How to Create Your Sacred Birth Space
Think positive, calm, private, and safe so you can birth without fear.
Regardless of where you’re planning to give birth – whether it’s at home, the hospital, or a birthing centre – creating a birth space that feels personal to you is conducive to making you feel calmer during labour.
Studies have found that more ambient settings during birth can contribute to better outcomes for the birthing person and their baby – there is an increased likelihood of having a physiological labour and birth, meaning labour begins spontaneously, and less occurrence of medical interventions such as instrumental delivery. This same evidence also shows that the more relaxed and empowered a birthing person feels in their physical surroundings, the more likely they are to feel like they had a positive birthing experience.
So, how do you create a space that’s personal to you?
Facilities and equipment
Advocate for yourself to have access to the facilities you’d like to use during your labour. This may include a room with an en suite, a shower, a birthing pool, comfortable furniture for your support person, sufficient equipment like birth mats and yoga balls, and control over the temperature of the room.
If in a hospital or birth centre, you can raise the bed to lean on during contractions or shift it to the side of the room to give you more space to move freely. You may prefer to bring your own pillow from home for added comfort and familiarity too.
It’s worth noting that most birthing people prefer to go straight to the birth suite, rather than being moved from a different room once they are in active labour – that is something you can ask for when you arrive.
Consider your privacy
Have the door closed with a sign on it, letting people know they need to knock before entering quietly or, if that isn’t an option, you can keep the curtains to the room pulled. Many birthing people find it disconcerting if they feel ‘watched’ or too exposed during labour.
If the room doesn’t have a dimmer setting, turn the main lights off and use LED candles and fairy lights to keep the room dimly lit and promote the production of the all-important oxytocin hormone. Your LMC and other healthcare professionals caring for you during your labour and birth can use torches if needed.
You may find it helpful to have a visual set up to focus on too. Some people enjoy creating an altar for birth with things like affirmation cards, printouts of their favourite quotes, photos of loved ones, a copy of an ultrasound scan, and their baby’s name written out.
Certain crystals are regarded as being powerful for birth too; rose quartz for love, amethyst for serenity and spiritual connection, malachite for diminishing fears, carnelian for strength and stamina, unakite for balance and grounding, and bloodstone for vitality.
Smell and sound
Certain aromatherapy essential oils like lavender, peppermint, clary sage, frankincense, and Roman chamomile have therapeutic benefits for labour, relieving stress and promoting relaxation. Hospitals and birthing units won’t allow you to bring in anything flammable, such as an oil burner, however, you may be permitted to bring a diffuser into the birthing suite if you would like to. If you’re birthing at home, you may like to light your favourite scented candle.
It’s also a good idea to play calming music that helps you stay focused and ‘in the zone’. Many birthing people like to create their own playlists but there are plenty of options available on apps like Spotify (just remember to upgrade to the premium subscription so you don’t get interrupted by an ad midway through a contraction). Alternatively, if you’ve been practising Hypnobirthing you may like to play your meditation tracks.