Birth

Hold The Drugs: How To Have a Natural Birth

natural birth
Written by Stephanie McClane

When you’re pregnant, it’s exciting and maybe a little scary to think about your labor. You may imagine what you want your birth to be like and the perfect moment your baby enters the world.

During these times, one consideration may be whether or not you want to do a natural birth. 

For many people, giving birth without painkillers is an important experience to have. If you are one of those people, you may be nervous about how to get through such a physically stressful ordeal.

Learn more on how you can have a successful natural delivery.

Educate Yourself About Childbirth

The first and most important thing you can do when considering a natural labor is to learn everything you can about it. The more you know, the more prepared you’ll be in planning and experiencing your birth.

If you know what to expect going in, there’s less of a chance that you’ll find yourself in over your head.

Talk to your doctor, your hospital, and independent educators about childbirth and labor techniques. You should ask specifically about pain management techniques like self-hypnosis and breathing techniques.

Shop around until you find an educator you like the feel of, and learn everything you can.

Talk to a Doula

While you’re talking to educators and labor experts, you should try to find a doula. Having a solid medical team on your side is important, and you should find a doctor and a hospital who will support you and help you with the birth plan that you want.

But doulas are a great resource when you’re looking at natural birth, and you should find one if you can.

A doula will act as a sort of personal cheerleader and labor guide during your delivery. They know their way around childbirth, and so they can worry about the details while you focus on your body and your baby.

They can also help with relaxation and breathing techniques and help you have the birth you want. 

Stay in Good Shape

Natural birth is a taxing process on anybody, and you should do your best to prepare your body for the challenge. Being in good shape will help make natural birth easier and more possible for you.

This is not least because women who aren’t overweight tend to have fewer complications during labor.

As much as possible, stay active during your pregnancy. Make sure to approve any exercises you plan on doing with your doctor, but try to keep up a gentle exercise routine.

If you’re on bedrest, you may think this is impossible, but there are some great exercises you can do even without leaving the bed!

Use Water

Water is a fantastic tool for a lot of things, and it turns out that it can help do more than just keep you hydrated during your pregnancy. (Though you should be sure to stay hydrated during your pregnancy.) Water can help you keep your muscles relaxed, and it can even help during the birth process.

Birthing pools are popular among women looking to have natural births. The transition into water is a little easier on the baby, and there are a number of benefits to the mom. Talk to your labor team about the possibility of doing a water birth if you think you’d be interested.

Make Mental Preparations

Preparing yourself mentally for a natural childbirth is important to helping you have a successful one. Part of this is the research we mentioned earlier; the more you know, the better you’ll be able to prepare.

But another part of this is knowing what not to pay attention to and keeping a positive mindset.

When you’re preparing for a natural labor, you want to keep a positive mindset. If your best friend had an awful birth experience, this may not be the time to ask her to recount the story again.

Surround yourself with positive stories and practice repeating positive affirmations to yourself.

Stay at Home Longer

One tip to have a successful natural delivery is to stay at home as long as possible. Once contractions start, if there are medical staff around encouraging you to take an epidural, you may find it tempting to give up.

But if your labor is well underway when you get to the hospital, you’re more likely to stick to your birth plan.

Walk around, have a snack, sit in a hot bath, and stay hydrated while you’re at home. Once your contractions are less than five minutes apart, it’s time to head to the hospital.

And, of course, if anything feels wrong during the course of your labor, get to the hospital immediately; if your body is telling you something is wrong, you should listen.

Remember the Goal

When you make a birth plan, it’s easy to get caught up in how important it is for you to stick to this plan. You’ve envisioned how you want things to go, and you may be certain everything is going to be perfect.

But labor is unpredictable, and things may not always go to plan.

It’s important to remember the goal of your labor: to bring a healthy baby into the world in the safest way for you. At the end of the day, the decisions you make regarding your birth should be focused on that goal.

And if things go sideways during your labor, remember, your safety and your baby’s health are more important than a perfect birth. 

Learn More About Natural Birth

Natural birth is a challenging, powerful process, and it can be a transformative experience. If it’s something you’re considering, make sure to get all the information you can ahead of time.

That way, you’ll be prepared when your water breaks and your baby is on the way.

If you’d like to learn more about all things pregnancy, visit the rest of our site at Pregnancy + Health. We have articles on conception, pregnancy, week-by-week guides, and more. Check out our articles about birth today.

About the author

Stephanie McClane

Hi, I’m Stephanie. I graduated college with a business degree and a minor in biology. I met my husband at a business convention and was happily marriage and pregnant within the first two years after saying the words “ I do”.

Jennifer is the eldest of the three. Being pregnant with her, my first, I researched everything pregnancy related and read nearly every book. Giving birth to Anthony and Matty seemed more natural and less stressful the third time around.

I’m happy to share what knowledge I have gathered and learn new things from other mothers. From morning sickness to Anencephaly, or potty training to thumb sucking, I have books and resource guides to share.