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.
18 CommentsLeave a Reply
Wow, this is really informative material. Natural births have always been something that seem dangerous through the eyes of today’s society, but in reality can be very safe as you’ve shown. The video of the water birth was nothing short of miraculous. It really shows the miracle of life.
My sister and I were both c-section babies and my mom would tell us how much longer she had to stay in the hospital because of her wound. I feel bad because it seemed she’d had a much easier time if my sister and I were natural births.
Thanks for the read and taking the time to comment… lovely to see you have interest in natural births!
I’m a long way away from having children, if I choose to do so at all, but this was still an interesting read.
I’m a total wimp with literally no pain tolerance, but at the same time I like to avoid medication whenever possible sooo I already know that I will be torn if the time ever comes haha
Nevertheless, this was a good read with a lot of good pointers. It’s so true that you can never do enough research. A friend of mine recently gave birth, and even she said she wasn’t fully prepared, despite the hours of research she’d done.
Awesome article! This really has taught me a lot of stuff I did not know. Being a man I think it is good to know this kind of information so that your can be there for your woman and be able to understand the entire process and help her through it. One thing I really liked about your site was all the videos that you incorporated into it. It really drew me in and kept me on your site for a long time. Thank you for a great site!
Hi Mark, Sweet of you to read it for your lady. 🙂 Thanks for the feedback on the site.
Wow, I never knew there were so many ways you could deliver a baby naturally.I knew about the waterbirth but the others are extremely new.I have always been under the impression that childbirth in a hospital is much safer.Can you suggest a reason why natural childbirth is preferred ?
The decision between hospital vs home birth is a personal one. Hospitals tend to do more interventions (cesarean) 31% for full term pregnancies…Compared to around 5% of home birth. Home birth mothers had lower rates of interventions in labor. Some interventions are necessary for safety of mom and child, but they are often overused. There are well-known health consequences of a cesarean, not to mention higher costs. Hope that helps Shrey.
hello, I really enjoyed reading your article on 6 tips to get you through labour.
I have to agree , you really need to do lots of research and go into labour being totally informed of the different stages and what is happening to your body.
I’ve given birth six times, my first being the worst like most people, but that was the days before the internet and pay tv.
We are lucky to live in a society where people are openly share birth stories and share information about what to do in labour.
My advice, is get educated, don’t fight your contractions and get on a birth ball.
I’ve done the water birth too, but they didn’t let me in the water until I was ready to give birth Becuase baby head wasn’t in position.
That’s why the birth balls are great, they help get things in the right spot and help your body deal with the pain a little better.
will come back to your blog, it’ great.
Thanks Rose… So great to hear from a Mama who’s been through it six times!
This was very informative, thank you for posting. If you are the other spouse, are there any ways that you can help and be supportive? All the methods on this page rely pretty much solely on the mother or a professional to assist with a specific method of relaxation, but as a partner there isn’t much you can do with these.
Hi Cyrus, As your wife’s partner, you can be her #1 support system. There are lots of ways starting with learning the phases of labor, rubbing her back, legs, holding her hand, provide distractions to comfort her, be her advocate, take pictures (if she allows) cut the cord, and contact relatives. Good luck!
Hi, I’ve given birth 3 times (two naturally and one cesarian) and each birth was such a different experience for me.
For my 3rd delivery, the contractions came very quickly and suddenly and it was too late for me to have an epidural. I felt every contractions and pain to the full but thankfully, it was a very quick birth and my boy was born in about 45 minutes.
I tried the deep breathing technique but not the rest. The birth ball looks and sounds interesting. If I ever do get pregnant again it’ll be something I’d definitely consider.
The idea of having children is always an amazing thought, and exciting for the whole family. It is crazy however how much pain women can go through.
Any tips a woman can have will help her, and the family, so much. Like you said, you hear a lot about how women didn’t know what to expect, and how they wish they had known more. This article gives a lot of different options and helpful tips. Thanks for the great article. 🙂
Thanks for your comment Jessie.
Hi Jackie, lovely article thanks. I really thought I was Ãœber-prepared for my birth experience because I had an awesome antenatal teacher who had explained all the pitfalls of pitocin and pain medication. However, I landed up changing my gynae at the last minute and being induced (long story), and labour came on so hard and so fast that it felt like there was no space between contractions and I felt completely out of control (and out of my mind with pain). Fortunately my husband helped me stick to my birth pain, and, I still gave birth naturally, with no pain killers. Ouch!
Thank you for helping mothers to be have a different experience than what the main stream medical community offers.
I am very impressed and encourage any mother to be to consider this method if at all possible. I think it is better for mother and baby. I think natural is always best if possible.
Great article. I wish there was a resource like this when I needed it!
thanks Cynthia! xo