Guest Author: Natalie Michele
The journey of pregnancy, from the moment you find out you are pregnant to the moment you deliver your little one, is full of plans, choices, and decisions.
When deciding on how to deliver your baby you have multiple options to choose from. But, if you are looking to have a vaginal birth with limited or no medical or drug intervention, then a natural birth is a perfect fit for you.
Most pregnant women, particularly in the U.S., will opt for an epidural which increases their chances of eventually delivering their babies through other interventions, such as C-section, vacuum extraction or by use of forceps. Post-partum, the moms who choose epidural will experience side effects such as fever, low blood pressure, and headaches. (If you have chosen an epidural, it is totally okay and no one should crucify you for making that decision).
Women who choose natural birth have a smoother recovery journey; postpartum, these moms recover sooner and will experience less tearing as they push in an instinctual, unforced manner during birth, rather than forcefully pushing when asked to do so.
If you are considering a natural birth, here are some tips to help you prepare for the big day.
Make a Birth Plan and Commit to it
A birth plan allows you and your partner to discuss the birth and delivery of your baby and plan for it. If a natural birth is on your birth plan, then you ought to commit to it and be determined to go through with it.
To ensure you stay committed, state your reasons for wanting to have a natural birth; if the reasons mean a lot to you, then it will be easier to commit.
However, if you do not know why exactly you are ditching medication, then you will not be able to resist the drugs when the contractions are too much to handle and your nurse offers you some meds.
Also, it is important to note that birth does not always go as you planned it. Therefore, you should be open to change your earlier plans to ensure that both you and baby are safe.
Get Ready Mentally and Physically
Labor is an experience that requires you to be physically and mentally ready for it. To ensure that your body and pelvis are prepared for it all – you must exercise. Consider going for swims, taking walks, and doing yoga.
While you near the delivery date, the baby should be in the optimal birth position. However, this may not happen if a pregnant mom spends long hours seated. The baby may be in a posterior position during delivery which could cause the mom to go through a long, difficult, and painful delivery.
To avoid this difficult labor experience, be sure to walk around often while at work, exercise regularly, stretch more often, and also consider your sleeping positions and habits. Also, whenever you are sitting, choose to sit on a birth ball instead of sitting in a reclined position like on the couch.
To prepare yourself mentally, consider practicing meditation, regular affirmations while bonding with your little one. These practices go a long way in helping you prepare for the journey you and the baby are yet to experience.
Talk to your Doctor about your Plan
As you go for your prenatal visits and tests, remember to tell your doctor that you are considering to have a natural birth.
The doctor will be in a better position to advise you accordingly; he or she will tell you what to do and what to avoid to ensure you have a successful natural birth.
Talk to your Partner
While your partner may not support you immediately, be sure to make it easy to understand why you should consider a natural birth and then you may get the support you want. It helps a great deal when your loved ones are on the same team as you.
Avoid the Nay-Sayers
There will definitely people who will call you all sorts of names once they find out that you plan to give birth naturally. During this time, it is important to avoid such people or else you will begin to second guess your choice. Instead, surround yourself with people who encourage you, tell you it is possible and support your decision.
Your support team may consist of your partner, doctor, friends, family, or online support group.
During Labor, Keep Moving
Consider walking, squatting, swaying, and sitting on a birth ball, while still taking rests once labor begins. Moving around as the contractions begin enables your baby to position himself or herself at the birth canal.
Also, if you keep moving, you are giving yourself something else to concentrate on rather than the pain.
Hot Water is your Friend
Every woman who has gone through labor can attest to the fact that hot baths, showers, and compresses are miracle workers. This hot water will relax the muscles that are aching as your uterine muscles contract.
Nowadays, most maternity sections of the hospital have hot tubs or Jacuzzis for the purpose of alleviating pain from the muscles. Therefore, don’t shy away from asking to spend some time here.
However, if your amniotic sac has broken, ask your doctor if it is okay for you to go in. Some practitioners will give you a go ahead while others will ask you not to as there is a chance you could get an infection.
Natalie Michele is the owner of MaternityatHome. During the day, she is a General Physician and by night she is a devout mother of two. She is always busy but loves sharing her knowledge and experience with other mothers or mothers-to-be.
Related Content: 6 Out of Bed Laboring Positions
Despite the prevalence of lying in a hospital bed during labor, the pain of labor can be exacerbated by lying down. When it comes to labor planning, be sure that you are able to move as you need to help reduce your pain and anxiety and help your labor progress.