Can you have the birth you want? Not likely but you will end up with the birth you have. We have a real problem in childbirth. Seriously, we’ve relied too much on a ‘choice-based’ approach to childbirth as though women can choose the birth we want. We back this up with Birth Plans but these fail so many women. For too long we’ve been told that we can ‘choose’ the birth we want. That’s a laugh. Don’t we wish! I would have loved to have gotten the births I wanted. Mine were not as I imagined. How was yours?

We all have to deal with whatever birth unfolds for us. How are you going to deal with what you birth you have? We’ve focused so much on telling everyone what you want and don’t want but really the question we should ask ourselves is: ‘How am I going to handle my birth?’

What birth skills do you have?

Stop and think right now. Are you skilled to birth your baby or can you coach a birthing woman well? If you don’t then learn some skills. This means make your conventional Birth Plan. Also, make a Skills-based Birth Plan that lists the skills you can use throughout your birth.

Let your birth professional know what skills they will see you use. You can ask the midwives or staff to encourage you to use skills if you’re looking stressed or overwhelmed. Your Skills-based Birth Plan is also your cheat sheet … a way to remind yourself to keep using your birth and birth-coaching skills.

Birth better

You are more likely to have the birth you want if you and your partner use skills. That’s just true. Most medical intervention comes because women aren’t coping! Being overwhelmed by the natural occurring pain is not a medical problem. Not coping with birth contractions is just a lack of skills. It’s that simple. There is no societal expectation that any of us need skills to birth our babies. This is nuts. Birth is an activity. We use skills for all sorts of activities. Why not during our baby’s birth?

And if you don’t get the birth you want, you’re more likely to birth better when you use your birth and birth coaching skills anyway.

Did you get pregnant to have a baby or a specific type of birth?

Do you believe you should be a skilled parent? Using skills during your baby’s birth journey is the start for both mothers-to-be and fathers-to-be. Now is the time to act … for yourselves and your baby. Having a skilled birthing population is essential and what will change the childbirth conversation. More important birth and birth-coaching skills will improve your birth experience.

Birthing Better Childbirth Preparation skills were developed by moms and dads and are housed in Common Knowledge Trust