I'm no expert- but here are the things I did to feel 100% confident and excited to give birth to our first child!
This is the exact birth plan template we used for both of our births (hospital & home!)
Experience: I spent YEARS working with children in a variety of different settings. I have a minor in early childhood education, where I studied children's behavior, brains, etc. I also nannied for a total of ten-plus years and babysat for even longer.
Relationship: My husband and I talked about having a child very openly and made sure we were entirely on the same page... the same page for us? If it happens, it happens. Let's just not prevent- and we were so lucky to conceive immediately BUT were ready for it.
Financial: We were "debt free" before even contemplating kids because this was a HUGE priority for us (which I understand isn't possible for everyone). We paid off all of my student loans ($115K) and had no loans out besides our car, which was 0%! This helped us feel more secure and confident to take on the financial responsibility of another human being!
Physical: Nutrition and fitness were INCREDIBLY important to us and a huge part of our lifestyle. Before trying for a baby, I was very happy with my relationship with food as well as working out. I have to admit that pregnancy has been hard, and both of these hit the back burner, but having a strong body as a base has helped so much.
Midwife: If it were 100% up to me, I would have chosen a home birth in a heartbeat. My mom gave birth to all four of us at home and that was always in the back of my mind- but my husband was much more comfortable with the idea of being in a hospital.. so we compromised! I looked ALL AROUND to find a midwifery unit IN HOSPITAL. (which here in America is very hard to find). I'm no expert, but to me, midwives are more focused on the mom compared to a typical OBGYN, who is more focused on the baby. Because of this, midwives are typically found doing home births, birthing centers, and sometimes (if you're lucky) in a hospital. I chose a midwife because I knew I wanted the least intervention as possible, wanted as many comfort measures (like the option to do a water birth), and a deeper 1:1 connection with the person delivering my baby!
Doula: One of the first decisions I made was asking a family friend of ours to become our doula. She's like an extra mom to us, and we knew that she would be the perfect person to help us along... little did I know how much more she would be for us than that. At around 6 months, we started meeting weekly, talking all about the birth process, watching DVDs, reading books, listening to podcasts, discussing options, creating plans, practicing positions, and so much more. Each week I would feel more and more confident in myself and excited for the birth that was to come!
Books: I'm not a huge reader but we listened to a book about hypnobirthing and it was INCREDIBLE. I highly recommend it if you are pregnant and considering an unmedicated birth. You can find the book here.
DVD: I recommend this DVD over anything else. Not only was it super entertaining and hilarious, but it was so dang informative. You can find it here but I highly recommend checking your local library, bookstore, or eBay!
Classes: We took CPR, Natural Birthing, and Breastfeeding classes at our hospital.
Pelvic Floor Therapist: I was late to the game on this one, but I did see a pelvic floor therapist at 36 weeks and found it very helpful. She was able to take a look at my muscles and posture to recommend some exercises. We also talked about leaking and incontinence and ways that I can start working on that now and continue after birth. Plus, I will be working with her after the "all clear" at 6 weeks postpartum to continue focusing on my pelvic floor! In addition to all that, she helped me find options for labor positions (and where I was strongest), taught me breathing techniques, and taught my husband how to help with the perineum massages!
Checklists: I scoured the Internet AND asked all my followers so that I could make checklists that would have everything you needed.
If you are looking for even more resources and support, give my other motherhood blog posts a read, shop all my pregnancy, postpartum, and baby favorites in my Amazon storefront, and explore ALL my free guides and PDFs!
Social Media Accounts: I can't believe how many accounts are out there that are made just for the pregnant/postpartum woman. I found an insane amount of information and highly recommend the following accounts!
Here are a bunch of my favorites from Instagram!
Again, I want to reiterate that I fully understand plans don't always work out the way we want- but not planning can also leave you feeling unsure/overwhelmed/disappointed. I highly encourage you to educate yourself as much as possible about the "norms" and the "what if's" so that in the moment you, your doula, and your doctor know exactly what you want.
L E T ' S B E F R I E N D S!