This post may contain affiliate links. To read all about my full disclosure policy, click here.
So you’re thinking about having a natural childbirth but have no idea where to start?
Well, I’ve put together three big tips for getting started on your journey to natural childbirth.
I’m a big fan of birth. Like, I enjoy watching birth videos and cry at almost each one. I haven’t always been this way. In fact, I was totally convinced that I would want an epidural as soon as I got to the hospital, regardless of how dilated I was. Then I got pregnant with my daughter. About halfway through my pregnancy, my type-A personality said it was time to start thinking about delivery.
I stumbled across a couple of articles about having a natural childbirth in a hospital and then I came to the holy grail of natural childbirth. The Business of Being Born. This documentary totally changed how I looked at birth. If you are considering a natural childbirth, you should absolutely start here. This documentary made me realize that birth was important to me and how I birthed my baby mattered.
I’m so grateful I chose this path for delivery. It was the most amazing experience. I felt like a rock star after giving birth to my daughter. The high you get after giving birth naturally is like no other feeling. I remember telling my husband right after our daughter was born that I wanted that experience again.
(1) Commit & learn
Once you decide on having a natural childbirth, commit. Commit like you have never committed before. Join Facebook groups for natural childbirth, watch YouTube videos of birth, read child stories, find childbirth classes in your community or online, and read books. If your mindset is fully on having a natural childbirth, you are more likely to succeed. Plus, all these resources will give you a broad view at all the variations of normal.
You will quickly realize that birth is nothing like what is shown in movies or on TV. I bet anytime you have seen a birth on TV it’s been loud and hectic and it probably scared the crap out of you. That is totally how I felt until I started doing my own research.
During my first pregnancy, I had done so much research that I didn’t find the childbirth class informative at all. That was my personal type-A goal. I wanted to know everything about labor and delivery. If I knew what was happening every step of the way, there wouldn’t be any surprises to throw me for a loop and scare me. Being scared can stall your labor. On the other hand, being prepared allows you the freedom to enjoy and live in the moment when in labor. This might sound weird now, but during labor you are going to have to focus and allow yourself to give in to the process. You won’t be able to do this if you are worried or scared at every contraction.
(2) Get out of the hospital
I personally believe having a natural childbirth is easier to accomplish if you get out of the hospital. This is two-fold. First, there was an article recently that gained some traction about the maternal death rate in the United States. While other developed countries maternal death rates are on decline, the U.S. rates are going up. So much of the delivery experience focuses on baby and it’s clear that this has caused a problem.
The second reason is for what’s called the cascade of interventions. This can start with the induction of your labor (with synthetic chemical compounds), then breaking your water, Pitocin, an epidural because Pitocin contractions are like contractions on crack, restricted to bed because of the epidural, then more Pitocin because laying flat on your back is not conducive to labor, and finally a c-section because you either didn’t progress enough or because the cracked out Pitocin contractions put your baby in distress.
Outside of a hospital you will get your prenatal care with a midwife. The midwifery model of care is based on education and thinking of birth as a natural process. If you will be delivering in a hospital; understand this model, live it, and take it with you into the hospital.
When I was thinking about having a natural birth, I was still being seen by my usual OB. When I mentioned natural childbirth, I had TWO staff members make some off-handed remark along the lines of “oh, you just wait until you’re in labor, you’ll want the epidural”. Um… Really?!?! That mindset is not what you want around when you want a natural childbirth.
I suggest having a home birth or birthing at a birth center. With my daughter, we birthed at a birth center because the tiny apartment where we were living at the time was ugly. Plus I wanted to have luxurious surroundings and bonus: my birthing room had a giant tub!
I know getting out of the hospital isn’t an option for everyone but if you can make it work, I highly recommend it. If you will be delivering in the hospital, the other two points here are especially important.
(3) Create a kick ass birth team
Your birth team should include at a very minimum your midwife and her assistant and your very supportive partner. I would also recommend your very supportive best friend, sister, and/or mother. Finally, I’ve heard wonderful things about having a very supportive doula at your labor. This was never in the cards for us but I know people who swear by them.
Do you see the trend there? Your birth team should all be there to support you. Feel free to kick out and/or throat punch whomever is not serving your best birthing interests. Giving birth is hard work. You need people who will support your decision to have a natural birth. It’s totally normal for there to be the initial shock of having an out of hospital birth but those people should ultimately support the crap out of you.
If you will be delivering in a hospital, your birth team will be your advocates while you are focusing on labor. It helps to have a birth plan written up with your wishes and desires clearly stated.
If you have any questions, feel free to email me or leave a comment below. Like I said, I love birth and I’m not shy at all in talking about it.