Natural Childbirth Basics
Plan a safe, natural childbirth for your baby. Information is power: this page is designed to give you the info you need to make the choices that are safest and healthiest for your baby. Get details on natural labor, medications and procedures, choosing where to have your baby, inducing labor, and more.
Why Choose Natural Childbirth?
Natural birth is best for you and for your baby. Despite what you hear, 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, cesarean section (c-section), “assisted delivery” (forceps and vacuum extractors), and episiotomy (cutting your skin at the birth canal opening) all interfere with birth and your recovery.
Birth interventions also interrupt your precious first moments with your new baby. Though there are times that a c-section can be life-saving, the bottom line is most cesareans performed today are not necessary. The cesarean epidemic is out of control. You can give birth – without surgery.
Your Birth Options
Where Should You Give Birth?
You have several options when choosing where to give birth. Some women know they want to be in the hospital. If you find a good care provider and prepare for birthing, it's possible to have a wonderful natural childbirth experience in the hospital 🙂 A birth center is another option.
Birth centers have 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. They may offer some interventions at the center as an alternative to transport. Home birth is also an option.
Birth at home is empowering and gives you control over your natural childbirth experience. It's a safe option for you and your baby. In fact, the safety of birth is often increased because hormones are allowed to do their jobs in keeping your labor moving, baby moving down, and helping the placenta deliver safely.
Who Will Be There?
Another choice is who to have at your baby's birth. It's not always an easy choice – but it comes down to what you want. You choose who to have there: friends, family, even your older children. The people at your birth can have a big impact on it, so give it some thought.
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, so 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!
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 (hint: you should avoid induction for the health of your baby and a safer natural childbirth). There are some gentle, natural induction methods – these won't work if your baby isn't ready, so they're safe to try if you'd like to encourage baby :).
Learning about your birth options makes you an informed consumer. Know your choices and your rights – it's your body, your birth, and most of all, your precious baby.
- Benefits of giving birth naturally
- The epidural and other labor medications
- Childbirth interventions
- Vaginal Birth vs. Cesarean
- Choosing where to give birth
- Hospital birth
- Birth Center birth
- Home birth
- Who should be at your baby's birth
- Kids at the birth
- Doula benefits
- Inducing labor
- Natural methods for inducing labor
Photo by AmySelleck