What kind of labor do you want?
Updated: Jan 22, 2020
What Kind of Labor Do You Want?
In the childbirth education workshop that I teach, we do an activity where each pregnant person and their partner write a few keywords or phrases on a sticky note that answers the question, “What kind of labor do you want?” I then read them aloud and post them around the room for all the class to see. I usually get the standard answers of fast, easy, painless, and safe sprinkled with some natural, vaginal, and calm. No one ever answers with hard, painful, long, and stressful. I encourage every family to take control of their pregnancy, labor, birth, and postpartum journey. This process begins by first defining the most important needs you would like to be considered, respected, and hopefully met by your care provider (CP) and hospital. Statistics state that most families spend more time and energy shopping for a car then preparing for the birth of their child. I encourage families to do research and schedule face to face consultations when they are choosing a CP. Read their reviews online, look up their rates of cesareans, episiotomies, re-admittance to the hospital and fetal and maternal deaths per year. It is equally as important to research the hospital or birth center you will going to for your care. Are their statistics favorable? You should never choose a CP or hospital based solely on someone else’s experience or recommendation. Labor is a series of choices, most of which are heavily influenced by your CP’s recommendations. These providers are held within the parameters of the hospital’s policies and the culture of the Labor and Delivery Unit. Sometimes you will fall into the “This is the way things are always done” trap. You want a CP who is willing to respect your choices and birth plan and honor them to the best of their ability. How can you accomplish this? When you go in for your prenatal visits, come prepared with lots of questions. How does your CP feel about due dates, inductions, electronic fetal monitoring, failure to progress, interventions, pain medications, and pushing positions, to name a few? If the answers are vague or you feel your concerns were not heard, this CP may not be a good fit. It is not impossible to change doctors or hospitals well into your third trimester. If you want to have any control over your birth journey, it starts with choosing a CP and hospital that makes you feel heard, respected, and safe.
So, “What kind of labor do you want?”
*This blog does not represent medical advice; it does represent the opinions of Jennifer Lynn.