Ring in the New Year with Care Practices that Support a Healthy Birth

New year is when many of us take stock of our accomplishments and habits, and review goals and intentions moving forward. If you’re expecting a birth in 2022, consider what kinds of things you can do in this new year to set yourself up for a thoughtful and prepared birth experience. A great place to start is by learning the Lamaze Healthy Birth Practices

As the foundation of Lamaze, the Healthy Birth Practices were designed using years of evidence-based research. These six practices are simple and effective, making it easy for you to understand your options and know what the safest care is (and what it is not) and how to achieve it. 

When you have a birth that follows the six care practices, you increase the likelihood of healthier, safer, and more positive outcomes in birth, both physically and mentally. Achieving a birth that includes these care practices requires being informed and having support — from your partner and/or birth support team (including your doula if chosen), as well as your care provider (doctor, midwife, or OB) and staff at your place of birth (hospital, home, or birth center). If you want to know more about how to be successful with the Lamaze Healthy Birth Practices, check out our 60 Tips series.

So what, exactly, are the practices? Let’s look. 

In other words — avoid induction when possible (and more often than not, it’s possible). A labor that is induced requires a significant amount of medical interventions (practices that interfere with and alter the typical course of labor and birth, increasing your risk of adverse outcomes). Letting birth start on its own time, however, allows critical hormones to release, helping birth along and increasing you and your baby’s best chance at health. 

Put simply: movement helps get a baby out. Your movement through labor helps baby’s movement through birth! Movement also is one of the best ways to cope with the intensity of contractions during labor. You can learn the most about moving in labor by taking a good childbirth class

Some things in life are better shared with a friend. Birth is one of those things. Having someone alongside you throughout your labor and birth to support and encourage you (physically, emotionally, mentally) is proven way to improve your birth experience. 

As mentioned before, interventions can increase risks. Sometimes, interventions are necessary. Other times, they’re overused. Learn why and when interventions are needed and how to avoid them if they’re not. 

But doesn’t everyone give birth on their back? No, they do not. And in fact, giving birth on your back only became routine once birth moved into the hospitals and doctors decided it was easier — for them. Our bodies are designed in life and in birth with gravity in mind. Not only is it often more comfortable for the person giving birth, but giving birth in upright positions helps baby move and rotate through the birth canal easier. This practice also encourages pushing according to your own urges instead of being told when and how to push — it’s better for parent and baby. 

You just gave birth to your baby — the last thing you want to do is hand baby to medical staff! Barring any emergency medical situation, your baby can and should stay with you as long as is desired. There are just too many important processes that take place when you are together after birth with your baby. 

In this new year, approaching this new birth, dive into the Lamaze Healthy Birth Practices and plan for a healthy, happy birth for you and your baby. To learn more, search for a childbirth class taught by a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, where you will learn in depth these six practices and much, much more!

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