After becoming pregnant, it is at a later point that you decide on which method to use when delivering the baby. The thing is, you do not want to use what technology has given us despite how efficient people portray it to be, giving you a reason to think otherwise – having a natural birth.
Then a major question comes, how do you make it a reality with the thought of enduring the most painful period in your life? Remember that you are going against major odds here. With everyone you know favoring the C-section, there may no one left in your neighborhood to tell you what natural birth entails.
Looking around, you do not know of any midwife, and going natural in a hospital is the only option. If you are worried how to beat the odds but still want to do it, the information below is for you.
Now that you are pregnant, here are the five things that you need to know about natural childbirth:
- What is a natural birth?
- The techniques used
- Benefits of going natural
- How to prepare for a natural birth
- Classes and books that will help you get through it
Table of Contents
- What is Natural Birth?
- Natural Childbirth Techniques
- 6 Benefits of Having a Natural Childbirth
- 10 Tips for a Natural Childbirth
- More Preparation Tips
- 6 Natural Childbirth Classes to Look For
- 6 Natural Birth Books to Read As You Prepare
- Wrapping Up
What is Natural Birth?
Natural childbirth involves having vaginal labor and delivery with no or limited medical interference. Various choices are made here from choosing an experienced doctor in natural birth techniques to what you do to curb the pain. Some options revolve around the physical birth phenomenon. They include:
- Choosing to deliver at home or visit a birthing center instead of going to a hospital. You can also request for a drug-free child delivery in a hospital.
- Most women lie on their back while delivering. You can opt for other positions such as kneeling, leaning against the support or squatting on all fours.
- Hire services from a midwife, doula or an OB-GYN who has extensive knowledge and experience in delivering babies with minimal or no intervention. A doula can be the father-to-be or someone who can provide physical and emotional support during labor. However, they have to be experienced or know what they are doing. An OB-GYN is a physician who specializes in both obstetrics (baby delivering and mother care) and gynecology (treatment of female reproductive organs related complications).
- Using drug-free methodologies such as massage, hypnosis, mindfulness meditation, relaxation techniques, breathing exercises, and hydrotherapy.
- Resting in a tub of warm water while delivering (see the techniques section).
- After the baby comes out, he or she is placed on your stomach for immediate skin-to-skin contact and breastfeeding instead of weighing and assessment first.
- Unless it is the last resort, avoid medical intrusions such as labor induction, routine IV, delivery assisted by use of forceps, C-section, vacuum extraction, and episiotomy (rarely used nowadays).
Natural Childbirth Techniques
The techniques discussed below relate to how what you can improvise during delivery to make it natural. They are methods that have already been tried and tested which means that they are safe to study and have led to successful births in the past. If you are expecting a baby and considering a natural birth plan, take your time and dig deeper into one of the chosen techniques to determine if it will work for you and the partner too.
The Alexander Technique
The method came into existence after F. M. Alexander (1869-1955) was trying to deal with his vocal predicament. He established a technique for standing, sitting and moving safely and efficiently. With this method, a pregnant mother can learn how to release tension in their muscles which will, in turn, increase their breathing ability and retain the body’s posture.
There will be frequent lower back pain in the course of your pregnancy. The impediment is also accompanied by inability to breathe and problems in balancing and digestion. When all of these happens, practicing some simple adjustments to how you move your body can lessen the terrible feeling. It is a contingency plan to help you deliver by mastering the art of breathing during the period and making yourself calm while focusing on the birth process. It will also lessen the difficulty on the cervix as it dilates not forgetting that you will be able to push effectively.
If you read on hypnosis, you will learn on how you can be relaxed, calm, but still be aware and in control despite the daydream feeling. This practice was introduced by Dr. Grantly in 1940 to help women in labor feel completely relaxed in a bid to make the body muscles to function as intended.
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If you have not heard of this method yet, it might appear absurd, but it helps a great deal. Delivering a baby in a warm water tub aids the woman in question to relax. The water resilience also lessens the pressure and distress. Some of those who have tried it before believe that putting water in a tub welcomes the baby to a minimal sound and light world with no profound change posed by the new environment.
Beginning in Russia, Dr. Ferdinand Lamaze developed this natural birth methodology using ‘Psychoprophylaxis’ – another term used when referring to the Lamaze technique. The scientific term represents the description of a natural birth no epidural method where women are trained through education, breathing exercises and physical and psychological conditioning.
During labor, Lamaze is utilized by use of distraction as contraction happens so that the mind is somehow interfered from interpreting the pain and also increase comfort. We will discuss more in the natural birth classes where you learn how to stay in control when the baby comes.
Dr. Robert Bradley engineered this technique in the late 1940’s to help women during delivery to do it naturally, with limited to no drugs at all. During training, there is emphasis on having the best nutrition, engaging on a couple of exercises and showing you on how to relax and manage pain. Your husband or partner is also actively involved to perform as a coach.
More learning comes in when getting to know how you can tune your body and the appropriate positions that will make the labor painless. In addition to how you pose during delivery, you will get prepared for the labor stages, learn how you can avoid C-section if it is not necessary, breastfeeding and sharing your birthing plans with the assigned physician.
An Insight into Natural Birth the Bradley Way
According to the CDC reports, in the U.S. and other industrialized countries today, an average of 70% prefer and receive spinal blocks, epidurals or both when giving birth. The high percentage brings the notion that only 10-20% of the women who deliver babies use natural techniques with minimal medical intercession if any.
According to the method’s precision, a supporting belief depicts that most women can learn how to give birth naturally without pain or minimum aching if they receive substantial education, prepare in advance and receive help from a supportive coach.
The projection conflicts what many pregnant women believe nowadays. The researchers and other medical practitioners lead women to think that pregnancy and birth are inherently challenging to bear giving rise to potential dangers. If left to happen naturally, there will be major complications and deprived outcomes serving as a result.
Choosing natural birth Bradley way implies that you will be viewing labor and birth as likely occurrences. The medical staff available during the delivery will have a hands-off approach and only come to your assistance when there is a need to do so. In the technique, you learn about everything involved in natural childbirth and what you expect during pregnancy and the postnatal (after pregnancy) phase.
What Makes the Bradley Method Stand Out?
Dr. Robert Bradley was an American obstetrician who personally got involved in more than 23,000 childbirths where above 90% of the handled women reported on doing it without medication. The statistics portray a higher natural birth success rate when compared with other procedures. That is why many families go for this method for a safe and successful delivery of newborns whether in the hospital or at home.
It is also referred to as a ‘husband-coach-natural childbirth’ with a reason. Ladies get support from the available coach, and more often than not, the husband or partner has a prominent role to play and is actively involved in delivery. He helps the ma’am to breathe, maintain calmness or to change and keep specific postures with the primary aim being aid in pain management.
The method’s uniqueness extends to how it teaches women to become self-aware, necessitate on relaxation and its importance, and stress management during pregnancy and labor. There is also recommendation for proper nutrition when you are pregnant and during breastfeeding after a fruitful baby delivery.
Bradley method has helped women to enjoy the paybacks related to natural birth practices such as:
- Reduced C-section related risks: No scars, too much bleeding or infections in the course of the procedure.
- Reduced epidural associated risks: No hazardous blood pressure dropping, lengthy delivery, unbearable headaches and the danger of permanent nerve damage.
- Husband or partner involvement: Your better half is actively involved in the pregnancy, labor, delivery and the aftermath.
- You get to recover quickly after giving birth since there were no drugs or surgical knives used.
- Provision of a better bonding familiarity between the mother and her new bundle of joy.
Keeping it natural, having a pregnancy-oriented healthy diet and breastfeeding the little one after birth all come with benefits that are vital to you and the baby’s life. Your kid will grow with a better immune system, rare allergic reactions, close mother-child relationship and evading postpartum depression for the new mom.
6 Benefits of Having a Natural Childbirth
Having acquired knowledge on what natural birth entails, ‘Doing It Yourself’ will do you a great favor. How?
- You want to control your body for as long as it takes
- Be the leading actor during the whole labor process as it should be
- Have no medical practitioners all over you unless when required
If you finally decide that normal birth will be how you are going to welcome your baby to the world, you might then ask yourself, does a natural birth hurt? What is the magnitude and can I handle it? Well, it does hurt, and you need to accept and withstand the aching that comes with giving birth to a young one.
On the other hand, if you receive the necessary support combined with many and precise preparations during pregnancy, there will be adequate empowerment and profound satisfaction to take you through the birth process.
The natural birth associated benefits include:
- The techniques involved have very little hostility if any hence giving you room to concentrate on delivery. There is a minimum potential of getting harmed or risking the baby’s life among other effects.
- You will be able to sense everything happening to you. That means having the ability to move around with ease and find the most suitable position to stick to during labor. You will remain active during the whole birth process hence the readiness to push the baby out when it is time to do it.
- Despite experiencing the extra painful affair, many women will still choose the natural way next time they give birth. Why? There is a feeling of being able as labor progress and a great relief due to enormous achievements after birth. Some women also view the idea of being in charge as a way to decrease the pain perception.
- Your partner will be there with you most of the time if not all and you will have someone to help you manage the pain and work with towards a successful delivery.
- When compared to women who undergo epidurals, you will need minimal interruption to aid in stronger contractions, and there will be no use of vacuum extraction or forceps delivery unless the situation forces a hand.
- The lessons and practices learned such as self-hypnosis and breathing protocol among others become useful when contractions are at their peak. The relaxation technique is suitable for first-time mothers during early breastfeeding as it helps them cope with postnatal uneasiness especially when feeling stressed by the child raising task at hand after birth.
10 Tips for a Natural Childbirth
Natural childbirth is never an easy task, and much work has to be done for you to attain the full rewards. For you to be prepared and have a safe, natural childbirth, here are some mom-tested natural delivery tips to help you succeed.
- Get a qualified and supportive specialist: You need a professional who understands all the processes and hurdles of natural birthing. He or she should be the best guide towards how to avoid medication during labor and how to do it past the bedside. An experienced practitioner will see you through as a way to achieve a natural and healthy childbirth.
- Keep positive motivation around you: It all starts with the mind so, having a positive one will serve you best. It is never the best time to listen to some natural delivery stories poorly gone. Preserve the positivity and focus by surrounding yourself with some triumphant tales on what you are undergoing. Avoid negative comments politely but don’t wait or stay there.
- Choose a conducive birthing environment: People go to birthing centers, a hospital and request for a drug-free child delivery or at home. If you choose to stay at your residence, then it is more natural since there will be no drugs available. However, they are most appropriate for the healthy mothers whose pregnancies were safe from the start. Also, it is advisable that you get a licensed midwife or a qualified specialist. You may even consider being near a hospital for emergency situations.
- Have a variety of coping methods: It is vital that you have adequate mental preparation to help you manage the pain. The necessity of being armed with techniques to get you through labor applies when it is finally time – you never know what will work for you. If you tried squatting in between the contractions during the first pregnancy, it might not work during the second and but something else such as meditation will do.
- Hire a birth doula: She will guide and support you from when your days are near to after labor and birthing. A doula will help you persevere the contractions as she keeps track on them and let you focus on your body and how the baby is performing. For you to keep it calm when it is hurting, you need someone to massage you during the long hours of labor.
- Don’t forget that your partner is with you: You are doing most of it all the time, but your dear one is there too. That means your pregnancy also involves the mind and both of you are being drained by the situation. You partner should have enough rest, well fed and hydrated, and be comfortable for them to be in a position to help you. He does not know exactly how you feel but is also worn out watching you and getting whatever you need.
- Prepare yourself: You need to be both physically and mentally prepared. Have some walks during pregnancy, attend yoga classes and have some encouraging affirmations to keep playing in your mind. Understand birth as a natural process that has happened to women since the world began so; your body will adjust when it is time to do so. Labor can be viewed as a step closer to a goal rather than pain. Above all other measures, mental preparedness is key to having a fruitful natural birth.
- Don’t be hungry: Yes, you need something to keep the stomach busy. More energy is needed too since pushing takes you an extra mile.
- You will have an elastic limit: At some point, you will feel like quitting and not wanting to do it anymore. The best thing is that at that point, most of us are almost delivering. You need all those around you at that point to support you. For you, think of how you are going to feel once the baby is in your arms.
- If natural deems impossible, consider other options: Every woman feel great when a natural birth is successful. However, it sometimes brings complications, and medical attention becomes necessary at such a point. If you tried but ended up going for epidural or C-section, don’t beat yourself. The primary objective is to have a healthy baby and be safe to watch them grow.
More Preparation Tips
Positions and Movement
You are not medicated yet, so have time to try the various body locations that will ease the labor. You can stand, sit, kneel on all fours or lean against your partner. If standing does not work, moving around may get you the comfort you are looking for as the contractions progress.
Walking or rocking on a birthing ball helps. Movement makes you feel in control which is the primary objective towards successful natural birth. According to an analysis prepared on positioning and movement during early labor project that walking around or staying upright for some time will shorten the labor time by about an hour.
If you have complications that require the practitioners to keep an eye on you, try the positions while in bed. See if you can stand, sit or perform some pacing. Some advanced hospitals can monitor you using wireless systems, which are referred to as telemetry. If you find one, that means you have room to move freely so try walking and squatting among other positions. Is there a waterproof unit available? You can take a shower and see if the pain will decrease.
When pushing, staying upright will help the baby move down while kneeling upright or with hands and knees while help in pelvic widening. So, it implies that you need to get a position that will work for you when delivering your baby.
Massaging, Hot and Cold Therapy
For more relaxing and a guarantee to soothing tense muscles, a massage may help you change the perception of labor pain. The doula can do it or your loved one whose hands will reassure you that everything is okay when feeling intense. A light stroke might work or a stronger touch if that is what you prefer.
If you are feeling discomfort on your back, a firm massage or counter pressure may ease the feeling. At times, it is okay to think that massage is not doing you any favors at some point. Let the team know when it comes to that.
Most women will also find soothing options from warm or hot water bottle compressing on the lower back or belly among other places that don’t feel comfortable. Others will choose cold packs for the same while some will find using both cold and hot much better. You can try all options but take precaution to protect your skin from the direct heat and cold contacts.
It’s the use of water to help you calm down and relax – which works towards reducing the discomfort and pressure when laboring. It is an appealing method to some women when they soak in a bath during early stages of labor. Commonly found in birthing centers and some hospitals too, you get a Jacuzzi that is large enough and designed for pregnant women about to give birth. For the home care, some women rent larger and deeper portable tubs still made for laboring women.
Hydrotherapy works just like other drug-free choices by letting you remain in control and alert during the whole birthing period. The weightless feeling while in the water helps lower the pressure level on your body, aid your muscles to relax, and counter the pain. Also, you will also be able to cope with anxiety and the medical interruption from time to time. Research also tells us that this method may also contribute to a decrease in the amount of time taken by the first labor stage.
Sitting in the bathtub needs some regulations to keep you and your to-be-born child safe. First, make sure that the water heat is equal to your body temperature or lower. Higher levels may increase the overall temperature (you and the baby) and the heart rate too.
Not everyone deserves a water therapy so, find out if it’s good for you. Also, it is not advisable to go down on that road if complications were detected earlier. If your water is already broken, immersing in water will risk getting infected by bacteria in the tub, the water supplying hose or the jets. Instead, go for a shower to get the remedy that you are looking for.
You may have heard it as one of the traditional Chinese medication methods which involve insertion and manipulation of fine needles at particular body points. There are no studies showing the effect of applying pressure needles on women in labor with the aim of pain reduction. The theories that revolve around the acupuncture method say that it either block certain impulses directed to the brain or stimulate the release of endorphins, which are natural pain relievers. During labor, points that can be used include the feet, hands and ears.
There are conflicting results towards the use of this method when birthing. Some studies show the reduction of pain while others relay no effect at all. Others link it to avoidance of forceps and vacuum use. For you to use the acupuncture, you need someone skilled to do it, and very few doctors or midwives can do that. If you are planning to do it, find a certified acupuncturist to avoid speculation.
6 Natural Childbirth Classes to Look For
Childbirth is a process that needs attention all the time hence the need to start preparing in advance. The good thing is that there are many courses to attend out there and they all have something to say about pregnancy. What you need to do is research to find out which one will work for you. Most of the techniques discussed above are have their classes and books to support their methods.
Many classes are accompanied with home study materials, some online courses to subscribe or sessions stored in a DVD. So you have plenty of resources to determine which category suits you and your partner best.
It is a technique that was among the first natural approaches to pregnancy, and the classes are known for their breathing instruction. The breathing patterns have been revised over the years since being introduced in the 80’s so that learners can be safe as they do it. The purpose of revisiting them was to correct the controversy that revolved around the shorter, faster way of breathing which led to hyperventilation for some of the subjects.
Upon being currently tried and tested to be certified as safe, the classes will also prepare the expectant mothers in approaching a healthy birth using a six-step approach. The main aim of Lamaze courses is to help the mothers-to-be gain the confidence in their bodies’ ability to deliver and ways to manage the pain.
More of the classes is information on the benefits and risks involved in all birth options. This helps parents to make informed decisions.
Well, here is another technique with its classes that are based on evidence of childbirth approaches that had successful and healthy births. The lessons are supported by the book written by Dr. Robert A. Bradley, Husband-Coached Childbirth in 1965.
The classes are nature-minded and cover information that helps you beyond delivery. You will get to know how to keep up with nutrition, perform exercises and postnatal care. The lessons emphasize on the partner being the coach as opposed to a doula and there are defined roles on what he should do.
It is also referred to as the Mongan method which uses hypnosis to train mothers on how to create a peaceful and relaxed mind when giving birth. There is a different approach in these classes when compared to the previously discussed ones. Hypnobirthing teaches expectant moms to avoid the fear-tension-pain cycle that is labor induced.
In the lessons, childbirth is viewed as a state that can be comfortable if you want it to be. Pain is brought by the tension and fear which can be reduced by hypnotherapy. If you are going to do it alone, there are self-study courses for it too.
They comprise of in-person birth classes that aim to help parents make informed decisions on how to bring their bundle of joy into the world. There is the emphasis on natural birth and breastfeeding after the child is born which are healthy and safe options for both mother and child. For those looking for medical attention to counter the complications, the courses cover that too so that everyone can be safe with the choice they go for when giving birth.
You also learn the essence of having your partner around during the pregnancy and labor period in addition to the supportive team before, during and after giving birth. It is a newer course when compared to the rest, making it necessary for you to look for classes near you.
In the classes that you will attend, the Birthing From Within course views birth as a rite of passage (as it is) and not a medical situation wanting attention. During delivery, it is the best time to discover yourself and what you are capable of, and every birth is unique just like the couple involved. That is why you will find classes tailored to the individual needs of the attendees.
In the lessons, you will learn on how to prevent or reduce the emotional challenges when preparing or managing the pain. Among the deployed creative expression outlets, there is artwork and journaling involved. If you want to be creative during birth, it is recommendable to attend the birthing classes.
It is an online course hosted by Maura Winkler, who is a certified nurse, doula, placenta encapsulator and breastfeeding counselor. There are eight parts in the on-demand course, all designed to educate and inspire women and their partners on the importance of natural child delivery. You get to prepare in advance for the coming birth period.
The course also covers the first weeks after giving birth, where postpartum care for the baby and mother becomes essential. You also benefit from a comprehensive class on breastfeeding. Students participating in the course also join private Facebook groups where the community present provides extra support.
There are bonuses too like weekly sessions for practice as you prepare your mind and body for the coming birth event. Apart from the natural remedies to questions about pregnancy in general, there are nutrition insights as well.
6 Natural Birth Books to Read As You Prepare
Apart from the classes, there are books to serve as a key instrument to how you will naturally handle pregnancy. Some of the highly recommendable books include:
It is written by Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein which is the first recommendation on our list. Most of us will not know that they are pregnant until one month is passed. So you can opt to go for the book or watch The Business of Being Born documentary which is a great inspiration to the book. You get an in-depth look at all the conventional measures that are labor and childbirth-related from which you will use to choose what is best for you.
This is one of the books that every woman who has read it recommends to a friend. It is a guide developed by an America’s most experienced midwife who has some wise thoughts on natural birth approach. The first half comprises of successful natural birth stories from different women who tell the story themselves. The other half is Ina May’s wisdom and philosophy and what labor and birth entails. At the back of the book is statistics of the deliveries that she has encountered. Upon seeing what they report, you will be confident when going natural as you deploy what you have learned from the book.
In the book, you will learn on how to use relaxation techniques to reduce pain in the course of pregnancy. Many readers have criticized the book of having techniques that they cannot relate to, but relaxation methods have helped many overcome the pain that comes with the contractions.
What many women have used in this book is the sleep breathing technique which can be used during pregnancy, labor, and motherhood. It effectively counters the discomfort that comes after conceiving and you can use it to fall asleep and relax your mind on the evening.
Previously mentioned in the classes section, this is a book that women in the 70’s read when preparing for labor and birth. Since it is based on evidence, what Dr. Bradley wrote has been effective until now – a reason that makes it a must-read for the parents. During those days, it was hard for husbands to enter the delivery room and had to wait elsewhere. The concept of involving the man during childbirth broke the monotony.
The book is written to instruct the man on what to do to prepare the woman as pregnancy progresses. The lessons continue during birth and breastfeeding period.
If you are looking for answers on how to ease the breastfeeding experience, here is a must have guideline for all the new moms if you want to master the art of breastfeeding. It answers most if not all questions related to the first baby-feeding method. We all view it as a hard task but the after reading this book, you have a positive attitude and experience towards breastfeeding.
It is an excellent source of information that gives you all the basics to start with, and the result is feeling empowered after knowing the procedure on how to fruitfully feed your newborn.
There is pregnancy, labor and birth. What next? Your baby becomes vaccinated immediately after birth. To get a glimpse of what your child should be immune against, The Vaccine Book: Making the Right Decision for Your Child becomes a handy tool.
It is a routine for all hospitals to administer the first vaccine when the child is born. By reading this book, you get an eye opener on what vaccination entails which will enable you to decide what is best for your child. One of the decisions includes whether to circumcise your child or not if it’s a baby boy. There are many myths about initiation in general and what you will find in this book will challenge most of them.
Avoiding medical-based methods when giving birth has more advantages than risks. That is why it is recommended to many women who are about to give birth, but most of them will choose what the world presents as a simple alternative.
Unless you have experienced complications during pregnancy and labor, choosing a natural birth plan will help you to be in control, feel strong and raise a healthy baby.