Giving birth naturally has huge benefits for your baby – and for you (plus you avoid all the problems that come along with medications and interventions). Both you and your baby begin your life together more alert, aware, and ready to bond with each other.
Birth interventions are rarely necessary and are overused. Research all you can about childbirth, ask questions, and choose people who support your right to give birth without intervention.
What is Natural Childbirth?
Many women think that giving birth naturally means screaming through painful contractions. Others seem to think that vaginal birth, even with medication, is natural birth. Neither one of these experiences is an empowering natural birth.
Giving birth naturally means the freedom to give birth without outside interventions, using birth skills that help you work with labor (even if it is painful). You're free from restrictive medical procedures.
Research shows little benefit to the routine use of continuous electronic fetal monitoring (where a belt is strapped around your belly) and little benefit to routine IV fluids.
Laboring without these interventions puts you in control of your own experience. You're free to get up and move around as needed because your baby's heartbeat can easily be monitored from time to time with a Doppler (a handheld unit that monitors fetal heart tones).
Freedom to eat and drink while giving birth means you'll have the energy that you need to keep going, even if your labor is long.
Interventions should be avoided if at all possible. As mentioned above, continuous electronic fetal monitoring and IV fluids have not been proven to be beneficial to most women.
They hamper your ability to move around. The IV fluids can cause you to take in more fluid than you need and feel swollen and bloated. They can also cause problems for your baby.
Despite what anybody says, medications do pass through the placenta to your baby. Using medications while you're giving birth also forces you to have an IV and continuous fetal monitoring.
You're at higher risk for fever and pain from the needle wound. Your baby may have a hard time breastfeeding and may be sluggish – drugs do affect your child. IV fluids can water-log your baby so his or her birth-weight is artificially higher, causing false alarm when your baby doesn't regain birth weight as fast as he or she should.
Other interventions such as induction, episiotomy, and assisted delivery (using forceps or vacuum extractors) can reduce your chance of giving birth naturally (or take it away entirely).
You may not be able to see your baby right away because of these interventions. You may also find yourself experiencing significant pain from the interventions.
Negotiate for what you want. Talk to your care provider about what interventions you do not want.
Remember your birth is not the responsibility of the hospital or doctors. It's your birth. Make sure you feel prepared and confident when you go into labor. Learning about your body, birth, and relaxation during pregnancy makes a huge difference – MamaBaby Birthing is designed to give you the information you need to have the birth you want.
A dedicated coach boosts your chances for a natural birth and reduces the amount of intervention that you'll have. Your husband is a good choice for this, but if your man doesn't feel comfortable with it, you can ask your mom, sister, or a good friend. A doula is another option – she can be there for you and she supports your man as well.
You'll have the best birth experience if you choose how you want to labor. Choose support persons who will stand up for your choices. Learn the skills you need to have a good birth. Take the time to choose a good caregiver and birth place. It makes a difference in your experience giving birth and the early days and weeks with your baby.
Researchers have found that birth has a profound effect on women. Women can remember their childbirth experiences decades after they happened with amazing clarity! A negative experience giving birth doesn't mean you and your baby will have a poor start, but a positive birth experience can mean a smoother start.
Giving birth naturally increases your confidence. You'll find yourself replaying your birth story in your mind over and over in those early days. You'll discover power that you never knew that you had! You are created in an awesome and amazing way. You grew your baby and you went through the experience of natural childbirth! It's amazing.
A Solid Start
There are so many benefits to giving birth naturally. You'll find that preparing for your labor makes you feel confident and totally prepared. Good birth skills are there for you – even if labor is fast, slow, painful, or straightforward! Your preparation means you're confident, no matter what happens during labor.
Your baby is alert and active after a natural birth. You'll recover more quickly. Your pain will fade quickly after birth and be over, unlike if you had to recover from surgery, intervention, or even from needle wounds.
Mothers and babies usually find it's easier to get started with breastfeeding after natural childbirth.
(NOTE: Want a Perfect Birth Plan Template? Use this template and step-by-step videos to write a birth plan that gets your birth team on your side for a beautiful birth experience! Get the kit here.)