A little background info… I’m an anesthesiologist for a fairly busy practice. That means we get called when you need an epidural or c-section. I am currently in my first pregnancy (so I haven’t experienced my own birth process), however I’ve seen and managed thousands of epidurals for delivery.
One of the most important things moms can do for their pregnancies… Eat right (clean, get plenty of veggies and fruits) and exercise. This is the best prep work you can do! Secondly, have an open mind when selecting your birth plan. You are not in control of what will happen. What happens with your baby is what will dictate what you will need and what will be best for your baby. Many mothers have opted for a “natural” delivery and have been successful. Some mothers have been in a fully equipped medical center and have had bad outcomes unrelated to interventions for their baby.
Your goal as a mom is to guide and give direction to your delivery team of your wishes — but this is a process that changes throughout your labor so flexibility is key.
Epidurals are NOT harmful for your baby. There are multiple studies that’re well backed with huge sample sizes that prove this. Epidurals can slow certain stages of labor, but it’s NOT harmful to you or your baby. There are a lot of misconceptions about epidurals. Whether it’s patient experience, epidural effectiveness (and this can be patient controlled), or fear of the unknown… epidurals have been given a bad reputation and sometimes these traumatic experiences are passed down without rhyme or reason (similar to the anti-vaccine movement which is dangerous!).
So, pick a birth plan… be flexible with it. Do what you can to optimize your health (and birthing experience) via diet and exercise. Lastly, no one loses when they’re comfortable. Comfort leads to a good experience and overall a happy mom, baby, and family.
Here’s my plan (which isn’t for everyone):
1) more plant-based diet w some fish
2) exercise via walks, hikes, and pilates/yoga/barre
3) birth plan: vaginal delivery with minimal pain (epidural immediately: I don’t want to feel a thing)… but anything to get the baby out safely.
4) breastfeed like crazy if possible
5) go back to work after 3 months
6) breast milk for at least 6 months (but will try for a year)
My plan isn’t for everyone… it’s for me. Good luck!!