5 Things You DON’T Need at Your Next Birth (and 5 You Do)

5 things you don't need for your next birth

There are countless lists of what you need for your birth and in your birth bag. It all starts to make a pregnant woman a little overwhelmed when she is already feeling nesty. So let’s talk about 5 things you DON’T need at your next birth.

1. You Don’t Need Family At Your Next Birth

I know, it sounds heretical to say you don’t need family at the birth, but you might not. As a childbirth educator, I have seen many people over the years who are having mom, mother-in-law, sister, best friend, cousin, sibling, etc attending their birth.

The truth is, this is YOUR birth. You, your coming baby, and your partner need to be there. Everybody else needs a whole-hearted invitation. They don’t get an immediate invite. Not only that — the birthing mother reserves the right to kick anybody out at any time.

When it comes to birth, sometimes the more people means the more you feel like a watched pot, the more you can’t relax, the more you feel the need to perform, and the more stress you feel at time when it is imperative that you not feel stressed.

2.You Don’t Need an IV

Is an IV standard at your place of birth? It may surprise you to know that you may not need one. Yes, like any intervention, an IV can be incredibly helpful during birth. But when we hand them out willy-nilly, they can just be annoying, or worse, a cause of breastfeeding problems or excess weight loss in your baby. So if you feel capable of eating and drinking, and all other factors are in your favor, question the need for a routine IV.

3. You Don’t Need an Epidural

Can’t deny that sometimes in birth it seems like a really fabulous idea to be numb! But you may not need an epidural.

Two things:

1) you are probably a lot stronger than you realize

2) natural birth is often an amazing experience if you are prepared for it.

Like any other intervention, an epidural can sometimes save you from bigger interventions or give you some much needed rest. But the idea that it is a given or a need, just isn’t so. In fact, an epidural can sometimes lead to a cascade of other interventions.

4. You Don’t Need Social Media

It’s the age of the smartphone, the tweet, the status update and the live feed. Sure, there are some obvious advantages to social media. From communicating with family to the ability to share your every thought, desire, and opinion with the world; we have all grown a tad addicted to the instant gratification and attention that social media bring to our lives.

But birth is old stuff. It existed long before tumblr and it will exist long after. You don’t need to bring social media to your birth. You don’t need to update your friends about your dilation or your trip to the hospital. In fact, the precious time of late pregnancy, birth, and immediate postpartum is a time of nesting and drawing inward. Social media simply works against this natural process. Seriously consider being totally present at your birth and skipping the updates for others.

5. You Don’t Need a Bra

I know, bras are awesome. When you have had as many kids as I have, they are more like a vaguely uncomfortable best friend that you can’t live without. But when you are giving birth, you don’t actually need one. Birth photography has gotten famous and appreciated – and it is good stuff. I love that women share those amazing images and birth videos and I am grateful that I can share them with my childbirth class students.

But you don’t NEED to worry about the perfect bra for those pictures that your dad will see. More important is that you feel totally comfortable, intuitive, and primal while you are pushing out your baby. If that means you are roaring and buck naked and the pics aren’t ones you want to share with the world, so be it. Priorities first, and the priority is an awesome birth, not an awesome picture. (Plus, naked birth videos are pretty realistic.)

So, if you don’t need all that stuff at your next birth you thought you did…what SHOULD be on your “bring to the birth” list?

1. A prepared partner – Get that person in a fabulous birth class where they can learn all the things they need to be prepared.

2. A doula. Doulas rock. And they don’t slow down labor like your mother-in-law might. For real.

3. A garden pad. No gardening in labor, but you or your partner may realistically spend a lot of time on your knees. I’ll explain later.

4. Honey sticks. Because honey is awesome. Plus it is clear (for those hospitals that still impose a clear fluid policy, not that you want to have your baby there) they are filled with energy, and can give you a needed boost.

5. A hair tie. You have no idea how annoying stuff touching your skin can be until you are giving birth. GAH. Nothing on the neck. You have been warned.

You know what – you can have a great birth. I really believe that. But sometimes the things we think we “need” for our birth are the things that get in the way of achieving the best experience.

Photo courtesy of Birth Boot Camp


One thought on “5 Things You DON’T Need at Your Next Birth (and 5 You Do)”

  1. #1 definitely. My parents had pretty much invited themselves and I definitely had reservations bc my mother had such a negative aura about her all the time and would likely complain about my living space….luckily they were not at my homebirth or it might have had a very different result.

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