Creating Your Birthing Cave During a Hospital Birth

There are several locations available for most pregnant mothers to labor and deliver their babies: home birth, birth centers, and a hospital.  

Hospitals tend to be the most restrictive, yet offer the most in terms of interventions that may help or hinder your birth experience depending on who you ask.  This post’s focus isnt to dive into the various medical interventions available in a hospital setting, but rather help a laboring mama create a birthing cave while at a hospital. 

What’s a birthing cave? 

In order for labor to progress, mama needs to feel safe and supportive, and sometimes the hospital setting makes this more difficult.  

Nurses and doctors walk in and out, sometimes unaware of the volume of their voices.  Mamas are usually monitored in some way, either intermittent or continuous, where they are hooked up to a machine and movement is restricted.  If mama is receiving IV fluids or medication, she’s dragging this metal IV tower around with her as she moves.   The lights are bright, and you can usually hear movement and noise outside the room.

You may actually be able to see a difference in mama’s contractions when there is no one else in the room and it’s quiet versus when a loud nurse walks in and turns all the lights on.  Chances are that they slow down, and become less intense.  

However, not everyone wants to give birth at home nor a birth center.  Sometimes the hospital is the best choice for a family, and that is perfectly fine!   

This is where creating a birthing cave comes in!  You can create an environment in your laboring room that feels secluded and safe, where mama doesn’t feel watched and can labor in a feeling of privacy.   The creation of this birthing cave helps to signal to those that enter your space to bring their voices down and respect your laboring process.

 Steps to creating a birthing cave

  1. Dim the lights. Most hospitals have dimmers, and you can turn off all the other lights to include the computer screens. The dark environment helps to bring mama into the “labor zone,” and signals to anyone who enters to move slowly in the room and lower their voices.

  2. Play soft music. The music can mask the noises coming from outside your room. It can be a labor playlist you’ve created, or even your favorite pandora or Spotify station!

  3. Aromatherapy. If you’re into aromatherapy and oils, diffusing your favorite smells during your labor can be very relaxing. If your hospital doesn’t allow diffusers, you can soak a few wash clothes in your favorite oils and place them on your neck or rub some on your partner’s clothing for you to breath in while you labor.

  4. Hire a bouncer, aka a doula. The doula can be the barrier into your birthing cave, and can help remind staff to lower their voices or wait to speak to you until you’ve moved through this last contraction.

If you create a quiet environment, most nurses and doctors will respect the space and enter calmly and quietly.  The space will be interrupted occasionally for monitoring and questions, but everything can be done as peacefully as possible with the help of your birth support team (partner, doula, family members, staff).