A Comprehensive Guide To Natural Birth
Is natural birth the best childbirth method for you? Read on to find out more.
In this article:
- Making the Best Decision
- Benefits of Natural Birth
- Is Natural Birth Right for Me?
- Preparing for Natural Childbirth
What You Should Know About Natural Birth
Making the Best Decision
Pregnancy is a time of decision-making. From the big questions about breastfeeding and parental leave to the smaller choices about decorating your child’s nursery, you may constantly feel as if you’re being pulled in separate directions.
One of the most important and stressful decisions you will make is whether to use an epidural or deliver your baby naturally.
While both approaches afford certain benefits, many mothers are interested in or committed to giving birth without medication. This approach is not for the faint of heart, but it can provide a rewarding and meaningful childbirth experience.
The more you learn about the benefits and complications associated with having a baby naturally, the better you can prepare — and the more likely you are to welcome your child into the world on your terms.
Below, we offer the in-depth information necessary to make the right decision for your body and your baby.
Benefits of Natural Birth
Natural birth can be beneficial on both a physical and emotional level. The following are just a few of the many benefits mothers and their children stand to gain from natural childbirth:
1. A Fulfilling Experience
Unmedicated birth can be a deeply fulfilling experience for mothers. Many women report feeling empowered upon delivering their children naturally.
2. Shorter Delivery
Pain medications can provide relief for struggling mothers, but they can also increase the duration of the delivery process. Medications may interfere with natural bodily processes, making it difficult for mothers to know when to push.
3. Quicker Recovery
Between a shorter delivery and minimal side effects, women who give birth naturally may enjoy a far faster recovery. Instead of spending days suffering from painful or uncomfortable side effects, you could be back on your feet in hours and ready to enjoy your first few days with your new bundle of joy.
4. Reduced Risk of Harmful Interventions
Research from the National Vital Statistics Report suggests that women who pursue natural labor and delivery are less likely to undergo risky interventions, such as forceps or vacuum extraction.
What Is Vacuum Extraction? This is a method in assisting the delivery of a baby with the use of a vacuum device. It is an alternative method for a C-section or forceps delivery.
These interventions can lead to birth defects, which could prompt not only short-term suffering for your baby but also chronic issues in years or even decades to come.
RELATED: Different Ways Of Giving Birth: Methods And Delivery Explained
Is Natural Birth Right for Me?
Natural birth can be beneficial, but it’s not ideal for everybody. Keep in mind that many women who are initially intent on this approach change their mind upon arriving at the hospital or birth center.
Keep these questions in mind as you make this important decision:
- Do you have any previous birth experiences or health issues that could make natural delivery unsafe?
- Are you currently in good shape? Are you at a recommended weight and capable of completing at least half an hour of moderate physical activity?
- How do you typically handle fear or pain? Do you have a history of severe anxiety?
- Does the idea of medication calm or frighten you? What about needles?
Ultimately, this is your birth story and your decision. There is no ‘right’ approach to childbirth; only what is right for you.
Preparing for Natural Childbirth
Success in natural childbirth requires extensive preparation. The more prepared you and your loved ones feel, the more likely you are to successfully execute your birth plan, regardless of any unexpected complications that might arise.
1. Mental Preparation
Natural childbirth is largely a mental game. Yes, childbirth is painful, but it’s not always as horrific an experience as it’s made out to be. Furthermore, fear is closely associated with pain.
The more terrified you are of pain in the lead up to childbirth, the more central a role it will play in your birth experience. You need to know, going into childbirth, that it will be difficult — but also that you can get through it.
Many expecting mothers journal about their fears in advance. Sometimes, detailing the worst-case scenario can actually provide relief.
By getting it all out on paper, you remove some of the fear’s power over you. If you feel comfortable, share these fears with your partner as well.
In addition to listing your fears, highlight items or actions that typically help you deal with fear or pain. What reliably calms you down? Examples can include meditation, soothing words from your partner, or even music.
While these techniques aren’t guaranteed to provide relief, it’s important to know they’re available — and to prepare in case you need to bring specific calming items to the hospital or birth center.
2. Learn to Relax
One of your primary goals as you’re preparing for natural childbirth: learning how to relax in response to pain. Your body may stiffen at the slightest source of pain, but this will only make you feel worse.
Experts recommend an exercise known as ‘The Grip,’ in which you lie on your side as your partner applies pressure on the muscle located between your shoulder and neck. Practice relaxing that muscle in response to pressure.
3. Get in Shape
Ideally, you will have entered pregnancy in excellent physical shape. After all, as the cliche suggests, birth is a marathon — not a sprint.
Both marathons and natural childbirth require months of physical preparation. Take daily walks or hit up the elliptical machine.
If possible, practice prenatal yoga. This will improve your flexibility and relaxation skills. Leg strength is essential, so don’t forget those squats.
4. Be Patient During Early Labor
The early stages of labor last a lot longer than most women anticipate. Depending on your situation, it may be best to stay home at first and keep active until you’ve reached active labor.
This is now defined by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists as a cervix dilation of six centimeters. Patience is key.
Find out more about natural birth from 7activestudio:
Giving birth naturally certainly isn’t for everybody. With an open mind and ample preparation, natural delivery is more than possible.
Ultimately, your goal is a healthy baby and a healthy mother. Do what it takes to arrive at this overarching goal. The best birth experience is one that ends with a beautiful baby in your arms.
What are your thoughts and questions about natural birth? Let us know in the comments section below!
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