Second time around

Of late I’ve been contacted by quite a few women planning their second birth after a traumatic first birth. After a difficult first labour many women are keen to ensure that the second time round things are different.

Hiring a doula is a great first step towards this. She will be able to talk through your birth plan with you in detail, help you debrief from your first birth and understand the things that made your previous experience difficult for you. She’ll also be able to help you both understand and create the kind of environment that encourages labour to progress naturally and help you learn how to advocate with medical professionals to achieve this.

Some things she may suggest are:
– attending a birth debrief meeting with a midwife at your hospital, to talk through the notes from your first birth and understand what happened
– make a very clear birth plan and go through this with your midwife to ensure that things your found unhelpful/negative aren’t repeated
– talk through and understand your rights around birth. The AIMS ‘Am I Allowed’ book is very useful for this
– ensure that you and your partner understand and are at the centre of choices made during your labour
– consider a different birth environment such as a birth centre or a home birth

If you need to talk through a previous birth experience you may also find it useful to call the Birth Crisis helpline, designed specifically for this purpose. All details can be found at

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