I want to first state that my intention for advocating a natural childbirth is to empower and educate women. I know that not every person will feel the way that I do and that is OK. I also realize that sometimes natural childbirth just can’t happen for a variety of different reasons and there is absolutely no reason any mom should feel bad or ashamed about that. And, sometimes things don’t go as planned, and we have to accept that because giving birth to a healthy baby should be the number one priority for all parents. With that being said, I want to share my birthing stories with you in the hopes that you may learn something about natural childbirth and not be afraid of it.
With my first pregnancy, I didn’t start by planning to have a natural childbirth. I started seeing an obstetrician until about the middle of my pregnancy, then switched over to a midwife. I was planning on having a typical birth (at least, for women in the US) at a regular hospital with an epidural. I had done zero research on the pros and cons of getting an epidural at the time. Read more about the pros and cons of getting an epidural during childbirth.
After taking a birthing class, I learned just how many interventions are pushed on a woman during labor and delivery. Expectant mothers are taught to be afraid of giving birth and have resorted to giving their power away by letting doctors make all of the decisions for them. Childbirth is a natural event, not a medical condition, unless of course there really is an underlying medical issue with the mother or the baby. But in more cases than not, women are able to give birth naturally and without any medical interventions.
I recommend watching “The Business of Being Born” if you can. It’s a documentary that examines how the American health care system approaches childbirth. A birth in the US typically involves hospitals, drugs and obstetricians, while births in many other countries utilize midwives.
I heard stories about women who developed back problems because of the epidurals, and I learned how the epidurals often lead to C-sections. It seems like all the drugs that are given to women during a “typical” labor create a domino effect. One drug leads to another, and another. I didn’t want my entire lower body to be so numb that I couldn’t tell what I was doing. I was afraid I would end up needing a C-section, which happens more times than it should. I was also concerned about the fact that C-sections increase risks for mothers and infants. This concern inspired me to read some books about natural childbirth and try to learn as much as I possibly could. If so many women in the past have been able to give birth without any drugs, then why couldn’t I do it too?
I found the idea of natural childbirth very empowering and wanted to give it a try, but I had many naysayers trying to convince me how wonderful epidurals really are and how crazy I was to even WANT to have a drug free birth. I learned as much as I could about what happens to a women’s body during pregnancy and what to expect during labor. During both pregnancies I ate a healthy diet, did some light yoga, and stayed as optimistic as I could about natural childbirth.
I wanted to make sure that I would stay calm and relaxed during labor, so I looked into the different methods that women have used to help them have a successful natural childbirth. With my first pregnancy, my husband and I learned The Bradley Method, which is a husband (or partner) coached childbirth. It taught me how to use deep breathing and relaxation and how to trust my own body to give birth. You can read my birthing story here.
With my second pregnancy, I did a home based study course, called Hypnobabies, which taught me self-hypnosis techniques for blocking off labor pain and helped my body progress really quickly. It was an amazing experience and you can read about it here.
I really wanted to have a water birth, but I could not find a hospital or birthing center in my area that allowed them. I was a little too afraid to have a home birth just in case something went wrong, so finding a facility with labor tubs was a good compromise for me. There is just something about being in water that instantly makes me feel better. Read more about the benefits of water during labor.
Natural childbirth has been a very empowering and life changing experience for me. Afterwards, I felt that I could do anything I set my mind to. I also believe that if I could do it, then more women should be able to do it too. I feel so passionate about it that I want to help and inspire more expecting parents to keep natural childbirth as an option.
Even though I am a big supporter of natural childbirth, I don’t recommend planning a natural childbirth without first doing the work and research that should be done to make sure it is a success. You need to learn what your body does and what you should expect during pregnancy and labor. You should also learn ways to focus and redirect the pain of childbirth. It will take some work on your part, but it’s worth it. And last but not least, women cannot feel their strength unless they feel safe and supported, nurtured, and trusting of their own body’s ability. A women’s body is designed for birthing and we need to trust our bodies to be able to do it. My hope is that through this blog, I can help give mothers that are considering natural birth the information and confidence they need to make it a success.
I would LOVE to hear about your natural childbirth experience! If you want to share anything, or just ask a question, PLEASE do! And thanks for reading.
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