Natural Birth and Baby Basics

Hi, I'm Kristen, and I created this page so you'll have a quick overview of the site… and an organized way to get through it.

Natural pregnancy and natural childbirth are totally natural but they don't always feel intuitive. This page gives you short-cuts to the vital information you need to have a healthy 9 months, a safe birth, and a great start with your baby.

If you'd like to know more about me and the history of this website, click here.

Prepare for a Natural Birth

Natural birth is safe when you don't mess with it. Messing with birth makes it dangerous (think malnutrition, induction of labor, restriction of movement, taking babies from their mothers, someone else's germs getting to mom and baby…) Who wants any of that? I don't.

I'll say it again: natural birth is safe when you don't mess with it. Mothers and babies are designed to create safety for each other – when mothers actively work with their babies during birth, and when they snuggle with (and yes feel euphoric with) their babies. Hormones surge, bleeding stops, babies breathe, warm up, wake up, and both fall in love.

That's the way it should be.

Toni laboring in birth tub

Toni working with her baby

(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 birth plan kit here.)

Handle Labor Pain

Getting from here to that place of natural birth isn't always easy or as intuitive as you think. Here are some articles to get you moving in the right direction:

Main Natural Birth information Start on this page to get an overview of natural birth and links to even more information on preparing for your baby's birthday.

Tips for a natural childbirth
These are basic tips that help you prepare yourself – body and mind – for giving birth naturally

What does a contraction feel like?
Yes. So. Pain. Can we talk about that? Does it really hurt? What will it feel like? Let's turn the light on and talk about it because you can handle this, you can do this. This article talks about what the physical sensations feel like, and what to do if it hurts or you're scared.

Natural pain relief for labor
In this detailed article I outline how you can handle and ease the pain of labor while still helping your baby move down and out. That's important because you're in labor to give birth, not get comfortable. Don't take that the wrong way. I was it to be as smooth as possible for you – this article helps you get some relief while getting your baby out and into your arms. Another win-win of birthing.

The stages of labor and birth
You know, the basic stuff you need to know. Understanding the stages helps you know what's going on with your body and your baby throughout your birthing 🙂

Signs labor is starting
I get asked about this a lot. And I'll be honest… I re-read this article every time I'm pregnant. After going into labor six times, you'd think I'd have gotten it by now, but this article is a great refresher 😉

Explore Your Childbirth Options

You'll make choices for your baby until he or she reaches adulthood. You'll also make choices for yourself and your well-being. Nowhere is that clearer than in pregnancy. The choices you make now – about where to birth, about who will attend you, and about how you will birth are all important to yourself and your baby's health.

Tracey nuzzling her new baby

Tracey nuzzling her sweet little one after their natural hospital birth

Where should I give birth?
One of the most basic questions of your pregnancy – and there is no “right” answer. The choice has a huge impact on how you prepare for birthing and even who you can choose to attend your birth, so it's a good one to start with.

Home birth safety
Home birth is an option that every mother should consider because the inherent safety mechanisms of giving birth are far more likely at home. Research conclusively shows that low-risk women with a skilled attendant can birth at home safely.

What to expect at a doctor appointment and a midwife appointment
Choosing who will assist at your baby's birth is also very important. All care providers have their own ideas about birthing, so pick somebody who wants to work with moms planning a natural birth. This is important.

Waterbirth options
Waterbirth is another option to consider – even many hospital maternity wards have tubs for labor. It relieves pain and gives you great freedom of movement while birthing – so you can do what your body and baby naturally want you to do.

Understanding interventions
You'll be offered many, many interventions throughout the course of pregnancy and birth. You want to understand those interventions well before labor begins. Interventions may be offered at the hospital, birth center, or home – so it's good to review them 🙂

Have a Healthy, Natural Pregnancy

Prenatal care starts with you. Yep, you'll probably choose a doctor or midwife to help you with your care. But you're the one taking care of yourself day in and day out. Making informed choices increases your health and builds a healthy baby. It's totally win-win-win for you, baby, and the person you choose to assist at your birth.

Michelle labors on a birth ball

Michelle deep in her birthing time – laboring on a birth ball in cool darkness

Natural Pregnancy Basics
The basics of how to have a healthy, natural pregnancy – so you enjoy yourself and grow a healthy baby.

The importance of pregnancy diet
What you eat literally builds your baby. All of my MamaBaby Birthing students hear me talk about nutrition (over and over) because it really is so important. Eating well keeps your baby health. It keeps you healthy. It keeps your uterus, your womb, healthy. It means a low-risk, safe natural birth.

Morning sickness
You can get through morning sickness, and you can have a great first trimester. This article covers tips that have been proven to work for me and tips other moms have shared.

Prenatal Care & Testing
Prenatal tests are options you can choose to have (or not to have) throughout your pregnancy. Information about the tests helps you decide what you want.

Pregnancy & Baby Development
Many moms like to discover what pregnancy development looks like each week – this page covers what happens with you and your body, and what's going on with your baby's amazing growth!

Parenting Your Baby

Yay! Your baby is here (or like me, you want to read everything you can before he or she gets here)! The choices have only just begun. Natural, respectful, and practical parenting is the way to go. You can and should honor your baby's intelligence and inner wisdom while providing the loving guidance he or she wants from you. That's totally natural 🙂

Toni brings baby up out of birthing tub

Toni brings her baby up onto her chest after a water birth!

Your baby's first few moments
Your baby's first few minutes are a great opportunity for you to finally meet your little one… but the offers for interventions will start within seconds of your baby's birth. This article gives you the info you need to make the best choices for your baby.

Baby care basics
Hey, this article covers baby care basics!

Cosleeping and family bed safety
You've probably heard of the benefits of sharing sleep, co-sleeping, or having a family bed with your baby. I believe in having babies in bed, and I also think as adults we should be safe and sensible about it all. This article bundles all that up for you 🙂

Elimination communication
Did you say “diaper free baby??” Oh yes I did! Read about what, exactly “diaper free” means, and read about my adventures with my own EC'd babies

Cloth diapers
Because even if you do EC (I hope you give it a try), you'll probably use diapers some during your baby's babyhood. This article gives you a run-down of how modern cloth diapers work (and yes, how cute they are).

Baby carriers
Most babies love to be carried, and wearing your baby in a carrier can help enhance bonding, soothe your baby, and let you get a few things done. Read on for important differences between carriers and how to be safe using them.

Michelle holding her new son after natural birth

Michelle and her precious new babe! Natural hospital birth

(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 birth plan kit here.)

Handle Labor Pain

11 Mom-Tested Techniques to Handle Labor Pain... Naturally