Post # 1
I’m 34 weeks and kinda late in the game, have decided to forego pain meds for the birth. Part of me just wants to know I can do it, and feel empowered by it. I also want to avoid as many interventions as possible.
It’s obviously too late for structured classes, so I’ve bought a book on giving birth naturally at a hospital, I’m looking into hiring a doula ASAP and am relying on a lot of the techniques I’ve learned from yoga and visualization from when I used to run marathons. I feel like without a set plan – Bradley method, Lamaze, hypnobabies, etc., I might be too unprepared, or the hospital won’t take my desire for an unmedicated birth seriously. I also think its too late to switch to a midwife… What is or has everyone done to plan for a natural birth? Any gone without classes? If so, how did you prepare?
Post # 3
I had a hospital natural birth. You need to speak to your OB about doing things that make a natural birth more feasible (no IV, no constant monitoring). He/She may not be up for that. My first OB told me that people like me “loved ourselves more than our children”. Needless to say, i found an OB who was so supportive. Thats so important. I also had a doula. I took childbirth classes and read every single book on nautral birth that i can find. Most of all, i trusted my body to do what it had been designed by God to do. I think my most important asset was my support (doula). It was SO helpful for me to hear that with every contraction, it was the last time i had to do that one. Also, that i was “doing it right”. You need to get on it ASAP! Best of luck to you, and may you know the amazing, indescribable feeling of birthing a baby all by yourself!
Post # 4
- Wedding: November 2013 - St. Augustine Beach, FL
@Miss Grey: You’re never too prepared. Put together a birth plan but also be preapred to be flexible if complications arise. However, the more educated you are about unmedicated birth and your options at each level of intervention, the better your outcome will likely be. I highly recommend hiring a doula because she can advocate for you while you are laboring. As for birthing classes I prefer hypnobabies or the Bradley method over Lamaze because they focus on changing your vocabulary and thinking about labor and delivery in a positive manner (hypno helps you retrain your thinking from labor pains to waves of labor.)
Labor is natural and the more you preapre yourself to experience it, the less scary it is, and the less scary it is, the less likely it is that you will experience as much pain as you would when you are scared and afraid of what’s happening.
Own your labor and delivery; it;s yours to manage if you access the right resources. Obviously things may change if there are complications, but most births do not have complications so you should treat your labor/delivery as a normal, natural labor and delivery until the doctor tells you otherwise.
Post # 5
@Miss Grey: My partner and I took a weekend prenatal class when I was 36 weeks, so I don’t think you’re too late. The classes were based on the book, Birthing from Within, so if you can’t get into a class, try to get that book out of the library or read it somehow. It’s a bit new-agey for some, but the pain-coping practices are great. You use ice. If you have never really done breath work, time to start now.
Really, what’s going to get you through is your will. In our Mother’s day, epidurals weren’t common and the most they could expect was a shot of demerol, which my Mom says “didn’t do anything”. Lol! so she pretty much had a natural birth with me, and completely natural with my bro. she meditated and breathed and moved around- being able to move freely is key (apparently- i’m not speaking from experience yet!)
so make sure your birth environment works with you! labour at home for as long as possible, if you are planning a hospital birth. The sooner you go in, the sooner they’ll try to intervene with something (likely).
lastly- YOU CAN DO IT! 🙂
Post # 6
What book are you reading? I found Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth really helpful.
Aside from that, I didn’t take any special classes (just the standard birth education class offered by my hospital) or do any other reading to prepare.
Post # 7
Thanks all. I’m going to contact a few doulas tomorrow and get hopefully hire one ASAP! I just got Natural Hospital Birth: the Best of Both Worlds. I took my hospitals childbirth weekend course, which honestly cemented my decision, as the c section rate is 36% and they were super ambiguous about when they pitocin. my plan is to labor at home as long as possible before I have to go to the hospital.
Post # 8
@Miss Grey: Lots of good suggestions from PPs above, including the books Birthing from Within, Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth; I’d also add The Birth Partner and Active Birth, and maybe also The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth.
I also think that mental preparation is KEY. Like, really key. Spend lots of time educating yourself, but also on reflecting and coming to terms that labour is usually hard. Really hard. But totally managable if you stay focused on the moment and not on the horizon. It’s important to remember to take the rest in between contractions….if contractions are every 3 mins, that means that one minute is hard and then you get 2 mins of rest.
And yes, free movement is so so critical. No iv, or a saline lock would be ideal. And intermittant ausculation for fetal monitoring, not continuous…..*if* there are no complications. Many hospitals just use continuous monitoring as the default, so if that’s the case tell them no unless there is a clear medical indication for it. There is lots of literature/evidence that says that intermittant ausculation is a better choice for healthy low-risk women. (ie. the same kind of hand-held Doppler they use in the clinic office)
Lastly, ask if your hospital has tubs or showers for labour. This is so helpful when things are getting intense and often will help immensely to get you through transition to full dilation.
Hope this helps, have a great birth!
Post # 9
You have so many great suggestions above. I would absolutely like to add that when you do get to the hospital try to keep an open mind, all of the nurses I have had and my doctor were great in helping with my natural births. Some are better at supporting moms through it then others so don’t be afraid to ask for a different nurse if you feel yours isn’t supporting you. Most hospitals have great tools to help you labor-big tubs/showers, birthing balls,the nurses will help you through contractions. Use all the tools you have there!
Post # 10
I didn’t take any specialized classes. I read Ina May Gaskin’s book, and I honestly don’t recommend it for women giving birth in a hospital, because she has a very anti-hospital, anti-OB bent that made me needlessly nervous about my choice to give birth in a hospital. There’s worthwhile information in the book, and her overall message is empowering (childbirth is a routine biological function; your body was built to do this) and I don’t have any better book suggestions, so if you do read it don’t let it put you off the hospital birth if that’s what you want. I know I wanted every medical advance at the ready should any complications arise!
You (plus your DH/support person(s)) are your own best advocate, so educate yourself, and talk with your OB/hospital about being able to move around during labor, have intermittent monitoring, etc.
Post # 11
I did a marathon and had a natural hospital birth… so I understand exactly where you’re coming from.
Plan & prepare. Just like a race. Know your mental motivators, stay positive, prepare, prepare, and prepare. I approached labor just like a marathon. It will be along, hard, but highly rewarding journey.
Write a birth plan. Make your intentions and philosophy known to your healthcare team. Understand WHY you want things the way you do to help you keep your resolve if things get hinky.
Get support. A doula is going to be your best investment. Your partner also needs to be aware of what you want to accomplish and know his role in helping you. My DH said having the doulas there really helped keep him calm, invovled, supportive, and engaged. He felt more confident helping me because he was supported as well.
Labor at home for as long as you and your care provider are comfortable. The longer you are in the hospital, the more likely you are to be pressured into a particular time line or encouraged to submit to certain interventions.
I had a very, very positive birth experience and it really all came down to being mentally prepared and fully supported. Feel free to PM if you have any specific questions 🙂 Good luck, trust your body, and know that no matter what happens, getting your babe into the world safely is all that matters 🙂
Post # 12
I decided a while ago I wanted to have a natural birth but DH and I totally don’t have the time to do Bradley or Hypnobabies. I definitely recommend telling your OB what your plans are. Luckily, mine is on board as long as our baby’s health is not at jeopardy. I also hired a doula and picked up a book or two about natural births. I would also get familiar with your hospital and what options they have for more natural births, e.g. birthing balls, tubs (if any), and whatnot.
Post # 13
I read Hypnobirthing and I’ve been using the CD that comes with it to do a 20 min breathing/relaxation practice every day for the last few weeks, but other than that I have my DH and a bunch of self confidence and I’m hoping that will be enough to get me though. I read Bradley as well, but I find his views a little off-putting.
Post # 14
The only thing I’d add to all the great advice above (and it might already be there) is to get your husband/birth partner on board 100%. I worked out early on that the key seemed to be being surrounded by positive people who believe in your ability and your philosophy. I don’t want hubby standing there feeling helpless, I want him calm, helping and advocating 🙂 Now he is one of the most knowledgeable and pro-natural people I know, which makes me feel safe going into this.
He’s not a big reader, so watching “the business of being born” helped, as did episodes of the British series of One Born Every Minute (much more positive and natural than the US version, can watch on YouTube). And we went to a class, but he was already pretty knowledge by then!