After a long day of recording podcasts, we realized this one didn't save and we had to do it twice, which just means a lot more random thoughts and extra editing! Our title is a nod to women who may find themselves birthing "solo" or without a birth partner, whatever the reason may be.
Laugh along with us and we promise to give you actionable steps to prepare your birth space with as much support as possible and work through labor step by step by tuning in and listening to your body and what you've practiced during your pregnancy. These tips and tricks are useful and apply to every birthing mama so don't tune out just because you're planning on your birth partner being with you!
Women may find themselves birthing alone for any number of reasons:
This podcast topic is likely NOT going to apply to the majority of you, but we want to provide support to every birthing woman, and the things we’ll discuss may still be helpful for you since solo birthing tips are great for if your partner can’t get to you right away when labor kicks into gear or if you’re experiencing a particularly long labor and your birth partner needs to take a quick nap, leaving you on your own for a bit
HOW TO PREPARE WHEN BIRTHING ALONE
1. Prepare for birth- definitely take a course! A good birth course should provide you with multiple tools & techniques for managing contractions and from there just focus on the ones that you can do solo. We’re going to talk about what some of those are later in this episode.
2. Don’t let yourself feel alone. Tap into online communities of other expectant women. Ask for cheerleaders!
3. Affirmations are always important, but they are especially important in a solo-birthing situation. Make sure to spend some time sorting out your feelings. If anger, resentment, stress, or negative thoughts like, “I’m always alone.” “I can’t find anyone to be with me.” “Labor isn’t going to go/feel good because I’m alone.” are floating around your mind, use our “Find It & Flip It exercise” to create some custom affirmations for yourself. It will help you identify & hold thoughts and bad feelings captive, find a way to release them, and replace them with affirmations that are guaranteed to elevate your mind and thereby your birth experience.
Fun fact, according to the March of Dimes (we’ve linked to the article in the show notes below), stress in pregnancy can lead to things like poor sleep, high blood pressure, which can then lead to preeclampsia, as well as pre-term or low birth weight baby just to name a few. When a mother is stressed during birth, her body releases certain hormones that can interfere with the release of oxytocin in labor. And when that happens, we can see things like stalls in labor. So, protect your thoughts & feelings, mama.
4. If your birthplace allows for a support person, try to get one. No partner? No problem! If you can afford a doula, get one! If you have a supportive family member or friend living nearby, ask them! What you’re asking doesn’t need to intimidate them. Even having someone you know/like/trust sit by your side throughout labor, saying encouraging things, will provide tremendous benefit. And if you’re like, “I wouldn’t mind this person being there for most of labor...just don’t want them there if my lady bits are on display, then it’s ok to have them leave the room for vaingal exams or pushing. Or they can sit up by your head & avoid the birds’ eye view. Also, if they can’t physically be there in person, utilize technology & have them there with you on zoom. Again, never underestimate the power of someone simply being emotionally available & encouraging- no matter how far away they may be.
It's ok to ask for help! Don't deny others the opportunity to serve.
5. If possible, consider birthing at a place where you will likely have more hands-on support. Out-of-hospital births often provide more compared to an OB/hospital birth.
6. Let your provider know you’re birthing solo and ask if they’re aware of any resources that would be helpful. A birth plan becomes ABSOLUTELY necessary. You need the right people on your side- this will allow you to release any worries surrounding getting what you want and need during birth.
Alright, so if you’ve heeded all those suggestions and still find yourself birthing solo,
OUR TIPS FOR THE ACTUAL BIRTH
I know this is an episode about birthing solo, but equally important as everything we just talked about is your postpartum care plan. Please, please make sure you have postpartum support. I can’t fathom NOT having that. Ask your church for help-meals to be brought on, phone calls to check on mom & baby, etc. I know, at least for our church, that even if you weren’t a believer, our local congregations would find ways to help.
You are NEVER alone. You ALWAYS have someone you can talk to- Steph and I volunteer as those friends. Like our reviewer of the week mentioned, we are just a DM away. You are strong! You’ve got this.