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How to Advocate for Yourself as a First-Time Mama

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How to Advocate for Yourself as a First-Time Mama

Nov 20, 2023
A pregnant woman getting an ultrasound. The text reads, "How to Advocate for Yourself as a First-Time Mama"

As a first-time mama, embarking on your pregnancy journey can be both exciting and overwhelming. It's important to remember that this is your experience, and advocating for yourself can help ensure you receive the care and support you deserve. From selecting a birth team to asking important questions and making informed decisions, taking control of your pregnancy journey is essential for a positive and empowering experience.

However, the birth journey and pregnancy experience can oftentimes be overwhelming to mamas if they don't know how to advocate for themselves. Mamas oftentimes feel uncomfortable during their pregnancy and if this is their first baby, they can often feel lost during the pregnancy journey.  Learning to advocate for yourself as a first-time mama can be a hard skill to learn because it is often uncomfortable to speak up for yourself and insist on your preferences. However, it is important to remember that it is your pregnancy, and advocating for yourself is the best thing you can do to ensure that your birth journey meets your needs.  

In this post, we will talk about how to advocate for yourself as a first-time mama, why it is important, and how to plan for your baby's birth. Keep reading to learn more! 


Why It's Important for First-Time Mamas 


Advocating for yourself during pregnancy and birth is crucial for first-time mamas. The empowering process of self-advocation allows you to actively participate in decision-making, ensuring your needs and desires are recognized and respected.  

By educating yourself and being aware of your rights, options, and available resources, as a first-time mama, you can make informed decisions throughout your pregnancy and birth journey. It is essential to assemble a birth team of supportive healthcare providers, birth workers, and patient advocates who prioritize your well-being. Developing an idea of your birth preferences, discussing delivery preferences, and understanding potential medical situations ahead of time can provide a sense of control and preparedness. 

Additionally, seeking mental health support and prioritizing self-care during this transformative time is crucial for all first-time mamas. Every woman deserves a positive birth experience! Self-advocacy plays a significant role in achieving this.  

By speaking up, asking questions, and advocating for the best possible care, first-time mamas can help ensure that their voices are heard and that they receive the necessary support to have a safe and healthy pregnancy and birth. 

How do you nurture your mind, body, and baby during pregnancy? Learn more about holistic prenatal care here! 

A woman in labor leaning against a wall

How to Develop Your Birth Preferences 


As a first-time mama, advocating for yourself during your pregnancy and birth journey is essential to ensure your needs and preferences are met. One effective way to advocate for yourself is by developing your birth preferences.  

A list of birth preferences is a document that outlines your ideas and wishes for various aspects of your birthing experience, such as pain management options, delivery preferences, and newborn procedures. It serves as a guide for your healthcare team and helps ensure that you have an active role in decision-making and feel empowered during this transformative time.  

By clearly communicating your desires and priorities, your birth preferences can help you feel more in control and increase the likelihood of having a positive birth experience. Let’s next look at what every mama should include in her birth preferences. 


What Should Be Included in my Birth Preferences? 


Your list of birth preferences is a key tool for advocating for yourself as a first-time mama during labor and delivery. It allows you to communicate your preferences, concerns, and expectations to your birth team and medical professionals. Here are six key elements that should be included in your birth preferences: 

  1. Labor and Delivery Preferences: Clearly state how you envision your birth experience, including the environment, pain management options, and support measures.

  2. Contingency Plans: Prepare for alternative scenarios such as hospital transfers or the need for a C-section. Outline your preferences for these situations, like who you want to accompany you and any specific requests.

  3. Communication Preferences: Specify your preferred method of communication during labor, whether it's verbal, written notes, or non-verbal cues.

  4. Newborn Procedures: Outline your preferences for immediate newborn care, including delayed cord clamping, skin-to-skin contact, and breastfeeding initiation.

  5. Supportive Role Expectations: Clearly state your expectations for your birth team and medical professionals regarding involvement, decision-making, and providing emotional support.

  6. Pain Management Options: Describe your preferences for pain management, including natural techniques, medication, or a combination of both. 

You have many options when it comes to the position you give birth in. Learn more about alternative positions for childbirth here! 

A baby that was just born, getting taken care of by people in scrubs

Your Birth Team 


As a first-time mama, advocating for yourself and your baby during the birthing process is crucial. One of the most important aspects of ensuring a positive birth experience is building a strong birth team.  

Your birth team is composed of loved ones who will support you physically, emotionally, and mentally throughout your pregnancy, labor, and postpartum journey. This team typically includes your healthcare provider or midwife, partner or support person, doula, and any other professionals you choose to incorporate, such as lactation consultants or mental health therapists.  

Building a strong and supportive birth team can help you make informed decisions, navigate any challenges that may arise, and have the best possible birthing experience for you and your baby.

A doula is a key member of your birth team during a home birth. Learn more here! 


How Can You Advocate for Yourself During Labor and Delivery? 


Advocating for yourself during labor and delivery as a first-time mama is crucial for ensuring your preferences are respected and your voice is heard. Doulas are often important members of the birth team as they are there to advocate for you, even during the most intense moments of pregnancy of birth. 

Here are some specific ways you can advocate for yourself during this important time: 

  1. Ask questions: Take an active role in your care by asking about procedures, interventions, and alternatives. Understanding the options available to you empowers you to make informed decisions.

  2. Seek a second opinion: If you feel uncertain about a recommendation from your healthcare provider, don't hesitate to seek a second opinion. Your instincts and intuition matter and getting a different perspective can provide valuable insights.

  3. Maintain a support system: Surround yourself with a supportive birth team that includes your partner, family, friends, or a doula. Having advocates who will uphold your wishes and speak up on your behalf can help you navigate challenging moments.

  4. Know the warning signs: Educate yourself on the warning signs of complications and when to seek medical help. Being aware of potential issues allows you to speak up and ensure appropriate actions are taken promptly. 

Remember, you have the right to make decisions about your birth experience. By being an active advocate for yourself, you can help create a positive and empowering labor and delivery journey. 

How do you handle pregnancy and postpartum pain? Learn more here! 


Advocating for Yourself with Help from Stork Helpers 


Advocating for yourself as a first-time mama can be challenging. There are so many decisions to be made and so many people to talk to, that speaking up about your preferences can sometimes fall by the wayside. 

While it is easy to become overwhelmed by the bombardment of information you need to learn and your rapidly changing body, there are resources available designed to help you regain control over your journey of birth. One such resource is support and guidance from a doula.  

Doulas are experienced and knowledgeable pregnancy partners who are here to help mamas navigate the challenges of pregnancy. Doulas offer classes to help prepare you for birth, work with you to help you determine your preferences for the day of your baby's birth, and serve as a guide throughout the pregnancy journey to ensure that you are advocated for even during the most chaotic moments of pregnancy.  

If you are curious about the difference a doula could make in your pregnancy journey, Tamara and Skylar from Stork Helpers are here for you! We are your doulas here to advocate for you and your baby in Cincinnati and Dayton. Click here to reach out today! 

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Happy with the difference Stork Helpers made in your birthing experience? Leave us a five-star review here! 

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