Natural birth requires plenty of research and planning. You’ll want to be familiar with all of your options to create the right birth (and backup plan) for your family.
Bringing your new baby into the world runs the full range of emotions. From joy and excitement to fear and anxiety – anything you might be feeling is perfectly normal. If you can’t picture yourself giving birth in a hospital setting, or if you wish to birth without medication or interventions, a natural birth might be the perfect option for you.
Choosing a natural birth is a wonderful way to begin your journey into motherhood.
Preparing for natural childbirth involves preparing before you birth, as this will have a great impact on your birth experience. Your safety and your baby’s safety are priority number one. But your comfort during in labor is also extremely important.
What is Considered Natural Birth?
The term “natural child birth” means different things to different people. In most cases, it means an unmedicated birth. Here are many of the ways it can take place.
- Birthing your baby at home or a birthing center (though natural childbirth at a hospital is an option)
- Having a doula, midwife, or an OB/GYN who has stated a preference for using minimal interventions present
- Using alternative delivery positions such as squatting, kneeling, using a birthing ball, or getting on all fours instead of lying on your back which goes against gravity and some of the body’s natural urges
- giving birth in a tub of warm water
- using alternatives to medication such as herbs, massage, acupressure, breathing exercises, hypnosis, or mindfulness meditation
- holding baby immediately to your chest for skin-to-skin contact (instead of taking baby away for assessments)
- avoiding IVs, labor induction, routine episiotomy, assisted delivery with forceps, vacuum extraction, or C-section (unless in the case of an emergency when an intervention is absolutely necessary)
The great news about your birth is that you can choose any or all (or basically none) of these options. Below is a list of natural birthing tips to help you have a positive, safe, and memorable birth.
Choose A Comfortable Environment To Birth
Where will you be most comfortable birthing your baby? In the comforts of your own home? In a birth center? Or maybe you’d like to give birth naturally in a hospital?
Your wellbeing during childbirth is an essential ingredient. This means having places to walk, squat, shower, rest, and devices to lean on in between contractions. Along with this, the birth environment should have policies that promote mobility, a variety of positions, and coping rituals.
Choosing Your Labor Support
Nurturing and compassionate care providers such as midwives, doctors, partners, doulas, loved ones, and nurses who trust in the normal birth process, which make an enormous positive difference in your birth outcome. You must feel like you can let go of all inhibitions during birth, and that you are being treated with dignity and respect. Ultimately, your labor support should know and support in your decision to birth naturally.
According to Doulas of North America (DONA), “When a doula is present during and after childbirth, women report greater satisfaction with their birth experience, make more positive assessments of their babies, have fewer cesareans and requests for medical intervention, and less postpartum depression.”
Creating Your Birth Vision
Your Birth Vision (also called a birth plan) is your roadmap for your up-and-coming birth. It’s telling yourself, along with your care providers, and labor support that you want and need very specific elements, in order for your birth to progress in a comforting way.
Your Birth Vision can include a soothing music play-list, dim lights or candlelight, (if you are birthing in a hospital, you may bring in LED candles) a birth ball, and water therapy such as a birthing tub or access to shower.
Your Birth Vision can also include your preferences for a natural birth and your desire to have a drug-free childbirth. Your Birth Vision should be passed along to your care provider so they are in the loop as to what your birth preferences are.
Your birth outcome is ultimately up to you. You can do this!
Believing in Your Heart That You Can Birth Naturally
For too many years, childbirth has been associated with pain. Much of modern medicine’s approach to birth has confused women into not feeling they can trust their own bodies. Birthing mothers are often treated like sick patients or as though they need to be “rescued” from the condition of pregnancy.
Pain associated with labor is sensational. That means that once you’re educated on comfort measures to use during each contraction, then the “pain” becomes a sensation; each contraction becomes a wave that you learn how to surf as they come. Once you learn how to ride each wave, then you are in control, and oddly enough the sensations may even become pleasurable.
With these natural childbirth techniques, you can create your birth plan and start visualizing the happiest, healthiest outcome for you and your brand new little one.
Once your baby arrives, be sure to keep this Day-by-Day postpartum guide to the first 6 weeks handy. It was created to help you do something each day that is either useful, productive, or fun throughout the early days of motherhood.