As a freestanding birth center, we are excited about out of hospital births! Additionally, we know and believe that there are important reasons for hospital births, whether they are transfers or planned hospital births. All of this said, we are excited to share 10 ways that families who wish to birth at home or at a birth center can reduce their risk of hospital transfer.*
*If you are planning a hospital birth these same ideas can be supportive of your labor and birth process, and we encourage you to read through, too!
10 Ways to Reduce Your Risk of Hospital Transfer During Pregnancy
- Keep moving! Hospital transfers are highest in January and February, which may correlate with the fact that folks are less active in the winter months and surrounding the holidays. Movement should be adapted to accommodate your changing body and/or disabilities. There’s not just one way to move, so we encourage you to explore a range of activities and notice what feels supportive and helpful. Prenatal yoga, walking, curb walking, Spinning Babies daily activities, and swimming are some options you might like to explore. You may also consider working with a physical therapist if you are experiencing physical pain during pregnancy or to prevent pain. Staying active encourages overall fitness, cervical readiness for labor, and better fetal positioning.
- Work with a chiropractor. Adjustments and stretches from a chiropractor can support your body in finding ease as baby grows and your body changes to accommodate them. This work can help you keep things in balance and can decrease pain. Additionally, adjustments can help your body make space for baby which supports them getting into optimal position, which is especially important at the end of pregnancy.
- Try abdominal binding. Support bands can decrease pain and stress on your back and other places you are holding tension as your body grows and changes. This can encourage more balance in your body, which, again, supports baby in getting into ideal position. Baby positioning in labor can make a big difference in how you experience labor and your birth outcome.
- Learn how to map your belly. Read about fetal positions and learn how to feel and map your own belly (aka baby’s position in your uterus) on Spinning Babies. This is also something you can talk to your provider about. Check out this handout to get started!
- Eat dates. We know… many people cringe thinking about eating dates. However, this is an evidence-based way that you can encourage cervical ripening. “Researchers have found beneficial effects when people start eating date fruits by at least 36 to 37 weeks of pregnancy. The studies that found beneficial results, instructed people to eat 70 to a hundred grams of date fruits daily. This is the equivalent of three to four large medjool dates that are pitted or six to ten smaller dates that are also pitted.”
- Talk to your provider about herbs. Find our blog about the top 5 herbs and teas you can consume during pregnancy here, and talk to your provider about other herbal formulas for the end of pregnancy that can encourage a good labor and delivery. We have some herbal combination options we use for the last 5 weeks of pregnancy that can support cervical change and can reduce the need to have a medical induction at a hospital. (There are other induction measures we can explore as well, including the foley ballon, which you can read about here.)
- Nourish yourself and stay hydrated. Protein-rich foods are super important during pregnancy. Additionally, while drinking plenty of water is important, we also suggest supplementing with electrolytes. Drinking plenty of water, at least 12 cups a day, will ensure you are hydrated going into labor and will help maintain your amniotic fluid levels.
- Get good sleep coming up to labor. It’s crucial to start labor well rested. Of course, you don’t know exactly when labor will begin or how long it will last, so going to bed a bit earlier and ensuring good rest is important during pregnancy. Talk to your midwife about what you can do to better your sleep, as there are many safe herbal and over the counter options for sleep aids.
- Prepare mentally. Unmedicated labor and birth can be an amazing and exhilarating experience; however, it is intense (to say the least). Going into natural birth without preparation would be like trying to run a marathon without training. Besides all of the physical preparations, preparing your mind is extremely important. Successfully navigating the process is 90% mental. Good childbirth education classes, reading books and preparing with relaxation exercises, breathing and relaxing music or hypnobirthing apps, etc. will make all the difference for you.
- Hire a doula. A doula is someone who can help you navigate information, provide encouragement and comfort measures, and support you in advocating for your preferences during pregnancy and labor. There’s solid evidence on the ways doulas can be a crucial part of your birthing team. Our Doula Team would love to travel your birthing journey alongside you.
Sweet Child O’ Mine Is Here For You
Your team of midwives is here to support you in navigating your preferences and needs along your pregnancy and birth journey. We are here for you!
If you are currently building your birth team, we would be honored to be a part of your team; reach out and let us know how we can support you!