Birth is something that we humans have been doing for a while now. There have been lots of changes to the way we manage birth but, essentially, it is a normal biological function and, if we just get out of the way, most of the time it works beautifully.
With the changes over time have come some helpful changes, for example home visiting midwives, and some not so helpful changes, such as bright and sterile hospital birthing rooms, which can really slow the labour and birth process down.
If we look at the natural world, we see that animals, when it’s time to give birth, find a quiet, dark and cozy space and give birth surrounded by peace and calm. This works well for animals and can work equally well for humans who are really, in essence, just complicated animals. The quiet environment helps your body release the oxytocin which helps your labour progress and endorphins that are your bodies natural pain killers.
In Australia, the majority of women give birth in a hospital setting, with only about 3% choosing another option such as a birth centre or home birth. This can have a huge impact upon the environment surrounding the birth, but there are ways which the birthing room can be customized, in order to provide you with the peace, dark and cozy environment which works best for enabling an uncomplicated birth.
Lights can be either dimmed or turned off in the birth suite.
Candles (electric please- nobody wants a flame near the oxygen thanks) can provide dim lighting.
Bean bags to snuggle into are often available, or you can bring your own.
Ask everyone to minimize the noise- include the request in your birth plan and pre-print a sign for the birth room door which can go into the bag you will take with you to hospital.
Delegate one of your support team as the keeper of the birth space. They make sure the lights stay off and ask anyone entering to please be as quiet as possible.
And if it feels like a good fit for you, you can look into the option of home birthing, where the space is your domain and the only people there are at your request.