Written by guest blogger Elizabeth Bear
Childbirth has been turned into a procedure. If you look back through the centuries, women have always given birth without medication. It has only been the past few decades in which it has become a medically-driven, hospital-bound practice.
Many doctors and women argue that medical interventions are progressive, life-saving, and allow for birth to be a more predictable, easier process. While this is true for mothers in a position to need life-saving techniques, it is the complete opposite for those having a healthy, low-risk pregnancy. Childbirth should not be treated as an assembly-line procedure in which every labor and delivery is compared. Every birth is individual. Every woman and baby deserves to be listened to so that the birth outcome is as positive as possible.
If you are pregnant, it is never to early to learn about having a natural, unmediciated birth. If anything, the earlier you begin your research and practices, the more prepared and educated you will be in your place of birth. The key is education. If you can truly understand why an unmedicated birth is the best option for both you and your baby, you will be more likely to pursue all avenues to ensure the birth is achieved.
As a natural childbirth educator, research writer, and birther for four unmedicated labors, I have eight steps that I tell anyone hoping to achieve a completely natural birth.
#1 Ignore the Nay-Sayers
People will come out of the woodwork to doubt you and your body’s abilities. They might be close family or friends; they may be complete strangers, but they will have an opinion, a horror story, or a joke in which you are the butt of. It is vitally important to politely thank them for their input on your life choices, but that you believe in yourself, your body, and your baby; that you are well educated, working with a competent, professional birth team, and deserve support. If family and friends continue to be unsupportive, it may be in your best interest to not discuss pregnancy and birth while they are around.
#2 Register for a Natural Birthing Series (not a single class)
The key here is the word ‘series,’ as a one day class is not going to do the trick. Choosing a natural birth series, such as The Bradley Method (a 12-week series) will help to educate you and guide you through any questions, fears, anxieties, or unexpected situations. There are several styles of birthing series to look in to, and finding the one that fits your birth outlook will resonate the most. Don’t be afraid to call and speak to the educator and ask questions before signing up.
#3 Understand the Stages of Labor
Birth is not a few hard contractions and a baby arrival. Birth occurs within the mind, body, and soul of the mother. It is an experience, a journey, and education of each stage will allow you to find peace and trust within yourself. The three stages of labor grow from mild to all-consuming, with a transition period that may leave you feeling uncappable, terrified, and as if you have left your body. This is the point that so many mothers accept medical help; this is the moment they stop believing in themselves. But this is also the moment in which the body is completing one stage and preparing to rest before ‘pushing.’ It does not always occur in such a way, but understanding how hard it can be helps you to mentally prepare for the experience. Continuing to listen to your body, changing positions, moving, and allowing the body to push before pushing yourself, all allows the labor to progress as it was meant to happen.
A comprehensive class series will cover the stages of labor in detail, as will many birthing books. Ensuring that your partner understands these stages will also be key in accomplishing the birth you desire.
#4 Have an Educated and Supportive Coach/Partner
Gone are the days in which Dad sits in a waiting room, and gone should be the days in which dad simply holds your hand and has little involvement in the labor. Your partner should be your guide, support, and your coach throughout labor, and if he (or she) is not capable of this, look into hiring a doula.
Taking birth classes together, reading books, watching videos, and having an open dialogue of expectations, fears, and challenges will keep you both on the same page.
#5 Read About Birth
The library, book store, and Amazon are full of books to help guide you on the journey of natural childbirth. There are blogs and birth stories available in the masses. Choose the ones that call to you. Try not to overwhelm yourself with the options, and value the words you read.
#6 Watch Birth Videos
Thanks to YouTube, women have shared their birth stories with the world through beautiful videos. It can become emotional to watch, as you are welcomed in to another family’s birth. It will be empowering and educational.
#7 Consider a Doula and Alternative Birth Locations
Doulas are a wonderful tool and important addition to a birth team. They are full of knowledge and support for both the mom and dad, and can be the needed voice in an unexpected situation. Also consider birth centers and birthing at home to lower the chances of unneeded interventions.
#8 Give In To Your Body, Baby, and Labor – and PRACTICE Relaxing
Relaxation is the key to giving in to your body and labor. It sounds easy and impossible all in the same moment. But when you are truly educated, and you take the time to practice relaxing each day of pregnancy, you can achieve this during labor. Relaxing takes effort from the mind and the body. It means traveling inward and working on healing your soul and bettering your mind.
About the Author:
Elizabeth is a researcher, author, and content writer for My Baby’s Heartbeat Bear – a leading online store for unique pregnancy gifts and manufacturer of plush toys; stuffed giraffe, sloth stuffed animal and much more. She spends her days as the ringleader of a never-tiring circus; one full of tightrope walkers, nerf-gun shooters, mess makers, and danger-seekers. Find out the do’s and don’ts and other important things about pregnancy on our latest pregnancy blog.