Ten Tips for a Natural Childbirth

6:58 AM

We all know birth has a mind of its own, so planning exactly the way you want it to go can be silly. I have posted in the past about creating a birth "wish list" instead of a plan - and boy would I love to link you to it but I am typing from my iPhone and that simply sounds complicated. A birth wish list could include: I would like to listen to calming music if possible. I would like my parents to receive a phone call when I am in labour. I would like a photo to be taken when I hold my baby for the first time. But saying things like "I will not have a c-section" is too far. Being open to the fact that natural birth is your goal but interventions can help you, even as a last resort, is a good mindset to have. This is different, however, than the sentiment 'we'll see what happens'. Unless you have a team of an incredible midwife, doula, partner, etc advocating for your cause, if you allow things to go as they commonly do with modern North American birth, natural might not happen. It does take some intention and determination.  So here are my top tips for promoting a natural birth: 

1. Stay away from the conventional books and message boards. If you want to learn more about birth without hearing wrong advice or horror stories, watch The Business of Being Born, read a book by Ina May Gaskin or join the Informed Choice Facebook group. 
2. Choose a good team. Having a midwife that believes in vaginal delivery of breech babies, for example, can change everything for your story. Good support may be just as comforting as medical pain relief - it was for me. 
3. Let things start naturally if they can. Inducing labour before baby initiates it is setting things up to go differently than God/nature intended. There are good cases for induction but most of the time if you wait it will start. 
4. Eat! As soon as contractions start think: fuel! If you don't have easy foods ready (smoothies, juices, soup, snacks) assign someone to take over that. It's okay to yell: bring me a banana now! between contractions, I promise.
5. Sleep! As much as possible. It's so exciting when you realize your little one will be meeting you soon but the best thing you can do if you're pursuing natural childbirth is to get some rest. Later on it might not be as easy. 
6. Ask why. If a medical professional suggests a procedure or even begins one without your consent it is not rude to demand the facts first. 
7. Say no to fear mongering. So many women are strapped down to constant monitoring systems because it's 'best for baby' and then miss the chance to walk around and get pain relief that way. Ever heard the old "we need to give you an episiotomy so you don't rip even further"? Don't accept that. 
8. Relax. Easier said than done. Remember today is a great day and everything will be perfect. Forget all the little things (will my sister in law be offended that I didn't invite her in the room for birth?) and especially forget if your hair and makeup don't look great. Close your eyes and experience. 
9. Use water. There is nothing like a warm tub to make you feel like the million bucks you need to feel like to get through childbirth naturally. It was a life saver for me. 
10. Prepare quotes, sayings, bible verses, mantras and have someone read them to you. It will remind you why you made this choice in the first place. 

"Natural childbirth is the incredible feat of a powerful woman who meets an impossible mountain and then scales it."

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