Improving your birth experience when the world has gone crazy...

Everywhere you go (or rather, don't go) you are hearing about the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic. The news doesn't really cover anything else anymore. All we hear about is all of the dramatic impacts COVID has had on the world we once knew. For pregnant mothers, this has become very concerning. In the blink of an eye we went from progressive movements supporting women in birth and reducing maternal morbidity and mortality rates to hospital wide bans on doulas and even partners. It suffices to say many women feel cornered, abandoned, and downright scared. I honestly have no words. I have a lot of emotions surrounding these decisions. My feelings span from understanding where the hospital is coming from to wanting to bop someone over the head like in a Tom & Jerry cartoon. But I digress. Instead of lamenting over the tragic turn of events 2020 has brought us, I'm dedicating my time to helping you prepare for what's to come. Just because all of this feels unfair doesn't mean you are doomed to a terrible experience. The truth is, you don't NEED a doula, your husband, or even really your doctors or nurses. The only person you NEED is...well... you. So, what can YOU do to ensure you have the most amazing birth experience you can dream up? 1. Learn about Informed Consent and exercise Autonomous Birth.

2. Learn about the labor process and what to expect.

3. Build a birth plan that opens communication between you and your care team.

1. Learn about Informed Consent and exercise Autonomous Birth.

When I was in nursing school, the concept of Patient Centered Care was drilled into my brain. Informed Consent is a legal and ethical requirement. Informed Consent really is the cornerstone to empowerment. If you feel like an active member of your care team, you play an active role in birth, and you are comfortable with the decisions being made, the risk of an emotionally traumatic birth will be dramatically decreased.

Informed Consent, however, requires Respected Refusal. Not only are you entitled to all the pros and cons when you make a medical decision, you are also entitled to respect if you choose to decline "doctor's orders". Start practicing Informed Choices now, while you're pregnant, during your prenatal visits. Ask the hard questions, ask about alternatives, ask what happens if you decide to go against "the hospital norm". Ask how you will know if there is an emergency. Ask how you will know if you need to switch gears and consider adapting your plan. Open Communication Is Key.

2. Learn about the labor process and what to expect.

Honestly, 9 months is not quite enough time to learn the ins and outs of childbirth. If you're here later in the game, it's even harder to learn it all. But a good Childbirth Education Class or some quality time with an awesome doula should be able to prepare you for what to expect in childbirth. Understanding the stages of labor, what's "normal" and how to cope are vital to feeling a sense of control

3. Build a kick-ass birth plan.

I always tell people the power of a birth plan is not in the plan itself, it's in the time you take to research your options and learn. A birth plan isn't about a firm outlined expectation of your day like a Wedding Plan would be, conversely, it's about knowing when and why to switch from Plan A to Plan B or Plan C, and doing so gracefully. More importantly, a clear but concise birth plan will be vital if you are facing birthing with a reduced support team. Having an easy-to-reference birth plan will allow the support you do have to understand your wishes. Now, more than ever, is a time to prepare yourself for birth. Turn the unknown into the understood. Turn your fear into power. Turn your questions into confidence. But how...? How do you do all of this? Join me for a FREE class launching April 5, 2020. We will the three topics we discussed here in further detail. PLUS, if you decide you want more support, you will get an exclusive opportunity to sign up for Digital Doula Support at a very special rate ONLY for webinar attendees! Are you ready to turn your nervousness into strength?

Get your name on the BIRTH WITH CONFIDENCE guest list now!

Purple Pinterest graphics states "birth with confidence: three tricks to improve your birth experience" and features a black and white photograph of a husband holding a towel on his wife's neck and supporting her laboring body as she leans backward into him submitting to a contraction during her natural birth at vorhees hospital in southern New Jersey

Jaimie Zaki, owner of Little Bear Services, LLC is a Birth Photographer, Labor Doula, and IBCLC serving families in South Jersey and Central Jersey. Jaimie enthusiastically supports hospital births and home births in Burlington County, Camden County, Mercer County, Atlantic County, and Ocean County. If you reside outside of this service area, reach out! Jaimie may still be available to serve your family! Learn more about Jaimie and the services she offers now!

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