therefore, I find an on-site course or a live online course at least an important addition.
However, it is important for me to write again at this point that even the best birth preparation course does not guarantee a beautiful birth. It makes it more likely, because it allows me to gather knowledge about many areas that I can influence. At best, I can find confidence in myself that the birth is doable. This confidence is only, as already written, more than the pure knowledge about the birth itself.
In addition to a good childbirth preparation course and your own mental and physical preparation, it is also important to create favorable factors for a birth, in terms of birth support and the place of birth. It is also important that you realize what you really want. And then still have a Plan B and a Plan C. That you can also deal with deviations from the plan. That they don't take you completely by surprise.
What are your experiences with birth preparation? I look forward to reading about it!