Everything you need to know to prepare for a natural birth
If you're in your late pregnancy or even just thinking about having a baby; one of the things that are definitely on your mind is the delivery.
Several women nowadays give birth with medication or have a cesarean; it might not have crossed your mind to have a completely natural birth.
You might even think it's pre-science and old-fashioned or the image that will come to your mind is that of a midwife in an old Victorian home, but that's not all true.
Why natural birth is good for you?
Natural birth actually has a lot of benefits, including:
1. Labor is usually shorter and easier:
Using pain relief methods during labor and delivery. For example, epidurals usually interfere with the body's natural hormones, which help build up contractions until the pushing phase.
Epidurals numb your whole lower body so you can't feel the right time to push and enough strength to help the baby out slows down the labor and makes it harder.
2. Better connection with the experience
Mothers often experience a tighter bond with their baby after a natural birth. You won't be numb during delivery and will be able to remember it well after. So there won't be any emotional detachment from your body and the experience as a whole.
3. You can have this experience with your partner
Because you'll be awake, alert and moving freely; you can feel your partner's presence and work through this emotional and physical labor together making it a bonding moment not just between the both of you, but also between the father and the baby.
4. Breastfeeding right away
Newborns through natural delivery are usually awake for a while after birth and more alert. That's because the pain-relief medication is usually passed on to the baby and makes them, as well as the mother, more sleepy.
So that delays the first nursing and the first bonding between the mother and the baby. Also, pain medication delays the baby's natural reflexes. It also affects their ability to suck, swallow and breathe.
C-sections also cause difficulty in immediate breastfeeding usually due to the decreased hormones that are often present in natural birth and affect milk production.
5. You'll recover faster
You'll avoid the haziness and blurriness of drugs and numbness of surgery, as well as enjoy the boost of energy that's due to the oxytocin released during labor.
This will allow you to get up, have a shower and walk around the room freely. It'll also give you a better opportunity to enjoy the first few hours with your baby without the effect of drugs on both of you.
6. Better opportunity of healthy life to your child
Natural Birth benefits the baby in many ways. A baby born through natural delivery breathes better than a baby born with the effect of drugs or through C-section. That’s because the baby has better access to more oxygen
The baby has a better immune system because more maternal antibodies are transferred to the baby during labor than during pregnancy. Also, because they have a more diverse gut flora that helps in sustaining a strong immune system.
Natural birth also leads to better brain development for the baby. That’s mainly due to the UCP2 protein that is triggered in the child's brain in natural birth. This protein later affects memory and learning
The baby is more energetic. Newborns through natural delivery are usually protected from effects from low blood sugar.
How to prepare for a natural delivery?
Now that you know all the great benefits of Natural birth, you're probably wondering about the right away to approach it and how to prepare for it. Don't worry we have it all figured out for you...
1. Teach yourself to deal with contractions and tension
For the labor not to be more painful to you; try to respond to the pain of contractions by not being tense because tensing will stiffen the muscles and it'll hurt you more. So don't stiffen and relax.
2. Decide early whether you want to give birth at home or the hospital to plan it right
If you want to give birth at the hospital then you’ll need to prepare everything you’ll need early on. It’s best to get your hospital bag ready at about the 8-month mark and have it ready by the door for the big day.
A natural home birth will require even more planning. You’ll need to discuss everything with your midwife as she/he will help you get everything prepared.
There are benefits to both. Giving birth at home can be a beautiful experience but you’ll always be safer at a hospital where they’re more equipped to deal with unexpected emergencies.
3. Don't think that you have to lie down during labour
A common misbelief is that you have to be lying down on your back, spread eagle for 12 hours during labour. It's even better for you to walk and move around during labour because movement eases tension.
4. Shower or bathe with hot water
Hot water eases muscle tension, so if you’re up to it, a hot shower could alleviate the intensity of the contractions.
5. Exercise and be fit
Being fit will help in letting the procedure go smoothly for you. Yoga, pilates and even light strength training during pregnancy can make a natural birth go a lot more smoothly.
6. Be open to other options
Things don't always work out how we imagine they would and it's important to have a positive mindset and be open to other options. At the end of the day, your and your baby's health is the most important thing.
When is natural birth not good for you?
Despite the benefits of natural birth, it's not for everyone. It might not always be the best option for you as all bodies are different and have different needs.
There are occasional complications in birth when there's more than one baby. So you should consider another option or have approval from a health care provider for a natural birth if you fall into any of the following categories:
- You're older than 35
- You're pregnant with more than one baby
- You’ve had several complications during pregnancy
- You’ve given birth through Cesarean procedure before
- You're diabetic
- You’ve used drugs or alcohol while pregnant
- The baby's position isn't regular
Just remember that the most important things are your own health and the health of your baby. And that not all women or mothers are the same. Just because other women have enjoyed it doesn't mean that you have to too.
Natural birth can be the best decision at times. And with the right preparation, it should be a miraculous bonding moment for your little family.