Preparing for Birth
By: Ashley Meredith
• Heart will grow- due to more blood circulating
• Digestion patterns change- delivers nutrients from
mother’s body to the fetus.
• Hormone changes- skin and hair feel different
• Ligaments soften to allow the fetus movement in the
• Breasts grow- the mother begins to produce milk and
May gain confidence on your own abilities
Learning to trust your own body during pregnancy.
Feelings of: being in love, feelings special, fertile, potent
• Negative emotions or feeling ambivalent about your
• Care that has the best safety and effectiveness
• An environment that supports the natural process of
pregnancy and birth.
• Individualized care- they care about your needs and
those of the baby.
• Abundant support, comfort and
The Optimal Care
• Midwives have been assisting women during
pregnancy and childbirth for centuries.
• Midwives are trained to provide women with:
– Prenatal care
– Care during labor and birth
– Follow-up care after the baby is born.
• Different types of midwives include:
– Certified Nurse Midwives (CNM)- educated in nursing
– Certified Midwives- educated in midwifery only.
– Certified Professional Midwives (CPM)- specialize in
healthy pregnancy and natural childbirth. (Births at
– Other Midwives- “traditional”, “independent”- some
are not certified midwives.
• There are four main places to give birth:
– Home: good option for healthy woman, who have had
a healthy pregnancy. Safe and supportive home
environment. Also, easy access to medical care.
Two main characteristics:
1) you rely on your bodies own natural ability (no
technology or drugs). 2) Receive continuous support
from attendants of your own choosing.
– Birth Center: homelike places with added comforts
such as birth tubs. Midwives provide constant care
and there are systems in place to deal with an
– Birth Center in Hospitals: a section separate from
general labor and birth unit and is used for healthy women
who desire midwifery model, low intervention care.
• It is important for this individual to be close to
emergency medical care (c-section, surgery, etc).
– Hospital: is for women who are seeking an epidural, who
desire to be close to medical care while giving birth.
Examples: safest for women with:
- high blood pressure, diabetes, seizures,
woman carrying multiple babies as
well as pre-mature babies.
Birthing Options (cont’d).
• Prenatal care consists of 3 interrelated elements:
– Regular visits with your midwife or doctor
– The care you give yourself
– The care you receive from friends, family,
and other support people.
• Come prepared with a list of questions
• Prenatal visits in the first trimester should occur every
four to six weeks.
• Visits include: measuring your weight and blood
pressure, listening to the baby’s heart beat (10-12 weeks
• Discuss future plans and test results (if any).
• Come with questions
• Bring your partner, other family member, or a friend for
• You will be asked about social/family history
• A big goal is to establish ones EDD (estimated due
• You may have a pelvic exam
• You may be able to hear a heartbeat depending how far
along the pregnancy is.
• Schedule your next appointment.
Your first visit!
• Some tests can be turned down if the patient refuses a
certain test (HIV, etc).
• Prenatal tests provide information about your health that
detect conditions that can often be treated.
• After your first prenatal visit, blood will not be drawn until
your sixth month.
• Genetic Carrier Testing- A test before or after one has
found out they are pregnant. This test determines if you or
your partner carries a disease that can be inherited by
– Sick cell anemia, cystic fibrosis
• Screening Tests- measures the likelihood that your fetus
has a particular condition, but cannot tell for certain if the
fetus has the condition (ultrasounds, maternal marker)
• Diagnostic Tests- Gives a “yes” or “no” answer
identifying whether the fetus does or does not have a
Variety of Tests
• Childbirth classes teach you about the process of labor
and birth and offer techniques to help you relax and cope
• Techniques such as meditation, visualization, movement
and rhythmic techniques are taught to help ease labor.
• Classes can be found
– Hospital, pregnancy groups, childbirth educator, doula.
• Teens 13-15 years old have a higher rate of complicated
• It is important to gain weight while pregnant as a teen.
• Many things should be considered:
– Where to live
– Where to give birth
– How to stay in school
• Surround yourself with positive people! (Friends, family,
counselor, baby’s father, etc).
• Some women have pre-existing medical conditions
that need to be followed closely
(HIV, epilepsy, diabetes, preeclampsia).
• People whom are at risk
Pregnancy in your 40’s
Abuse and violence
Women who have been sexually assaulted
Previous cesarean section
Depression/ mental illnesses
At Risk Pregnancies
• Plans are being finalized for the decision of a natural birth or
• Religious beliefs regarding birth and labor
• Ask yourself if your doctor or midwife still seems like a good
fit for your needs.
• The biggest choices are:
– Who you want with you for support
– Strategies for coping
– Which labor interventions you will
agree to under certain circumstances.
Preparing for Labor & Birth
• Other places to learn about pain management
• Its often difficult to to make decisions
about pain relief before labor.
• Rest as much as possible during early
labor and conserve your energy.
Breast milk is the best food for babies
Provides all the nutrients your baby needs to grow
The antibodies in breast milk protect against infection
If you are undecided on breast feeding, talk to a
nurse, midwives, child birth educators and other
Preparing for Breastfeeding