“The Birth Environment – Creating Sacred Space for Birth”
by Faye Read
The birth environment needs to be such that it allows the most natural birth to take place. It should allow you to relax, feel comfortable and safe so that you can release endorphins naturally in this environment, allowing for a good flow of energy and a natural, positive, empowering birth experience.
So how do we re-create an environment similar to one you had when you first got the baby in there? Try to think about how you would like a room to be or to feel during conception. Do you like a room to be nice and quiet, dark and intimate, with candles burning, nice music playing, comfortable cushions or bed linen, or anything else you would like to have in the room to help you feel comfortable and relaxed? This is what you need to have in your room during birth in order to help you become relaxed. We want to prevent the fear/tension/pain syndrome and the “adrenaline” reaction. We want to increase endorphin release, so it is really important to have a relaxing birth environment in order to do this.
You are able to move furniture around and create the environment you want. If you are birthing in a hospital, you may not be aware of this. You can actually move the room around to suit yourself and bring in things from home to make you feel comfortable. You are perfectly within your rights to create whatever you like that is going to make you comfortable. This may change however, if you have a high risk pregnancy where you need to be monitored more closely, and will probably need all the equipment around. Otherwise, you should be able to push the bed to the side and place the mattress on the floor if you so desire. This is a good way of preventing you from feeling that you have to lie on the bed. Just push the bed to the side and put your bags on top of it. Then it is really difficult for anyone to come in and ask you to get on the bed for an internal examination or for any other reason. These can be done (if needed) with you in any position.
Most labour rooms these days have dimmer switches so you can dim the lights. You cannot actually use candles in the labour ward because of the oxygen on the wall, but you can usually ask for a vaporizer, which is kept in a storeroom. So you can bring in your own oil blends from home if you like and use the hospital vaporizer, or if they don’t have that you can always put essential oils on a handkerchief so that you have got some nice aromas from home as well. You can also bring in photos and flowers, your own pillow, your own doona if you want. You can also bring in your own CD’s from home. Most labour wards have a CD player now, so all you need to do is bring your own music from home so that you can put it on and listen to that during labour or bring your own MP3 player, whatever suits you. You can play the music of your choice because music makes a huge difference to how well relaxed you will feel.
Just remember that, however the environment is, you can change it around and create whatever space you need because BIRTH IS A SACRED EVENT so you really want a nice SACRED SPACE for the baby to be born into. Create whatever suits you!
It helps to write a list ahead of time too, of all the things to take to the birth so that when you go into labour, it is just a matter of gathering them together and taking them with you. It is your birth, so create the birth experience that you want to have by starting with the environment. Create the environment that you want on this special day.