7 Ways to Take Charge of Childbirth

When I gave birth to my first daughter, my labor and delivery was rough. Looking back I've realized that a lot of it could have been avoided if I had felt more in control. If I was allowed more control. I wasn't able to get out of bed for the first hour, which I later learned wasn't a rule, and caused me to labor 100% in bed due to how fast childbirth was for me. I was chastised for cursing. I never got an epidural because of how quick I labored and the supposed protocols that the nurses told me about before I could ask for one. And I never spoke up because I felt as if I was at the whims of all the nurses and wasn't allowed a voice. As I'm nearing the birth of my second daughter, I've starting to take charge of my labor and delivery. Childbirth will be different for me this time around. I've been researching, and asking friends their thoughts as well, and here are seven tips I've learned about to help me have a better childbirth experience. -By Tracy Brennan 

Talk to Your OB or Midwife

Even though I had a hard labor and delivery with my first daughter, I chose to stay with my OB for the childbirth of my second. Truth be told, it was more of the nurses and hospital staff that I had trouble with. So about a month ago after checking that baby was doing well, I explained to him all that happened before, and he filled me in on how many things I thought were "protocol" weren't really. I'm now armed with knowledge so that things like being forced to stay in bed being monitored the first hour I got there doesn't need to happen again. 

Hire a Doula

Hiring a doula can be a great option. They are there to be your voice when you are unable to have one. They are knowledgeable and can help you to understand all of the medical lingo being thrown around. They work with you before giving birth and help to create a birth plan. Doula's are not just for natural childbirth, but can be there to support you if you decide on pain relief. Some doula's are willing to work with your finances and you may even be able to hire someone who is in training to be a doula and is close to being done.


Do your research! Find out what your hospital's policies are. See if you are allowed skin to skin right away or if they insist on doing tests first. Find out if you are able to labor in a bathtub as many labor and delivery wings have those in the bathroom of the room. Find out how many support people are allowed to be with you. The sooner you do your research, the better, so you can make decisions as to whether or not you want to switch to a birthing center or a different hospital/doctor.

Talk to Your Nurses

Nicole R. mom of two from Long Island, NY suggests talking to your nurses as soon as you get there. If this is your second birth, it could be especially important to let them know about your previous experiences and dislikes and what your wishes are. They may be more receptive to this tactic versus handing them a typed up birth plan. And if you are already in too much pain, have your husband and partner communicate to the nurses for you.

Communicate With Your Partner

Make sure you have the support of your husband or partner. Laura P. mom of one from Knoxville, TN said, "I made sure my husband was an advocate on my behalf from the beginning. He knew the plan, what I wanted and my vision for the day. While everything didn't go exactly as I had envisioned it, he really helped to keep things on track."

Take A Class

Hospitals and birthing centers offer classes teaching you all about childbirth and what to expect. You learn about all the phases of labor and when it's time to head to the hospital. They'll talk you through all the medical interventions as well. These classes are generally run by labor and delivery nurses whom have gobs of knowledge. You may even want to look into taking a Bradley Method class, which involves learning how your husband or partner can take big role to help you through a natural childbirth.

Bring Music

For Sara B. mom of one from Oak Harbor, WA, having music helped her to feel more in control. "I had a HUGE voice In my delivery. Music..loud, then soft then loud! It was like the hospital staff worked for me for 12 hours!" she said. Having the familiarity of what comforts you for the different stages of labor can help you zone in and cope better.