Updated: Feb 16, 2022
If you're pregnant and feeling excited and curious about your birth, there are seven mistakes that you should be careful not to make.
As a mom of four and doula, I have a lot of experience with pregnancy and preparing for birth. One thing I see over an over is that there is a lot of mystery attached to pregnancy and birth. There are so many misconceptions that it leads women down the wrong path, increasing the likelihood of them feeling blindsided and unprepared during labor.
Here are 7 common mistakes I see women making as they prepare for pregnancy that I want you to avoid.
Depending on your OB or Midwife to prepare you for labor
Your OB/Midwife are obviously an important part of your birth team. You should always feel comfortable to come to them with questions about your pregnancy and birth plan, however you need to understand that their job is to manage the medical side of your pregnancy. Their job is not to educate you and prepare you for birth. In fact, your OB will probably only spend 10 minutes a month with you until the last month of pregnancy, where you might see them for around 40 minutes total. Does that seem like enough time to teach you the things you need to know about pregnancy?
Of course midwives are known for being more supportive and personal, however they still do not have the time or capacity to completely educate and inform you on all the things you need to learn and understand about labor. They focus more on your whole person wellness, but even if they wanted to provide comprehensive birth preparation, it would be impossible for them to have enough time, energy, and resources to provide this to the level you deserve.
Not understanding what to expect at the end of pregnancy and during labor
Understanding the variations of normal in pregnancy and labor is crucial for reducing stress. In our culture, most of us have never seen birth up close until our own. Any depictions we do see of birth tend to be turned comedy or tragedy. As a culture, we have totally failed at teaching people what to expect from labor and birth. This breeds fear and allows for moms to be persuaded to make decisions they're not comfortable with.
On that note, many people will tell you to wait til the third trimester to take a birth class so all the information is still fresh. I disagree!
Taking a childbirth class in the first or second trimester would be prudent, because then you have the opportunity to understand what you really want from your birth and find a provider who supports that. Switching the game plan last minute and realizing you need a better provider in the third trimester is stressful and challenging. Many women end up feeling stuck with their provider by the time they realize what they want. But if women started learning GOOD information early, they could make better choices throughout pregnancy, learn to advocate and communicate during pregnancy, and ultimately be better prepared.
Getting Sucked into Birth Horror Stories
Sometimes birth can go "wrong". Things can get scary, and sometimes people get really sick and even die. This is true. But hearing a bunch of horror stories without context does no good for anyone. It is important to be aware of reality and risks, so we can mitigate them and prepare for them. But what if I told you some of those emergencies in birth were caused by the very people that were supposed to prevent them...? Surrounding yourself with horror stories will only amplify your subconscious stress, and in turn amplify the fear cycle in labor, actually putting you at risk.
On the flip side, not preparing for complications is just as dangerous.
Having a contingency plan means you don't have to make difficult decisions in the heat of stress and fear, you know your limits, and you know what route you want to take when you get detoured off your preferred path. While you shouldn't spend too much time on the "what ifs", like we said above, being prepared can help you be confident in your decision making, even if it is disappointing or scary.
Not getting their partner on board with their birth plan or adequately including them in education.
Your support team is everything. Your support team can make or break your birth experience. If your significant other is not on the same page as you it can make pregnancy stressful and birth challenging, for both of you. Childbirth should be a time when you bond and draw closer to you significant other, but that's hard to do if he is panicking and you feel unsupported.
They don't protect their birth space.
You need to feel safe in labor. When you let people in who bring you stress, it can actually make labor harder and increase the risk of complications. If your significant other stresses you out, get them educated or set boundaries, if your mother or mother in law are trying to pressure you into inviting them in, but you don't want to, DON'T. The only people you need in your birth space are people who make you feel safe. Anyone who doesn't needs to stay away. Thankfully, all of these mistakes can be quickly corrected when you learn the three keys to confidence. When you learn how to trust your intuition, be a fierce self advocate, and surrender to birth, you will be able to make sure these seven mistakes never impact your birth experience.
In fact, I can teach you how I had an amazing birth by curating unshakable confidence through connecting with my inner Womanly Wisdom, becoming a fierce Self Advocate, and learning what it means to truly surrender... and how you can too. Click Learn More Below For Free Access To Birth With Confidence Mini Course.