Your Birth Team: Who to Invite
Have you thought about who will be present when you give birth? Do you just want your partner and your provider in the room? Or maybe you want lots of family members and an extended care team to cheer you on during this joyous occasion. Creating your birth team is a very individualized process, and ultimately you need to decide what is best and who is welcome at your birth. Here are a few options you may want to consider when inviting people to your birth-day celebration:
Your Obstetric Provider: Your obstetric provider is your primary clinical healthcare support person, and will most likely be the person to ‘catch’ your baby. Since your provider and birth location has a significant impact on your birth outcome, you should be really thoughtful about choosing the best-fit caregiver for your birth. To help you find the ideal provider, consider the following:
- Do you want a Midwife or an Obstetrician?
- Does your provider share your values and philosophy about birth?
- Is your provider in a group practice?
- Have you met all the providers that share ‘call’ rotation and could potentially be at your birth?
- Does your provider attend births at your preferred location?
A Birth Doula: More families consider a birth doula as an indispensable member of their birth team. Doulas are trained to support birthing individuals and their families during pregnancy, birth, and the postpartum recovery period. Evidence overwhelmingly supports the use of a doula during labor and birth. With continuous doula support, both women and babies experience safer and healthier birth outcomes. You doula can serve as a ‘labor translator’ to help your understand healthcare advice and medical recommendations, offer comforting touch and emotional support, and provide resources to help you make thoughtfully informed decision during labor and birth. To help you find the best doula, consider the following:
- Do you feel comfortable sharing your birth space with a doula?
- How much experience does your birth doula have?
- Can someone you trust make a doula recommendation?
- Will your choice doula definitely be able to attend your birth? Does she offer a ‘back-up’ doula in case she cannot be with you?
Your Mother or Mother-in-Law: Some expectant women want their mother, mother-in-law, other family members, or even a really close friend to attend their birth, as well? Having your Mom (or MIL) at your birth is a really polarizing subject and may sound either like an awesome or terrible prospect. Your reaction and feeling towards support from close female family members is highly variable on individual circumstances and family dynamics. Before inviting or even ‘allowing’ your Mom, MIL, friends or other family members into your birthing space consider the following:
- Do you really want this person at your birth or do you feel obligated to have them there?
- Will this support person be totally dedicated to helping you?
- Will this person add calm energy to the birth space?
- Are you able to fully relax with this person around?
Photographer or Videographer: For many women, their baby’s birthdate is even more special and memorable than their wedding day. (Sorry husbands!) You may want to document and preserve this transformational experience with professional photographs or video. When looking for a birth photographer, you may want to consider the following:
- Do you absolutely love their birth photography portfolio?
- Can your friend or doula recommend someone?
- If possible, have an in-person meeting or two before booking services.
- Will your photographer contribute calm energy to the birthing space?
If you are looking to find out more about your birth options in the Cleveland area check our Resources page for guidance, and if you are considering adding a Doula to your birth team, we would love to connect with you. Feel free to reach out to us to learn more about our doula services.