It is human nature to immediately search for a solution when presented with a problem. Or, perhaps it is just the nature of birth workers and other people in proximity to a pregnant woman. I wish that I didn't have a list of examples of when women had their perfectly normal birth hijacked by well meaning people. Here is some food for thought. There are always exceptions, but don't assume that you are one of them. Also, keep in mind that you can do literally everything right and still have a complication. So, this list is not meant for you to feel guilty about. You can't change what already happened. It is a list of tips for prevention.
10 Rules for Avoiding Complications or Transfers During Labor:
1. Trust your provider, or find a new one.
Don't think that you can choose the c-section king of the county and hire a good doula and all will be well. It only will if you have your baby in the car on the way there. It is not too late to transfer most of the time. This goes for midwives too. Not every midwife is the right fit for every woman. If you don't trust your provider it is a big problem that could have affects on your ability to give birth and their ability to care safely for you. If you are supplementing your care, in routine situations, with another provider beware that this can cause a confusing "too many cooks in the kitchen" scenario. I see this in women who want midwife care but also want to see an OB "just in case". Why? If you aren't feeling safe with this provider and trust that she will consult as needed, just go with the OB.
2. Don't tell your family and friends what your actual due date is.
Avoid the unnecessary stress that having people breathing down your neck either in person, or through technology brings. It does affect you. My solution? Just give them a due month, or add a couple weeks. It is okay. They know not what they do.
3. Do not be tempted to put yourself into labor early.
Just don't. It either won't work, or it will work enough to put you in a dysfunctional labor pattern that will tempt intervention. Be still and know that you will go into labor.
4. Do not let your (doula/herbalist/neighbor/online group) muck with your body.
I know that people will not like this one. Too bad. Who are we kidding here? Intervention is intervention. If you don't trust your provider to give you good advice, find a new provider (see number #1). Herbs, oils, etc are INTERVENTION. Period. Intervention is fine when it is necessary, be sure that it is necessary. I have had alternative health providers cause transfers in completely healthy low-risk women by creating a complication. Don't let this be you.
5. Do not invite 50 people to your birth.
This is not a party. This is physiology. It works best in the absence of pressure, in a dark, quiet, and safe place. There are absolutely exceptions. If you think can poop in front of all the people you can ignore this and invite away.
6. Don't keep things from your midwife or doctor.
If you ignored Rules #3 and #4, or "forgot" to disclose a bleeding disorder, heart disease, etc, etc just admit it now. It's okay could keep you and your baby safe. While there are certain conditions that are incompatible at home, know that midwives want you to have the birth that you desire. You would be surprised at how often we are able to find a way to work around risk factors to achieve a goal that accommodates your wishes and keeps you safe.
7. Don't expect your partner to be your coach.
Be realistic. Most partners are going through their own stuff. If they aren't up to it, ask someone else. There are partners out there who put doulas to shame but there are also some who need to be in a safe room until the baby is born. Know your person.
8. Don't have a coach.
You don't need a coach, or even a method. You need to have things in place so that you can get out of your own way and have a baby. This is hard. "Coaching" implies things that do not help women labor. Most women do best with a quiet, supportive presence in a safe place. Explore this and come up with a plan that is best for your individual needs.
9. Be Realistic.
Understand that things happen, judgments are made, complications occur. It does not have to be your fault or the fault of anyone else. It is even okay if red flags where seen, changes were made, and it ended up being okay in the end. We cannot predict outcomes but we should always listen to warning signs. Sometimes everyone does their very best and it doesn't work out.
IF, someone really does you wrong send me their name and I will quietly "take care of it"
10. Don't over plan.
Birth can be breathtaking. There are lots of pictures floating around with water, candles, and bikini tops. However, there are also lots of beautiful births that occur on toilets, floors, in closets, and doorways. There are beautiful births that occur in operating rooms after a stress-filled transfer from a planned homebirth. There are beautiful births that occur after a long, long labor, epidural, and everything medical in the world. I do not negate that some births can be traumatic but I notice that women are less traumatized when everyone was realistic, she had trust in her provider, and she and her partner felt part of the decision-making process (see #1).
Do not plan to give birth in water or any other place. Don't worry too much about what positions you will be in, or what comfort measures you will use.
Prepare yourself. Be mindful. Learn to relax your body. Learn to let go. Find a way to immerse yourself in nature. Don't push fears away, explore the things that trouble you during pregnancy. Clear the air. Have a back-up plan. Don't place pressure on yourself to 'make something happen' when you should be going along for the ride.
It will be beautiful and if, for some reason, it is not you will deal with that later. Finding your ability to trust this process that is bigger than you is the stuff that life is made of.
Allow the power of birth with all its mysteries and lessons to unfold.
I believe in you.