1. Have them involved in your birth planning.
Bring them to prenatal appointments, to meet with your doula. Sit down and research your options together. Take a childbirth class together or create a birth plan together.
2. Be clear with what you think you need in birth.
Make sure you’ve discussed what you want your birth to look like and what you think you will need from them. But also talk about the fact that this could change while you’re in labor.
3. Be clear what you actually need during birth.
While in labor don’t be afraid to ask for what you need or want! There are no wrong answers and feeling supported and safe can make your birth experience better!
4. Ask your providers/nurses for time and space to discuss your options with your team.
*If there isn’t an emergency* you can always ask, “how much time do we have to decide” or “how urgent is this?”
Then you can take that time to discuss the options with your team and express your concerns or fears.
5. For your team: “You can’t have hurt feelings while someone else is in labor”
Exactly what it says, no matter what is said in labor you shouldn’t take it personally, labor and birth are tough experiences so give the birther some grace!
6. For you: “You can’t hurt someone’s feelings while you’re in labor”
Instead of worrying about the feelings of others you should be focused on yourself and your labor and the birth of your baby!
Labor and birth is tough so give yourself grace!
7. Don’t worry about inconveniencing other people.
Always ask for the water, snacks, position changes, help to the bathroom, music changes, lighting changes, etc.
Again feeling safe and supported in your birth is SO important!
8. If someone isn’t there to support you in the way you need, you are allowed to rethink having them there.
Nobody is entitled to being in your birth space, and there shouldn’t be guilt about asking certain people not to be there.
If you’re really struggling to ask them not to be there you could also just not tell them when you go into labor and give them a call afterwards. (this is the least direct way but sometimes it’s got to be done!)
9. Nurses and providers are there to do their job, it is never an inconvenience to ask questions, request help, or ask for what you need.
ALWAYS ALWAYS ask your nurses and providers for what you need, always share the things you are feeling, always ask any questions you have, always ask for my information if you feel it may help make your decisions.
10. There is no need to be a “perfect patient”
Some of this relates to #9 but you don’t have to be liked by your nurses, doctors, or midwives. Your number one priority is being seen, heard, and supported. Sometimes this will take an added level of advocacy and speaking up. That can rub people the wrong way and that’s okay, they will move on.