10 Reasons To Try For A Natural Childbirth
By Jennifer Vanderlaan
- Women have many reasons for preparing to have a natural childbirth. Some reasons are physical, some are emotional and some can only be classified as spiritual. If you have been weighing your options for childbirth, you know it can be difficult to balance out the reasons to try different ways. The following list of the most common reasons women choose natural childbirth and what it meant for them may help you clarify your thoughts and move you one step closer to making your decisions.
- Natural Childbirth greatly reduces the risks for mother and baby
“I knew there were potential side effects and risks, even if they were small. I wasn’t comfortable adding risks that didn’t need to be there.” Using medications during labor adds risks that are not otherwise present in birth. Some mothers simply choose not to add those risks and avoid medications to alter labor unless there is an emergency.
- Your body has less to recover from with Natural Childbirth
“I had a cesarean with my first child. I couldn’t go through the recovery time again, not with two children. I needed to have a natural childbirth.” A cesarean is major abdominal surgery and can make it difficult to care for your baby in the first few weeks postpartum. After a vaginal birth with medications your body needs to recover from the birth and clean the medication out of your system. Depending on the timing of your medications, your baby may also need to clear some of the medications out of his system. A natural childbirth gives you both the best chances for a speedy recovery.
- Less risk of other interventions
“When I asked for an epidural, I didn’t realize I was going to be stuck in bed with an IV, hooked up to the monitor. Then, because I couldn’t walk I was catheterized. By the time my baby was born I had on an oxygen mask, the blood pressure cuff was always on my arm and they switched me to an internal monitor. There were so many tubes coming out of me my husband was afraid to touch me. I will not do that again.” Using medications for pain relief requires some interventions, such as the external fetal monitor and an IV. In addition, using medications increases your chances of other interventions such as catheterization, use of pitocin, forceps and vacuum extraction.
- Medications are there if you need them
“I figured it couldn’t hurt to try, so I learned everything I could and practiced the comfort techniques. I knew the pain medications were there if I needed them, but it turned out I didn’t.” Preparing for a natural childbirth does not mean you must give birth without medications, but without learning natural childbirth techniques your only pain management options will be limited to what the hospital staff can do, which is probably just medications.
- Natural Childbirth helps you learn to work with your body
“My sister was so in tune with her body during labor, she seemed to know exactly how the baby needed her to move. She still seems to understand what her body needs better than anyone else I know. I want to learn to listen to my body like that.” The process of working through childbirth without medication requires listening and responding to the signals your body is giving you. To prepare, women begin learning to read those signals during pregnancy and many begin to do it instinctively so they continue after their baby is born.
- Natural Childbirth can help you find strength you never knew you had
“It was so powerful, the whole thing. I remember thinking I can’t do this and hearing my doula say, ‘you are doing this.’ I realized I have never given myself enough credit. I can do more than people ever told me I could.” Rather than a physical strength, natural childbirth requires an emotional and mental strength to not give up. For many women, childbirth is the first time they have experienced such a challenge.
- Natural Childbirth lets you experience labor as nature intended
“I figured God didn’t make a flawed system, and if this is how he created labor it could be done.” “If labor were really that bad there would never be any children. Childbirth isn’t that bad, it’s when we mess with it that it becomes bad. Nature created a system that works.” The female body is uniquely designed to give birth. The uterus contracts and pushes the baby against the cervix which softens and pulls back around the baby’s head. When the baby drops into the birth canal, the vagina stretches and unfolds to let the baby pass through.
- Natural Childbirth can be an enjoyable experience
“Saying it was pain-free doesn’t even do it justice. I worked and moved with every contraction. It felt good, all my sexual parts doing what they are supposed to do.” Some women experience pleasurable childbirth, not just pain free.
- Natural Childbirth increases your confidence
“Everything I did to prepare for natural childbirth pushed me a little further. I had to talk with my doctor in a way I never would have dreamed before. I had to learn to tell people no and to stand up for myself. Looking back, I’m almost embarrassed at how weak I was as a person before this. How hard is it really to say, ‘no, I don’t want to be induced?’” Preparing for a natural childbirth involves strengthening who you are as a person. It doesn’t mean you become rude or pushy, but it does mean you don’t allow yourself to be told what to do by people with no authority over you.
- It will be a year before you get the chance to try this again.
“I started to question if I really wanted to try about a week before labor started. I was talking to my sister on the phone and she said, so don’t do it. I just said, ‘but then I have to wait through 9 months of pregnancy to try again.’ It was like something switched inside me, I wasn’t going to wait anymore. I was going to try this now.”
Jennifer Vanderlaan is a childbirth educator and doula who welcomes you to learn more about natural childbirth including tools, techniques and tips for a more comfortable labor at http://www.birthingnaturally.net
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