Going in to hospital can be a daunting prospect. We normally only go to hospital if there is something wrong with us and it’s not normally the most pleasant of experiences. However, when it comes to having a baby there often isn’t anything wrong with us but we still find ourselves in hospital.
Of course, home birth is always an option and it may well be one of the safest options, depending on how your pregnancy is progressing and any problems you may have had in the past.
But what do you do if you need or choose to give birth in hospital? How can you help yourself to feel these calm and in control? Obviously, this is different for each person but here’s a few hints and tips that may help you regain a sense of control, familiarity and serenity on the big day.
1) Use an electronic diffuser to fill the room with a familiar scent- our sense of smell is very much linked to our emotions and memories. When you relax in pregnancy, whether that’s listening to a hypnobirthing track or soaking in a bath, put the diffuser on with your favourite scent. That way, when you smell it in the hospital it will take you back to that feeling of calm relaxation. If you’re using aromatherapy oils make sure you check with your midwife which ones are safe for you to use.
2) Place LED candle lights around the room- these cheap and easy-to-use little gadgets are amazing. You can get them in lots of different shapes, sizes and colours. Have a few of them dotted around the birth room for a calm, ambient lighting effect. They’re also safe to use in hospital- unlike an actual candle- that would not be a good idea!
3) Play some relaxing music- just as with the diffuser, music can instantly change our mood. Put something on that will make you feel good. Make sure you’ve brought a little speaker to play the music through and make sure it’s got enough power too!
4) Turn off the fluorescent lights- very often the lighting in the birth room will be far from calming. You can turn off those horrible lights, as long as there is a light source from somewhere, so you don’t trip over anything you can’t see on the floor. If you’ve brought enough LED candles then they might be bright enough or maybe just turn the bathroom light on and leave the door ajar.
5) Bring all your favourite comfort foods- you will be provided with some form of sustenance whilst you give birth but the menu will probably be quite limited and it might be that nothing tickles your fancy. Bring along anything that’s packed full of calories for a quick energy burst. It can be as unhealthy as you like- in fact sugary sweets are a great way to get some energy in. And don’t forget to pack some for your birth partner too!
6) Bring a pillow- I’m fairly certain there are professional pillow thieves working within the NHS. Each month more pillows are ordered and each month they go missing. So, bring your own- that way you’re guaranteed somewhere soft to rest your head when you need too. Plus, you know it’s going to be comfortable and remind you of home.
7) Bring your own clothes to wear- it’s easy to get into that ‘hospital patient’ mentality when wearing a hospital gown. There are a few times it might be necessary but on the whole, you don’t need to wear one just because you are giving birth. So, bring your own clothes, ones you don’t mind throwing away afterwards if needed but it might just help to keep you in the right mindset. One of the easiest things to wear is a stretchy, strapless dress. It won’t restrict the birth of the baby, like trousers might, and it gives easy access for skin to skin once baby is born, whilst maintaining dignity at the same time. Of course, very often mums find that any clothing is just too restrictive and being naked is far easier- if you find this is you then go for it!
8) Bring a picture to help remind you of home- this could be a picture of one of your children or, perhaps, a pet or it could be a picture of the place you go to in your mind when you relax. If you picture a sandy beach or a green forest or misty mountains. Bring along a picture of that and look at it to help your mind to wander away from the hospital environment. It doesn’t need to be big and it can be placed somewhere unobtrusive but in your line of sight- e.g. a windowsill.
Hopefully, this has given you a bit of inspiration to help make the hospital seem like a less daunting environment. These may be especially helpful if you are feeling anxious about going in to hospital or if you were planning to have your baby at home but circumstances changed. These are things you can use in the midwife led unit or the consultant led unit. They are very small changes but I think they can help to make a big difference to how you feel when you are giving birth.
Chloe teaches our Upminster hypnobirthing groups- click here to book. As a working midwife, and hypnobirthing mother, she’s got all you questions covered. And she puts on a lovely spread.
#doitlikeamother #positiveimperfectbirths #hypnobirthinginupminster