Birth Preparation Exercise

Birth Style

There is no right or wrong way to give birth. There is no right or wrong way to react to labor. But understanding who you are, how you handle life and what expectations you have of yourself in labor can help you to be prepared to give birth naturally.

Finish each of these statements, thinking carefully about who you are and how you would really react. Do not answer the questions according to what you think the answer should be, but what you know to be the truth about you.

After a long hard day I like to...

Your answer to this question can reveal a lot about the way you relax and also about the way your body handles fatigue. Pay attention to two details, what do you need to do to feel relaxed, and secondly, what do you do once you are relaxed. Do you go right to sleep, suggesting that mental relaxation comes easy to you. Do you need to listen to music to unwind, suggesting that mental relaxation techniques may be necessary for you? What about your body physically, do you need to be moving or do you need to sit still?

When I have a headache I find the most comfortable thing is...

This question zeros into the way you like to deal with pain. Pay special attention to the environment you want to be in, and the techniques you use to deal with the pain. Some people like to ignore it, others prefer to lie down in a quiet room, still others may want a massage. If you know your body needs to be touched when you are in pain, it will probably still need to be touched while you are in labor.

I know when I am getting stressed because...

Your answer here will reveal your tension "Hot Spots." The place where stress and tension first show up on your body. This will be important for your birth partners to know and understand about you so if and when it starts to happen, they can step in and help you to relax your body.

My body reacts to stress by...

This is your first indication that you are feeling stress and anxiety. Your labor coaches or partners should be on the lookout for this behavior to let them know when you are feeling overwhelmed and need more assistance.

I can prevent stress and tension from overwhelming my body by...

These are the relaxation techniques that you already use successfully, and will probably draw on for strength in labor. Be sure to practice several variations of each relaxation technique you use.

When I am feeling out of control, I calm myself by...

Again, these are the relaxation techniques that you already use successfully, and will probably draw on for strength in labor. You may find that you use different techniques for different types of stresses.

Review Your Work

Did you find answering the questions difficult? You may prefer the question format of this worksheet.

Were you surprised by any of your answers?

Based on your answers, what comfort measures do you expect to be most important during labor?

Based on your answers, what comfort measures do you expect to be least important during labor?

How can you begin practicing comfort measures every day?

Discuss your answers with your labor team. Did your answers surprise them?