8 Simple Steps to Prepare for a Natural Birth
Today I want to talk about some simple, actionable steps that will support you in preparing for a natural birth.
Birth is a very individual thing; and you should birth the way, YOU feel most comfortable with!! If you want to try any sort of natural, I hope that this post helps you!
What are the Benefits of a Natural Birth?
First off, as stated before, birth is envisioned differently for everyone, and that is OK! However it is important that BIRTH itself is a NATURAL process; our bodies have been doing this since the beginning of time. Our society has evolved in many different ways and currently it is back to embracing the power of the female body and all that it is capable of. Every year in the U.S., over 80% of women have an epidural during labor and over 30% of women give birth via cesarean. Going NATURAL seems to have been lost in the shuffle.
- Labor is often shorter.
When labor is interfered with pain medication or other labor inducing drugs, it interferes with the bodies natural process to labor; which will slow contractions down and misguide the mothers process of feeling the birth. Giving birth naturally allows a mother to work with the rhythm of their body which typically results in a shorter labor.
- Breastfeeding is typically easier
Once your baby is born, and if you plan to breastfeed they will typically latch on quite quickly. If a mother has taken pain medication this is passed down to the baby and latching can be more of an issue.
- Faster Recovery Time
Women who labor and birth naturally typically feel much better after the baby comes out. They can stand to go to the bathroom, & shower as desired. During labor your body releases natural endorphins which is calming and relieves pain believe it or not. Women how have medication in their system may not be able to walk or pee on their own for hours and the drugs interfere with the natural endorphin release.
- Increased Connection
When a woman chooses a natural birth, she is able to connect and feel her body on a much deeper level. This allows her to connect with the experience and bond with the baby in a different way than a mother who may choose to utilize pain medication because the senses become dulled.
- Natural Childbirth is Empowering
Women who choose natural childbirth without medical intervention experience empowerment and confidence. It gives women the confidence that they can overcome any challenge in their life. All birth is beautiful and not all plans go according to plan. If you plan for a natural birth, but something comes up remember the safety of you and baby are most important. Your medical team knows best!
How can I increase my chances of having a natural birth? How can I prepare my body for a natural birth?
Having the mindset of wanting a natural birth is the best place to start! Setting up a birth plan with your OB, birth care providers and loved ones is also essential so they know what your wishes are. There might be times during the labor process that you feel called to go outside of this area so it’s important to have someone remind you; of course again it is up to you! You can also research further several of the methods I mention below to prepare your mind and body for the birth process.
- Stay Active During Pregnancy:
Staying active, fit and strong is essential to do during pregnancy. Preparing your body for the athletic event that labor and birth will do wonders. Many women today do not realize that birthing a baby is considered an athletic event. Being physically prepared to meet the demands of contractions and pushing is essential. Read more about my Strong For Birth program.
- Pelvic Floor Awareness:
Understanding the role of your pelvic floor during pregnancy, labor and after baby is not discussed enough. I didn’t even know WHAT my pelvic floor WAS during my first pregnancy!
I only became aware of it because of the issues I started experiencing down there. Understanding how to strengthen & relax this muscle is ideal because this is the muscle responsible for opening up in order to allow your baby to pass through.
- Deep Core Strengthening:
Strengthening your inner most core muscle, known as your Transversus Abdominis is actually the muscle that supports in pushing your out. Again, this is not discussed in your Baby Birth Class 101 (if it is yes!). Knowing how to activate this muscle and build strength throughout your pregnancy is going to help you during the pushing phase of labor and achieve that natural labor success.
Take my Free Core Foundations Course to understand the fundamentals in this process & gain access to core safe workouts!
- Third Trimester Supplements:
A few supplements that can be taken during the late trimester are:
Raspberry Leaf Tea: This supports your uterus by toning and preparing for the changes that take place during pregnancy and after.
Primrose Oil: This should only be taken 35 weeks on; you can ingest orally and in the last two weeks or so of your pregnancy you can place inside your vagina cavity, it is known to help soften the cervix which will reduce tearing (I am not a medical professional be sure to ask your doctor/midwife before starting any of these)
Dates & Pineapple: Foods that have been known to help soften the cervix, again, take that in strides there is no concrete evidence here but if it will put you in a more positive mindset about your upcoming birth than do it!
How can I increase my chances of having a natural birth, What are some Natural labor techniques?
There are several different ways that you can use in order to better prepare your mind and body for a natural birth. (I digress..but every time I write natural birth, I chuckle because birth IS natural)
Birth is not a one size fit all, so using ONE specific method and only focusing on that one method is going to leave you empty handed. Research a few of them; do what makes you feel comfortable and leave it at that! Remember this is YOUR birth!
The Alexander Technique:
The Alexander Technique is a method to feel better, and more in a more relaxed way, the way nature intended. It was not specifically designed for labor and birth however the technique of proper breathing and relaxing is incredibly helpful during labor. This method supports you in understanding how to relax, let go and manage the pain rather than eliminate it and wish it away.
The Bradley Method:
The Bradley Method was developed by Dr. Robert Bradley in the late 1940’s and it has helped millions of women experience an unmedicated birth. Through this method you learn how to tune into your body, the anatomy of your body as it goes through these changes as well as positions that will ease labor pains and prepare you for the different stages of labor. The Bradley method values the importance of your partner during the birthing process as well as focusing heavily on prenatal nutrition and exercise in order to keep you healthy & strong throughout your pregnancy.
Hypnobirthing was developed in the 1940’s by Dr. Grantly Dick-Read. He pioneered the use of hypnosis during labor to bring a woman into a state of total relaxation in which her muscles can function according to the way they were designed. Women have been successful with this method have reported calm, aware and a sense of control and relaxation. The method focuses on breathing, relaxation, visualization, meditative practice, attention to nutrition and positive body toning.
Lamaze was first developed by Dr. Ferdinand Lamaze in Russia. His method utilizes distraction during contractions to decrease the perception of pain and reduce the discomfort. Through this technique you and your partner will learn controlled deep breathing, massage, concentration and how to maintain control in a way that allows your body to go through the process of labor and delivery naturally.
Water birthing is the process of giving birth in a warm tub of water. Many women choose to labor in water and get out for the actual birth, yet many women also give birth directly in the water. Birthing in water decreases pressure on the woman’s body during labor and since the baby has been in amniotic fluid for nine months, birthing in a similar environment is gentler on the baby when it comes out. Many of the above mentioned breathing techniques are paired with a water birth which enhances a positive birth experience for mother, baby and family.
Should I have a natural birth? Or Can I have a natural birth?
As long as you have a normal, healthy pregnancy than yes of course you can have a natural birth! Remember that birth IS natural! Always discuss with your health care provider your desires/needs goals are for you birth so they are aware and use the information provided for you here to learn methods of support during the birth process. Birth IS not easy by any means. However millions of women all over the world give birth every day.
It is a totally doable task and when you prepare your mind and body for the events that will take place you will be more prepared and ready for the process. Our bodies are quite amazing; yet in today’s society we really do not stop and think enough of how capable it really is. You have to remember your body is growing life, literally growing hands, eyes, toes, a genetic blueprint, a DNA makeup that has never been created before. It is doing ALL of this with honestly not much extra effort on your part. So yes my friend, you CAN have a natural birth and I’m here cheering for you every step of the way.