4 things you know if you’re considering giving birth naturally. Tips from a two time natural birth mama who never believed she couldn’t do it.
I am passionate about natural, un-medicated birth. I’ve had two babies naturally, and yes, I do mean without drugs. The biggest struggle I encountered when sharing my natural birth plans was the lack of support. It’s really easy to do research to determine what kind of birth you feel is the best fit for you. But, it’s not so easy to find real support. I had to do a lot of reading, watching videos, and convincing my husband to take a natural childbirth class. Doctors want to make you think your pregnancy and child birth are events that should be highly managed. Their insistence perpetuates a sense, in many women, that they’re incapable of giving birth naturally. I was often met with (hopefully unintentional) undermining comments like “you’ll change your mind when you’re in labor” from friends and family members.
For the purposes of this post, when I mention natural birth, I’m considering natural in the sense that we exclude medical induction, epidural or other pain relieving drugs, or interventions. My aim is to help you get past any doubts in your mind. Whether doubts were placed there, or you’re just a new mom who isn’t sure, I want to change that for you. If you’re truly interested in not taking an epidural during labor and giving birth naturally, I want to help you. Will you let me point you in the right direction?
Why I Chose Natural Childbirth
When I was young, I thought I wouldn’t want to suffer through childbirth. Suffer. Television had a negative effect on my perception of childbirth for as long as I could remember. As I got older, I realized I had a fear of needles that greatly outweighed necessity. I didn’t want to get stitches in my arm that had been sliced open with a box cutter because I didn’t want to get a shot. (There’s no special story there – except those box cutters don’t retract if your thumb doesn’t KNOW to retract).
Years down the road, my fear of needles catapulted me on a journey to learn about natural childbirth. The thought of having a large needle jammed into my back was terrifying. Yes, I know they’re not actually going to stab me maliciously. I also didn’t say my fear of needles was rational.
The more I learned about the benefits of a drug-free birth, the more I began to realize incentive wasn’t simply to escape the big, scary needle. Then, I survived, if you will, two natural childbirths. Being able to convince my husband it was the right move for us was also a huge success story of its own. And, my passion for natural childbirth grew after having each baby. And, though I’m finished having babies, it doesn’t mean I can’t help to inspire and encourage other women, like yourself, to succeed at giving birth naturally.
Talking to a couple, last year about the wife’s plan to birth naturally was an enjoyable experience. My husband and I discussed our experiences, and shared how important his role was in our success. When my husband came home to tell me she did it, I literally got chills. And, rare as it is, I got a little teary-eyed.
Your journey to giving birth naturally
I have two suggestions, and I’m not sure which I consider more important than the other. I believe both of the following resources played equal parts in helping me to understand how inappropriately the medical community treats pregnancy and childbirth.
- Watch videos like The Business of Being Born. I highly recommend this documentary which helps you to understand the cycle of interventions that hospitals use to “manage” labor and childbirth.
- Read books about natural childbirth. My favorite book was [easyazon_link identifier=”0399525173″ locale=”US” nw=”y” nf=”y” tag=”ivsvabasaan0a-20″ cart=”y” localize=”y” popups=”y”]The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth[/easyazon_link] by Henci Goer. This book thoroughly details the cycle of interventions and really explains how one intervention directly impacts you and/or the baby, which likely causes the next.
- Take a natural birth class. I’ll reiterate this point again in the next part. But, a highly pro-natural childbirth class should educate you and your support person on the reasons why you shouldn’t opt for medical intervention. A really good instructor will tell you what doctors want you to know vs. what is real. And, you should learn some really good tactics for pain management without medication.
Arm yourself with as much information as possible. Education is going play a big part in your success. Not the only part.
People naturally wonder about your birth plans. It’s weird how much people want to know when you’re pregnant. And, I feel like most people ask because they want to give you their horror stories or undermine your decision. Maybe I only feel that way because most people didn’t understand natural childbirth themselves.
Even with all your research and determination, you will need support. I don’t recommend relying on someone who hasn’t experienced a natural birth, or someone who isn’t willing to learn about it.
- Overcome your fear of labor. Speak with others about positive natural birth stories, take a birth class, and have support. Your fears and doubts about your abilities will be self-fulfilled if you don’t conquer them before.
- Take a birth class. Not just any birth class! Find one that is VERY pro-natural birth. The one we took locally was taught by a woman who had 4 natural births but had also been a nurse. She was able to give us the run-down on what the medical community will tell you, and what is real. The most amazing thing to me is that she endured a Pitocin induced labor without the aid of drugs to make it through it.
- Your birth support person. This person is going to get you through your labor. I recommend a doula, especially for first timers. For my first birth, my husband was the main support and my doula helped both of us. The second time around, however, I needed only my husband. He’d been through the natural child birth class and he was strong enough to know that no matter how much I begged for drugs, he wouldn’t let me have them. Not for torture, but because he knew I’d be disappointed in myself when it was over. Additionally, this person needs to be able to talk to doctors on your behalf. You must trust that your support person has been educated and will respect your wishes.
- Let people know how to support you. Share this post to let friends and family know how they should support your birth plan. Of course, telling them what you feel you need is totally acceptable.
Strength and Giving Birth Naturally
Giving birth naturally isn’t all about how strong you are. Your pain tolerance will be tested. Sometime during your labor, you will more than likely begin to question whether or not you can do it without medication.
I can’t stress enough how important it is to remember
- The pain is temporary.
- This is a productive pain.
- Fear drives pain.
Your support person shouldn’t rescue you from the pains of labor. They are natural. Your body is doing exactly what it’s designed to do … deliver your baby. By tolerating the pain and getting through without drugs, you are allowing your body to do its natural exchange of hormones.
Your support person needs to encourage you. He or she needs to remind you of everything above and continue to express what a wonderful job you’re doing. Your support person should be your strength when you are feeling your weakest.Your labor support should be your strength when you feel weakest. #birth #labor #naturalbirth Click To Tweet
Results of Giving Birth Naturally
From my experience, achieving natural childbirth without the aid of drugs was the most empowering thing I’ve ever done for myself. I benefited greatly from this, but I wasn’t the only recipient of the rewards for this great achievement. Aside from the obvious benefits, these are the most notable in my mind:
- Short recovery time. The day after I had my first baby, I was begging to leave the hospital. I would have done the same with the birth of my second, but I wanted to spend the allowable days in the hospital being cared for instead of rushing back to work around a 5 year old and newborn.
- Empowerment. I solidified my belief that women’s bodies are amazing. A woman’s body is made for birth babies! Giving birth naturally in a hospital setting surprised the nurses in both my births. It doesn’t seem to be that common and I believe it’s good for the medical community to see that women are capable. And, it helps me to empower you to believe in yourself and your body.
- A deeper connection with your support person. In my case, I have a much stronger connection with my husband than I’ll ever have with another human being. Plus, I couldn’t imagine entrusting such a special event with anyone but him. He’s been through the only event in my life that I will not have shared with anyone, ever again. It was an intimate (not sexually) event that I believe made us a better team.
I would love for you to share your stories with me. Ask me questions. Comment here or send me a personal message, because natural birth is one of the things I truly enjoy talking about.
I hope, by sharing my stories, I can inspire you to consider natural childbirth for yourself.
Do you have any suggestions?
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Congratulations on your birth experiences. I’m so happy you were able to have the birth you wanted with support. I also think it’s really cool that you are able to help other women now, and educate them.
I always tell my husband I couldn’t have done it without him … and when we first started our parenting journey, he was all for whatever the doctor said. Our childbirth class changed his mind and made him the perfect partner for our birthing experience.
Thank you Shann!
Congratulations! Education is key. Just as parenting style is a personal choice, so it childbirth!
Thank you Debby. Education is so important in making decisions you feel right for you.
Love this! I wish I would have found this sooner! I agree, fear of pain is what drives us to ask for that medicine. I originally wanted a natural birth but as soon as I felt the pain, I felt fear and asked for it.
One Awesome Momma
I’m sorry Belle … I thought about writing it after my daughter was born, but waited until after I had my second baby. It wasn’t until the second baby was born that I realized how it was all relevant and similar, regardless of how different the labor process was.
I’m sure you had a wonderful birth story, still.
Thanks for stopping by 🙂
That’s great you were able to follow your plan. My health and both of my babies’ health more importantly gave me a different story.
In a future post, I’ll share how my son almost prevented me from sticking to the plan. I never stop counting my blessings that both went as planned as I never prepared myself for the possibility it didn’t. Oops 😐
I’m sure your birth stories are amazing 🙂
Great post! I really tried to have a completely natural birth and plan on trying again in the future.
Hi Millason, I hope you’re able to accomplish it in the future. Good luck 🙂
You have a lot of good information, it is very important to educate yourself before labor. I know there is a lot my doctor didn’t discuss and I wished I knew more. My fault for not doing research.
Don’t be so hard on yourself. Doctors just aren’t very pro-natural-birth. Heck, most Doctors aren’t very useful when you’re looking for ways to deal with things naturally.
Congratulations on making it through! I had very little in the way of intervention with our last one, but the first two….I wanted drugs. LOL! Anyone who can make it all the way through without anything, hats off to you!
Thank you. It’s no easy feat, and certainly wouldn’t have been able to do it without my husband’s support 🙂
I am so glad everything went well with you 🙂 🙂 and now you get to share your experiences and how important support is
Thanks for visiting. The funny thing is my husband is converted and got really excited about a friend’s wife’s recent natural birth. We sat down with the couple and my husband explained his side of it and how important it was for the man to be there. I’m really proud of my hubby for that 🙂
This is an awesome post for anyone considering a natural birth!! Thanks so much for writing this!
Thank you for stopping by. I hope it helps someone 🙂
I commend your decision to go natural and admire it. I had to be induced and she still didn’t want to come out…ended up having a C-section, but she here’s and she is my love!
Hi Casey, thanks for stopping by. Thank you for sharing your story. All that matters is that she’s here, right? 🙂
I had two natural births and it was important to me as well. I read lot’s of positive natural birth stories and really worked on my mindset.
Erin, congrats! I’m sure your birth stories were wonderful. I’m glad you were able to achieve them!!
Way to go! This is Such interesting information! Its so good to weigh the options!
Thank you Madi. I hope people find this information useful ?
Yes ma’am. Pain is temporary. When I had my last, it was too late for epidural. If really took a lot of prayers and grace of mental strength to get through. But, as soon as it happened it was amazing and I got to hold my little girl. Best feeling in the world and any “pain’ is forgotten. Love your post. Thanks for sharing it.
Thanks for stopping by and sharing your story Candace. What an amazing thing to accomplish unexpectedly.
Having been in that situation, are you glad you made it without or would have preferred to have had the epidural?
Thanks for the info! I totally agree that a good prep class is so important!!
I think the prep class was only extremely important to get my husband on board with the plan. At least, in my case ?
Having learned some coping techniques was very useful but wouldn’t have made a huge impact if he’d still pushed pain relief.
Great tips and I think it is really great that you share your story and offer natural birth advice to other moms!
Thank you. It’s important to me and I believe more women are capable than doctors would have them believe. I’d love nothing more than for future generations to reclaim a woman’s ability to birth without as much medical management. Women were made capable of birthing and we need to believe it again ?
In some non-western cultures women expect to have their babies without pain and joyfully and, as a result, they usually do. In cultures where this expectation is absent having babies is all too often a very unpleasant experience. Natural childbirth is SAFE – because it is aware-mother SELF-Managed. Self-Aware birthing mothers relax sufficiently to let mother nature get on with the birthing process without any unnecessary fear-caused tension.
As a result, truly natural childbirth is entirely self-managed by mothers – even first time mothers – because, being educated in nature’s true intent and design, they can feel, and they know, what is happening, as it happens and what their job is at every moment! Humans, like other so called ‘higher’ mammals, are designed to learn many life skills from their elders who have ‘been-there-done-that’! This especially applies when we have babies. Unfortunately most of our elders have lost the knowledge.
Natural childbirth is very often largely, and sometimes even entirely, pain free. The need for even the most minimal use of drugs or repairs to tears is very rare. Blood loss after natural birthing is far less than is our normal experience.
Ideally the birthing environment is father or partner protected and family, friends and community supported.
Thank you so much for your thoughtful comment. My first wasn’t painful, just an exhausting 26+HR marathon. My second was 13 days late because he’d gotten stuck on a bone … it was painful, but I believe my body went into overdrive to get him out quickly once I got him unstuck ?
I can attest to not having anyone in my family or my husband’s who could pass down their wisdom to help me through a natural birth. I hope to be able to be more supportive to my daughter, should she choose to have children in the future.
After giving birth I almost felt like I could have done it without drugs. Lol
I admire those who can give birth naturally. I ended up having C-sections!
Hi. I will be giving birth in june and I m all in for natural childbirth ,no drugs, no needles.. but I m worried about tearing… or the need to cut me. The need to cut I think it s just an escape for the doctor to help you deliver faster.. how can I prevent tearing ? I m plus size.. so I guess that changes things.. 🙁
I wouldn’t even begin to believe a woman’s size has anything to do with birth or tearing. I recommend putting your size out of the picture altogether and focus solely on birthing being what our bodies were made capable of doing.
I didn’t do anything while I was pregnant to prevent tearing. But, if you feel strongly about it, my suggestions to prevent tearing are as follows:
Practice perineal massage, eat healthy and stay active, remind yourself to stay calm and don’t force pushing if you’re not feeling it. Positioning will play a good part in your ability to push baby effectively as well.
Do not let your doctor cut! A cut could actually increase the severity of a tear. If you do tear naturally, it likely wouldn’t be as bad and recovery should be fairly quick. A doctor can perform perineal massage or help aide in stretching during birth to help reduce your chances of tearing.
Think of a cut this way – uncut skin will stretch as much as possible. But, as with anything, a cut is a weak point, so instead of stretching, there’s a cut ready to expand.
This site offers great suggestions for your question: https://www.bellybelly.com.au/birth/tearing-during-birth/
I had superficial tears as a result of both births and never felt them during the birthing process. The amazing thing about a natural birth is that you allow your body to orchestrate all it’s own hormones, including it’s ability to ease your pain.
Thank you for stopping by and asking such a great question. I love birth talk – if you need a chat, you can email me ?
I like your tip to take a childbirth class. Knowledge is power. Also, knowing about the process could demystify it and make it less scary.
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