What Does Optimal Care in Childbirth Look Like?

When you know what good health care during childbirth looks like, you are better able to seek, advocate for, and get good it. With countless sources of information about what to do or not to do in pregnancy and birth, it’s hard to separate fact from fiction, truth from myth. Lamaze International has made it simpler to understand what good, evidence-based care in birth looks like with six healthy birth practices. These practices make it easier for you to understand and choose the safest care, learn about your options, and avoid practices or interventions that may not be the best for you and your baby.

Lamaze Healthy Birth Practices 

  • Let Labor Begin on Its Own: The research around induction of labor has become so convincing that many hospitals are clamping down on inductions that don’t have a strong, compelling medical reason. But not everyone has caught up with the research yet. Be wary of induction that’s suggested because your baby is measuring big, you’re a few days past your due date, or a loved one wants to schedule their travel. For the best chance at a healthy baby and healthy parent, it’s best to let your baby and your body tell you when it’s time.
  • Walk, Move Around and Change Positions Throughout Labor: In childbirth, gravity is your friend. It helps to move your baby down and makes it easier for your baby to fit and rotate. Movement is also a natural and active way to manage labor pain.
  • Bring a Loved One, Friend or Doula for Continuous Support: Doctors, midwives, and nurses work hard to meet the needs of their patients. But few people have a medical care provider who stays by their side throughout labor. A continuous support person, like your partner or a doula, can help you feel safer and more comfortable, and help your labor progress.
  • Avoid Unnecessary Interventions: Many interventions might seem like they would make childbirth easier, but they can have unintended consequences and can make birth more difficult and less safe. Knowing the difference between something that’s medically necessary and something that’s done purely out of routine can help you feel equipped to partner with your care provider in making important decisions.
  • Avoid Giving Birth on Your Back, and Follow Your Body’s Urges to Push: The last (only?) birth you saw was likely on a show or movie, where someone gave birth on their back in a hospital bed. But, did you know that you don’t have to be on your back when you give birth, nor do you have to wait for your care provider to tell you when to push? During pushing, ease your baby down and out when and how your body tells you to and choose the positions for birth that are the most comfortable for you. By responding to what you are feeling, you will make birth easier and safer for you and your baby.
  • Keep Mother and Baby Together It’s Best for Parent, Baby, and Bodyfeeding: During pregnancy, you and your little one were inseparable. Continuing that important connection after birth is best for you and your healthy baby. Skin-to-skin contact helps your healthy baby stay warm, cry less, and be more likely to bodyfeed. In fact, interrupting, delaying, or limiting the time that you spend together may have a harmful effect on your relationship and on successful bodyfeeding.
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