How to Conquer Natural Childbirth
As a first time mom, there were many times throughout my pregnancy where I contemplated my ability to birth a human baby. Women in this day and age have to consider so many different options before their birth days arrive. Whether you decide to birth in a hospital, at home, or in the water, you must also be prepared to make decisions about administered medications or epidurals you may receive while in labor. Fortunately the nine month incubation period leaves plenty of time to condition your mind and open up new options regarding how your birth will happen. Designing a plan that fits your comfort levels and desires is the best way to prepare for “the big day.” Natural childbirth doesn’t come with a set of instructions, but here are some insights to help you through your next birth day.
1. Do your research!
Hearing options from your doctors, and considering advice from other mothers can be very helpful when deciding what kind of birth you want to achieve. It is important to form opinions based on your own research and findings. Before you listen to doctors and mothers tell their gruesome birth stories, it is so important to consider the benefits of natural childbirth. Of course there are emergency situations where the overall well being of you and the baby overrules your desire for a natural childbirth. For example, an emergency C-Section, or different assisted birth methods that would be nearly impossible without the use of medications. Medical alternatives can stun your recovery process making it harder to care for your newborn. Different medicines administered while in labor can also leave you and your baby sedated and “zombie-like” after the birth. Different reasons such as these need to carefully be considered throughout your pregnancy, and during your labor.
consult with a doctor
talk to other mothers
research different birth methods
2. Keep your cool.
No seriously, you need stay cool. There are not many things more unpleasant than being a hot, sweaty pregnant lady. Actually, I imagine the husband (or wife) ultimately has the raw end of the stick for having to deal with the hot, sweaty lady in labor. When in labor your body is getting ready to do the hardest job it will ever do. Labor is thirsty work! Think like a fish. Be the fish. Drinking plenty of water is extremely important in keeping your body hydrated and cool. All this hydration will help you labor longer and better. Do not stay bed ridden. Even though it may seem that exerting more energy will raise your core temperature, I assure you that trapping heat in between you and the sheets will make you even hotter. You know your doing it right if you have to get out of bed to pee every 15 minutes or so, that means your staying mobile and hydrated. If you find yourself unable to keep up with the demands of your body, an IV with fluids will be administered to ensure that you are staying hydrated.
A huge cup
Someone who knows where the ice machine is
Bring your own birth team. Having a partner with me while I was in labor is what made it possible. When you are a laboring woman everything is terrible and disgusting. While having contractions, dizzy spells, and leaking fluids, the last thing you want to worry about is having to put on your own chapstick or change your own socks. Choose wisely, a partner that will not only fulfill your bedside service needs, but compose a great bedside manner as well. It is no secret that having to deal with a laboring woman is hard work, and we salute our birth partners for doing it. At the end of the day you are going to need this support system to tell you how crazy you are for going through with natural childbirth, and remind you of the reasons you chose to do it.
your birth partner
a hot compress for massages
Nonslip socks to walk around in
4. Be Unruly!
When you choose to birth your child naturally, be prepared for medical professionals to urge you to change your mind. In my experience, many nurses and doctors were trying to prepare me for an epidural just in case I changed my mind. Be unruly! If you are in a hospital setting during your labor, you really have to own your natural birthing choices. You will be surrounded by medical professionals eager to date rape your IV with physically and mentally numbing medications. Fortunately there are other options for women who desire a more natural route to birth. This might include staying at home with a midwife, or going to a birthing center where medical professionals are more accustomed to natural births. In either setting it is all about you! If you are unable to communicate your wishes for the birth, make sure your partner knows the plan.
Your boss lady attitude
Favorite music to naturally cope with discomfort
Someone who supports your natural birthing choices
5. Stick to the plan
When the going gets tough it is so easy to say “screw the plan.” In my opinion, going through labor gives you the ultimate golden ticket to screw the plan. In times like this, (and there will be many) remember why you wanted to accomplish this. Do not give in! Women choose natural childbirth for a variety of reasons. Maybe your reasons include woman empowerment, or the many natural benefits that occur during natural childbirth. In any case, it is more important than ever to remember these reasons when you reach your wit’s end. In my experience, I had to remind myself of the negative effects that medical interventions could have on me and my baby. I knew I wanted to be completely in control of my birth, and the thought of being sedated during such a life changing experience in my life was motivation enough for me.
A printed birth plan to give to the doctor
A midwife or doula for support
“Do not disturb” sign for the door to minimize distractions
6. Rest while you can!
Even if its at 3am when your water breaks you have been waiting almost a year for this day! You will experience a surge of adrenaline, but keep in mind the long road that still lies ahead. Keep in mind this is the scenario for a natural childbirth, and you will be relying on pure mommy power to get the job done. Whether your labor lasts for 1 hour, or 20 hours, allowing your body to rest is extremely vital. If you don’t have enough energy when it’s finally time to push the chances of medical interventions and assisted births rise. Resting does not mean you have to be sleeping the whole time. If resting means you are watching Netflix while your husband rubs your feet, and your mom feeds you shaved ice, then make sure to get as much rest as humanly possible. “Rest” ruthlessly, this will probably be your last day to yourself for a long, long time.
Your own pillow from home for comfort
Movies or music for entertainment
light snacks (yogurt or fruit)
7. You can do it!
Woman have practiced, and mastered natural births since the beginning of time! Go through your experience with an open mind and realize that every woman’s birth experience is different. Natural labors are not commonly practiced in American culture because we have the luxury of doctors that have practiced medical alternatives for years. In some cultures where the surplus of medical professionals is not found, different methods are used. For example, in some African cultures woman dance through labor, to naturally ease discomfort and speed up the process of labor. Find something that helps you get through labor and stick to it. If you have to light a hundred candles and sing “Kumbaya,” or stand in the shower until 100 gallons has rained over you, that’s okay!
“CAN DO” state of mind
Hopefully these steps instill the courage and will power for you to conquer natural childbirth. During your labor you will feel a force moving through you stronger than your will to accomplish birthing a human. I have found that even in during these excruciating moments during labor, if you stay headstrong you will find a way to conquer natural childbirth. Going through labor is considered a rite of passage for any mother, and while it can be painful and exhausting it is a beautiful and lasting experience.