4 Tips to help make an informed decision in labour and birth

Pregnant person holding pen & notepad with "What is best for me?" written on paper

Allowing the body to labour naturally is what’s most healthy, safe and desirable for you and your baby. Medical interventions are meant to be used only when complications happen in the labour and birth process. Being aware of your choices, the benefits, risks and alternative methods that can be used in labour and birth is vital in making an informed decision.

So consider the following when thinking about labour and birth:

  1. Choose a health care provider that’s right for you

A midwife will work with you if you have a low risk pregnancy while focusing on your goal to delivery vaginally.  Midwives will attend your birth at home, in the hospital, or at a birthing centre and continue to provide support and home visits to you and your newborn baby for 6 weeks after your birth.

An obstetrician is a specialized doctor who can deliver a baby vaginally or by caesarean section.  Obstetricians work amongst a roster of doctors who are on-call in the hospital. While they may see you during the duration of your pregnancy, they may not attend the birth of your baby.   However, if you are having a planned caesarean your doctor will perform the procedure.

Though less common, nurse practitioners and family doctors can also provide prenatal care for low risk pregnancies.

Find an obstetrician, family doctor or nurse practitioner near you.

Make the choice that is right for you.

  1. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

If you think you might forget to ask your health care provider something, write down your questions and have a short discussion at your next appointment.  Being aware of your own pregnancy care and knowing what routine care is being planned can give you a better understanding of what is possible in labour and birth. Here are some common topics to discuss with your health care provider.

  1. Create a birth plan

Plan your labour and birth by creating a birth plan.  Mapping out how you want to labour, the coping strategies you want to use and who you want to be in the room with you at different stages in labour will help you know what to expect.  Keep in mind that birth plans can change depending on each situation.

  1. Attend a prenatal program

Knowledge is power!  Part of making a good decision is knowing all your facts and learning as much as you can.  While each pregnancy is different, there are always new things to learn.

Research has shown that those who attend prenatal programs are more likely to have a vaginal birth.

You have a say in how you want to labour and give birth to your baby.  Making educated choices and knowing what you want, voicing your wishes while leaning on support from family, friends and your health care provider can make all the difference.  Take charge!

Comment below and share some of your tips that help make an informed decision for the labour & birth of your baby.

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