Wearing a Mask During Labor & Birth

This is not a dispute regarding the effectiveness of masks.


This is not a discussion about where masks “should” or “should not” be worn.


I work in health care myself as a clinical pharmacist and have seen some horrible things over the past 16 months due to COVID-19.


But this is a post about wearing masks while in labor and giving birth.

Breathing Techniques


No matter what birth preparation method you use there is a high likelihood a focus will be on the breath during labor and birth.


Different breathing techniques are used to help reduce fear, anxiety, and tension thereby making the entire birthing process calmer and more effective. Birth and labor breathing can mean the difference between a painful and pleasurable birth experience.


I am required to wear a mask all day every day to work since the start of the pandemic. I wear them when required in public settings. Therefore, I know firsthand wearing a mask does not significantly affect your ability to breath.


But…


If you are someone like me who feels extremely hot when in labor or birth or if this is your first birth, and are someone who knows they feel hot when agitated, then the thought of having to wear a mask during this experience is almost unbearable.


Not only is it uncomfortable to feel excessively hot, but when I am hot and forced to re-breath my own air, I get sick to my stomach. Re-breathing my own air or feeling excessively hot have caused me dry heave and vomit in the past. The thought of even having a blanket over my head for 5 seconds sends me into a state of panic.


When my OB stated at my first appointment that I would likely need to wear a mask throughout labor and birth, I realized I may need to find a different option. From my past two birth experiences there was no way in hell I would be able to wear a mask throughout this process.


Listening to my Intuition


When I thought about wearing a mask while in labor, giving birth, and when my baby and I set eyes on each other for the first time it was a full body, NO!


I could feel in my gut how this would make me feel disempowered and disconnected from myself. How it would prevent me from fully tapping into my hypnosis and relaxation needed for birth.


I never actually had this conversation about masking with my OB because we separated ways for other reasons but had I felt this OB was the best care provider for me you can bet I would have petitioned to not have to wear the mask.


Did you birth with a mask? How was your experience?


If you are currently pregnant is your birth location requiring you to wear a mask?

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