"It is absolutely worth hiring a doula. You get more than just someone supporting you and your partner at the birth. And you have a team behind you. Whilst it might seem like a luxury to get a doula, the service really makes a significantly positive contribution to both the mother's and partner's birthing experience. It's a decision that you won't regret, and having had a doula, it is hard to imagine not using the service again. It goes beyond just the birthing experience."Read More
Writing your birth preferences is important to do for a number of reasons:
1. It gives you time and space to think about what you want for your birth
2. It opens communication between you and your birth support team
3. It helps you to familiarise yourself with hospital policies
4. You have time to compare policies with national guidelines, international guidelines and evidence based research.
5. It gives you a tool to remain in control and make informed decisions
Key points when writing your birth preferences
Keep your language open and positive. You have a chance to create the atmosphere you wish to birth in. Positivity is key and opens on a good relationship with your team.
Know your chosen hospitals policies. Each hospital has different policies around key factors in labour and birth. You are free to question these and even change hospital if you feel better suited to a different standard of care.
Know the HSE (national) and international guidelines / best practice / evidence. This is key. If you know what the evidence says then you can make an unbiased informed decision, rather than being swept along with a phrase such as “that’s the way we have always done it here”
Keep it to 10 points, or less. Anything more will negate the things that are important to you.
Don’t bother putting things in that are already policy in your chosen hospital (ie drinking water during labour) Again if you are familiar with your hospitals policies then you can avoid this.
Think about the atmosphere you want to birth in. Would you like the lights dimmed, music playing, limit the number of people in the room etc Or are you happy to have lights on, student midwives and doctors in the room etc?
Be firm on the points that are non negotiable for you once all is OK with baby (i.e. if you absolutely do not want an episotomy and would rather have a natural tear if it came to it). Some decisions need to be made in a split second and having discussions around the really important issues before hand are vital.
Create birth preferences for a Caesarean Birth preferences as well. This is a good idea for all the same reasons that are mentioned here. You can have the discussions, make informed decisions and then ‘park it’ to one side. You have your just in case covered, remaining in control. Then you can shift your focus back to the birth you visualise. It can be on the next page so your focus is not necessarily on this outcome if you are not planning to have an elective Caesarean, but it does mean that if things don't turn out as you had hoped you have something written up to help you create a dialogue with staff.
Create your birth preferences with your birth partner. This is important as they will be your advocate for the day. Being aware of what you want and why will help them be a better advocate for you.
Bring multiple copies so you have them for shift changes. Make sure your partner is aware they need to ask the team caring for you to read through them and discuss them with you both.
Finally knowledge is power as they say - but trust in the process is also important. All the above are important and give you the knowledge to discover what you want for your birth. It gets the discussion out of the way before labour begins, as during labour it's important to park the conscious brain as much as you can. You body and your baby know what to do, they are an awesome team, made to work together. Let your advocate voice your preferences and allow yourself to go with your labour journey.
Here at Doulacare Ireland we will always helps our clients draw up their birth preferences after meeting with their birth doula for an antenatal visit. We listen to what is important for our clients and offer information on evidence based care that will enable them to be aware of what they might want to include in a birth preference sheet. We would always encourage clients to have some birth preferences to facilitate improved communication between clients and staff.
So another busy week working in DoulaCare Ireland. As mentioned I have pulled back a little on night shifts while the first trimester tiredness engulfs my being. This week I am starting to come through it a little. I feel less likely to fall asleep while walking down the road LOL.
I am finding baby brain is making paper work last about twice as long and my ability to do mental maths while calculating shifts for our team is not what it once was! I am taking my time and using the calculator on my phone just to be sure, but find myself needing to use my hands to count out even small amounts of time (10am-2pm = 1,2,3,4 hours) Tell me this is normal and my poor brain will recover?!
This week I feel I am starting to come through the sickness. I’m back eating dinners now and once I snack regularly I am not gagging (touch wood). I still can’t handle the smell of the fridge – any fridge – and have to hold my breath while searching for items for the kids. This does still set me off and the kitchen sink has become my saviour. I find I am going off food and drinks pretty quickly. 7Up was my best friend for the first few weeks but I can’t stand it now. Perhaps my body knows it won’t be helping the terrible bloating and ****TMI alert****...gas.
I am feeling more aware of my tummy and feel a ‘heaviness’ low down. I know my body is telling me baby is there. I haven’t found I need to pee all that much more but when I need to go I do not have the ability to hold it for 4 more hours (working as a doula helps to create a super human bladder - one of the perks!). I am also getting the odd pain, which I am presuming is all the ligaments stretching to accommodate my growing peanut.
My oldest boy Seth has been asking me a lot why I am sick all the time. We have decided to tell the kids next week about baby. It is my father-in-law's 60th so we will tell him then, as he has been begging for another grandchild for years and we know he will be thrilled. So close family will know and then perhaps we will start to spread the word.
I am unsure how the boys will react. They are both old enough to understand and we hope the gap is big enough they won’t feel shoved out. I will fill you all in next week. How did you tell your other children about your pregnancy? And how did they react when you did?
Until next time...Jen x
* * * * *
Week 9: What Is Happening With Your Baby
- Your baby is the size of a Grape this week
- All of baby's essential body parts have formed now.
- Your baby's head is beginning to look rounded and there is a clearly defined neck.
- Your baby's limbs are developing rapidly and you can see clear fingers and toes.
- Your baby's eyes are fully formed now, but their eyelids are tightly shut (and won't open until 27 weeks).
- Your baby's teeth are developing and their heart has divided into 4 chambers
Week 9: What might be happening with your body
- Your hCG levels are at their highest this week - so all the changes to your body that have been happening over the last few weeks can be at their most intense this week (nausea, fatigue, vomiting, frequent urination etc).
- Your gums may be softer now with pregnancy hormones - be careful with dental hygiene
- Those pregnancy hormones can give you lovely skin BUT they can also give you very intense mood swings - so be gentle with yourself and know that these will ease off over the next week or so.
- Your nose may be very congested - your body often produces more mucus when pregnant, leading to a constantly blocked up nose.
- You may be finding it hard to button your trousers or skirts this week as your uterus expands.
Week 9: Pregnancy Tip
The GentleBirth App is a fantastic tool for pregnancy and birth, with tracks for early pregnancy and mindfulness to help you have a positive pregnancy and birth experience. It's such a nice way to connect in with your baby throughout your pregnancy. You can try it for free for the first week and there's a fantastic GentleBirth Facebook Group that you can join for support as well (and it's a closed group as you may not want to announce to the world yet that you are pregnant! But to be on the safe side - if you have friends in the group and you don't want them to see you are pregnant yet, you can always join under a fake profile). Get more information on the GentleBirth App