A friend of mine, Joanne, shares her experience of. Read how it was a life changing experience for her.
ME: Joanne. Can you tell us how you came to your decision to opt for a natural birth?
JOANNE: I told my grandmother that I was going to do it the old fashioned way, and she said to me that there was nothing more incredible than giving birth naturally.
ME: What are your views of life in general and how did this affect your decision?
I am ateacher, I practice , I eat organic foods and I believe in supporting things naturally such as childbirth without intervention. It’s something that women’s bodies are designed to do.
Prenatal yoga is an amazing way to open up and prepare a woman’s body in the natural ways that it opens up during. I had prepared as well for my delivery with a birth plan. This means that you can write about everything that you desire for your birth process and everything that you don’t want also! If you have a preference for listening to music in the labor room then you can specify this. If you would rather not have trainee doctors and nurses present then you can also stipulate this in your birth plan.
The actual day of my delivery was an amazing and intense experience. I was sort of in labor 24 hours earlier but they weren’t really true contractions and then they went away. So I knew they weren’t the real thing yet. Then that night I went to bed and woke up at about 4.00 AM and for sure, I was having real contractions.
They were very intense to start off with. It wasn’t as if they started slowly and then suddenly became intense. They were already intense contractions. And then at about 8.00 AM I knew it was time to go to the hospital. My midwife was there and she stayed with me the whole time during Labor. She was giving me massages. She was giving me baths. She was helping me walk around.
So by the time it was midday things were getting close. My midwife then said to me that it was probably just about time to start pushing. Then my water broke and the baby dropped down into the birthing canal. Then I started pushing, and half an hour later my baby girl was born.
It was exactly how I expectedto go. It was just what I hoped it would and could be. It was a really warm and welcoming introduction to motherhood and the new life of my baby. And I would therefore do a natural childbirth again and recommend it to anybody as long as they prepared correctly.”
What We can Learn from Joanne
Joanne story brings up a great question that a lot of women in pregnancy have and that is whether or not to attempt a natural childbirth. Up to about 10 per cent of women will opt to give birth naturally, and most of them have successful and positive experiences.
In terms of Joanne, one of the important aspect she brought out in her own experience is the importance of being fit during pregnancy. The fact that she is a yoga instructor and able to do a lot of stretching exercises and a lot of exercises for the whole body was really beneficial in terms of the entire labor process and the success of labor. And so when you’re going into natural childbirth you’re going to be using a lot more energy, so being fit and being prepared for that is crucial.
Mental Preparation for Natural Childbirth
Another aspect of Joanne’s own experience that was very important was being mentally prepared as well as physically prepared. It’s not something that women can go into lightly, or at the last minute decide they want to have a natural childbirth. So going in ahead of time and preparing for the whole process of a drug free delivery is very important. Options would include Lamaze at a minimum in terms of learning breathing techniques, relaxation techniques etc.
A more intensive type of natural childbirth preparation is the Bradley method which some women may be interested in looking into.
Using Water and Massage
The use of water can bring great relief during the process of natural labour and delivery. Jacuzzis are a great method for natural childbirth, in terms of allowing muscles to relax, and allowing the abdomen to float in the water a little can take pressure off the muscles.
Having a partner there or someone who can help you relax and give you massages and helping with positioning throughout the process can be very helpful.
In terms of other areas of support during natural childbirth, Joanne had a midwife who was able to stay with her throughout the delivery and labor process. So it is important to check with your care provider to determine how they manage the labor process. Are they managing both labour and the clinic at the same time – will it be mostly a nurse that is with you in that particular practice most of the time or is there someone that is dedicated and able to stay in the labor room throughout the whole time? If your primary provider is not going to be with you at all times, a partner, family member or close friend is important.
Another option can be a, which is a person that is specifically trained for coaching and helping people focus to the labour process. There have been studies that demonstrate that the presence of a doula during childbirth has actually decreased section rates. So they can be a big benefit.