Choices in Childbirth



It is impossible to predict ahead of time what each birth and labor will look like. Will it be long or short? Will it be intense or ecstatic? At this point, the most important things you can do are to research and educate yourself about your options.

Read books, watch documentaries, talk to your care providers, and other expectant and new moms about different labor coping strategies. Which strategies feel right to you? Practice them if you can.

Plan your labor consciously, much like you would your wedding, with attention to every detail. Consider every aspect of your labor- Where would you like to labor? Who would you like to be present? Visualize it and plan to have all the support you desire.  Then sit back and surrender to this powerful event, knowing that it will unfold in its own unique way! 

Further reading on this topic:

Have You Thought About Having a Doula at Your Birth?

by Penny Simkin

The journey through birth is unpredictable and stressful, and even well prepared women or couples, when in the midst of intense labor, often find it difficult to apply their knowledge. It helps to have guidance and reassurance from experts, to help you relate the intense physical sensations and emotions of labor to what you already know intellectually. Your nurse, midwife, or doctor will offer some guidance, but may be limited by their clinical duties and the needs of other laboring women in their care. To be sure you will get the kind of help you need in labor, consider having a birth doula.

The Purpose and Power of Pain in Labor

by Judith A. Lothian, PhD., RN, LCCE

The pain of labor and birth worries most women. No one enjoys pain, and most of us are willing to go to great lengths to avoid it. The pain involved in childbirth is no exception. What women don’t usually know is that pain is central to nature’s simple, elegant design for labor and birth. Pain is not simply an unfortunate side effect of labor but is an important part of the normal process of labor and birth. Remove the pain by interrupting its flow and progression any place along the way, and you remove the signals that are your guide as you move through labor.

Waterbirth: The Heart and Soul of Gentle Birth

by Barbara Harper

The very surprising part about birth is that your body, hormonally speaking, knows how to give birth and your baby knows how to be born. The task then is to surrender to the powerful energy moving through you in order for the body to do its work. This article examines all the ways in which water really helps accomplish that seemingly impossible task.

Straight Talk on Epidurals for Labor

by Henci Goer

No doubt about it. Epidurals are aptly named the “Cadillac of analgesia.” Epidurals allow women to be awake and aware yet free from pain during labor and birth. Despite these benefits, you would do well to look under the hood before you decide to drive this “Cadillac” off the lot. Like all medical interventions, epidurals have potential harms. The wise woman will want to weigh them against her other options. Unfortunately, many care providers don’t supply complete information. To give you a more balanced picture, this article outlines the risks and disadvantages of epidurals according to the research.


Alice and Jorge, early labor © Sarah Tew Photography