This post may contain affiliate links that I may receive a commission from if you click & buy. In addition, the information on this site is NOT intended to be medical advice. See my full policy for more information.
As expecting mothers approach their third trimester of pregnancy, it’s common to have worries about the type of birth experience they may have. Here’s the truth, you CAN have a confident birth experience and I will walk you exactly through the steps in this post.
I recently polled my Instagram followers and asked how many of them took some sort of childbirth education class (whether it consist of online classes or in-person education). Out of 73 participants, only 22% took childbirth classes!
I then followed up with another question asking if they’d take a birth course if they could go back in time or take one with a future pregnancy and almost ALL of them said yes.
You may see where I’m going here, but one of the fundamental ways a mom can have a positive birth experience is simply by educating herself on the process.
Not only will you feel much more confident knowing what to expect, but you’ll also have your own set of tools in your back pocket to use to help cope with any sort of pains or hiccups along the way.
Benefits of a Positive Birth Experience
Confidence can help keep stress and worries at bay. Nobody enjoys feeling stressed out and the last thing any mom needs during labor and delivery is to feel overwhelmingly stressed out.
That confidence likely follows along with a positive birth experience. A positive birth experience means less or minimal birth trauma to process and actually being able to tackle postpartum without such a negative experience during labor weighing you down right off the bat.
Lastly, the less stressed out you’re feeling throughout labor, the more smooth your progression throughout each stage could be!
Have you ever heard some women tell their birth stories about how long they laboured and then once they received an epidural, it helped them calm down, relax, and sleep — just to wake up ready to push that baby out!
There’s no doubt that a calm, confident, and positive birth experience is the best thing for moms in labor.
How to Prepare for a Confident Birth Experience
If you’re ready to take some actionable steps towards having a positive experience during childbirth, save this article by pinning it to your favorite board on Pinterest or sharing it on your favorite social media site so you can reference it at any time. Now, onto our steps!
Prioritize Childbirth Education
The birth process has a way of happening in its own unique way, often not on par with our birth plan. However, when you understand the birthing process you set yourself up in a position to make strong educated decisions that will only positively impact your labor and delivery experience.
Many in-person childbirth classes for pregnant women take place in a long 8-hour stretch over a 2 day period. I don’t know about you, but as first-time parents that was really intimidating for my husband and me.
Not to mention, we had a difficult time finding a way to ensure our work schedules allowed for us both to be there.
Instead of stressing about how we’d make the class, I decided to seek out our childbirth education a different way — through an online birth course. We were able to watch the videos together, practice certain pain coping techniques, and more.
A well-taught birthing class (like the one I mentioned) doesn’t just go over the basics of birth, they go into the nitty-gritty details that include things like:
- Preparing your mind for labor
- How to make a birth plan (choosing a doctor, deciding on a hospital, birth center, or home birth; having a natural birth or epidural birth)
- Your body’s anatomy throughout pregnancy and labor
- Partner support
- Pain control options
- Types of medical interventions and why you might need them
- How to push
- How to breathe
- Possible complications
- What to do if a cesarean section is needed
- First 48 hours after birth
- A brief overview of a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean)
- Tips on delivering twins
As you can see, childbirth classes have to cover a lot. A great way to ensure you get ALL of that information is with an online birth class, allowing you to access it 24/7 so you can watch and learn at your own convenience.
Understand the Stages of Labor
Knowing the different stages of labor can help moms preserve their energy for the areas when they will need it the most.
That will help minimize any negative thoughts, have a good sense of control, feel confident when making decisions with the medical staff, and more.
You can check out this handy little infographic below and read more about the stages of labor in this article.
Stage 1: 3 Phases (the longest stage of labor)
- Phase 1 — Early Labor: Onset of labor when dilating begins and continues until the cervix is dilated to 3 to 6 centimeters.
- Phase 2— Active Labor: Typically when mom should head into the hospital. Cervix will dilate from 4 to 7 centimeters. Contractions getting longer and stronger.
- Phase 3 — Transition Phase – The most intense phase as the cervix dilates from 7 to 10 centimeters. Contractions are long, strong, and sometimes can happen back to back with one another.
Stage 2: Pushing Out Baby
- The 2nd stage of labor is all about pushing out the baby. It will require a ton of emotional support. Contractions and their intensity continue into this stage. If mom received an epidural, she will likely be pushing in her hospital bed.
- Her delivery nurse, support partner, and labor team can help her adjust positions if needed. If mom did not receive an epidural, is having a home birth or water birth — she is likely going to be walking around throughout this stage. She can get into comfortable positions that allow gravity to help draw the baby down and out of the birth canal.
Stage 3: The Placenta
- The 3rd stage of labor is after your baby is born and when the placenta is delivered. A woman’s uterus continues to contract (on average this process takes anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes) until the placenta comes out.
- During this stage, mom will likely be monitored closely to ensure no complications post-birth occur. If mom had an unmedicated birth at home, usually her labor team (midwife and doulas) will stick around to ensure both her and her family are cared for (along with any clean up).
There you have it! All stages of birth and hopefully a wonderful birthing experience.
Discuss Your Birth Plan with Your Care Provider
Another way to ensure everyone is on the same page with your birth wishes is to discuss your birth plan with your care provider. This will give both of you a chance to discuss any concerns or questions regarding the birth of your baby.
You can finalize your plan with options such as medications or preferred coping techniques, visitors, medical interventions, and more to try and set yourself up for a confident and calm birth.
Haven’t even started your birth plan? Start now with a birth plan template created by an actual Labor & Delivery Nurse (grab your birth plan template here)!
Have a Plan B
Along with finalizing your birth plan with your care provider, you should also discuss having a plan b in place. The thing is, labor doesn’t always go according to plan. This is why the medical advice from your healthcare team along with the education you gain through taking a childbirth class can help you prepare for these shifts if needed.
For instance, maybe you’re planning an unmedicated birth. However, your contractions become so painful and you end up having a slight complication that you and your team decide an epidural is warranted to help you calm down and get some relief.
Instead of this turning into a traumatic experience you didn’t foresee happening, you can feel confident you knew this was a possibility and you accept that the right decision at this moment is to get the epidural so you can power through this birth experience.
Ask the Right Questions
One of the most important pieces to your prenatal care is to ensure you’re asking all the right questions. No, there’s no such thing as a dumb question.
However, you may forget to ask something important and that’s what this section is about.
Questions you’ll want to be sure to ask your provider, childbirth educator, or midwife is:
- Will you be the one delivering my baby? If not you, then who?
- Under what circumstances will you recommend inducing labor?
- How long will you let me go past my due date?
- Under what circumstances will you recommend a C-Section?
- What are all of my options for pain medication?
- Where can I labor? (bathtub, birth ball, hospital bed, etc…)
- How many support personnel may I have in my labor room?
- What hospitals or birth centers can I deliver my baby at?
- Does your facility provide lactation consultations while I’m there?
- What is the hospital or birthing centers policy on delayed cord cutting?
- What is the hospital or birthing centers policy on skin-to-skin?
- Will the hospital or birthing center provide formula for my baby (if needed)?
- What tests and exams will be performed on myself and my child after birth?
- Are there any important policies I should be aware of?
Can you think of any other questions that are burning to be asked? Jot them down now so you don’t forget!
Learn Breathing Techniques
Childbirth, whether medicated or unmedicated is a mental game. Learning a variety of proper breathing techniques can help expecting mothers find their calm, cope with pain, and push effectively during the labor and delivery process.
Include your Birth Partner
One crucial mistake some mothers make when preparing for labor is not including their birth partner. If you assume your spouse or significant other doesn’t want to be involved in the birth preparation process, they will NOT be able to show up for you in the way you need most during labor.
In order to harness that confidence, it isn’t just with the mom giving birth, but with her partner as well. Imagine, going through labor — you’re in the 3rd most intense stage and you know you can rely on your birth partner to help with some relaxation techniques,
Surround Yourself with Support
Having a supportive team on your side throughout pregnancy and labor can make or break a new moms experience.
The one thing she doesn’t need, is negativity, judgment, or someone who will overstep their boundaries.
Regardless of whether mom chooses to have her support team consist of just her partner or if she plans to have a birth doula, a midwife, some family members, and more — they must be supportive of her wishes and educated enough to provide meaningful help and support for mom to be.
Join my Facebook Group
Lastly, this is my no-shame plug at inviting you to my Facebook group because what better way to ask questions and find support than through a group created for moms just like you!
Looking for more PREGNANCY & BIRTH Tips?