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Welcome to Lifecycle’s new “Client-to-Client” blog series: advice from Lifecycle clients, for Lifecycle clients.
Recently, we asked the following question on Facebook and Instagram: “what helped you prepare to give birth at the birth center?”
If you are new to Lifecycle, or considering birth center care, read the responses below to learn from those who have “been there, done that, and (very literally!) gotten the t-shirt”.
Attend Lifecycle’s Childbirth Preparation Classes
This was easily the number one answer. So many of you recommended Lifecycle’s classes!
Although we might be biased, we have to agree that our classes are the perfect way to prepare for your birth center birth.
Our educators utilize mindfulness exercises, focused breathing and relaxation techniques, demonstrate movement for labor, and incorporate partner support skills.
As one Lifecycle client put it, “the classes thoroughly helped me understand the stages of labor and how my body and baby are meant to change in order to give birth. The understanding built my confidence. I knew exactly what baby stationing, effacement, and dilation meant, and how I needed to move, prepare, or rest through the process.”
Sign up for the Mindfulness-Based Childbirth and Parenting Class
Several of you recommended signing up for the Mindfulness-Based Childbirth and Parenting (MBCP) Class. One client stated that it was “the best preparation” for birth.
This class series is co-led by Lifecycle midwife, Carol O’Donoghue. It can be taken in conjunction with Lifecycle’s Childbirth Preparation Supplemental class in lieu of the Preparation for Childbirth Class series. Lifecycle clients even receive a discount on the registration cost. Learn more about MBCP here.
Soak Up all the Positive Birth Stories You Can
Whether it’s reading about natural birth, listening to The Birth Hour Podcast, or watching videos of un-medicated births, many of you agreed that seeking out positive stories was an imperative part of prepping for labor.
These stories help remind you that birth is not a medical emergency or something to be feared. It is a natural, normal, and beautifully transformative life event.
As a Lifecycle client, you can also utilize our specially curated lending library. These books were donated by the Lifecycle community and provide information and uplifting stories for every stage of your pregnancy and into postpartum.
One client referred to the lending library as a “game changer” for keeping them “informed at no expense.”
Write Down Your Birth Hopes and Dreams
Writing your Birth Hopes and Dreams is a great way to visualize your labor and delivery. As one person mentioned, “it helped re-center some of our expectations and affirmed a lot of our choices.”
“Birth Hopes and Dreams” is Lifecycle’s version of a “birth plan”. In a nutshell, this is a document where you write down things that are important to you during your labor and delivery, and list any interventions you’d like to avoid.
We call it “Birth Hopes and Dreams” in lieu of a “birth plan” because birth cannot be planned. Being flexible is an asset. It’s a small but important distinction.
You and your provider will review your Birth Hopes and Dreams together. They will help you think through different scenarios ahead of time. Then, your Birth Hopes and Dreams are added to your chart so your preferences are easily accessible when you come in to give birth.
Find an Affirmations or Mantras
Another thing that many of you recommended was having an affirmation or mantra. Labor is an intense, but ephemeral experience. Getting into a good headspace can make all the difference.
Find an affirmation or mantra that speaks to you. Some people repeat their mantras out loud starting in pregnancy, visualize them throughout labor, or create affirmation cards to bring with them to the birth center.
Here are some that you recommended (and there are plenty more!):
Build your Birth Dream Team
Having support during your labor is essential. One client talked about how much they relied on their partner’s steady care: “my partner had done the work leading up to the birth alongside of me and was able to be of sounder mind when things got hard.”
If you are able, many clients also recommended also hiring a doula. A doula will be there with you throughout your labor to provide physical and emotional support. This includes hands-on comfort techniques such as touch or massage, emotional reassurance and encouragement, breathing techniques, and so much more.
Currently at Lifecycle, you are able to have two support with you when you are in labor. Whoever you choose to have by your side, we recommend that it is someone you can be vulnerable with, and someone who can help buoy you during the more intense moments of birth.
Pack a Water Bottle with a Straw
One of you added this pro-tip: “pack a water bottle with a STRAW! It makes it so much easier to stay hydrated when you don’t have to tilt your head back to drink.”
For the uninitiated, this might seem like a small detail. But in the throes of labor, this is something you’ll be glad you learned ahead of time!
We hope this list is helpful as you’re planning for your labor and birth! Which tip did you find the most helpful? What else you would you add?