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Get the Support You Need
Research shows that labor is easier and birth outcomes are better if women receive continuous emotional and physical support. Most women give birth in hospitals and expect doctors and nurses to provide this support. But in reality they see little of either, and when hospital staff are present, they're usually attending to or watching for complications, not comfort needs.
Regardless of where you give birth, you'll need minute-to-minute support. The following are just some of the ways you can plan for support:
-- Have your partner attend childbirth classes with you
-- Tell your partner that his or her presence at birth is very important to you
-- Interview doulas and hire one who suits you
-- Ask your mother, your sister or a close friend to be with you in labor
-- Let your caregiver and support team know what kind of support you want, such as encouragement, comfort measures, help with changing positions and advocating for you with hospital staff
-- Don't be afraid to ask nurses for help with non-medical needs
-- Stay at home, where support is easier to get, as long as you can
Excerpted from The Official Lamaze Guide: Giving Birth with Confidence © 2005 by Judith Lothian and Charlotte DeVries. Used by permission from Meadowbrook Press.