How to achieve a natural birth

Childbirth is perhaps the most mentally and physically challenging event a woman will ever experience in her lifetime.

For some women, it’s important to meet that challenge head on and give birth without medication or anesthesia.   To be successful with natural birth you need to prepare, prepare, prepare.  Like an athlete getting ready for an important event.

I’m pretty sure if I decided to sign up for a marathon next week things wouldn’t go so well.

I’ve watched hundreds, maybe thousands of women give birth without medication over the past 30 years. These are my suggestions on how to achieve a natural birth.  My advice is to prepare in all three categories of mind, body, and spirit.

Prepare your mind through education.

 Attend a natural birth class. A natural birth class not only gives basic information but also will help you ready yourself mentally.  You need to have your head in the game.

Read material that will focus on the normal process of birth. What happens step by step to every woman. You need to focus on all the things that go right, not what can go wrong.

Surround yourself by others that have gone through it themselves. Build a support system.  This helps build confidence.

Look in to doula services and hiring a doula for your birth.  Studies show women who have support in labor are more successful to achieve natural labor and a vaginal birth.

Avoid war stories. Everyone loves a good drama, especially when it comes to childbirth.  This is how seeds of doubt flourish.

Believe you can do it. You can, you know.  It’s basic biology.  We were designed to give birth to perpetuate our species.  Quite efficiently I might add.

Don’t be afraid. Fear and pain go hand in hand.  That’s why it’s so important to follow the recommendations above.  Know what you are facing.  Knowledge is power.

Prepare your body.

Make an appointment with your doctor or midwife before you get pregnant. Get a reproductive checkup to make sure your body is ready.

Take a prenatal vitamin.

Strive for a BMI (body mass index) of less than 25 before you get pregnant.

If you are physically fit your chances of a vaginal birth are doubled.

If you’re in shape labor will go much more smoothly and the need for medication decreases significantly.

Take the recommended weight gain seriously. Know that eating for two is a myth.

Exercise daily.

Spiritual readiness.

This is the perhaps the most important piece that is often left out and the most difficult to explain.

Spiritual readiness is when you believe in birth. It’s the point where you leave the birth plan and checklists behind and surrender to your higher power.

You have to trust yourself, your surroundings, and those taking care of you.

It’s a feeling of contentment. You’ve done all that you can so just go with it.

Sure this sounds a little wacky and New Age, but I know it to be true.

Over the years I’ve noticed that there seems to be a correlation between length of the birth plan the outcome of the labor. I believe that our efforts to control and micro-manage something we really have little power over increases levels of stress hormones and impedes the process.

Relinquish control, hand it over, trust.

Birth is phenomenon of nature. The process should be respected.  It doesn’t come with guarantees.  It’s not always perfect.   We can’t always control the outcome.

The vast majority of the time nature gets it right. We just need to let it take its course and let it lead to wherever it takes us.

Natural birth is a wonder of nature, a thing of beauty, and a gift. It’s also a challenge.  To accomplish childbirth without medication you need to prepare yourself mind, body and spirit.  So educate your mind, prepare your body, and trust in the process.