Controlling your birth environment in COVID-19
Feeling safe and unobserved in labour produces lots of oxytocin, the hormone needed to facilitate birth and fuel contractions. Birth choices and options are very sadly being impacted by the coronavirus, and in many areas seem to be getting more restricted by the minute... BUT you can still control your BIRTH ENVIRONMENT and transform the hospital room into your very own den of relaxation and calm! You can absolutely do this and have a positive birth experience ❤
Bringing LED candles and battery operated fairy lights for the hospital and turning off all the lights in the room. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Putting up pictures of happy times and your favourite people, and bringing special items from home. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Covering any visible clocks with a photo or artwork can help to stay focused inwards and relax. Seeing the time might make you feel discouraged, or anxious which produces the hormone adrenaline which gets in the way of labour.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Putting up your birth affirmations around the hospital room if you have been using these in pregnancy can be great little reminders to stay positive and that you have got this!
Create an awesome birth playlist with your partner, with all your favourite tunes and sounds that evoke positive and safe memories
Listen to your Hypnobirthing tracks, relaxation scripts or birth affirmations read out by your partner. A small bluetooth speaker in your hospital bag might come in handy.
A massage or gentle back stroking by your birth partner can feel really relaxing and soothing. Leaning into your birth partner for a big bear hug whilst letting go of all tension, or simply holding your birth partner’s hand during contractions can also feel supportive and calming. p.s. Birth partners, some mums do not wish to be touched at all during labour or their wishes might change as labour progresses so do not be offended if she pushes you away one minute and demands a massage the next!
Bringing your home comforts such as: a hot water bottle, heat-up wheat bag, your own pillow, a blanket, a comfy nightie or a soft dressing gown with their familiar and comforting smells.
The hospital bed doesn’t necessarily have to be for lying on - you could move it, lean onto it or just use it to dump your bags! You can also ask your midwife for a birth ball or chair.
If you would prefer a quiet atmosphere and conversations kept to a minimum, let the midwives know in your birth plan and remind them when you arrive at the hospital.
Try essential oils on a tissue for inhaling, in an electric diffuser, or in a spritz bottle mixed with water. Lots of oils are safe for use in labour and can hep with relaxation and pain relief such as: Relaxing lavender, Stimulating Clary Sage, Refreshing Peppermint, Grounding Frankincense and Uplifting mandarin.
Don’t forget about food: Think about packing lots of nourishing snacks for during (and after) the big event. A marathon effort requires FUEL e.g. cereal bars, flap jacks, yogurts-covered raisins, bananas and dried fruits. If you can’t face eating very much, Jelly babies or other sweets can be great to give you a little boost of energy. Remember to also pack your favourite treats for afterwards. Birth partners don’t forget to pack enough food for yourself - a ‘hangry’ birth partner is not a particularly useful one and sharing snacks with a woman in labour is not recommended! * If you plan to use certain types of pain relief, or have a high risk of needing a general anaesthetic, your midwife might advise that you don't eat anything, just to be on the safe side (check your hospital's policy on this)
Stay hydrated with plenty of drinks such as Coconut water, Powerade, Lucozade isotonic drinks, fruit juice cartons or just water. Don’t forget to pack some straws!
Pack yourself an eye mask and headphones, and tissue sprayed with lavender to help you stay in the zone whilst on the way to hospital or in the triage room once you get there.
In early labour you will most probably be at home so think about how you’d like your space to look, feel, smell!
You can do this, and you will do this. Think how proud you will be once your baby is in your arms!