Pretty early on I knew I wanted to have an unmedicated, natural birth with my daughter if I was able to. When I mentioned this to someone who was asking about me about my pregnancy, they responded, “I told my doctor I wanted to have a natural birth and he said that I wasn’t going to win any medals by refusing an epidural and trying to go the natural route.” This shocked me for a several reasons. First of all, what a terrible, unsupportive doctor! I think I would have had to practice a lot of restraint not to let him have it! Secondly, and more importantly, I can almost guarantee that if someone you know wants to have a natural birth, it is most certainly NOT because they want to “win a medal.”
Benefits to A Natural Birth
I’ve heard a lot of different reasons why women wish to have an unmedicated birth. Most seem to boil down to the fact that birth is a natural process in nature and a woman’s body knows what it was meant to do. Additionally, medicines and interventions can have unwanted, unnecessary side effects. Don’t get me wrong, I totally believe in the power of medicine and medical intervention when needed! Modern medicine is truly amazing, but I’m a firm believer that birth is something that isn’t a condition or illness and therefore shouldn’t be treated as such.
However, I also believe that every woman should have autonomy over her body and medical choices. While I wanted a birth as free from medical intervention as possible, it made the most since for me to have my daughter at the hospital, partly due to insurance reasons. So, if natural birth in a hospital setting is what you choose for you and your baby like I did, I have some tips to help you have a better birthing experience!
Do your research!
You look up reviews before you buy something on Amazon or try a new restaurant, so why wouldn’t you do the same when it comes to one of the most important days in your (and your baby’s) life?! Seriously! Do you research and find out the type of experiences other women had at the hospital you are planning on using. Were they happy with the care they received? If not, are there other hospitals that can be an option? Other doctors?
If natural birth is the way you want to go, consider using a midwife instead of a OBYGN. Typically, midwives are more familiar and comfortable with natural birthing techniques. This is not always the case, but if you do choose to use a doctor instead of a midwife, make sure they are on board with your birth plan and are supportive. If you get push back from them or feel like they could pressure you, find a new one!
One of the best things I did to prepare for having a natural birth was to take a Hypnobirthing class. There are a few different natural birthing “techniques” out there gaining popularity and I don’t think it matters much which you choose. The important thing about these classes is learning what to expect. You and your birthing partner will learn about ALL about birth. How a woman’s body is perfectly designed to give birth and all the amazing things it does all by itself to help get that baby out (which medical interventions can slow down and inhibit a lot of times!) You will also be given a lot of techniques for pain management, relaxation and breathing that will come in handy during birth.
You Need Support
You will be too busy working through contractions to remember to use all the techniques you learned in your birthing class! So, make sure you have a good support system to bring with you. Whether it be your partner, a sister, your mom, or a friend, talk with them beforehand about what you want them to do and how they can be helpful. I even wrote it down because I knew my husband and I would be too frazzled once labor got going to remember our techniques from our class. Even if you have a great support person to come with you, consider hiring a doula. My husband did a great job, but I can see how it would have been helpful to have someone else there who’s sole purpose was to make me and the baby more comfortable during labor. I’m seriously considering getting one the next time around.
Have A Plan and Enforce It
Before going into labor, you should come up with some type of birth plan. In other words, a list of what you are and aren’t comfortable with happening during labor and delivery. A quick Pinterest search will give you lots of great templates! Make sure that everyone assisting with delivery is on board with the plan. Talk to your midwife or doctor about your plan beforehand and make sure you get a chance to talk about a plan B as well just in case it may be necessary. Any nurses present during your delivery should also know what’s on your plan. Make sure you support person (i.e. husband, partner, etc.) reiterates your plan if it is questioned or ignored. You will be in a vulnerable position and shouldn’t need to worry about it.
Knowledge is Power
I feel like I could go on and on about ways to make sure you have a positive, natural hospital birth like I did! When it came down to it, the best thing I did for myself and my daughter was to do tons of research and make sure I wasn’t going into the experience “blind.” Although it is impossible to know what birth is like before experiencing it, you can still be aware of what will happen. Knowledge is power and you are in control of your own body! You got this mama!
Do you have any tips for having a natural, unmedicated birth in a hospital setting? Leave them below!
**I am not a doctor and this should not be a replacement for medical advice.**
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