6 Tools for a Better Birth Experience

Wherever and however you give birth, your experience will imp[act your emotions, your mind, your body and your spirit, for the rest of your life.

– Ina May Gaskin

6 tools for a better birth experience & some other random stuff…😁

February is Pregnancy Education Month and how fitting it was for me to have graduated from the 2017 WOMBS Doula (Labour, Birth, Post Natal Support Companion) Training Class in Port Elizabeth in this month! This picture is from our graduation ceremony, we are the second class to be trained in PE, by Colleen Pederson, owner at Birth Rite Doula Services.

From Left: Lauren, Patricia, Janiene, Colleen (WOMBS Training Facilitator), Nicole, Leigh – Ann, Zaahida

I have partnered up with pregnancyeducation.co.zaThe Expectant Mothers Guide and Bio Oil SA in this month’s Campaign, encouraging parents to educate themselves in Childbirth, for an Empowered Birth.

Birth is the most natural process on earth and yet studies have shown that one in every four women describes giving birth as traumatic and up to 20% meet the criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder. It has also been shown that women who fear childbirth experience longer labours and were more likely to need an emergency caesarean.

Ignorance and fear go hand in hand: Fearful parents don’t know enough to be able to, and do not know how to, so do NOT advocate for themselves. In these cases, Outcomes worsen for mothers and babies.


There is a link between a lack of knowledge, fear and the experience of childbirth,’ says Lynne Bluff, national co-ordinator for the Childbirth Educators’ Professional Forum (CBEPF), which is partnering with Bio-Oil and hospitals nationally for the ‘Empowering Birth’ Pregnancy Education Month campaign.

I had the honour of seeing Lynn doing what she does best, at the recent Baby Talk Roadshow at the Protea Hotel by Marriot that took place on 26 February.

Some random notes I made while listening to Craig Wilkinson, The Dad Coach, at the Babytalk Roadshow Port Elizabeth, about how to be the father your children need.

Lynn Bluff has a BSc Nursing degree (Wits), is a Registered Nurse and Midwife, an internationally Certified Childbirth Educator as well as South Africa’s leading Childbirth educator, national coordinator for the Childbirth Educators’ Professional Forum, and the Editor and Publisher at Baby Talk and The Expectant Mother’s Guide. “Lynne is passionate about bringing information to pregnant moms and dads and enjoys making a difference in everyone’s lives she crosses on a daily basis. We can change the world one pregnant mom and dad at a time.”

Good childbirth classes, says Bluff, will equip parents with the pros and cons of all the available childbirth options as well as practical tips and techniques for the birth and afterwards. Childbirth educators are usually nurses and midwives and parents who can share both professional expertise and personal experience. Classes are offered at many hospitals, clinics and private practices.

‘We believe that when parents are informed, any type of birth, from homebirth to caesarean, can be an empowering one. It shifts from a potentially overwhelming experience to one that is fulfilling, positive and, ultimately, beneficial to mother and child,’ says Anna Guerin of Bio-Oil. ‘There is simply no substitute for evidence-based information provided by qualified and experienced professionals. With quality childbirth education, parents are empowered and properly prepared in a warm and supportive way,’ says Bluff.

6 tools for a better birth experience

6 tools for an empowered birthing experience:

Caregivers who are knowledgeable and confident but give you a place on their team:

No matter what, your birth is yours and you have the right to choose where and how you would like to labour and give birth.

A relaxed, calm, peaceful environment for labour.

Fear increases tension which in turn increases your perception of pain. Feeling calm safe and relaxed encourages the body to produce it’s natural painkilling hormones

Allowing yourself to listen to your body:

Our bodies were fashioned perfectly to birth our babies, listen to your natural instincts when in labour and birthing your baby. Your body knows how to do it!

Labour support from a Doula:

Several Research Studies have shown that women who were supported by a Doula during Labour and Birth, showed feelings of increased self – confidence and feelings of being more in control of birth, amongst numerous other benefits.

Educating yourself and knowing what is best for you and baby:

Knowledge is power. Educate yourself on all your birth options and the pros and cons of each.

A team that practices evidence-based medicine.

Some practitioners and hospitals practice routine procedures which are not always supported by evidence-based research. Make sure you find out what your birth centre’s routine procedures are before going with them.

If you liked these tips, check out my post about natural pain relief in labour.

Some amazing points to remember: by Ruth Ehrhardt:



Over 300 private hospitals and clinics around South Africa are running Pregnancy Education Month activities in February. For details, or to find a childbirth educator in your area, visit www.PregnancyEducation.co.za.

If you are in the Port Elizabeth area and want to find out more about improving your Birth Experience through Childbirth Education and Labour Support, please feel free to drop me a mail at hello@zaahidajoel.com and go ahead and check out my Doula Services page too : )

Have you been for Childbirth Classes, did you hire a Doula who educated you prenatally, or did you do your own research? Let me know in the comments below!




About Zaahida

Zaahida is a mother of 3, Islamic Scholar, Doula & Founder of The Nurture Co. She is completing her certifications in Childbirth Education, Bereavement facilitation and Aromatherapy. The company's mission is to educate Muslim couples with trauma-informed, evidence-based and faith-based teachings and information to support families throughout pregnancy, childbirth, postpartum and early parenting.

2 thoughts on “6 Tools for a Better Birth Experience

    1. Thanks so much for reading Cathy! I had never been for childbirth classes for any of my births. I love doing research and so I taught myself birthing options, natural pain relief techniques, labour positions and how to write a birth plan. I did not even know there were childbirth classes available in PE at the time. And can you believe I have never had a doula before either! Now this is a story for another time…but despite the fact that I had done my education and research and had all my preferences in my birth plan…We as first time (and even the next time) parents did not know how to advocate for our own preferences and then things don’t go as we want them, not because it was necessary, just because of hospital protocol!

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