7 Birth Tips from a Holistic ObGyn

birth pregnancy Dec 21, 2019
by Christine Sterling, M.D., FACOG
Whether this is your first or your fourth foray into labor and birth land I’ve got some great birth tips for you.
Let’s dive in!


Tip #1 Birth is not an end, it is a beginning

Sounds simple but this is a big mindset shift.
If you see birth as the destination you are going to be ill-equipped for all that comes swooshing in the moment after your baby is born. 
Birth is your flight to a far-away land. It’s a long flight and there may be turbulence, so you should definitely be prepared. But if you only prepare for the flight, and not where you are going, you will be walking into an overwhelming situation with no tools and no map.
You deserve better. To help you figure out how to prepare, we first need to know where you stand. Take the Postpartum Prep Quiz to get clear on how to prepare for your ideal postpartum.
You can also download the Postpartum Prep Starter Kit to begin preparing for destination motherhood.

Tip #2 Upright positioning in early labor can help shorten your labor and increase your chances of a vaginal delivery*

Just to be clear, you don’t have to be upright the entire time. For me, after I was in labor for 12 hrs I could no longer stand the whole time. So I sat down in between contractions and then got up to sway back and forth during the contraction. 

Tip #3 Consider doing early labor at home

Talk to your ob provider because this isn’t right for everyone. For many, early labor is far more comfortable at home. We made a Birth Day Cake when I was in labor with my daughter. It was a great distraction and an even better post-delivery treat.

Tip #4 When pushing, put your hand on baby’s head

Giving birth is a physical experience. It can be hard, especially if you have an epidural, to know if you are pushing correctly. By putting your hands on baby’s head as you bear down or push you can actually feel your way to pushing more effectively. Some people also like to use a mirror for visual feedback on their efforts.
I know some people feel there is an ick factor to this but, to be clear, y’all are going to be kissing that baby’s head right after birth soooo...yeah. You can always ask for a glove if that makes you feel more comfortable. 

Tip #5 Don’t rush the crowning stage

Talk to your provider about this in advance if possible. Unless baby’s heart rate is down, or there is another emergency, there is no reason to rush crowning. Though the data is mixed, I’m a firm believer that slowly easing out your baby’s head can reduce tearing.

Tip#6 Apply warm compresses to vulva/perineum and ask for perineal massage in labor to reduce tearing**


Tip#7 Push in whatever position YOU feel most powerful

There is no correct position to give birth in. There is only the position that makes you feel best. 
Wishing you an empowering and healthy birth and a rested, supported and loving postpartum.


For more on preparing for postpartum check out the Postpartum Prep Quiz to get clear on how to prepare for your ideal postpartum.


*Lawrence A, Lewis L, Hofmeyr GJ, Styles C. Maternal positions and mobility during first stage labour. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2013, Issue 10. Art. No.: CD003934. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD003934.pub4

**Aasheim V, Nilsen AB, Lukasse M, Reinar LM. Perineal techniques during the second stage of labour for reducing perineal trauma. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2011, Issue 12. Art. No.: CD006672. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD006672.pub2. (Meta-Analysis)

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