I try my best to live the healthiest and most natural lifestyle I can, so when I found I was pregnant I knew right away that I wanted to have a natural birth. Women have been giving birth naturally since the beginning of history. Our bodies are made for it, so I figured I should just trust my body.
After my positive pregnancy test, I immediately went to the library and checked out all of the pregnancy books that I could find. I quickly realized that I had a lot to learn about childbirth. There are so many options and choices varying from where to labor, positions to labor in, and people to choose to be in the room with you. The first step is erasing the Hollywood created image of the woman lying on her back angrily screaming from my head and becoming familiar with words like doula and midwife.
I am about halfway through my first pregnancy and working through the details of my birthing plan. Some of my friends and family are a little uncertain about the fact that my plan is free of pain medications and other medical interventions. When I first made the decision to have a normal, evidence-based childbirth (also known as an unmedicated birth or “natural” birth), I didn’t know all of the advantages. After a little research I know that decision is right for me.
Here’s what I hope to gain from my natural birth experience:
- Empowerment and confidence— I want to be an active participant in charge of the decision making process. I know I can do it (with the loving support of my birthing team) because women’s bodies are designed to give birth.
- Shorter labor— Being drug-free means you can be more in tune with your body’s natural rhythm and be able to listen as your body tells you what to do.
- Learning from pain— Pain has a purpose. The pain may be your body telling you to relax or that you need to change to a position more comfortable for you and baby.
- Little or no need of interventions—Plans can change and we will do what is best for the baby, but having a natural birthing experience decreases the chance of needing a c-section or the use of forceps or vacuum.
- A healthy, alert baby— That’s the end goal, right? When the mother is on pain medications, so is the baby. Naturally birthed babies tend to be more alert and show more interest in breastfeeding sooner than babies delivered by a mother on an epidural.
Want to know more about natural childbirth options and benefits? Here’s what I’m reading:
The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Natural Childbirth by Jennifer L. West , LM, CPM, HBCE, and Deborah S. Romaine
The Birth Book: Everything You Need to Know to Have a Safe and Satisfying Birth by William Sears, M.D. and Martha Sears, R.N.
Birthing a Better Way: 12 Secrets for Natural Childbirth by Kalena Cook and Margaret Christensen, M.D.
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