What happens to your body during labor and childbirth? How can you prepare yourself for a successful natural birth? Is natural childbirth just a matter of trusting your body, or are there more ways to prepare?
Getting ready for labor is one of the most important parts of preparing for your baby’s arrival.
I’ve had six wonderful, natural births. It drives me crazy when people say “you’re just good at having babies” — and believe me, after six babies, they say that a lot!
Well, yes, I’m good at it – but that’s because I get ready for my baby’s birth! You can have an excellent natural birth too.
A Natural Birth Primer
Your natural birth begins weeks before you feel the first hints of labor. It takes preparation. You wouldn’t run a marathon or climb a mountain without doing some training, and birth is an athletic event just like that. Athletes train physically and mentally, and you need to do both for birth.
Your “training” doesn’t have to be nearly as intense, so don’t get worried. But do realize that even though birth is natural, it only benefits you and your baby to go into labor prepared
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Maybe you’re wondering if natural labor is really painful? Here’s the truth: what you think about birth has a big influence on how it feels. You’re going to hear negative things about childbirth. It’s pretty inevitable in our society. But you can overcome those things with positive conditioning, such as prepared birthing classes, reading birth stories, and watching videos of great drug-free labors.
You can learn relaxation techniques, positions for labor, birth skills, and even how to use tools like water and/or a birth ball to relieve labor pain… and best of all, you can use these things to keep your labor moving smoothly. You want to work together with your baby to get him or her into your arms! All of your resources will culminate in this wonderful experience – so it’s good to go in prepared
Practicing relaxation during your pregnancy is an excellent way to prepare for natural birth. It serves you well during labor, birth, and for the rest of your life. Visualizing what you want is important, too – it’s a free practice session for childbirth!
Champion athletes use visualization to see themselves winning – you can use the same techniques to see your ideal birth. You may be surprised by just how close your baby’s birthday comes to what you’ve been picturing! I’ve found relaxation and visualization to be simple, yet very powerful, tools in my birth preparation.
Find good birth stories. Reading the experiences of other women who have birthed in many different places and situations is empowering and inspiring.
A Proven Cornerstone
Good childbirth education has been proven to help women have more success with natural birth. Prenatal classes help you learn about pregnancy, labor, and birth.
Be choosy about your childbirth education! I’ve reviewed and attended a lot of childbirth classes and they’re not all created equal! Some are horrible, some are “so-so” and some are excellent. Books are another great way to learn about pregnancy, labor, and birth. Read books that support your choice to have a healthy, aware pregnancy and a natural birth.
Remember that doing a quick read-through of a book or watching natural birth videos online isn’t the same as a good childbirth class. For some moms, this may be enough. A lot of moms want and need more preparation.
You’ve heard that breastfeeding is natural, and that women still need support and may want guidance as they nurse their babies. Natural birth is the same way. Getting support as you dig into the “whys” and “hows” of natural birth benefits you and it benefits your baby. It means you enjoy your pregnancy, grow a healthy baby, and have a smooth, safe natural birth
- Basic natural childbirth tips – these give you the foundation you need for a smooth, safe labor
- Stages of labor and birth
- How to tell when labor is starting
- What does a contraction feel like? In case you’re wondering
- Pain relief in labor (while you keep labor moving)
- I’ve created a checklist of practical natural pain relief suggestions so you can move past discomfort and focus on working with your baby during birthing.
- Relaxation during pregnancy
- Visualizing the birth
- Turning Your Breech Baby
- Birth stories are another wonderful way to prepare yourself.