The goal of any mother is to deliver a healthy baby. But to give their baby additional advantages, many mothers choose to experience a natural birth. That is one free from surgical procedures or drugs. A natural delivery is reported to be healthier for both the mother and child by reducing the amount of interference in what has always been a natural process.
Why Natural Birth?
Those who support an intervention free birth plan feel strongly that a baby should be born vaginally without being subjected to drugs or foreign substances that pass through the mother’s blood stream into the baby’s. Granted, very few mothers would put their baby at risk if there was a complication or emergency, but in the majority of deliveries, going without medical intervention is purely the decision of the mother with the father’s support.
Having a baby via caesarean is major abdominal surgery for the mother and puts the baby at increased risk of difficulty breathing. Fluid is not pressed out of the lungs in the baby and some have difficulty breathing following birth. The anaesthesia required for the surgery can be a risk for the baby as well. Spinal and epidurals shouldn’t pass on to the baby, but general anaesthesia, if it is required, can.
Mothers who elect an epidural will not be free to move throughout labour and sometimes can’t feel to push making it harder to actually deliver the baby putting it at risk. Epidurals are also a procedure that can affect the mother adversely on rare occasion also putting the baby at risk. Any pain medication used through an IV or injected locally can travel to the baby through the blood stream.
Pitocin and other induction methods bring on labour before the body and possibly the baby is ready to deliver. This means labour is often longer and more intense than it would be otherwise possibly bringing harm to the unborn baby. With the vast number of medical interventions possible today, relatively few women elect to have a birth without any, but those who are able to do so report the experience as one of the finest of their lives.
Preparing for Natural Birth
While it is possible to have a baby without intervention of preparation of any kind, most mothers anticipating natural birth take classes on breathing techniques and relaxation methods they can use during labour. They might also learn movements and techniques to help progress labour and bring the baby down into the birth canal naturally.
While you can easily have a baby without intervention at a hospital, most hospital births involve intervention of some kind, so it may be harder to turn away the good intention of a nurse or doctor who keeps offering you pain relief – whether you want it or not. Birthing centres and midwives specialize in natural labour and delivery. Arranging your delivery at one of these locations might make the experience simpler just by removing temptation and letting your care be handled by those trained and proficient in natural delivery.
The Natural Birth
Most mothers who plan on delivering naturally do much of their early labour at home. Once you are at the hospital or birthing centre, you will not be as comfortable, but you will have professionals should you need them. Labour as long as you like at home, but don’t wait too long – natural births in the car are not desired by anyone.
Hopefully your partner is on board with the natural birth idea because you’ll need him for support during the process. Your partner should be your liaison between you and the medical staff, and his job will entail fending off those good natured nurses with their pain meds or opinions on natural child birth. He might also have to fend off mothers with their opinions as well.
Use the techniques you learned in birthing classes as you move from early labor to more active labor. Move as much as possible to stimulate contractions and find a comfortable place to work through the worst of it. A bath or shower might help to relieve some of the pain as might walking, rocking or sitting on a birthing ball. Be sure the baby is monitored frequently and rest as much as possible between contractions.
Lean on your partner for support during transition and delivery. It will be painful as child birth has always been, but visualization, breathing and other techniques will help you get through the most painful time until you’re able to greet your baby with the knowledge you’ve done everything you can to give her the finest start to life.