Natural Childbirth

Natural childbirth is going through labor and delivery without any drugs to relieve pain. You also do not use fetal monitors, have a cesarean delivery, or get a sugical cut to enlarge the vaginal opening (episiotomy). With the help of a birthing professional (midwife), you will direct your own labor and delivery as you choose.

Many women chose natural childbirth because they feel more in control and in touch with their labor and delivery. They are also concerned about the medications affecting themselves and the baby.

Pregnant women with a high risk pregnancy should not attempt natural childbirth. It is better to deliver the infant in a hospital if an emergency situation arises. Sometimes, the caregiver has to intervene for the health and safety of the mother and infant.

TWO TECHNIQUES FOR NATURAL CHILDBIRTH:

  • The Lamaze method. This method teaches women that having a baby is normal, healthy, and natural. It also teaches the mother to take a neutral position regarding pain medication and anesthesia and to make an informed decision if and when it is right for them.

  • The Bradley method (also called husband coached birth). This method teaches the father to be the birth coach and stresses a natural approach. It also encourages exercise and a balanced diet with good nutrition. The exercises teach relaxation and deep breathing techniques. However, there are also classes to prepare the parents for an emergency situation that may occur.

METHODS OF DEALING WITH LABOR PAIN AND DELIVERY:

  • Meditation.

  • Yoga.

  • Hypnosis.

  • Acupuncture.

  • Massage.

  • Changing positions (walking, rocking, showering, leaning on birth balls).

  • Lying in warm water or a jacuzzi.

  • Find an activity that keeps your mind off of the labor pain.

  • Listen to soft music.

  • Visual imagery (focus on a particular object).

BEFORE GOING INTO LABOR

  • Be sure you and your spouse/partner are in agreement to have natural childbirth.

  • Decide if your caregiver or a midwife will deliver your baby.

  • Decide if you will have your baby in the hospital, birthing center, or at home.

  • If you have children, make plans to have someone to take care of them when you go to the hospital.

  • Know the distance and the time it takes to go to the delivery center. Make a dry run to be sure.

  • Have a bag packed with a night gown, bathrobe, and toiletries ready to take when you go into labor.

  • Keep phone numbers of your family and friends handy if you need to call someone when you go into labor.

  • Your spouse or partner should go to all the teaching classes.

  • Talk with your caregiver about the possibility of a medical emergency and what will happen if that occurs.

ADVANTAGES OF NATURAL CHILDBIRTH

  • You are in control of your labor and delivery.

  • It is safe.

  • There are no medications or anesthetics that may affect you and the fetus.

  • There are no invasive procedures such as an episiotomy.

  • You and your partner will work together, which can increase your bond.

  • Meditation, yoga, massage, and breathing exercises can be learned while pregnant and help you when you are in labor and at delivery.

  • In most delivery centers, the family and friends can be involved in the labor and delivery process.

DISADVANTAGES OF NATURAL CHILDBIRTH

  • You will experience pain during your labor and delivery.

  • The methods of helping relieve your labor pains may not work for you.

  • You may feel embarrassed, disappointed, and like a failure if you decide to change your mind during labor and not have natural childbirth.

AFTER THE DELIVERY

  • You will be very tired.

  • You will be uncomfortable because of your uterus contracting. You will feel soreness around the vagina.

  • You may feel cold and shaky.This is a natural reaction.

  • You will be excited, overwhelmed, accomplished, and proud to be a mother.

HOME CARE INSTRUCTIONS

  • Follow the advice and instructions of your caregiver.

  • Follow the instructions of your natural childbirth instructor (Lamaze or Bradley Method).