Published on Wednesday 11 January 2017
Are you having a baby and keen to maximise your chances of having a natural birth? If so then we have some great advice from our fantastic midwife and #MovingMama, Emma Walker.
Emma, from West Kirby, has recently had her first baby and has kindly agreed to share her very personal journey of giving birth to help other women who are about to go through the same experience.
Throughout her pregnancy, Emma felt passionate about having a natural birth so put all of her midwifery knowledge and experience into practice in the hope of reducing the chances of any complications. As well as a shorter stay in hospital, a natural birth is known to have other benefits such as initiating breastfeeding sooner and reducing the likelihood of babies having breathing difficulties.
Having had the delivery she was hoping for, Emma is now keen to share her top tips so that other expectant mums with similar ambitions can increase their chances of giving birth naturally and lower the risk of interventions such as forceps, ventouse or surgery.
Emma said: “More often than not, the ladies I care for feel strongly about having a natural birth and now that I’ve been through it myself, I am pleased to be sharing my personal journey in the hope that it benefits other mums-to-be.”
EMMA'S TOP TIPS
1: “Every woman is different when it comes to giving birth and there is no right or wrong way.
Growing a baby is proof that your body can do amazing things and when it comes to labour, there are ways of encouraging your baby into a good position which really worked for me. Sometimes extra support is needed along the way and as midwives, that’s what we are here for however there are things you can do to reduce the chance of interventions.
"Keeping mobile played a huge part in me being able to have the natural delivery I had been planning throughout my pregnancy so I’d definitely recommend that as one of my top tips.”
2: “Being in your own environment in early labour helps you to feel more relaxed. I chose to have a home birth but if you are opting for a hospital birth, try to stay at home for as long as possible if you're coping with contractions, your baby is moving normally and your waters haven't broken.
It’s more comfortable, you can move about more freely and there are lots of distractions around to help you pass the time. The triage midwives are really helpful at determining the right time to go into hospital or advising you if have any questions or concerns.
Making sure your contractions are strong and regular can avoid unnecessary uncomfortable car journeys in early labour.”
3: “Take full advantage of non-medicinal methods of pain relief for as long as you can or altogether if possible. I managed to and I'm sure it helped to make sure my labour progressed quickly and didn’t slow down.
A tens machine helped me when I was in early labour and I was in and out of the bath more than once. Staying mobile makes a huge difference and the warmth and buoyancy can really bring some relief.”
4: “Stay as mobile as possible because gravity helps to move things along. When it was time for me to push, I did so in all sorts of different positions! I was on my left side, my right side, all fours and even sat on the toilet at one point to help get the baby under my pelvic arch! I eventually gave birth on all fours and the gravity definitely helped.”
5: "Use a birthing ball. They are relatively cheap to buy or if you are having a hospital birth, there are some available in the delivery suite so ask your midwife if there isn't one in the room.
"Sitting and rocking on one helps to open up the diameter of the pelvis, allowing your baby to move downwards. It can also help to relieve some pelvic pressure in late pregnancy.”
6: "Stay energised. You may not feel like eating but try to have small, regular snacks to keep your energy levels up as giving birth is hard work!
I snacked on mini cheddars and drank Ribena… The more energy you have the better, it really helps to keep your stamina up and stops your labour slowing down.”
7: “Listen to your body, it will tell you how to move and remember to breathe making sure your body stays relaxed. Using gas and air really helped me to focus on breathing properly during my labour.”
8: “Take it step by step. In my role as a midwife, I advise the women under my care to focus on getting through each half hour when they are in labour.
"It can be a very long process and I found that heeding my own advice during Reuben’s home birth really helped by giving me regular, achievable goals to aim for.”
9: “Make use of your environment. If you are at home have a bath or watch a film to distract you from your labour pains.
"If you are in hospital, try to make use of the equipment available such as birthing balls, birthing pools or the birthing swing in our Eden Suite.”
Pictured above is one of the delivery rooms in our Eden Suite and some of our wonderful midwives next to one of the birthing pools.
10: “Even if your baby has to be monitored in labour there are now wireless machines available which mean you can still walk about and be monitored at the same time.
"There is also a ‘high risk’ birthing pool available on the delivery suite so don’t assume that lying on a hospital bed is your only option if you need to be monitored more closely.
"Your midwife will happily discuss all options with you as part of your birth plan so please don’t be afraid to ask.” Pictured below are some of our fantastic midwives.
“If you are planning a hospital birth, try and come to our parentcraft classes before you have your baby, which include a tour of the labour ward.
Pictured below is Casey Hall from Liscard and her partner, Karlin Fleckner who tested out some of the equipment when they came to have a look around! Casey recently gave birth to baby Harley and found that knowing what to expect before she arrived at the hospital helped to reassure her and calm her nerves.”
Parentcraft classes run every Saturday and comprise of four sessions lasting for 2 hours each, including a tour of the labour ward*. To book, please speak to your community midwife or ring 0151 604 7682.
(*Please note that patient care is always our top priority so if we are extremely busy, our midwives may not be able to show you every area of the labour ward).