“A woman in birth is at once her most powerful, and most vulnerable. But any woman who has birthed unhindered understands that we are stronger than we know.” – Marcie Macari
Want a natural or unmedicated birth? Awesome! Just curious about how and why someone would choose to have one? You’ve come to the right place!
What are some reasons why someone would want a natural or unmedicated birth and what’s the best way to prepare for one? What are some ways to encourage the normal physiological processes of birth? Sometimes a completely unmedicated birth doesn’t happen, no matter what you do or don’t do, birth can be unpredictable. Sometimes an epidural, intervention or cesarean is needed or wanted and that’s ok! Remember that you’re in charge and you can do this mama! Here we go…
WHY WOULD SOMEONE WANT A NATURAL BIRTH?
Everyone has their own personal reasons for wanting an unmedicated, low intervention, or natural birth. Many women want a natural birth to help them avoid added risks introduced by common medications and procedures. They want to put themselves at low risk for the avoidable birth complications. They want to be an active participant in birth and experience what it’s like to give birth unhindered and with their own innate power.
Having a natural birth can help set a mom up for a better chance at breastfeeding success and a potentially easier recovery postpartum. The important cascade of hormones that happen during and after birth in both mother and baby are not artificially altered when birth is left to unfold in its own uniqueness and with minimal intervention.
Having an empowering, natural birth can unleash a whole new world of confidence in a mother that follows her into all other aspects of her life. An unmedicated and undisturbed birth allows the natural, inborn bonding, healing, and feeding behaviors to take place. A main goal when having a natural birth is to put yourself at lower risk for avoidable complications that are often caused by routine and often unnecessary medical interventions.
HOW TO PREPARE FOR A NATURAL BIRTH?
Preparation is key! Here are some things you can do to support your natural birth preparation:
- Hire a Midwife, or natural-minded OB who works in a location with a low cesarean, high VBAC, low induction, and intervention rates.
- Hire a birth doula
- Choose a birth location that is supportive of a natural birth. See if a home birth or freestanding birth center is a good fit for you! Ask your doula for recommendations.
- Take a good comprehensive childbirth education class like this one.
- Read these books.
- Research risks, benefits, alternatives to common birth interventions.
- Join online support groups like BirthTUBE, Birth Without Fear, Natural Birth Support Group, Birth Boot Camp, Wild World Mama.
- Move your body every single day.
- Regular chiropractic care.
- Nourish your body and baby with whole foods, cut out excess sugar and overly processed foods.
- Keep stress as low as possible and practice relaxation daily.
- Surround yourself with supportive people and positivity. Take a break from unsupportive people or naysayers.
HOW TO ENCOURAGE A NATURAL, PHYSIOLOGICAL BIRTH?
Have your birth space be in a good birth environment. The same environment that’s optimal for sexual intimacy is also the best environment to encourage a healthy birth. The same movements that got baby help get baby out.
Make sure you are nourished with nutritious food and stay hydrated. Listen to your body and move freely as your body tells you to. Surround yourself with lots of support and natural options to address the physical and emotional labor discomforts.
Your mind is a powerful tool during labor and birth, try to keep it in a good place and do whatever you can to encourage relaxation to reduce fear and tension.
WHAT IF AN UNMEDICATED BIRTH DOESN'T HAPPEN?
It is said that it’s not the “type” of birth a woman has that makes her feel empowered or not, but that she had control over decisions made at birth that makes the most difference. Also, that she received compassionate, respectful, and supportive care regardless of her decisions.
One benefit about taking a comprehensive childbirth education class is you are able to be an informed participant in the decisions you make for the wellbeing of you and your baby. Being educated on your options during birth helps you empower yourself to take charge of your birth experience, so when all is said and done, you know in your heart you did everything possible to achieve the safest most satisfying birth possible for both you and your baby. You will know you made informed decisions out of love for yourself and your child.
If you end up needing a Cesarean, you can be empowered by the fact you did everything to protect you and your baby and you will know in your heart that the Cesarean was the best and safest option for you and your child!
If you end up needing or wanting an epidural or other interventions you can be empowered by the fact you knew that was the BEST choice for you and your baby with how the events were unfolding during your own unique labor and birth! There is a time and a place for medical intervention, knowing when it’s appropriate for you can make your birth empowering in all different scenarios, be it natural or high-tech or surgical.
YOU'RE IN CHARGE.
This is just a friendly reminder that you are the main decision maker, you’re in charge. Preparing physically and mentally, hiring supportive care providers in natural-friendly locations, taking a good comprehensive childbirth class will set you up for the best birth possible!
Every single labor and birth, baby and mother, is unique. Having helpful knowledge at your disposal makes it so YOU are in control of what you allow or don’t allow during your birth. If you desire a natural birth being informed and supported can put you at the best chance for one. YES, you can do it! If health circumstances change at any point, you still are informed to make important decisions regarding your care.
Women are powerful. Birth is powerful, let it empower you! Birth is sacred, no matter how it happens. Know you’ve totally got this mama, you will do great!