( This information is NOT to be used in place of medical advice. You are strongly encouraged to check in with your healthcare provider. This piece is written for inspiration purposes only. )
So you are thinking about natural birth? Or do you have your mind set on it already ? Whether the first or second statement is true, I want to congratulate you, as I firmly believe that you are making the right choice for yourself and for your baby. I think so based on my personal aaah-mazing experience, but a lot of scientists are ready to back me up as well.
I had a wonderful joyous natural pregnancy and all-natural non-medicated home birth with a midwife, who brought my husband and both his brothers (and over a thousand more children) to this world. The whole experience was easy and very intuitive, and here I want to share my best advice on how to have an amazing natural birth – both physically and emotionally.
1.Decide exactly what you want.
Natural birth does not mean that you can not have a doctor and must do it at home. Plenty of natural births can happen in the hospital with help of amazing doctors and nurses, some can happen in water, some are brave enough to do unassisted births. And there are so many more options out there: do you want to have a doula, do you want to use The Bradley Method, do you want to take up Hypnobabies course, or would you rather do it at home in a birthing pool or in a tub. Options are countless and by researching all of them you can come up with exactly what you want for your birth to feel comfortable and connected to the experience.
2.Have a vision
This one is a biggie. I believe over 50% of your experience (or more) depends on it. By vision I mean a perfect case scenario that you have laid out in your imagination, and set out to have faith in. You can write down your vision or create a vision board – doesn’t really matter- as long as you keep coming back to it religiously every day, and keep believing that your birth experience will be such.
3.Get on the same page with your partner
Make sure you communicate what you want for your birth and your vision to your partner. Not only will it be a healthy start for parenting and family relationship, but it will also ensure that he (she) knows exactly what you expect from him (her) during birth, what you would like their role to be, how they can help.
4.Do your research
Duh. I know, you probably already went through WebMd at least a couple of times, and cross-referenced it with a couple more sites and books 🙂 Not to get you all panicky, but it’s good to educate yourself of possible complications during birth, what happens after your baby is born, breastfeeding strategies.. all that good stuff.
5. Have a plan B
In case any of the unwanted stuff were to happen, you definitely need to have a plan B. Map it out to make sure that in any scenario you will get most of what you want and be as comfortable as you wish. For instance if you wanted a home birth, and you would have to go to the hospital in the middle of labor, make sure to have a hospital plan written and prepared. For example after baby is born I want immediate skin to skin contact and bonding time to latch on and get to know each other, before any other procedures will be performed. It may happen or it may not, but it’s good to face the special day prepared.
6. Nourish your vision
Keep that vision of your perfect labor alive throughout your pregnancy. Write yourself sticky notes and post them all over the house, make sure to have your vision board in a place where you hang out most, watch inspiring videos, follow inspiring people. Anything to keep that vision alive and brewing.
7. Make your nest
After you have decided exactly what you want for your labor – make it happen. Make it super cozy and comfortable for yourself. Make it special. If you will be delivering in a hospital or birth center make sure to have your favorite pillow or blanket there, or bring your beloved essential oils and candles, your favorite CD. If you will be delivering at home – even easier. Get the comfiest sheets, softest blankets, new special robe. Anything and everything to make yourself comfortable and at ease.
8. Prep the goodies
Pack your hospital bag or prepare everything your midwife might need in advance. The last thing you want is to be explaining to your midwife where your towels are in the middle of a contraction, or forget to bring the comfiest undies you have to the hospital. Prep early, and trust me, you will be thanking yourself no matter what the scenario.
9. Don’t overthink it
Just don’t. Instead, feed your mind with positive stories, inspiration, and pleasant experiences, and have blind unwavering faith in the success of your natural labor. If overwhelming thoughts are trying to take over your brain-castle, a quick meditation or these easy exercises will always help.
10. Watch inspiring labor videos
This one is huuuge. I never knew how labor can actually be until I watched a live birth. I was pretty surprised at how gross some details of it can be, but also at how easy it can flow ( yes, even for first-timers) if you really allow it.
11. Seek out awesome labor stories
Make it a point to read or watch at least one inspiring labor story per day. Internet is full of them, and your friends might have some up their sleeves as well. Keep feeding yourself with that inspiring image, and before you know it you will be living your own most inspiring labor story <3
12. Talk to others who have done it
Again, internet is full of amazing brave women who are ready to tell you all about their natural birth experiences, of the pros and cons they encountered, and give you pointers. And if you are lucky to have a couple of those in the circle of your friends in the real physical word 🙂 you got bingo! They are real-life inspiration, who can educate you, support you, help you in time of need. Can’t find anybody- talk to me 🙂
13. Think through your support system
Who do you want to be near you when you give birth? Who can support you day-to-day until labor comes, and shares the same beliefs as you? It’s time to limit your contact with nay-sayers, and surround yourself with your support-squad. Map them out, and use them. They will be happy to help.
14. Drink uterus tea
This is how me and my husband jokingly called Red Raspberry Leaf Tea. I started drinking it during the second trimester, and continue till this day (that thing is addicting! 🙂 I could definitely feel how it helped me prepare my uterus for labor, and over time you grow to LOVE it.
15. Use positive affirmations
Yup, I’m gonna go all cliché’ on you. But it works. Work that vision of yours and use smaller day to day affirmations to keep your spirits high and your confidence solid. My best affirmation ever while preparing to deliver was “My body was designed to do it. I don’t need to do anything, but follow my body’s lead.”
16. Read an inspiring book
I strongly believe that a healthy emotional body equals healthy physical body. And a good inspiring read can turn your frown upside down really easy, and serve you well beyond the time of your pregnancy. There are so many amazing self help books out there! My preggo read was Gabby Bernstein’s “Miracles Now” . Oh, what a book! It’s the one you can re-read time and time again.
17. Stay hydrated
It does matter! Not only for your overall health, but also for your skin stretching, and also for your body retaining water to soften the tissues before childbirth. Our bodies are wonderful divinely designed machines, I can not stop being in awe <3
18. Look up breathing techniques
There are so many out there, and they definitely come in handy when you encounter the first contraction, through which you can not speak. For me deep breaths worked until the point when I nearly passed out, so I had to switch to short shallow breaths. Counting those short breaths got my mind occupied throughout transition, and was a God-send.
19. Study birthing positions and strategies
There are so many birthing position strategies out there, and its definitely beneficial to familiarize yourself with as many as you can, so that if one doesn’t work you can quickly switch to the next one, and keep trying different ones, until you find your perfect fit. Most of my labor I spent on the toilet or all places, and I would never know of such an option, if it weren’t for research I did prior to my labor.
20. Do it (as in sex persuasion)
Not only does it help your emotional well-being, but also is likely to help you get in labor in the end of your pregnancy. That is if you still enjoy it by the end of your pregnancy 🙂
21. Remember that you were made to do this
Remember, nature made us to be able to give birth naturally, without any drugs and painkillers. Sure, it’s not a walk in the park, but not an emergency either. And when you are holding your precious healthy baby in your arms afterwards, you know for a fact – it was all worth it.
Are you preparing for natural labor and have more amazing tips for the fellow mamas-to-be? We would LOVE to hear them in the comments below.
Love, Katya <3