Since the dawn of time, women and females of all species of mammals have sought out safe, warm, quiet spaces to deliver their babies. We have an innate desire to keep ourselves safe and guard our newborns during such a vulnerable time. This sense of comfortability enhances the flow of oxytocin (the “love hormone”) in the laboring woman, speeding up labor by stimulating quality contractions and triggering nurturing and loving feelings. After the baby is born, oxytocin helps the uterus contract back to its normal size, controls postpartum bleeding, and stimulates milk production.
There are many ways to keep the love hormone flowing. Trusting your care providers, feeling well-informed and educated, and feeling confident in your body’s ability to give birth all help t
e release of oxytocin.
What can you do to feel more comfortable
What do you envision when you think of a hospital room? Sterile environments, bright lights, and scratchy hospital gowns are not likely your idea of warm and cozy. But if you are delivering in a hospital, there are little things you can do to make a big difference in your comfortability.
1. Mood Lighting
If everything is going generally well with your labor and there is no need to have the bright overhead lights on, you can request that the lights remain dim or off. You may also add battery-operated candles to your room (no open flames!) to provide a bit of warm light. I’ve even seen a midwife use flashlights stuck in a corner to let some ambient light shine. The dim lighting helps to create a calm, peaceful environment.
The hospital will provide much of what you need, but if you desire to have a more personalized, comforting experience, you may decide to bring your own items. Things like pillows that smell like home and bring you the comforts of your own bed or an old cozy nightgown that you don’t mind throwing away can make your experience much more calm and comforting.
3. Relaxing Tunes
Do you head to Pandora or Spotify when you need to chill? Pull up your favorite relaxing station or playlist! You can customize this however you’d like, and it’s one of my favorite recommendations for my doula clients who want to create a certain atmosphere in their birthing room. Some clients have chosen quiet, meditative music; others have chosen more upbeat, energetic tunes. Pandora has some great stations all set for ambient, wordless relaxation (tip: there are several under the “New Age” genre) and plenty of uptempo options as well. Spotify is a wonderful choice for creating free customized playlists. Both of these apps are free, but the paid versions lose the commercial interruptions for seamless relaxation. Bring a small speaker set lik
e an iHome or Bose to hook up your iPhone or MP3 player and let the ambient sounds fill your birthing space, or bring headphones.
I hope these tips make your hospital room a bit more cozy and comfortable! For more information on doula services and other ways to make your hospital birth more comfortable, send Placerville Doula an email or give us a call at (530) 903-0337. Happy birthing!