Building your birth team will be one of the most important steps when it comes to preparing for your birth.
It’s also one of the best times because you and your partner have the choice to make an informed decision on the type of birth you want. This is the time where it is important to ask ALL the questions, interview multiple providers and professionals, and connect with your ideal birth team. You will want to find a doctor or midwife who not only has the same birth philosophy as you and your partner, but the most comfortable environment (whether this is at home, birth center, or in a hospital) you feel birthing in. When it comes to the people in the room with you—who is on your team + will advocate for you during your pregnancy, labor, and birth? Do you trust them with all of your heart to make the right call if things don’t go as planned? Are you AND your partner comfortable with them? These are all questions that come up when creating your “dream birth team”.
First, lets start off with choosing your birth provider—
Does that look like a OB or a midwife?
1. An OB/GYN is a medical doctor who specializes in obstetrics and gynecology—which encompasses female reproductive health, including pregnancy and birth. Many women with low-risk pregnancies who want a hospital birth will still opt to see an OB as their primary care provider, but an OB is also equipped to deal with higher risk pregnancies, including performing C-sections and other surgeries.
2. A midwife is a health care professional who specializes in female reproductive health including pregnancy and birth. In the United States, midwives can be registered nurses (CNMs) or direct entry (CPMs or LMs). Midwives are the experts in normal, low-risk pregnancies and vaginal births. They can do most things that OB/GYNs do within the realm of low-risk support, but cannot perform surgery. Midwives help deliver babies in hospitals, birth centers, and at homes.
When choosing a birth provider, it's important to find out if they share the same birth philosophy as you and your partner and if they open to natural childbirth options and birth plans or birth preferences?
Questions that you should think about when looking for a birth provider:
Make time for you when you have ALL the questions?
Do they make your partner feel included in all the birthy things?—this is important because while the spotlight is going to be on you and baby, we can’t forget that this is an intimate + sacred moment between two partners as well!
What are their intervention rates like? Do they perform routine episiotomies? Are they an advocate of movement and snacking?
How high are their induction, transfer, and c-section rates?
Who are their backup providers? This is one question that many parent’s forget about—while we would love for all providers to be on call 24/7, you may have to birth with another doctor or midwife—so I highly recommend meeting all the birth providers!
What policies are in place with your doctor or hospital? Do you feel comfortable with policies such as “everyone gets an IV, induction before 42 weeks, laboring on your back?”
all of these are common policies to find out if your hospital or doctor sets in place. What type of screenings are typically done? For example, some mama to be’s prefer an alternative approach to glucose screening while others may prefer fewer ultrasounds or none at all. Does your provider honor all personal preferences?
What type of environment do they work in? If a birth center, do you feel comfortable sharing the space with other laboring mamas (if this is a policy)? are there birth tubs that are easily accessible? Is the birth center close to a hospital in case of a transfer? Same goes with home birth…
As with hospital, do you feel comfortable coming in and out of entrance/exit? While this may seem like a weird thing to ask yourself—it is important to familiarize the in’s and out’s of your environment because you want to be as prepared as possible for the big day!
Next up, I highly recommend a birth doula to all my patients.
A birth doula is a non-clinical birth professional beyond just the physical experience. Rather than focusing on the medical aspects of the pregnancy and birth, doulas focus their attention on everything else including the emotional journey that the couple is going through in pregnancy and the birthing experience. A doula can help reassure you of what is and isn’t normal; help you to know when to labor at home and when it’s time to head to the hospital or birth center; offer information about all your medical options and rights; and utilize different techniques from massage to breath work to positioning to ease discomfort and move labor along. Birth doulas support all types of births in all settings. One of my favorite parts about having a birth doula is that it gives parents the freedom to just BE. Be together, enjoying each wave that comes with labor and the sacred moments when baby is brought earthside.
While most birth doulas will do a postpartum visit or two—you can choose to hire a postpartum doula as well to provide additional care for the mother in the days and weeks following birth. A postpartum doula’s role is to help care for the new mama and her partner while they learn how to care for their new baby. A postpartum doula can also offer a compassionate ear to families in the midst of the postpartum transition, help with feedings and newborn behaviors, and bring unbiased education while supporting any emotional or physical changes associated with childbirth. Most postpartum doulas will offer day or night shifts—depending on the needs of the family as well!
Along with having a a doula on your team, a childbirth educator is just as equally important. If I could gift ONE thing to each mama I have met in my life, it would be a childbirth education class. The goal of taking a birth class is to educate and empower expecting parents on the birth process and the parenthood transition while allowing each family to make informed and educated decisions that is best for THEIR family.
If you are local to Tulsa, I highly recommend classes such as:
One of my favorite people to have in the birth space is a photographer who has experience with working with births. There is something so moving about photos taken in such a sacred space. When hiring a birth photographer—it is important to hire someone who you feel just as comfortable with as your birth doula and someone who is comfortable with the birthing process.
Along with the amazing birth professionals I have already mentioned, I highly recommend seeking out a chiropractor, acupuncturist, pelvic floor PT, and prenatal masseuse to help maintain wellness throughout pregnancy, during labor + delivery, and supportive care through the postpartum transition. Bodywork + chiropractic care is just as important through pregnancy as it is during the parenthood transition.
Bodywork is amazing for easing any physical discomforts or emotional disruptions, while chiropractic will make sure that your nervous system is optimally balanced to prepare for the big day and the big transition into motherhood!
By finding a chiropractor who specializes in prenatal and pediatric care, they can also provide a gentle and specific adjustment to newborns to make sure that their nervous system is fully connected right from the start. It is also important to seek out a chiropractor who is trained in craniosacral work for those new babes!
Lactation consultants are crucial for the ease into motherhood transition as well. If you are a nursing mother, you know how absolutely vital of a role an IBCLC or Internationally Board Certified Lactation Consultant can play in establishing a successful breastfeeding relationship with your baby. Learning the in’s and outs of breastfeeding can be hard to new mama’s and baby’s, which is where lactation consultants come in! I am a huge fan of having an IBCLC on birth teams to prepare parent’s while going over all the basics of feedings. They can help you establish a a good latch and milk supply and diagnose any issues such as lip or tongue tie’s in baby’s that might need to be corrected in order to nurse successfully.
And last but definitely not least—is finding a great prenatal and postpartum coach to help you through the ebbs and flows of the motherhood transition. Whether you seek out a prenatal yoga instructor or a coach, it is crucial to connect with someone who feels comfortable coaching or teaching through pregnancy and into postpartum. It is completely safe and highly encouraged to continue most kinds of exercise and physical activity during pregnancy and into postpartum, it is important to find coaches or instructors who know how to work with proper breathwork and provide functional movement adaptions if needed. I might be a little biased, but I love and adore BIRTHFIT as a good resource for preparing for the big day.
We need to be preparing our mind, body, and soul for one of the biggest athletic and most transformational experiences in our life:
the motherhood transition.
Now that is a TON of information on creating your ultimate “dream team” but it is crucial to have a rock star team on your side to walk by your side into this huge transition.
If you are local to the Tulsa area, we would love to care + support you through this transition here at Free Spirit Chiropractic! We have worked with many birth workers here in our community and we are so lucky as Tulsan’s to have such awesome providers in our area!
If you are not sure where to start, please don’t hesitate to reach out!
We would love to help you build your ultimate birth team!
Love + light,
Dr. Lacey Nevel