7 Ways To Preparing For Natural Birth

preparing for natural birth

When you change the way you view birth, the way you birth will change. ~ Marie Mongan (Tweet this)

There is no doubt that giving birth is a life-changing experience for a woman, and if you are preparing for natural birth, then the attitude you bring about for that moment will make a world of difference in how it will develop.

Nowadays technology and medical advancements have made it possible for many babies and moms to survive circumstances that would have given them little or no chance in the past, but in some countries that has led to the treatment of birth as a medical emergency.

The energy surrounding a birth is usually of panic and urgency and this leaves very little space for the mom to be able to be truly present and enjoy one of the most amazing days of her life.

A healthy mom with a low-risk pregnancy is an excellent candidate for a completely natural birth, no medications and no interventions would improve on what nature has so perfectly composed. You might not believe that you have a clue on how to give natural birth to your baby, but the reality is that your body already knows how.

So is there anything you can do to improve your chances of a successful birth experience? Or is it just a matter of luck?

7 things to help in preparing for natural birth

Well, even though the process of birth is a natural one and most things appear to happen on their own, preparing for natural birth is still a physical event and the mother can certainly prepare for it just like an athlete can prepare for a race to improve her performance. Preparing for natural birth involves all the 3 elements – Body, mind, and spirit. They all have a role in labor. Here are a tips to help you improve this experience:

1. Research about natural birth and all the options available

Knowledge is power, if you can do only one thing on this list, this will be it. Choosing the way you want to give birth will give you control, even if things do not go exactly as planned you will still understand your options and that in itself will help keep you calm and collected.

Research will shed light about what is available out there and what resonates best with you. You can learn about home births vs. hospital births, about free-standing birth centers, medicated natural birth vs. non-medicated, or even about natural ways of inducing labor vs. medical ones. This type of research is a good idea not only for women that are preparing for natural birth but for all women giving birth.

2. Read books and positive stories about natural birth

Unfortunately for most mothers-to-be most of the stories that people tend to share about births are those of complications and fear. Movies and TV shows continue to spread the wrong image of what birth is like, why? Because drama sells, people want attention, and stories about how everything went wonderfully are not as interesting.

But fortunately, reality is different. Smooth and successful births are the norm. Not only that, but there are millions of women for whom birth is not only a wonderful memory but also an empowering and healing experience.

Make sure you inspire yourself and tilt your subconscious by reading tons of these wonderful true stories about how amazing and beautiful birth can be.

Here are a couple of awesome books you can read:

3. Get a labor support team ready

When preparing for natural birth, getting a support team ready is the key. Your support team is extremely important, and we are not only talking about people who will be present during birth, but also with whom you share your preparations and who looks over your health and guides you during your pregnancy. You should trust and feel comfortable with your care provider. It can be a doctor, a midwife, a team of the two or any other variation, but you should feel completely comfortable.

If you feel uneasy, dump them, and look for another one. This is a pretty important piece in the puzzle and you should not compromise for fear of making waves. The same goes for whom you feel should be present at your birth. Everybody is different and what you feel is best for you during your labor should be respected despite what any family member thinks.

Some women like the idea of being surrounded by a big number of people while others prefer a quiet intimate setting with the minimum amount of bodies present. Make sure you communicate your wishes and know that even in a hospital setting they should be able to accommodate you so that you feel safe and relaxed.

Make sure you have an educated birth-partner; this would be an individual that would understand the process and your plan and will act as a “cheerleader” during labor. It can be your partner, a family member or even a professional Doula.

In some places you can even find volunteer doulas. This person has to be able to keep calm and tuned-in to you, and also understand that during labor your needs might change and they need to mold and change with you. During labor YOU are the superstar, all the attention should be on you and your needs and anybody that might interfere with that needs to be waiting someplace else.

4. Enroll on a natural childbirth class

For some, the classes might seem like overkill; didn’t you say that my body already knows what to do? Well, yes, but natural birth classes are not really about teaching you how to birth, but more about informing you on what to expect.

If you know what’s coming, and that there are several variations that are still normal, you won’t panic. Also, going to these classes with your birth partner will increase the bond and the understanding between the two of you and the confidence in your ability to have a beautiful birth experience.

You will get to ask questions and you will probably learn of options and things you did not even know existed. Another advantage I found in the classes was the birth videos.

As a first-time mother-to-be I found myself cringing less and less with each video. I saw past the pushes and realized how happy all the moms were the instant they saw their baby―all of them forgetting immediately any struggle they had just experienced. For me, the videos normalized birth and took a lot of the fear away.

5. Learn about natural pain-coping techniques

This is the part that most women are hesitant about when they hear the term natural birth. They believe that the pain will be too much and they prefer the idea of somebody just taking the pain away. But you need to understand that even when medicated – there can still be pain, and the most effective way of coping with it resides in your mind and not in a syringe.

You can also choose to have a natural medicated birth, but research it first and understand that it can have side effects, and that one type of intervention tends to bring others to follow it.

There are ways of coping with pain naturally and I’ve heard from women and midwifes alike that some people actually achieve painless birth following them.

Some of the most popular ones are Hypno-Birthing, and Hypno-babies.

Other ways of coping with pain during labor are using pressure-points , visualization, varying your positions, and water birth.

I was not able to achieve a completely painless birth but I can say that it is nothing your body cannot handle. It is more like pressure and discomfort than regular pain and it is completely gone after each contraction.

I spent a lot of time laboring under a warm shower and gave birth in the tub, and the water and freedom of movement made things much easier on me. I was asked the day after having the baby if I would have a natural non-medicated birth again, and my answer was a strong Yes!, it was amazing and empowering!

It is believed that the main cause of pain during birth is not the physical changes your body goes through but the presence of fear. If a woman is fearful during labor, her brain will send signals of distress to the rest of the body, tensing muscles and interrupting the normal flow of neurotransmitters and this will interfere with a smooth labor.

If you are calm your body will naturally produces pain relievers, and you will feel as if you were medicated somewhat, without the negative side-effects. You have to start trusting in how perfect your body is and how powerful your mind really is.

6. Keep yourself healthy

This one is kind of a given. If you keep yourself healthy you will have an advantage when going through labor.

In a way you can kind of think of birth as a marathon, in most cases it goes for hours, and if you are mentally and physically prepared for it you will have a much better time.

Eat well, drink lots of water, and keep yourself active. The level of activity you can muster has a lot to do with the level of activity your body was used to prior to pregnancy. A simple Internet search about prenatal fitness will give you tons of ideas on things to do depending on how far along you are in your pregnancy.

Most midwives can help you in preparing for natural birth and also guide you on low-impact exercises you can do to strengthen the muscles you will be using most during labor.

Kegel exercises, walking, and prenatal yoga were my go-to fitness tools while pregnant, and I can happily say that not only was I able to withstand 12 hours stuck in transition, but I also had a very speedy postpartum-recovery.

7. Have a birth plan…with room for surprises

Finally, have a birth plan. This will help you maintain that sense of control you will need even amidst the excitement and nervousness that the birth brings with it. In most cases, if you have chosen your care provider and place of birth according to your beliefs, most of what is on the birth plan will have already been spoken about and agreed upon ahead of time.

But in case you are giving birth in a big hospital where different nurses and doctors take care of the mothers you might want to print your plan out and have it attached to your file, or even on the door to your room.

On the birth plan you would put your preferred choices about things like..

  • freedom of movement,
  • continual fetal monitoring vs. intermittent monitoring,
  • request for delayed cord clamping (important!),
  • immediate and prolonged skin-to-skin contact (also important)

and many other details that you would not want to have to think about while doing all the work. All of these things should be discussed and researched in advance so that you do not find yourself in the middle of labor with a question you really don’t have an educated answer for.

Also, bringing your preferences up early-on can bring to light any discrepancies that you might have with your health provider and if they are in an area that is very important for you and they are unwilling to accommodate you,(for example, freedom of movement or being able to eat and drink are choices that some hospitals are not willing to give) you could look for alternatives, including changing the venue of this important life-event.

However, remember that even though it would be amazing if everything went according to plan, some areas are still unforeseen until they are already happening, for example, some moms (after too many hours of labor) are simply too exhausted and decide to be induced even though that was not their first choice.

If anything like this happens, do not distress, understand that you prepared the best way you could, and that even though not all of the elements might have fallen into place, your efforts were not in vain and your experience was already improved because of your preparation.

Childbirth is more admirable than conquest, more amazing than self-defense, and as courageous as either one. ~ Gloria Steinem (Tweet this)

The role that the mind plays on labor can affect everything from the duration of it to the amount of discomfort or pain felt by the mother. The more you understand about birth and know about preparing for natural birth, the more you will convince yourself of your ability as a woman to make giving birth a wonderful and transformational experience.

Remember that when giving birth you are not only bringing a child earth-side, but you are at the same time birthing yourself into motherhood. Make it special―in a way; it is your birthday too!

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About the Author

Yaiza is a published author with a background in psychology and behavior. She has been an ecological educator for Zoos and aquariums, and has been and continues to be involved in several charitable projects and organizations. Her goal is to be active on building a better life for the present and a better world for generations to come.

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