Chances are if you’re reading this, you’re interested in how to have a natural birth. For most women, giving birth without interventions doesn’t just happen. If you’re considering foregoing medication because you want a natural, vaginal delivery there are some things you need to prepare for.
I sincerely believe being informed and knowledgeable about what’s happening to you during pregnancy, labor, and delivery will help you greatly in having the type of birth you want. So I want to give you some of the best tips I used that helped me give birth naturally with both of my kids!
How to have a natural birth
Take a natural childbirth class
This one is HUGE if you want to give birth naturally! First you want to make sure you are taking a class that is not a hospital class. The childbirth classes that are outside of hospitals are aimed at making you as knowledgeable as possible about pregnancy, labor, and delivery, and helping you prepare for the birth you want. They aren’t invested in any hospital, their only concern is giving you the info that will help you towards your goal.
These classes can include dietary guidelines so you are fueling your body with food that will nourish you and your baby, they dispel common myths about pregnancy, labor, and delivery, and teach you stretches and light exercises to prepare your body for delivery.
They also can teach you about what each intervention is, what to include in your birth plan, plus different methods to cope with labor without interventions.
This is a really broad overview just to give you an idea of what they include! I mean these classes are jam packed with information and are an amazing resource!
Some people don’t want to take classes because they don’t want to freak themselves out over what will happen, or they just don’t get around to taking a class and just hope for the best. I’m not about that line of thinking if your goal is to have a natural birth.
One of the biggest things women worry about when they are pregnant is how bad the pain will be when they are in labor. If you understand what’s happening with your body, you are better able to cope with the pain. If you have no idea what’s going on, you’re probably fearful about what’s happening. When you’re fearful you tense up and everything is more painful because you don’t have any idea what’s happening and your resisting what your body is trying to do.
Having that wealth of knowledge that a childbirth class gives you, helps you remain calm and manage pain without interventions during labor and delivery.
Because I knew what was happening to my body when I was in labor, I was able to visualize what my body was doing and it made the pain more manageable. I knew it was pain with a purpose.
Get a doula
A doula is a trained professional who provides emotional, physical, and informational support to a mother before, during, and after childbirth (dona.org).
A huge benefit to hiring a doula is that they improve the outcome of a woman’s labor and delivery. Overall more women are satisfied with their birth when they have a doula.
A doula helps women achieve the birth they want by reminding health providers of their birth plan when a woman isn’t able to, (due to contractions or being too tired, etc.). She reminds the mother of her end goal and is trained with methods to help a woman cope through labor and delivery.
I think it’s important to note that a doula will never force you to do something or not do something, just because you stated you wanted it before labor and delivery. Ultimately the decision lies with you.
They are a HUGE asset! I had a doula for both of my kids and would definitely recommend hiring one!
Choosing a provider
You need to consider who you want to deliver your baby. A nurse with a midwifery background is a great option for a woman who is low risk and wants a natural delivery. Women who choose midwives are overall happier with their labor and birth experience, and the interventions are far reduced, (as opposed to a hospital setting).
I went with a midwife with both of my kids, (I was a low risk patient) and was very happy with my birth experiences!
Midwives are educated in certain medical interventions, (if needed) and they know when to transfer a patient to a hospital.
If you’re choosing a doctor you want to make sure they are in full support of a natural delivery. If they aren’t, they may end up pushing interventions on you during labor and delivery that you don’t want, (and may not need).
You’ll want to ask your healthcare provider questions to see if their practices and beliefs fall in line with yours.
Some of the things you’ll want to know are:
What their C-Section rates are?
How many of their patients have unmedicated births?
How long will they allow you to labor before breaking your water? (If your water hasn’t broken)
How long will they allow you to labor after your water is broken, (before intervening)?
How long will they allow you to go past your due date without intervening?
Also, never feel like you are obligated to see a certain healthcare provider! The choice for who you want to deliver your baby is up to you.
If you want to have a natural birth, you will want to be aware of the types of interventions that are offered, (which you’ll know all about if you take a childbirth class). You’ll also want to avoid interventions if possible because one leads to another, which leads to another, and they tend to snowball until you had more interventions than you wanted.
An example of this is getting pitocin. Pitocin is a medicine that will essentially make your contractions stronger in the hopes of moving labor along. However pitocin can increase the rate of contractions and make them really painful very quickly.
Because of the sudden onset of painful contractions, you may now want an epidural to not feel the contractions. But because you got the epidural, now you can’t get up and walk around or sit on a birthing ball or push in different positions. You are stuck delivering on your back, (which isn’t an optimal position for delivery). Now your delivery may be longer and other complications can occur.
Of course there’s nothing wrong with getting the interventions if you want them. Also it doesn’t always happen exactly like this either. But my point is to show you how they can snowball. If your goal is to have a natural birth then you’ll want to avoid interventions or limit them.
Of course nobody can guarantee what type of birth you will have, but it is totally possible to have a natural birth! However you will need to prepare for it! Don’t wait until the last second to try to prepare or just hope that things will work out. Take action to get what you want! With these tips you will have the best chances of getting the birth experience you wish for.