10 Things i wish i knew before having my babies |

From a Fayetteville, North Carolina Birth Photographer

Hey there mama-to-be! So, you might be feeling a little overwhelmed with all the information (or lack thereof) about giving birth. But don't worry, I’ve got you! 

Here are 10 things about giving birth that will help you feel more prepared and in control. These all happen to be things I have come to know after working toward my birth photography certification, and wish I had known before the births of my babies. 

(And hey, if these pique your interest, bring these up to your doctor at the next appointment!) 

If you are would like the full list of provider questions in one handy little printable form leave your email to sign up for my email list and I will send it right over!

You don't have to give birth in the hospital. 

Giving birth at home or in a birth center can provide a more relaxed and intimate setting for the birth of your baby. It allows you to have more control over the birthing process and can provide a more personalized experience. The freedom these options allow is beyond anything a hospital can offer. A home birth or birth center allows you create the environment you’ve been dreaming of without having to follow strict hospital policies. You have more control of your own body and birthing choices. Plus there is nothing cooler than welcoming baby in the comfort of your own home! This option is safe for low-risk pregnancies and has similar or better outcomes compared to hospital births. 

Here's a links to some local Fayetteville NC midwives and surrounding areas: 

Ohana Midwifery & Wellness, PLLC

Midwifery Services

Home Birth Photography Fayetteville North Carolina
Home Birth Photographer Fort Bragg North Carolina

Epidurals are not the only form of pain relief available during labor. 

Epidurals are a common form of pain relief during labor, but they are not the only option available. Other forms of pain relief include nitrous oxide, spinal blocks, and natural methods such as hypnobirthing, acupuncture and massage. These options can provide a more natural and less invasive form of pain relief. 

Question for your provider: What other pain relief options do they see often that’s effective other than epidural? 

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You can bring your own music, sounds, and smells into the delivery room. 

Music can have a powerful impact on our emotions, and it can help create a calm and soothing environment for you during labor. You can bring your own playlist, a sound machine, or even your own voice to help you relax and focus during labor. 

Essential oils being diffused in the room can also provide a calming environment. They also may help you when you’re feeling nauseous (which is another thing that is pretty common when you’re in the throws of labor). With my first baby I had lavender and lemon diffusing in the room, every nurse and doctor that came into the room mentioned how good the room smelled. 

Question for your provider: Can I bring music and a diffuser into the birthing room? 

Birthing pools can help you feel more comfortable and relaxed during labor.

Warm water can help ease the pain and discomfort of contractions, and it also allows you to move around more easily, which can help the baby move down into the birth canal. Birthing pools can also provide a sense of privacy and intimacy during labor. Being in the water can also help your perineum stretch and relaxed, reducing the risk/severity of tearing. 

Em the Doula does birth pool rental in the Fayetteville NC area.

Question for your provider: Are there birth pools in the hospital? Can I rent a birth pool and bring a birth pool into the hospital? If a birth pool in not an option, can I utilize a shower during labor?

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You will probably poop during labor (and that's okay!). 

It's a normal and natural part of the birthing process, and your nurses and doctors are used to it. Don't let this concern hold you back, it's nothing to be embarrassed about. In fact, if you’re pooping in labor, then you are pushing correctly! You also may not even realize it’s happening!

Birthing positions - there are many different positions that can help make the birthing process easier.

There are various birthing positions that can help make the birthing process easier, such as standing up, sitting down, on your hands and knees, squatting, or even lying down. Experiment with different positions to find what feels most comfortable for you during labor. 

I see a lot of variations of hands and knees! It tends to be a more comfortable position, and gravity helps you do your thing! 

Here is the link to a podcast from Evidence Based Birth on birth positions.

Question for your provider: In what positions are you willing to help me birth my baby? 

home birth hands and knees birth photography North Carolina

Doulas are a great support and aren’t only used for birth. 

A doula is a professional trained to provide emotional and physical support to a woman and her partner during pregnancy, labor, delivery, and postpartum period. Although not medical personnel a doula can help you with relaxation techniques (aka positions and other ways to relieve pain), provide emotional support, and advocate for your wishes during birth. I personally think every mom should have a doula! Here in Fayetteville, NC there are many doulas (like my dear personal friend Em the Doula, who I love working with) as well as two major agencies.

Central Carolina Doulas - Aida owner of the Central Carolina Doulas is wonderful and featured in some of the images in this very blog post!

The Fayetteville Doulas

Question for your provider: Do you count doula support as part of the birthing team, or do you count them as a visitor? 

Featuring Doula Support from Aida Algarin - Central Carolina Doulas

You can eat and drink during labor if you want to. 

Having a light snack can help keep your energy levels up! (Your body is working hard after all!) It's important to listen to YOUR body and your healthcare provider during labor, and to make sure you are well hydrated and nourished. If you've chosen a hospital birth, be sure to eat before you leave for the hospital.

Question for your provider: Under what circumstances will I not be allowed to eat or drink in labor? And why not? 

The power of the mind - visualization and other relaxation techniques can help during labor. 

Visualization and relaxation techniques such as hypnobirthing, yoga, and prayer can help you stay calm and focused during labor. It can also help to lower stress hormones and increase endorphins, which can make labor more manageable. 

Knowing or having someone recite scripture during labor can be a very powerful tool. A few of my “labor favorites” are:

Philippians 4:6-7, 2 Corinthians 12:9, Psalms 127:3, Psalms 139:13-14, Psalms 40:1, Isaiah 41:10, Colossians 1:11, Isaiah 40:29-31, Philippians 4:13, Psalms 54:4, and my personal favorite and my third baby’s (Jeremiah) life verse Jeremiah 1:5,8.

Here are some childbirth classes in/around Fayetteville, NC:

Central Carolina Doulas offers childbirth education classes (integrating Spinning Babies techniques), newborn care classes, and homebirth doula support. They do not offer Hypnobirthing but are familiar with the method and they have a self-paced learning guide available for clients to check out from their lending library.

-The Fayetteville Doulas offers birth prep classes along with many others including infant feeding, newborn care, and postpartum preparation.

-Four Sisters' Hands is a lactation consultant who supports families through prenatal lactation education. She accepts some insurances and also offer cash pay services. She is based in Cary, NC but does offer virtual visits.

-The Boobtique is a little farther from Fayetteville NC, but is going to be offering hypnobirthing soon!

Some virtual options are:

-Em the Doula (local to Fayetteville) has many virtual classes on christian childbirth, and christian hypnobirthing on her website here.

-Evidence Based Birth has virtual classes for expecting parents. I highly recommend using their website and podcast for general evidence based child birth education.

Question for your provider: Is there anything I can do now to learn how to cope with labor? 

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Cesarean sections are not as scary as they seem. 

C-sections are a common form of delivery and can be planned or unplanned. Your doctor and nurses will take great care of you and your baby during the procedure. It's important to remember that a c-section is a surgical procedure and there are risks associated with it, but, in emergency situations, it can also save the lives of both mother and baby. 

Question for your provider: What is your c-section rate? In what circumstances do you perform c-sections? 

So, there you have it, mama. You're armed with some new information that will hopefully help you feel more confident and excited about your birth! I hope reading the 10 things I wish I knew about labor before I had my babies has given you some solid ideas and has helped you feel more prepared for your upcoming labor. If you’re still looking for a Photographer, click here to see my portfolio of birth images.