Natural Childbirth Basics
You want to be informed and in control when it comes to your health - and your baby's health. You know that natural childbirth gives you and your baby a great start together, but it can be a little overwhelming to think about. This section covers what natural birth is, medications and procedures, choosing where to have your baby, inducing labor and more.
You know your body is built for natural childbirth - but you've got a lot of questions before you're ready for your baby's birthday. There are benefits for you and your baby when you choose natural birth. You don't have a drug-free birth to win medals. Giving birth naturally is a healthy choice for you and your baby (and it's empowering).
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Why Choose Natural Childbirth?
Natural birth is best for you and for your baby. Despite what you might be told, all medication - even the epidural - has an effect on your baby. The medications used during birth cross to your baby and change the way your body responds to labor.
Medical intervention and surgical birth - either by cesarean section or by "assisted delivery" (forceps and vacuum extractors) and episiotomy - interferes with birth. Birth interventions can interrupt those precious first moments with your new child.
Cesarean section vs. vaginal birth is an important topic. Though there are times that a c-section can be lifesaving, the bottom line is that most cesareans performed today are not necessary. The cesarean epidemic is out of control. You can give birth - without surgery.
Your Birth Options
You have several options on where to give birth. Some women want to be in the hospital. If you find a good care provider and are able to advocate for your rights, it's possible to have a wonderful natural childbirth experience in the hospital - lots of women have done it!
You can also choose a birth center. You may like the thought of the extra backup at a birth center - while enjoying more intimate care and a home-like feel. Birth centers generally have low intervention rates and transfer rates and natural births happen most of the time.
Home birth is an option. Birth at home is empowering and gives you control over your natural childbirth experience. It's a healthy option for you and your baby.
Another choice to consider is who should be at your baby's birth. This can end up being a complicated choice. There are many considerations to take into account - but it comes down to what you want. You choose who to have there (and even if you want your older kids at the birth.)
A doula is a woman who is specially trained to support you during labor - to "mother the mother." Doulas offer amazing (and scientifically proven) support during natural childbirth and it's well worth researching doulas in your area.
There are women who choose unassisted childbirth with only their partner and family. Some want to birth alone. The choice of where to birth and who to have there is yours to make!
Be sure to check out the Birth Story Collection!
Have you thought about waterbirth? Labor is the time to dip in and relax! Water can feel great in labor. It may also help you birth more gently and avoid intervention such as episiotomy.
You may also be asked to about inducing labor - it's good to know the different methods and effects of each one. It's also very helpful to know natural methods for inducing labor!
Learning about your birth options allows you to be an informed consumer. Know your choices and your rights - you're the customer!
Click on to discover more information on preparing for natural birth!
Check out the Childbirth FAQ
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