This is a process of childbirth that happens in a natural way without any intervention of medications like epidural or C-section. It is not easy, but it is possible. It has been the only way until medical interventions were made in recent years.
Natural birth involves no medication, medical interventions like fetal monitoring or episiotomies. This makes room for the woman to express herself and determine what’s best for her.
This does not mean that you do not have anyone to help you during this process. There are other qualified individuals like midwives and doulas that guide you through childbirth. Midwives are certified to help you along in childbirth and guide your process.
Doulas, on the other hand, are like labor-assistant, your own cheerleader helping you with any activities that you may undertake during labor.
It is important to note that those with low-risk pregnancies should go for natural birth. If you are at risk, you better off under medical supervision and are, therefore, advised to consider giving birth in a hospital where extensive medical facilities are available.
Where Is It Done?
Women who opt to go through natural birth are given many support systems so that the process goes on without any complications.
Firstly, you do not have to go to a hospital for delivering your baby through natural birth. There are birth centers available where you can go learn more about the facilities provided during childbirth.
Registered nurses, midwife or doctor, and doulas are there in the birth center to help along the process of delivery.
Doulas act as labor assistants and you can be assigned one ahead of your delivery. The midwives keep an eye on the development inside you through a handheld ultrasound device.
You can also opt for at-home birth techniques. Move around, do whatever you feel like doing when your labor pains start. You can walk around, sit in a jacuzzi, or in positions you are comfortable like squatting to encourage delivery.
What To Expect During Natural Birth?
The science of delivering and processes leading to it are the same during the natural birth or with C-section. The processes of delivery mainly differ. Both of these processes work and are very much suitable for different women depending on their situations.
In a birth center during natural birth, the comfort of the pregnant woman is given priority. Different strategies are adopted to relieve the pain being felt by these pregnant women.
These may include processes like yoga, meditation, massage, walking, sitting in a jacuzzi or warm water, trying different positions, listening to soothing music or watching relaxing images or videos, hypnobirthing etc.
It depends on you what you choose to do during that time because it really is about your comfort and relaxation.
You can choose from these techniques or employ your own methods; whatever floats your boat. The idea is to comfort yourself by focusing your energy elsewhere.
A birth plan is a plan that communicates your wishes and goals, before, during, and after you go into labor.
It is like a plan in which to be parents can offer their best case birthing scenario, how they would like the labor to go and delivery to play out if it all goes to plan.
There’s no right or wrong way to write a birth plan. Some birth plans cover just the basics, while others are extremely detailed.
And because a birth experience for every woman is different, not only in what she’d like out of the birth experience but what she can likely expect given her particular pregnancy profile and history, a birth plan should be individualized.
If you’re wondering what you should include in your personalized plan, use the following four areas as a guide:
- Requests before birth
- Requests during labor and delivery
- Vaginal vs. C-section birth preferences
- Requests for newborn care
Stages of Labor
There are 3 stages of labor, and by learning on which stage you are on, you can manage the pain and stress that comes with natural birth.
These stages and labor process are as follows:
The First Stage of Labor is Dilation in which during the first hours of labor, the muscles of your uterus contract and help shorten and soften the cervix to open.
During the Second Stage of Labor, the cervix is fully open and the baby’s head moves down out of the uterus and into the vagina.
The Final Stage of Labor is the delivery of the placenta. This happens either be through physiological management or active management.
This technique prepares women by teaching them how to cope with the pain by making them feel safe. The method employs various processes to improve the confidence of the woman in what is trying to accomplish and how she can best do it.
The process is explained throughout the delivery to the pregnant woman and making sure that she is aware and confident about the procedure. This technique also employs rhythmic breathing exercises that not only help managing pain but also stress and blood pressure during this time.
It not only helps to take the focus off the pain and prospect of delivery but also helps keep you and your baby oxygenated.
This technique can be used if you are going through delivery in a hospital as it is neutral towards the means that are used to bring your child into the world. So, this technique can help you regardless of your choice of natural birth or otherwise.
Bradley method focuses on the presence of a birth coach that actively participates in taking you through the process of labor and delivery. The coach can be your husband or an actual birthing coach.
This emphasizes the process of birth as natural and believes that women should prepare themselves by education along with the support of a partner that is equally involved in the process.
This process also teaches women to deal with the stress that their body is feeling, to trust their bodies, and to concentrate on things other than pain to be able to deliver.
There are certainly trained instructors who can help you with the process and also provide a coaching partner in case your husband is not available.
Natural childbirth is only recommended in case you are low-risk. If you are high-risk, you are advised to go to a hospital. In the case of a low-risk delivery, you generally are safe.
It also means that you should follow the recommendations of your coach or instructor. If not properly followed, complications can occur. It is also important to note that you are open to other procedures in case any complications occur. Refusing those procedures can put your and your child’s life in danger.
What If I Can’t Bear the Labor Pain?
Labor pain can be extreme for some people to bear especially if it is your first child. If you want to do it through natural means without any pain medications, the can definitely seem a lot worse.
If during the process, you feel that the pain is unbearable and you can’t go through with it, you can switch to pain medications.
It is important to keep this in mind because some women might feel like letting themselves or their families down and don’t ay what they feel.
Moreover, you can learn different pain management techniques and pain relief medications to make sure you go through the process safely and sound.
Some of these pain management techniques are as follows:
- Choose your team carefully
- Learn about labor
- Express your fears to the midwife or doctor
- Take a warm shower or bath
- Keep moving
Your courage is not measured by your ability to feel the pain. You should be able to do what your body tells you to do. You should commend yourself for considering natural birth even if you do not get to go through it.
Always remember it’s your comfort, your life, and your child’s life that matters.
How to Prepare for Natural Birth?
Make sure that you see your OB/GYN and consult your situation. If you are high-risk, you will not be recommended to go through natural birth.
If everything is normal in your pregnancy, you can consider giving natural birth. It is important that you find a great support system.
You can start by going to birth centers and meeting with birth instructors and doulas who can help you throughout your pregnancy. It can also be your husband, your sister, or a friend. The key is to find the right support.
In order to prepare yourself for delivery, consult your coach, midwife, read books, and do research so that you are not caught off guard on the day of delivery. It is a long process and you should be prepared for every stage.
You can also take classes that prepare you for birth and childcare which will also make you confident in the process you’re about to undergo.
It is also important that you are prepared mentally to go through the stress and pain that this process causes. It is necessary that you learn to listen to your body and what it wants. Look for pain management techniques that can help you handle your stress during delivery.
What If Natural Birth Is Not For Me?
Human bodies are different in their make-up and our abilities to withstand pain. Additionally, there might be certain conditions that might hinder your progress in natural birth. If you are not able to go through childbirth without using painkillers or epidural, it is not a sign of a lack of courage.
One should only do as much as our body allows. You are still going to be a fantastic mother regardless of using or not using epidural. What matters is having a choice of going through or not going through natural birth. You should be ready to change your mind if any complications arise.
I hope this article gives you enough information about childbirth to make you go and see your OB/GYN and decide what’s best for you with proper advice.