I have four beautiful children, all birthed naturally. I absolutely am no rock star and possess no super powers that enabled me to do this. But these births did not come easily, or without cost or serious thought or intention. They did not happen accidentally and I don't believe I was just lucky (though I do count myself very blessed to have had such great birth experiences). There are some key factors that I believe contributed to my being able to give birth naturally and I would like to share these with you today, especially for those of you who might be considering going the natural route.
- I made a firm decision that I was going to do birth naturally. I think this is one of the most important factors if you want to have natural childbirths. I have spoken with several moms who were really on the fence about it, and I don't think any of them ended up doing it naturally. It does take some strong will power and if there is a huge option in your mind to do things otherwise, there is a really good chance you will cave in the process. This is not to put down a mom who "caves". Labor is intense! But that is why you cannot make the choice during labor! You must make it before and have a partner who is willing to help you stick to your decision. And ultimately, you need to be convinced in your own mind that this is the best for you and your baby. I don't recommend going for a natural birth out of peer pressure, or because you feel you "should" if you aren't truly convinced yourself that it is the best way to go.
- Make sure you and your partner are on the same page. With two of my births I requested something just to take the edge off. My hubby knew what I wanted deep down and he pushed back on my requests. He wasn't bossy, but he reminded me of what I wanted, and I am soooo thankful he did. Having a partner who is 100% in support of what you are doing is invaluable!
- Prepare! I mentioned in my post about the Bradley Class we took. I cannot recommend this enough if you want to have a natural childbirth. It will give you the education and preparation you need to succeed. BUT, you actually need to do what it says. Follow the diet, do the exercises and practice, do the homework.
- Write a clear birth plan and share it in advance with your doctor or midwife. In the plan be sure to mention that you do NOT want pain medication offered - that YOU will ask for it if you want it. This is huge because as I said above, it is really easy to cave if it is offered!
- Find a supportive doctor or midwife. I used a doctor for my first 3 births and it worked fine for me because we were very clear with them about our goals and they were able to support us. I will say that it was much easier to do things at home with a midwife though, so I would also suggest considering a qualified midwife.
- Bring your birth plan with you to the birth and share it with your birth team/nurse. Also, make friends with your nurse and try to develop rapport with him/her. We really gelled with our nurses and they were HUGE supports to me in my deliveries. If you are not getting along with your nurse, ask for a new one!
- Focus on the benefits of natural childbirth and the blessing of childbirth in general. If you are a Christian I highly recommend this book in which a woman shares her faith for pain free childbirth and many scriptures that she stood on in the process. While my births were not 100% free of pain, they were definitely doable and I think my outlook and faith on birth helped a lot!
- Watch "The Business of Being Born". I believe this is available on Netflix and is an amazing documentary on childbirth!
- Go see a chiropractor during your last few months of pregnancy. Chiropractic can help position baby for birth and aid in him or her coming through the birth canal smoothly. If your back is out or your body is not properly aligned this can make getting baby through the canal much tougher.
- Remember, when you get to the point during birth that you don't think you can go on, you are probably very close! Just hold on a bit longer!
Now that I have shared my thoughts on natural childbirth, I am going to try to write up and share my own birth stories with you very soon so you will get to see how all of this played out in my own life!
NOTE: Sometimes things just don't go as planned. I have a few wonderful friends who had decided firmly to do naturally childbirth but opted for epidurals after excruciatingly long births. This is not to discourage because I think this is the exception, not the rule. BUT, if you decide on a natural birth and things don't go as planned, take this as part of your journey and celebrate what you did accomplish and the most important part of the whole thing - your baby!! And do not let that determine what future births will be like for you. Things can go differently next time!