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Skip to 0 minutes and 1 second Many women focus on how to manage pain in labour, but did you know that your birth environment can help with reducing your feelings of pain? Think of any animals when giving birth. For example, would a lioness labour or birth in a bright space with noise, interruptions, and be happy to be with lots of other lions that she has never met whilst giving birth? No. She would go to a private area that is calm, dark, or sheltered, quiet, and a space that is potentially known to her. Did you know that there is an increased likelihood of a normal vaginal birth and increased satisfaction rates from mothers who birth in home-like environments? How could you create a calm environment in your home?

Skip to 0 minutes and 47 seconds How could you create a calm, home-like environment in your birthing centre or hospital? Here are some examples of what you could do at home in early

Skip to 0 minutes and 56 seconds labour: have dim lighting, use candles, use aromatherapy oils recommended for labour, play music or choose silence, watch a film, play videos of nature scenes, such as waterfalls or clouds moving, enjoy the familiarity of your home, have family members there who support and comfort you. It is a good idea to start thinking about these practical factors now, as it will also give you control over your own labour and birth. These personal choices and preferences can be continued throughout labour and birth if you’re planning to have a home birth.

Skip to 1 minute and 36 seconds If you are planning to have a birth in hospital or a unit other than your home, try to labour and enjoy your home for as long as possible. In the birthing centre or maternity unit that you’re attending, let your midwife know that you would like to continue to labour and birth in a home-like environment. Ask for the room to be dimly lit, with few interruptions, and as quiet as possible. This may not be possible at all times, but if you could ask your birth partner or midwife to be your spokesperson to ensure that your preferences are met as much as possible.

Skip to 2 minutes and 10 seconds It is good for you to know that, if the appearance of your birthing room is not as medicalized in appearance, this leads to higher levels of satisfaction, with no risk to you or your baby.

Skip to 2 minutes and 23 seconds It might be an idea to write down your birth preferences and mention these preferences at your next visit with your midwife or obstetrician. Your midwife or obstetrician may have some good ideas, such as showing you images of the delivery or birthing suite. This will help you to familiarise yourself with the surroundings. Ideally, it would be nice if you could visit the unit, take some photos, and keep looking at them so that the room becomes familiar to you. If there is no birthing pool, ask if you can sit in an ordinary warm bath in the labour unit, if there is one, or have a warm shower on your back during contractions.

Skip to 3 minutes and 2 seconds You may start to think of what you could add to that suite or room to make it feel home-like. For example, bring your favourite throw, battery-operated candles, or some of your own pillows or pillowcases. You may have images, music, videos, or pictures that will focus or support you. It is important to try to create a home-from-home environment. Try to use some of these ideas to get you motivated and encouraged to think about what your ideal birthing environment would be.

Building your labour nest

In this video, Julie explains the benefits of being in a familiar space during your labour and birth, such as your home or a space that has familiar personal pieces to make it home-like.

Julie explores some methods of how you can create a home-like environment and the positive impacts of your birthing space on your satisfaction levels, pain relief, how you will birth and your own control over labour and birth.

  • Can you think of any other suggestions that might help you create a home-like environment? Please share them in the comments section below.

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This video is from the free online course:

Journey to birth

Trinity College Dublin