If you’ve already read my daughter Hazel’s birth story, you know that I had a birthing mirror brought into the delivery room for me to use while pushing. I absolutely loved it!
So many friends have had questions for me about that experience that I wanted to write a follow up specifically about the use of the birthing mirror, why it was so positive and how it helped me.
If you are interested in using a birthing mirror but have been hesitant or concerned, I hope reading my experience can help you along in making your decision. By no means do I think every woman needs to have a birthing mirror in the delivery room. The thing every woman needs is to decide what she is comfortable with and be supported in that decision. And if that means no mirror, that is perfectly fine!
This is just me sharing one mama’s positive experience!
What Is A Birthing Mirror?
First of all, you may be wondering “what IS a birthing mirror?” Considering the fact that I didn’t know what one was either until I was about to push my baby out I think it’s fair to say that this laboring technique isn’t super common anymore. I’m not aware of any scientific reasoning behind this, but I know for a fact that many women don’t even realize it’s an option (I didn’t) or are intimidated by the idea and so decline.
“I think that would freak me right out! I don’t want to see what is going on down there.”
“The scary thing is that you might see yourself take a crap!”
Sure. Yes, that is probably true. There is a real chance you could see yourself poop. But there is also the chance to witness one of the most powerful things in the universe taking place before your eyes; a tiny, precious, new baby entering the world.
So what is a birthing mirror?
A birthing mirror is simply a large mobile mirror or mirror on the ceiling of a birthing room that a laboring woman uses to observe the baby’s descent and birth via vaginal delivery, traditionally during the second, or pushing, stage of labor.
Or in even simpler terms, you can watch as your own baby is born!
According to this study by the Journal of Pregnancy and Child Health, of 500 women surveyed nearly 60% strongly agreed or agreed that using a mirror added to their overall labor experience, and the majority also reported that it was a positive experience.
How Can a Birthing Mirror Help You?
1. Increased Sense of Control
Using a mirror while pushing gives you an increased sense of control by being able to see what is happening. In my opinion, this is especially beneficial for women who have had an epidural.
I had an epidural for my daughter’s birth and the mirror definitely increased my ability to control what was happening. I had been struggling to make progress and with general exhaustion from laboring all night.
My husband kept saying things like “you’re doing great!” and “that was a good push!” which were meant to be encouraging but gave me no real sense of how close I was to delivering or what I was doing right. When you can’t completely feel everything and are relying on your supporters that can be really difficult!
From the second I looked in the mirror and saw a little inch of my baby girl’s head I was empowered. I was ecstatic to see that yes, indeed, I could see her. I was so close to bringing her into the world! And yet I at the same time I had quite a ways to go. But now I was motivated, and I could see what my body was doing physically with each contraction and push.
2. More Efficient Pushing
Being able to see what is happening physically as your body enters the second stage of labor can help guide you and make you more efficient during contractions.
If you have given birth before you may already feel confident and aware of what your body is doing in the process, but it definitely doesn’t hurt to ask for a labor mirror to be available. For first time moms who are trying to connect their knowledge from preparation and classes into the moment – it can truly be a game changer.
Besides the obvious and practical benefit of seeing what your pushes are doing, there is the huge emotional benefit of being encouraged and motivated by seeing your baby descend.
3. Empowering Maternal Birth Experience
I was concentrating so much that I don’t have more than a split second glimpse of the moment my daughter was born, but that memory of her entering the world and being placed on my chest is one of the most beautiful memories I have, and it was empowering to witness it. I have never felt so strong or proud of myself.
Simply put, it was magical.
Honestly, any poop concerns or yucky things fears faded away for me. They were completely out of sight and out of mind that day, and I have no regrets about using the labor mirror.
It helped me engage and find encouragement when I was at my lowest. It allowed me to embrace with pride what my body has the capability of doing, instead of feeling ashamed.
It gave me the opportunity to witness the greatest miracle I have ever seen to this day.
If you are considering or interested in using a birthing mirror during the birth of your child, it can’t hurt you to try it! And if you don’t feel comfortable after a few minutes, it can be taken away as quickly as it was brought in.
But it also may give you a greater sense of control, help you push more efficiently, and be a beautiful maternal experience that you will always remember.
Have any other mamas used a birthing mirror? I’d love to hear about your experience below!
Dad-to-be need some tips? Check out 10 Smart Ways for Dads to Prepare for Fatherhood.