Baby Centre has helpful advice on what to consider.
Last time I was pregnant, six years ago, I had everything mapped out. I was adamant that I would have a natural birth, preferably with the use of a birthing pool. I went to pregnancy yoga classes, I listened to birth hypnotherapy soundtracks on my iPhone and was determined to have no pain relief whatsoever.
This turned out to be a rather naive outlook. Whilst my pregnancy had been really healthy throughout, at 36 weeks things started to go a little wrong. The baby was measuring on the small side, I had protein in my wee and my blood pressure was up. I was told by my midwife to take it easy, which I did. Towards the end of the week, I was feeling faint and my ankles started to swell – it was then that I was diagnosed with pre-eclampsia. I was hurried into hospital where I spent the week attached to various monitors before I was induced and my son was born.
Re-winding slightly to the birth process, I found that choice was taken away from me. Whilst i’m a little hazy in the recollection of what happened, I do remember being bed-bound and frightened. I needed, rather than wanted, an epidural because it also lowers blood pressure. I felt sick, delirious and had little idea of what was happening. Contractions felt numb and I just didn’t have control over the process. HOWEVER, more importantly, my son was born healthy (with the slight exception of jaundice) which could’ve been a different story without the medical interventions.
This time around, i’m so desperate to have as little medical intervention as possible. I wasn’t unhealthy before, but i’ve taken so many steps to try and avoid the same happening again. I take care of my body, I eat very healthily and i’m ensuring that I really listen to my body, resting whenever I can. I don’t want an epidural because moving around and being active is really important to me. If I can get by with purely gas and air, then I would be ecstatic. I believe that this will make me feel more engaged post-birth too – epidurals do take a little while to wear off and can make you feel faint and wobbly.
The Canberra Centenary Hospital for Women and Children seems fantastic. I’m being well looked after as i’m perceived to be a ‘higher risk’ due to my previous case of pre-eclampia – because of this, i’m not allowed to have a home birth. Ideally, i’ll give birth in one of the suites shown below. They look like a home-from-home which will hopefully reduce any unnecessary anxiety. This is something I will start discussing with my midwife at my 28 week appointment, but i’m well aware that I need to be flexible with my decisions.
For first time mums, there are plenty of birth plan templates that you can download for free so that you are aware of options available. At the very least, it will be the start of useful conversations with your midwife.
The most important point is to be flexible with the plan. I’m hoping to have a natural birth, but if i’m told I need a Cesarean, then so be it! At the end of the day, the health and well-being of my baby will come first and pride wont get in the way of that!