12 baby birth videos that (really) prepare you for the big day
Your belly is growing, and so is your anticipation. After months of doctor’s appointments, swollen feet, backaches and developing an unstoppable nesting habit, you’re totally ready for labor and delivery. But the unpredictable nature of birth can make any mama-to-be worry herself into a frenzy over what may or may not happen on delivery day. The best way to prepare yourself for any stressful situation is to get a realistic understanding of how events might play out, and watching birth videos can be a fantastic way to do just that.
"In the U.S. today, it's very common for people to have never seen a delivery before the birth of their own baby. Seeing baby birth videos can help parents envision different scenarios of what they can expect during their own experience," says Jocelyn Alt, the founder and doula at Ohana Parents. "Watching videos of actual births can dispel some of the false, overly dramatic images portrayed in movies and TV.”
"Baby birth videos are helpful for gaining comfort with the sights and sounds of birth and to see comfort measures, plus a range of experiences," says Karen Laing, an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC), perinatal educator and founder of Birthways.
Watching labor and delivery videos by both professionals and parents can provide different points of view.
"Videos by parents often show love for the partner and child, play soft music and show how beautiful birth can be. Professional videos always have a message, either about natural childbirth or medical interventions," says birth and postpartum doula Stephanie Heintzeler.
Whatever type of birth experience you are planning on having, watching the below videos will give you a well-rounded idea of what could happen and help prepare you for labor and delivery.
1. The stages of labor and delivery
Start with this animated video from Manipal Hospitals to get a thorough breakdown of labor and delivery. This will help you understand what is happening with your baby and with your own body during the different stages of labor and birth.
2. An unmedicated labor and water birth
If you’re considering laboring without an epidural, this video gives you a good idea of what that experience will be like. As an added bonus, this couple handles the highs and lows with plenty of humor.
3. An unmedicated vaginal birth in a hospital
In this uplifting video, the Dainty Pear takes you through her unmedicated birth experience. Surrounded by her family and a super supportive hospital staff, she will inspire any soon-to-be mom who is interested in a natural birth.
4. A hospital birth with an epidural
Watch this one if you are thinking of getting an epidural in the hospital. This mom’s video is uplifting and emotional, and she’s assisted by an amazing nurse and a caring anesthesiologist.
5. A C-section birth in a hospital
Whether or not you think you are going to deliver via C-section, it’s good to have an idea of what the procedure involves. In this video, a newborn baby is birthed via C-section to an emotional and overjoyed mom and dad.
6. A C-section birth up close
Warning: This video is not for the faint of heart. But if you want to get into the nitty-gritty of exactly what happens during a C-section, you can’t do much better than this.
7. A VBAC (vaginal birth after C-section) birth
Some moms who had a C-section with their first babies are able to deliver vaginally the second time around. If you’re curious about what a VBAC would be like, this video has all the information you need.
8. A home birth
If you are considering giving birth to your baby at home, watch this video for an inspiring look at how beautiful a home birth can be.
9. A water birth at home
This mom makes giving birth seem like a breeze. If you’re interested in a water birth, this video taking you through the labor, delivery and afterbirth makes you feel like you’re right in the room with her.
10. The multiples birth
Pregnant with twins (or more) and freaking out about delivery? Watching this mom give birth to twins will make you feel empowered and get you ready for your own birth experience.
11. A premature birth
No one really plans on having their baby come early, but in some circumstances it can’t be helped. This honest portrayal of a premature birth and everything that comes after it will have you crying happy tears the whole way through.
12. A baby born in the amniotic sac
A baby being born “en caul” (still in the amniotic sac) is actually extremely rare. Only one in every 80,000 babies are born this way, but this miraculous type of birth is worth seeing.
Read next: How you can choose the sex of your baby
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