My 10 Tips for a Natural Birth
1.) Choose a midwife. OB’s are trained surgeons and should be reserved for high-risk pregnancies. Midwives are experts in normal low-risk birth. Your chances for a natural birth are much greater with a midwife. Midwives aide in reducing cesarean rates, induction rates, epidural rates, episitomy rates, forceps/vacuum rates, etc. With that said it is crucial you carefully interview a potential health care provider. Some midwives are known as “medwives” meaning they are medically minded. Some OB’s are M.D.s are midwives in-disguise.
2.) Choose a doula, especially if you are using an OB. Doulas reduce cesarean rates, induction rates, epidural rates, episiotomy rates, etc. Doulas help to ensure you get the birth you want. Women who have used doulas view their birth as a positive experience. They are your biggest advocate! Read Article: How a Doula Can Make Your Birth Experience Easier, Healthier and More Empowering
3.) Read, read, read, and read some more. Knowledge is power! You need to arm yourself with information and know your rights. The top books I would recommend if you are birthing in a hospital are:
The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth by Henci Goer
Born in the USA by Marsden Wagner
Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin
Birthing From Within by Pam England
Natural Pregnancy Book by Aviva Jill Romm
Your Best Birth – Lake and Apestien
4.) Do not allow vaginal exams during pregnancy and limit them during labor/birth; ideally none should be done. Dialation and effacement mean NOTHING. Some women are dialated a few cms weeks before labor begins and some don’t dialate until labor begins. Don’t allow anyone to break your water. It actually does not speed up labor more than an hour. It is a risk! If it ain’t broke don’t break it ) Read the article Cervical Exams – Who Needs Them?! Completely anecdotal; with my first son I never dilated prenatally, with my second son I was 3cm dilated at 36wks and with my last son at 41wks I was +4 station (by the way +5 is crowning more on his birth another time), dilated and effaced.
5.) Do not go to the hospital until you are in ACTIVE labor. Labor out in the parking lot or a nearby park if you have to. If you are less then 5cm go home. Ideally *all* low-risk women should have an out-of-hospital birth either in a free-standing birth center, homebirth with a midwife. Keep in mind hospitals are for the sick, dying and injured. Hospitals contain morgues and are full of germs that cause MRSA, Staph and bacterial infections. There is a reason the German word for hospital literally translates to mean “sick house”. So minimize the amount of time you spend in the hospital during labor and afterward. Know your rights if you are birthing in a hospital, read The Rights of Childbearing Women
6.) Eat and drink during labor. You wouldn’t expect an athlete to run a marathon without nourishment; why would you expect the same of a laboring mom? Not eating during labor causes hypoglycemia and increases the pain of contractions. Read the article Banning food & fluids during labor has no benefits
7.) Remain upright and mobile. Laying down on your back closes your pelvis to it’s smallest capacity and decreases the amount of oxygen the baby gets. Being mobile can speed up labor. Gravity can be your best friend or worst enemy, use it to your advantage! Read Upright Labor Positions Reduce Pain and Speed Birth
8.) Push when you have the urge. 10 is just a number. Listen to your body. If it hurts really bad to push it’s too soon, pushing should feel like a relief. Do not push on your back, this closes your pelvis by a whopping 30% Hands & knees and squatting are ideal positions for the 2nd stage. TRUST YOUR INSTINCT! Read article Honoring Body Wisdom
9.) Embrace the contractions. If you fight them, you will produce adrenaline, adrenaline stifles the hormones beta-endorphins and noradreneline which are designed to increase the feelings of euphoria and reduce pain. You have to completely surrender yourself. Read article Ecstatic Birth – Hormonal Blueprint for Labor
10.) Believe in your body! Women have been birthing babies for thousands of years. Your body is just as able as our ancestors. Your body was made to give birth and you must believe in it’s magnificent powerful ability!