This is part two of a series, read part one (Preparing for Pregnancy, Childbirth and Parenthood: Pregnancy Resources) here.
Although childbirth is something you can’t really plan, there are things that you can do and think about that will allow you to be more prepared. Attending childbirth classes, writing a birth plan, and learning about pregnancy and childbirth are a few things you can do that will hopefully help you reduce your pain and stress during delivery.
Writing a Birth Plan
Writing a birth plan can help you and your partner or support person to think through and prepare for a range of different possible scenarios. Birth plans assist those involved with your birth knowing what you want. If you discuss your birth plan with a midwife you will have more of an understanding of what is realistic and may also help you to understand more about what to expect during the birthing process.
The following are examples from thewomens.org.au (The Royal Womens Hospital Victoria, Australia) of things you might want to consider when you are writing your plan. It’s best if your birth plan is flexible, however, these may be important points for you and your partner to think about and prepare for.
- Do you want to be active throughout your labour?
- Would you like it to be as ‘natural’ as possible?
- Would you like pain relief to be readily available?
- Do you have a preference for one pain relief over another?
- What kind of support do you want?
- Who do you want to be there?
- Would you like to labour in water (a bath or a shower)?
- Would you like to try birthing in water?
- Would you prefer medical intervention over laboring for too long?
- You may also wish to consider what your preferences would be in the event that you have to be induced, or in the event that you may need a caesarean birth.
Consider Support Wanted During Labour
Having a birth plan can help, however often your body and your baby will have a plan of their own. It’s important to have the right support during your labour so you are as comfortable as possible. A childbirth companion (or social support during birth) has been found to improve the whole birth experience. Research shows that women who receive good social support during labour and childbirth tend on average to have shorter labours, to control their pain better and to have less need for medical intervention.
It’s important that you have people with you who make you feel safe and free to express what you need in the moment (even if that includes telling them to leave the room)! At some point it’s likely you will want peace and quiet, so it’s best not to have too many people in the room.
Join a Class
Find and join a childbirth and parenting class early, to educate yourself and your partner on pregnancy, childbirth and parenting, as well as branching out to meet others in the same life stage as you.
John Hunter Hospital & Belmont Hospital Parenting Education
There is a range of parenting education courses offered by John Hunter Hospital where you can learn more about pregnancy, childbirth and parenthood. These courses are either at the Newcastle Community Health Building on Hunter Street or Belmont Hospital. Make sure you contact JHH early in your pregnancy to get into the program with dates that best suits you. For your comfort, JHH recommends you complete your education classes before reaching 36 weeks. Find out more information on their website.
- Birth & parenting ($155 per couple)
- Breastfeeding (no fee)
- Nuts and bolts of fatherhood ($25)
- Maternity services tour (no fee)
- Prepare & aware ($25)
- Next birth after caesarean (no fee)
- Multiple miracles (no fee)
- Program for culturally & linguistically diverse (CALD) women
- Birra-Li Aboriginal Maternal and Child Health Services
- Young mum’s group
Courses are conducted at Maitland Hospital (550-560 High Street, Maitland NSW 2320).
- Birth & parenting ($140 per couple)
- Breastfeeding (no fee)
- Next birth after caesarean (NBAC) (no fee)
- Young mum’s group
- Maitland Aboriginal Maternal Infant Health Service
Aboriginal Maternal Infant Health Service
The AMIHS Service provides care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, and/or women whose baby will be Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander. You can find a local service below.
- John Hunter
Beer + Bubs: childbirth education for dads at the pub
Beer and Bubs is a one–night session at the pub where expectant dads learn how to support their partner through the birth of their baby. Childbirth is daunting for men too and this session prepares fathers for an active, caring role. The class is held at The Lucky Hotel, Newcastle. Find out more information on their website.
Learn pain-management techniques and positions for labour
Learn various effective techniques to manage pain during childbirth, such as self-hypnosis, labour position changes, heat pack application, and breathing methods.
Knowing that effective means of pain relief are available can help lessen your anxiety. Talk with your doctor beforehand about medication and other options including your intentions listed in your birth plan.
Also, consider positions for labour, upright positions, such as standing, walking, kneeling, slow dancing, sitting, and squatting, allow gravity to help move the baby down and out.
The NSW Government offer an extensive booklet “Having a Baby” available to download here. The booklet is 160 pages long and includes everything you will need to know about pregnancy, labour and birth. It’s available in different languages here.
If you’re overwhelmed about the amount of information available, talk with your GP to find out the resources that will be of most value to you.
Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. (2019). SUPPORT DURING LABOUR AND CHILDBIRTH. [online] Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK304186/ [Accessed 4 Nov. 2019].
The Royal Women’s Hospital. (2019). Preparing for labour. [online] Available at: https://www.thewomens.org.au/health-information/pregnancy-and-birth/labour-birth/preparing-for-labour [Accessed 4 Nov. 2019].
YouTube. (2019). Childbirth and Parenting Education Programs at John Hunter Hospital. [online] Available at: https://youtu.be/71d2EyDO5EA [Accessed 4 Nov. 2019].