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The 5 People On Your Birth Team

A pregnant woman holding her belly in a field with the sun setting. The title Who's on your birth team? The 5 people who are a part of your birth team.
The 5 people on your birth team that can make or break your experience

Creating your birth team can go one of two ways, and as a true birth nerd and superhero nerd I’m going to use the Avengers to explain these two scenarios:


The path of the first avengers movie where the audience knows every character but the characters now meet for the first time and have to figure out how to work together to save New York. There is friction as the heroes have only ever known how to excel working alone and are trying to figure out this new team dynamic, eventually they all get it together and make it work (while destroying half of NYC).


The path of the seasoned avengers movie.  Every hero has worked together now, they know their roles, their strengths, their weaknesses, and how to come together as a team to produce the results they desire while keeping mishaps at a very bare minimum.


If you are reading this blog post it is very possible that you are expecting and on the path of figuring out what type of birth you desire and what team members are required to make that vision a reality.  So stick around to learn about all the potential teammates and how they best support you on your journey!


You


That’s right, lets begin with you, the person carrying the baby who will be experiencing giving birth.  You are the driver of your birth.  Sometimes it may feel like things are out of your control, however you are always in control. The person who makes all the final decisions for yourself and your baby.  When you know what type of birth you want it better influences how you interact with all the other team members.  Most often being the leader of your birth is confused with being the most knowledged about birth and that is not the case.  Tony Stark doesn’t know everything about space and aliens, but he knows how to make decisions that work in favor of his desired outcome.  Know how you want your birth to go and build decision making skills and that will best support you in interacting with all the other team members.


Your Partner


Your second in command, the person who knows you best.  This very amazing thing happens as you are approaching labor where your unconscious mind wants to be around your partner consistently.  Its said this need dates back to our caveman time where we would retreat to the back of the cave and the female would do her thing and journey through labor land to birth their child while the male protected the physical environment.  Knowing your partner is around soothes the desire to feel safe enough to go into labor.


It is important that your partner knows your birth desires and is prepared to advocate for your choices.  Often this is confused with the belief that your partners desires carry the same weight as your desires.  They don’t.  You are the person giving birth and journeying through Laborland. You make the ultimate choice.  That doesn’t mean your partner can’t voice their desires, it simply means that they can voice their desires but ultimately have to do the work necessary to accept what you want and works best for you in this journey.  Captain America wasn’t always on the same page with Tony’s decisions but they always found a way to work together and respect eachothers decisions.


(Yes I still love me a good Marvel reference, there are definitely more to come!)


Your Medical Provider


This will either be a midwife, obstetrician or none.  Yup, you read that right someone people choose to go without a medical provider, that type of birth is called a freebirth.  For the purposes of this blog post, I’m going to go ahead and assume you are not free birthing and are either going to go with either a midwife or obstetrician.


Nothing wrong with going freebirth, and if your interest in piqued I’d recommend researching freebirths and finding experts in having you navigate a free birth.  I’m just not that expert and will most likely do you a disservice.


So back to your medical provider: who you choose will impact the standard of care you receive as both are trained with opposite philosophies around birth.


Obstetrician


An obstetrician is a trained surgeon specialized in caring for high risk births.  Yes they see both high risk and low risk births, but its important to recognize that their education is in preventative care. Obstetric care looks at birth through the lens of “What intervention should I have at the ready next?”  If you are experiencing a low risk pregnancy and choose to go the obstetric route, it would greatly help to have this perspective in mind so that you can leverage it in your favor.  Consider it being like the Hulk.  At first the hulk just want to smash everything to get his desired outcome.  But as his character evolves he’s actually a pretty awesome hero.  The team just had to first learn how to leverage his strengths into their favor.


Midwives


Midwives are birth experts trained to support low risk pregnancies.  In America there are three types of midwives.  As a history nerd I could (and most likely will) write a whole post about the history of midwives in America.  But for the purpose of this article we are going to stick to describing the three types of midwives.  It is up to you to check what types of midwives are available in your state as it varies by each state.


  1. Certified Midwife


A Certified Midwife has a masters degree in midwifery care.  They had a direct entry into midwifery care.  In most cases they only attend homebirths & birth center births.


  1. Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM)


A Certified Nurse Midwife is a nurse who further pursued midwifery care as a specialization.  CNMs attend births at homes, birth centers, and hospitals.


  1. Lay Midwife


A Lay Midwife is an uncertified midwife who gained knowledge through an apprenticeship.  They believe that birth care is a relationship between midwife and birthing person and has no need to be regulated through certifications.


There is no right or wrong way to pick the midwife for you. They all have their strengths and weaknesses and it is up to you to determine who best fits your birth desires.  When choosing the medical provider for you it best to do further research as these are very broad descriptions for the purpose of bringing awareness of who can be a part of your birth team.


Consider this equivalent reading a synapisis of all the characters in the Avengers movie and knowing that if you want to learn more you can go on and watch their individual storylines.


Birth Doula


A birth doula is not the same as a midwife or OB.  Midwives and OBs are trained to provide medical support to pregnant clients.  Doulas do not provide medical support.  They do not do any hands on medical procedures.  What they do do is provide you education support, hands on support during labor, and emotional support throughout pregnancy and birth.


The best way I like to explain it is: when you are seeing you provider in your prenatal appointments, who do you think is with their clients currently in labor?


A doula is with you through active labor, to birth and in most cases up to two hours after giving birth.  They are a support for both you and your partner.  If you are choosing to have a hospital birth they will be the one consistent figure with you in the hospital.  I greatly recommend a doula at every birth, but most of all if you are navigating a hospital birth.  Consider them your personal Jarvis or Vision.


Nurses


Captain America has Falcon, Tony Stark has Rhodey, Batman has Robin.  So what am I trying to say?  Nurses are an integral part of the hospital birth experience.  You will honestly spend more time with the nurse than you will with your OB.


The nurse will be checking yours and your baby’s vital signs, providing you any assistance you may need and when the time comes calling your OB when you are ready to push.


It is important to keep in mind that if your goal is to have an epidural free hospital birth then it may be in your interest at check in to ask for a nurse who supports epidural free births.  This will lower the possibility of having a nurse who asks frequently if you want an epidural or what are you trying to prove by skipping the pain medication.


Anesthesiologist


If you choose to go the epidural route, an anesthesiologist will be the doctor who provides the spinal tap.


Postpartum Team


Bonus! Woohooo I know I said I was going to focus on your birth team.  But it will save you alot in the first month if you create your postpartum team right now as well.  Consider yourself as Nick Furry, he began to research who to be a part of The Avengers from the moment he realized aliens existed.  He didn’t need them right then and there but when Loki showed up he was ready to bring the team together.


So who are potential team members to consider?  I’ll provide that list now and in the future this will be its own blog article.  Chiropractor, pediatrician, massage therapist, lactation consultant, acupuncturist, pelvic floor physical therapist, postpartum doula, cleaning services, meal prep services, family & friends.


Wow! That was long! But there you have it the people who can make up your birth team and a tease of who can make up your postpartum team.  If you want a more detailed post on a specific member let me know in the comments and I’d love to make a post about them, maybe even go as far as interview one on my podcast The Mother Within Podcast.


P.S. Have you heard? I’ve created a free hypnosis audio to help clear any worry & anxiety you may have around your pregnancy and birth.  Click here to claim your free Wash Away Your Birth Anxiety hypnosis audio.

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