When your labor starts…If you've learned how to prepare for natural childbirth, it will empower and enable you to relax and open.
As a result, you'll be able to rely on your instincts, and let your intuition guide you to what's best for you and your baby.
Actually, no matter what kind of birth you're planning for, it's wise to take classes of some sort. Having a few tools will help you and your partner feel comfortable and safe.
Learn all you can about all the choices you'll be making for the next 9 months. Most of all, understand all your options and choose the ones most in accord with your hopes and wishes.
You Can't Know Too Much
When you hear stories from mamas who had a bad birth experience, you'll most likely find she wasn't prepared. She'll say things like “I had no idea what to expect” or “no one told me”… So find out as much as you can and prepare yourself. It will serve you well and guide you through any challenges ahead.
If you're currently leaning toward a natural childbirth, find information to support your choice. Learn more about the physical process of birth… Precisely how it happens, just what takes place, and so forth.
Also, don't forget to read up on what happens in the hours after your baby is born. You want to protect this precious time so that you give your baby the best possible entrance into the world.
Smile and Nod
During your pregnancy, you may not have the option of choosing a doctor with a more natural approach. If this is the case, and there's something you're not sure of… You can just “smile and nod” and then go home and do your own research. Bear in mind, that your doc is not infallible, and in the end, you make your decisions around what you believe is best.
You can question and research everything… From tests to check for a chromosome abnormality to labor induction. And, anything your not comfortable with, you can opt out of. You can bring copies of your research and explain to your doctor why you have chosen to skip a certain approach. Doing your own research will help you decide what's best for you.
Managing Your Labor Experience
The time you take to learn them before your labor begins will be time well spent.
One of the most important things to remember is that we all got here the same way. You were designed to give birth. And any contraction that feels overwhelming is just your body doing its job! Try to stay relaxed and let nature do its work.
Ayurveda teaches there is a downward flow of energy (Apana Vyau) from the body that will naturally help you when your labor begins.
Just as a woman's heart knows how and when to pump, her lungs to inhale, and her hand to pull back from fire, so she knows when and how to give birth ~ Virginia Di Orio
Work with your body rather than tensely fighting against it. Some midwives describe this as “welcoming” or “embracing” any discomfort. It's a welcome sign that the baby is on its way and the labor is moving along.
Avoiding Pain Medication
If you choose to not take pain medication, an epidural, Pitocin, and so forth, there are other ways to manage discomfort. I'll give you 6 suggestions below. If you know them beforehand you'll be less likely to “give in” to interventions if it's not really necessary.
How to Prepare For Natural Childbirth
1. Deep Breathing
Learning how to breathe so it relaxes your body is a learned art. Deep breathing intended to promote relaxation is very slow. The way it's normally done is like this…
You breathe very slowly in through your nose, filling every nook and cranny of your abdominal cavity as far down as you can. It's like breathing down into your lower abdomen, so to speak. Then you release your breath slowly through your mouth from the bottom up.
Sometimes, laboring women will count through their breathing, say ten seconds in and ten seconds out.
Some types of labor breathing involve visualization. You can visualize energy, life force, light, or whatever empowers you to relax. Sometimes, you may envision something specifically intended to help your labor, like your cervix opening with each breath.
2. Hydrotherapy or Water Birth
A water birth is a pain relief strategy where you get into a tub of warm water to help you relax. It's often referred to as the “midwife's epidural” because water takes the pressure off.
The water takes the stress off the muscles, bones, and ligaments and supports your weight. Some hospitals offer it, and this method is popular for home birth and birth centers.
3. Massage Therapy
Gentle touch massage can help you relax by providing counter pressure to your lower back. As your baby begins the downward decent, its head can press against the lower vertebrae of your back. As a result, this can create intense pain with each contraction. Therefor, gentle pressure and massage can minimize this discomfort.
Also, perineal massage can help to avoid an episiotomy. (The perineal is the soft tissue that separates the vagina from the anus). Rubbing the premium may make it more flexible, supple and less likely to tear.
4. Birth Balls
Birth balls are large, inflatable balls that can help you achieve optimum body position and movement. Birth balls allow you to move in ways that you may find impossible otherwise. It also allows you to remain upright, which is helpful for enhancing labor.
Hypnosis helps to put your brain in “alpha” state, which is similar to the state of mind just before you fall asleep. This brainwave state of relaxation can greatly facilitate childbirth. Hypnosis relaxes the muscles and body systems so that the body releases its own natural painkillers.
Hypnosis can allow you to experience pain simply as pressure. It can also change your perceptions about pain by retraining your subconscious mind to perceive birth as something joyful, peaceful and other positive things.
You can learn to enter into this state whenever you need it without any external help. Ultimately, all hypnosis is self-induced, because it's your choice to enter the state… The practitioner only serves as a guide.
This strategy makes use of the traditional Chinese principle of meridians, channels or nadis. By applying pressure in the right places you can significantly reduce discomfort as well as move your labor along. Acupressure can also help to induce labor if you're past your due date.
I hope this post has helped you to feel more confident that your birthing will go as smoothly as possible. It's all very exciting – and simultaneously a little scary too, right? It's perfectly normal to feel anxious and even a bit alone at times, especially if you're considering natural birth.
And if you have any questions or comments please leave them for me in the space below.