Choice to Make Birth Choices

You ALWAYS have a choice in birth, in pregnancy, as a parent.  Always.  Even when it appears that there are no choices available for your birth, you still get to make the choice to make a choice, or not.  You get to decide if you want to learn something new, try something untried, travel, be at home, just say No Thanks, or learn a new perspective on your situation.

Birth choices can sometimes be hard.  Birth Choices can challenge our views.  Birth Choices can challenge our beliefs.  Birth Choices can sometimes not feel like choices at all.  But the fact remains, you will be making choices that support your birth everyday.  Let's look at what these choices might be:

Birth Choices for Optimal Nutrition

Adequate nutrients allows your hormones to function adequately (including oxytocin), your body to digest what it eats (avoiding toxin overload and even hemorrhoids), and nourish your growing baby.  You get to choose what you eat, drink, don't eat, and don't drink.  Some of these choices you make may include:

  • Reducing or eliminating added sugar
  • Reducing or eliminating unnecessary caffeine drinks - switching to herbal coffee - switching to nourishing tea
  • Drinking enough
  • Eating hydrating foods
  • Eating donuts and cookies
  • Eating enough greens
  • Eating all the colors of the rainbow
  • Reducing processed foods
  • Making your own processed foods
  • Reading labels
  • Learning about balanced nutrition
  • Getting healthy fats, proteins, and carbohydrates
  • Eating whole foods
  • Eating fast food
  • Trying a new dinner
  • Learning to cook
  • Leading the family with healthy habits
  • Explaining to your family the necessity for healthy eating
  • Reducing or eliminating dairy and other allergens
  • Eating enough
  • Eating small meals throughout the day
  • Getting support for healthy eating habits
  • Taking it one food at a time - one meal at a time - one step at a time

What can you add here?  What questions do you have about nutrition that you feel like you're stuck in a choice?

Birth Choices for Optimal Alignment

Aligned movement throughout the day provides you with optimal comfort, supports your growing baby (avoiding pregnancy "symptoms"), and improves the birth process due to fetal positioning.  Aligned movement also improves healing postpartum and helps avoid common breastfeeding concerns like painful nursing and "tongue tie."  Birth choices for alignment that you can make may include:

  • Seeing a physical therapist & receiving body work
  • Moving more
  • Moving better
  • Checking your body and pelvis alignment
  • Stretching often
  • Walking more
  • Getting rid of the positive rise shoes (yes, including sneakers and many "flats" and men's shoes)
  • Developing butt muscles
  • Using your whole body for movement
  • Joining a movement group like Esali Birth's MOV for Birth walks or hosting one yourself
  • Creating a dynamic work station where you sit, stand, stretch your legs, squat, lie down...etc.
  • Balance your movement to keep all movement and sedentary positions at equal amounts
  • Squat to eliminate, like with a Squatty Potty.

What is your favorite way to move?  Have you checked your alignment?  Are you feeling "symptoms" of pregnancy that are actually "symptoms" of ill-health and poor alignment?  Make the connections and feel better!

Birth Choices for Optimal Oxytocin

Oxytocin, among many other hormones, is vital for a happy healthy birth.  Oxytocin allows spontaneous labor, allows labor progression (with proper alignment), prevents postpartum hemorrhage, helps us to bond with our baby, creates the breastfeeding experience, and brings us closer as a family.  There are many moments throughout your day to improve oxytocin which may include:

  • Relationship building activities
  • Relationship therapy
  • General or trauma therapy
  • Birth counseling & perinatal mentoring
  • Eye gazing
  • Touching
  • Tea with a friend
  • Petting your dog
  • Back rubs and massages
  • Saying "Three Nice Things"
  • Learning about the birth industry and birth physiology to reduce fear

Do you feel at ease with birth?  Are you fearful of something in the birth process?

Birth Choices for Care Provider & Birth Team

The people you have with you during birth from friends and family to the doula, the nurses, the midwives and the obstetricians, all influence your options for birth and how you feel.  Care provider and birth team options available (though sometimes you have to be savvy about finding them) include:

  • Choosing unassisted birth
  • Selecting a doula
  • Midwifery Care
  • Family Practitioner Care
  • Obstetric Care
  • A combination of midwives and doctors
  • Licensed providers & unlicensed providers
  • Adding people to your birth space
  • Removing people from your birth space
  • Telling one of the staff to leave your birth space or "firing" your provider
  • Knowing your birth rights

Does the relationship with your birth team feel connected?  Do you feel trust between those you've

Birth Choices for Birth Location

Where you birth goes hand in hand with who you allow in your birth space.  Where you birth not only dictates the routines that are common, but also the amount of control and comfort you have for making decisions.  Birth location choices may include:

  • Home birth
  • Birthing in the woods
  • Birthing at a friend's house
  • Birthing at a hotel
  • Birth Center Birth
  • Hospital Birth
  • Birthing at your midwife's house
  • Changing your mind about your birth location, for any reason, during pregnancy
  • Changing your mind about your birth location, for any reason, during birth or postpartum

Your birth location isn't set in stone.  You can decide to change anything about your birth location and care provider at any point in time.

Birth Choices for Healing & Support

Knowing what you have available for support helps you reach out in times of need.  Healing and support options for birth may include:

  • Researching care providers, therapists, breastfeeding supporters, postpartum care, mom groups, family groups, loss groups, play groups
  • Writing down contact information for people and keeping it handy
  • Actually calling the people available for support
  • Paying for support
  • Asking your insurance if they will cover support
  • Resting
  • Journaling
  • Reducing the activities on the schedule
  • Taking off extra time from work
  • Quitting your job
  • Changing jobs
  • Changing work schedules
  • Telling your family how to help
  • Expecting your family to help
  • Prepping meals and snacks and routines when extra hands are available
  • Asking for meals (at any time)
  • Finding a mother helper
  • Not asking for support
  • Doing it all or not doing it all

You don't have to do it all.  Period.

Birth Choices to Speak Up

You get to decide if you speak up about what you need.  It can be hard to do that, but you get that choice.  Finding the group that supports your desires is easier - it means less arguing and adrenaline in your birth space (or during pregnancy or postpartum). Some options for speaking up include:

  • Saying, "No Thanks."
  • Saying, "Not Right Now."
  • Asking for privacy
  • Getting a new nurse, provider, asking someone to please leave your home
  • Being respectful and being forward
  • Refusing an induction
  • Refusing vaginal exams
  • Refusing a cesarean
  • Finding a lawyer
  • Standing up and signing yourself out
  • Keeping your baby with you
  • Telling people thank you for their care
  • Changing your mind

It may take time to have the confidence to speak up, but THIS is the most important choice because YOU get to decide if you remain silent.  Sometimes there are so many routines in our world others don't think automatically about what each individual person wants.  It is OK to ask for what you want.  You do not have to do what someone else says simply because they recommend it (or are disrespectful).

There are a lot of people that care about you and your birth and respect that mothers and families are capable of making informed decisions.  Know this about yourself, and you now know that the choice is yours.