Creating your birth space should be a priority focus while you are pregnant. Do not neglect this important aspect of your birth plan.
Why I am here and who I am:
Hey mama, I am Trish— AKA Labor Nurse Mama. I am a labor and delivery nurse with over 15 years of high-risk OB experience. I am also a mama to 7 kids and have given birth to 6. This means I am quite familiar with the postpartum period and how to navigate it. I am the online birth class educator for Calm Labor Confident Birth and The VBAC Lab birth classes and the mama expert inside our Calm Mama Society, a pregnancy & postpartum membership community! I am passionate about your birth and motherhood journey! You can find me over on IG teaching over 230k mamas daily. I am passionate about your birth and motherhood journey!
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During your labor, your body has a natural process that occurs to bring you to your birth. Your incredible body produces a myriad of hormones that work together to strengthen your contractions and move the baby down and out your body.
Think about all other mammals, they do not enter into a bright room full of other animals. No instead they go into a dark, quiet place where they feel safe and protected. YOU NEED THE SAME!
However, it's important to note that these hormones are only released effectively under certain circumstances. These circumstances all center around you feeling safe and secure. Thus creating a birth space that centers around your needs.
Creating your birth space begins with a few important factors centered around your five senses:
- Lighting (sight)
- Visuals (sight)
- Sound (hearing)
- Smells (smell)
- Privacy (all senses)
- Mood (all senses)
Why is lighting important? Did you know that we release natural melatonin in dim lights. This is uber important mama in creating your birth space. Here's why. Melatonin works with another critical hormone, oxytocin. Oxytocin is the main man when it comes to labor progression. So, we do not want to hinder it at all. Sunlight and artificial lights inhibit melatonin.
Have your nurse (or if at home, your coach) to close the blinds and dim the lights. In the hospital, ask your primary nurse to use a small light near her computer for her needs. Also, ask her to keep the curtain near your door shut, so the hall lights won't blind you, and be sure to bring battery-operated candles for your space. (Don't forget to set your smart phone on the dark mode and dim the brightness)
Visuals for Creating Your Birth Space
I find it extremely important that not only should your lights be dim, but also to have touches of home. Maybe a favorite picture to place on the bedside table?
I also recommend sticking affirmations all over the room and one in the bathroom. I want you to constantly see and hear encouraging messages during labor.
A mantra is a sacred word or phrase believed to have a special power to focus the mind. The Birth mantra is thought or repeated out loud over and over. I want these to be an integral part of your birth. (You can download some birth affirmations free from the article)
It might even bring you comfort to bring your own pillow and blanket. Make your birth space, your own. OWN IT!
If you are like me, you find that music and sounds can either annoy the crap out of you, or bring a sense of peace to your birth space.
I want you to create a labor/push playlist of music or meditational sounds that bring you to a place of peace and serenity. Create it now, and if you have done my free 5-day mindset challenge, then you know I want you to use it while you prep for labor. Use it while you practice focused relaxation and deep breathing.
Your music has a couple of main purposes, music can decrease fear and promote relaxation, especially if it's tied to good memories. The second and important aspect is that it can mask the hospital sounds that get annoying.
Aromatherapy is an amazing way to create your birth space. Aromatherapy uses essential oils, known to be soothing and healing, to create a sense of well being. They can also decrease pain. WIN! The oils also hide the sterile hospital smells. Another win!
You can use the essential oils through a diffuser, a bath, or massage therapy during labor.
Be sure to research thoroughly which oils are safe during pregnancy.
Mama, this is uber important during your labor and birth. Did you know that feeling safe and secure during labor can help your labor progress more effectively? The opposite is also true. Feeling fearful can halt labor progression altogether. When we are scared our body produces adrenaline.
Privacy in your birth space is feeling safe, protected, and not being disturbed.
Adrenaline works AGAINST oxytocin, the hormone we need to contract, dilate, and move the baby down and out. Fear and negativity have no place in your labor. This is why I will scream from the rooftops, TAKE A CHILDBIRTH COURSE. Education is power. It decreases fear of the unknown and allows you to own your birth. (I offer 2 complete birth courses and private communities, enrollment is open a few times a year, Loving Your Labor Birth Academy and The VBAC Lab if you click the link and get the waitlist, then you will be notified when enrollment is happening. I do this to allow for individualized attention for my students)
Here's how you can promote privacy:
- Limit staff interruptions. Your primary nurse can be your guard dog.
- Keep family visitors during postpartum only (moot point with Covid but here's hoping)
- Decide your modesty preferences, if you want to be naked, then be naked. If you want to wear a labor gown, wear one.
The overall mood when creating your birth space needs to be one of support and encouragment. I tell my students and readers all the time. You decided who gets to be there with you during this experience. If someone is making you feel pressured or discouraged, ask them to leave. You can even ask for a new nurse.
Remember to limit the distractions in your room. Have a prepared plan for labor and birth updates so that you aren't being bombarded by calls and texts. One idea is to create a Facebook event page, your partner or coach can post updates there, for everyone to see at the same time.
Remember, the most important part of your birth space is you. If you neglect to educate and empower yourself with knowledge before your birth, a calm environment will not eliminate your fears. Fear produces adrenaline which works against your labor progression; thus, it slows down or stops Oxytocin, the labor hormone. You need to take a birth course, whether online or in-person (do those exist anymore?). I have 2 birth courses that open enrollment 4 times a year. We do this so that we can tailor the experience to YOU. I am not kidding when I say I am there with you, through doctor's appointments all the way to home with the baby. If you are an FTM or second or more, join Loving Your Labor Birth Academy. If you have had a cesarean and would like to have a vaginal delivery this time, join The VBAC Lab! If the course is not open, the link will head to a waitlist! Each course has a “Baby Can't-Wait” option if you want to desire to join in between open enrollment, but keep in mind you will not get the bonus offers and goodies we extend during launches. Shoot me an email if you need to join now! email@example.com
I'm excited about your birth space and would for you to comment below and let me know how you owned yours! ALSO share a pic of your birth space in your stories on Instagram and tag Labor.Nurse.mama and I'll share it too.