So you are expecting a baby some time in the next 9 months… what now?
Here’s some guidance:
Attend classes! There are a range of classes for people who are expecting a baby, from breastfeeding information to CPR, classes for dads, grandparetns and even for kids looking forward to siblings. Classes can prepare you for what’s to come and answer all the questions you and your partner have about birth and your new arrival! Check out these sites!
BirthWell Partners holds free or low-cost childbirth classes.
Brookwood Baptist Hospitals (Brookwood, Princeton, Shelby Baptist, Walker Baptist): Go here for a list of classes taught at the Baptist hospitals around Birmingham and information on how to register.
UAB has a variety of classes with prices ranges from free to $10 per couple. Go here for more information.
Grandview Medical Center: Visit their web site for information about classes with prices ranging from free to $15
St. Vincent’s Health Center: Visit their web site for a listing of classes.
Choose a Health Care Provider
Choosing the right health provider means you choose a provider you can trust to respect your wishes. Some women choose to stick with their current OBGyn who they saw for all of their gynecological needs, and others may choose to go with another Obstetrician, a Pediatrician or a Midwife. The decision is yours. Know that it is OK and encouraged to choose who you want as a health care provider even if it means switching providers. Even if you gave birth with a certain health care provider before, it’s completely fine to switch providers for your next birth. Below are links to websites that can help you figure out how to choose the right health care provider and help you navigate switching providers.
Visit AboutKidsHealth for a list of different types of health care providers and for a list of other possible members of your health care team.
Childbirth Connection lays out the steps in choosing the right care provider for you.
Fit Pregnancy lays out ten suggested questions to help you choose the care provider that is right for you.
And this article from the Birth Without Fear Blog can be a great source of information If you find yourself considering switching care providers.
Plan your Birth Experience
What kind of birth experience do you want? It’s very important for you to know the answer to that question before giving birth. Having a birth plan that details what YOU want and DON’T want helps you communicate with your care provider and hospital staff about your goals and preferences. This article on Lamaze’s website, is a great resource to help you explore all of your options, and links to more in depth articles on specific topics included in your birth plan.
Assemble your Support System
Everyone needs somebody to lean on. Imagine your ideal birth, who do you see there with you? The people you see are your support system. These people need to be there to comfort and advocate for you. Make sure the people in your support system understand and support your wishes for your birth. Your support system may include: your partner, your parents, the baby’s father, family, friends, and/or a doula. Links to informative and helpful websites are listed below for each person who may be in your support system.
Some tips for your support team:
Here are some tips for dads:
what to do during labor.
A Man’s guide to pregnancy; links to many more tips for dads-to-be.
And here are some tips from a doula for dads during labor.
Family and friends might like to read this article and this one too, with tips for supporting you.
What about a Doula?
Evidence Based Birth has a great article explaining why doulas are so helpful, including what doulas can and can’t do and how they are beneficial.
Here are some more reasons why you might want to hire a doula.
And here is DONA’s discussion of what is a doula and the benefits of having a doula. (All BirthWell Partners Volunteer Doulas are DONA trained)
You can search a list of doulas by location and your due date to find the doula who is right for you at Doula Match
If you can’t afford the cost of a doula, click here for information on being matched with a doula from BirthWell Partners Community Doula Project.