Preparing for the Birth of your Child


Childbirth is undoubtedly one of the most magical things a person can do. Sharing life is a powerful thing, and it stands to reason that the birth of your child should be planned as such. Birth plans enable you to make yourself as comfortable as possible during an incredibly important medical event – and give you the opportunity to tailor your first hours as a parent. But what should you think about when planning a birth?

The Location

One of the first decisions you’ll need to make is choosing where you would like to give birth. There are a number of options when it comes to birthing location: in a hospital, a birthing centre, or at home. All have their own advantages and disadvantages, which you need to think about carefully before you make a choice.

Hospital births are the most common kind of birth in the UK, and see you transported to the hospital to give birth in a maternity unit. Hospital births give you much more immediate access to medical interventions in case complications occur, and can give you access to modern interventions like epidurals or assisted births.

A home birth can be a magical thing, though, and a much more comfortable overall experience than giving birth in a hospital. You’re giving birth in a familiar place, with creature comforts all around; you’re also not expected to move between home and hospital in the middle of labour, unless major medical intervention is necessary. The risks are higher, but home births may simply be logistically easier for you (especially if you already have children).

You could also opt to go to a birth centre instead. They are usually much less medical than a labour ward, but have quick access to these if necessary. If you are wanting a water birth, or a more calming birth experience, this is a great choice for you.

Pain Relief

While there are some lucky enough to experience minimal discomfort when giving birth, it is overwhelmingly likely that giving birth will be a painful experience for you. It's therefore a good idea to research the pain relief options available to you before you reach your due date. Epidurals are a common modern intervention, that introduces an anaesthetic directly to the nerve clusters in your spine that send pain information to the brain. There are those that might think epidurals too invasive, and would seek instead for a ‘natural’ birth – in which case, breath control and 'hypo-birthing' are commonly-used techniques to control pain and pain response.

Childbirth Risks

As with any medical event, childbirth comes with its own risks – from birthing complications to hospital negligence. Indeed, medical negligence claims relating to orthopaedic surgery make up two-thirds of the NHS’s overall negligence spending, where improper handling of the new-born can leave lasting physical and even mental damage.

You should make sure you understand the various things that could go wrong during childbirth and after, so you can spot any warning signs and advocate for the best possible care. Knowing the signs can also help you with your own medical negligence claims, should you need to seek compensation.

Your Birth Partner

Lastly, a simple but impactful decision. Who will you bring with you into your delivery, whether at home or at hospital? For many, the answer might be as simple as bringing your partner – but for others, the question can be a bit more complex. Figuring this out now can save you unnecessary heartache later on, and ensure you have the right person cheering you through one of the biggest events in your life. 

This is a collaborative post.

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