If you’ve decided a natural birth is right for you, you will need people to support you along the way. Making sure you have a team of people to stand by you and help you through the process of laboring and delivery is important to having a positive natural birth experience.
Your natural birth support team may consist of
Your primary support person
How to build your support team
When you’re deciding who to have on your team, think about the people you feel most comfortable with and the people who share your birthing philosophies. For example, when you choose a doctor or midwife, you want to make sure you choose one who will support your desire for a natural birth if at all possible.
Putting together your birth support team
There are many questions to answer and options to consider when deciding who will be part of your birth support team.
Unless you give someone medical power of attorney to make decisions for you and/or your baby, there is usually only one person who can make decisions for you and speak on your behalf – your spouse or support person. So it’s important to ensure your partner is on the same page with you and fully understands what you want. It’s also important for you to advocate for yourself and your baby.
To prepare yourself and your support team, you should have a good handle on what you want and how you envision your labor and delivery. Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- Are you confident in and comfortable with your health care provider? If not, you may want to consider finding someone new.
- Are you comfortable with the policies and protocols at the hospital or birth location you’ve chosen? If not, you may want to look into another location if possible.
- Do you or your baby have any health issues that concern you and may affect labor or delivery?
- Who do you see as being the most supportive of you and your labor and delivery choices?
- Does your main support person need any help to provide you with the care you’ll need?
- What types of physical support, like massage or positioning, might you need?
- What type of emotional support do you think you’ll need? For example, do you want someone to verbally encourage you, or do you prefer quiet support? Do you want someone who will take direction without asking questions or who won’t need reminders to do things for you?
- Do you feel comfortable talking with staff at the hospital or birthing center?
- Do you have a birth plan, and if so, have you shared it with the necessary people?
- Do you think it would be helpful to have a doula in the room with you to help your main support person help you?
Once you’ve answered these questions, you will be in a better position to put together the most effective, comforting birth support team.
Do you want a doula?
A doula is a person (usually a woman) who has knowledge about pregnancy, labor, delivery, and the postpartum period and the skill to handle situations as they arise. Doulas stand by the family and offer physical and emotional support and education to the mother and her birth team. Having a doula can decrease the need for interventions, C-sections, epidurals, narcotics, and labor induction and increase your satisfaction, breastfeeding success, and family bonding experience.