A hospital with a bed and stirrups is definitely lacking in privacy and feeling unobserved, and it may not be as safe as you’d like.
The process of labor and birth is controlled by a carefully orchestrated set of hormones and processes. These processes are enhanced by the environment and the comfort and calm that can be maintained. A birthing person feeling stress or adrenaline will reduce the building hormones needed to continue moving labor forward.
So, when you walk into a birth room and only see a bed and stirrups, your response should be “what else do you have available for comfort and privacy during birth?”
I always tell people that you should have at least 10 non-pharmacological comfort measures available during labor.
When you give birth at home, you have the built-in comfort of being in an environment that is familiar and comfortable. Naturally, there are many items and places to go to find comfort. So when we birth in a hospital, or even a birth center, we need to make sure to create, find, or request comfort measures. (Doulas are a great source for finding comfort too!)
More and more, birth centers and hospitals are realizing the need to provide comfort measures.
If you’ve given birth, what was your favorite non-pharmacological pain relief?
I believe hospitals/center should have all of the following comfort measures for birth available:
In addition to all the tools in your birth environment, there are so many other tips and techniques that you, your partner and doula can add for comfort and pleasure.
To learn more about a full range of comfort measures for childbirth enjoy my Pleasurable Birth Essentials class. If you are a partner or would like to offer support to friends, family and community consider becoming a doula and attending my online or in-person doula workshops.
It’s time to change childbirth and ensure every person has a full range of comfort, privacy, and respect so that you have a gentle, positive birth in any setting.