5 Way to Make Hospital Birth Feel More Like Home
A Home birth is a unique experience they cannot be replicated in another setting, but when birthing at home isn’t an option or desire for you, here are simple ideas that can make your hospital stay more comfortable.
Walking into the sterile room with supplies, equipment and bright lights isn’t exactly the most welcoming environment to birth your baby. Staff coming in and out, leaving doors open and turning on machines with loud beeping noises is definitely a change from your peaceful setting in your own bedroom. While this can sometimes lead to initial emotions of anxiety or fear of a new place, there are many things your birth team to do to make this room feel like home (or close to!).
The perfect environment for giving birth is a warm, safe, private, quiet and dark place. Encourage your team to take control and make this place your own!
1. Turn off the lights
Women often begin their birth process during the night, in the dark and can often stall once a women walks into the hospital with bright lights and an unfamiliar setting. This study’s abstract says this in conclusion: “[Melatonin] synergizes with [oxytocin] to promote [uterine smooth muscle] contractions and to facilitate gap junction activity [in a controlled testing environment]. Such a synergy in [a living human] would promote coordinated and forceful contractions of the late term pregnant uterus necessary for [childbirth]” (Sharkey, Puttaramu, Word and Olcese, “Melatonin Synergizes with Oxytocin to Enhance Contractility of Human Myometrial Smooth Muscle Cells“).
2. Candles and Music
Think of a romantic evening, where you are relaxed and safe and the oxytocin (also known as the love drug) is flowing. What do you see, hear and feel? Recreate that in your hospital room, after all, how are babies best conceived? Bring beautiful music and battery operated candles. Place the candles around the room and around the bath/shower area. Watching the glow can be a great focus for you during your waves.
3. Decorations and Linens
I always wonder how a woman can spend many hours thinking about the decorations for her wedding, the exact colours that please her, the beautiful fabrics and flowers that will surround her and her love on their special day but not plan how her birthing room will look. This woman brought her birth affirmation flags from her blessing way and fabric to cover the cushions. She was able to look up during the intense parts of her birth and see love from her circle of supporting women. The room looked like a bedroom with their own blankets, pillow cases, and photos that reminded them of home.
4. Re-organize the Room
Clients often aren’t aware that they can rearrange the non-medical furniture in the room. That bed in the middle of the room calling to you for relief, MOVE IT! Push it to the side. Birth is best done moving around and trying different positions for different stages. Women are drawn to crawl right into the bed. Take the sheets and lay them on the floor so you don’t have to worry about being on your knees or standing on the hospital floor. Use the towels and pillows and blankets. Make it your own.
5. Food and Drinks!
At our local hospital at 2am there is nothing around but some vending machines and a fridge with juice and popsicles. Pack nourishing snacks like nuts, veggies, fruit, crackers and cheese. Food that makes you feel good and gives you energy for your birth and for your team. Bring your own tea or juices that are maybe a bit healthier than what the hospital offers. The birthing suites usually will have their own mini fridge or a communal fridge in the kitchen on each floor.
With a fear of not wanting to be “the too much to deal with patient”, we fall into the thought of being a house guest in the hospital. Nervous to ask for extra supplies or make yourself at home, but you and your birth team can take control and maintain a respectful relationship with the staff at the same time. Remember, you are paying for this, make it your own!