Kristy provides support for pregnant and laboring mothers and for transitioning families after the birth of their baby.See all posts »
Do I Need to Prepare for a Second or Third Birth?
We all experience labor differently. Even if you have more than one child, your labor and delivery for each one will be distinctive. Of course there are many similarities that could happen, but each birth is unique in its whole. I have had three boys and while I home-birthed them all, each labor and delivery was so different. Just because we have already birthed one child does not mean we know what will happen with our next child’s birth. Having a good support system and preparing yourself for birth is just as important the second and third time around as it is for the first.
Here are some important things to reflect on and review when preparing for a birth after your first:
- Research what interventions during labor and delivery you may want to avoid and what you are ok with. Research may have changed since your last birth or your thoughts on things may have. Be clear in your conversations with your partner, doctor or midwife and Doula.
- Decide what interventions and vaccines you want for your newborn. Your views might have altered with all the new studies and the experiences with your first child(ren).
- Make sure you are receiving good quality, fact based care and the respect you deserve as a mother about to give birth. Remember as well that you are celebrating a new life; you are not a sick patient and do not want to be treated as such.
- Know your rights on holding the baby skin to skin immediately after delivery; whether it is a vaginal or cesarean birth. Immediate skin to skin contact can be done after cesarean section, even while the mother is getting stitched up, unless there are medical reasons which prevent it. If there are no health concerns then the bath, blood work and weighing of baby can be delayed for an hour or two. Stay skin to skin as long as possible (at least for the first hour) and let baby find her/his way to the breast naturally without interference.
- Be present with your breath and the changes of it as you labor and birth your baby. The breath is one of the most important tools that helps you in the labor and delivery of your baby(s). Deep, long breaths can help to calm you, to bring your focus inward and connect you with your body and with your baby. Your breath helps to keep you grounded throughout the birthing process and to help ease your discomfort. Of course the breath is instrumental in helping you push your baby out as well. Learning how to breathe as well as hold your breath for pushing will make that part of the birth go more smoothly and can also keep you away from tearing.
- Draw from your inner strength and trust your ability. Use the knowledge you have gained in your parenting to keep you feeling strong. Observe and examine choices that need to be made and take charge and discern when to let go of the process and let your body and baby(s) do what they need to, and when to let medical staff assist. There is a great thing that happens when you learn to trust yourself and when you stop and listen to your body. Yes, quality support is key to a healthy birth in so many ways. However it is from your defining strength that you choose how to birth, who to be there to support you, how to educate and prepare yourself and how to trust, release and push forward to birth your baby(s).
- When presented with having to make a decision during your labor, know the risks and benefits of what is being asked of you or offered. Try not to let fear or exhaustion make your decision for you. Each birth has different circumstances that make it more important to choose one thing over the other and what to let go of. Your individual power as a birthing mother helps you deal more fiercely with changes in your birth vision; as things may go differently than you had wished. Having a midwife or doctor that know what your wishes are and are willing to help you understand your options and make informed and quality decisions for you and your baby is so imperative.
- Release your fears. Fear has a way of shutting us down during birth. It can actually keep the body in a state of contraction and make it harder to relax the body to let it open for baby to move down and out.