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Labour and Birth Environment

Your labour and birth environment is so important and more adjustable than you might think.

Whether at home, in a birth centre or hospital, you can use dimmed lighting, battery candles, fairy lights, music, relaxation audios, affirmations (audio or print outs), nice smells (aromatherapy such as lavender and clary sage – clary sage not to be used before 37 weeks as it’s possible it can increase surges). It’s best for the environment to be as quiet and undisturbed as possible to allow your oxytocin and endorphins to flow freely and avoid unnecessary adrenaline spikes.

Generally in labour you will have 1:1 midwifery care, perhaps with a midwifery student (only with your consent) and perhaps with the involvement of an obstetrician and anaesthetist when needed. But most of the time, the number of people in the room with you can be minimal. You could also be left completely alone between checks of your baby’s heart rate, if you felt comfortable with that.

Birth plan / preferences - you can outline your environment preferences in your birth plan, which is usually part of your maternity notes and discussed during a third trimester antenatal appointment. This way, whoever is overseeing your care in labour knows what you’re looking to achieve from the outset. They can help you achieve it and it doesn’t need to be repeated by you or your birth partner if the caregiver changes.

Birth partners are your advocate, they can ensure your preferences are achieved as much as possible (point them towards the birth plan if needed or just have a chat!) They can talk to the maternity staff on your behalf and be your birthing room protector 💪💪

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