Before you go into labor, your preparation for a natural birth begins. In fact, they may begin even before you conceive! Preparation means arming yourself with knowledge through research and knowing your options. Here are some tips on how you can prepare for natural childbirth.
You Can’t Know Too Much
As you research the stories of women who had terrible birth experiences, you will probably find this common thread: ignorance. These women lament how they “just didn’t know” or that “no one told them” what to expect. This is why it’s vital to learn everything you can about the birth process, and from a variety of sources.
If you already know you want a natural childbirth, then look at books and websites that are supportive of this choice. Learn about the physical process of birth – how it happens, what happens, and so forth. Also read up on the immediate hours following birth, an area many women forget about in their research. You will want to make sure those precious hours are protected so that you can give your baby the best possible entrance into the world.
Avoid Frustrating Confrontations
You may not have the option of surrounding yourself with naturally-minded healthcare professionals during your pregnancy. If this is the case, you might want to perfect the “smile and nod” method of interacting with traditional OBs. Just remember that your doctor is not infallible, and you still have a choice. After you “smile and nod,” just go home and research what he or she said yourself and make your decision.
Everything from glucose tests to labor induction can be questioned, researched, and opted out of. It might help to bring copies of your latest research and respectfully explain to your OB why you have chosen to forego a particular procedure or method. Some OBs have ended up supporting women who’ve done good research to back up their choices.
Learning to Cope
Going in prepared is key to coping with your labor experience. Understand natural pain relief exercises you can do and visualization exercises during labor. One of the most important things to remember is that your body is designed to give birth – those sensations you feel that can seem so overwhelming are your body doing its job! Try to relax and let it do its work.
Work with your body rather than tensely fighting against it. Some midwives describe this as “welcoming” or “embracing” the pain, as a welcome sign that the baby is on its way and the labor is moving along.
Have a Birth Plan
Begin by writing out your entire plan, then tweak it, taking out unnecessary points and emphasizing important ones. This plan may end up being viewed by you alone, or you may have it reviewed by your OB. If you are in a situation where you see multiple OBs, such as at a military hospital, you can bring this plan along for each OB to review. The important thing is for you to know your plan thoroughly and share it with whom you think needs to be in on it.