Three Steps to a Natural Childbirth

Three Steps to a Natural Childbirth

Three Steps to a Natural Childbirth
By Jennifer Vanderlaan

Although there is no way to tell what your labor will be like, there are some steps you can take to give yourself the best chances at a natural childbirth. Ironically, most of the work needed to achieve a natural birth is done long before the first contraction. Here are the most important things you can do to prepare yourself for a natural childbirth.

Stay Healthy

It may seem a bit elementary, but the healthier you are before you begin labor, the better able your body will be to handle labor. Factors such as your nutrition and exercise matter very much in your overall health, and in how well your body is prepared for the work of giving birth. On the most basic level, your body needs to be well rested, well hydrated and well fed in order for your uterine muscle to contract effectively.

Beyond that, exercise can give you the stamina to go through labor; help your baby move into an optimal position and prepare your muscles for the stretching and movements needed to give birth. Proper nutrition can help prevent problems with infection and lack of energy; it builds a stronger amniotic sac and prevents complications for gestational diabetes. While you may not be able to prevent every health problem, staying as healthy as possible gives you the most options when it comes to childbirth.

Educate Yourself

There are many sources of information, and some of them are better than others. Read a variety of books, magazines and websites so you can see issues from more than one angle. Enroll in a natural childbirth class. Learn everything you can about the options available in childbirth. Practice various comfort measures and learn about the different tools available for labor. The more options you know about, the more options you have.

Continue the learning by studying who you are and what you need to be successful. Not every comfort measure works for every woman, find the ones that work best for you. Take some time to prepare yourself emotionally for the transition to motherhood, working to overcome any fears you may have.

Choose Wisely

You may not realize it, but some of the most important factors that determine your success in natural childbirth have probably already been decided. Your caregiver and the support you have in labor will make a huge difference in your ability to achieve a natural childbirth. If you feel your doctor, midwife or birth place are not supportive of natural birth, you are probably right. Choose attendants who support your desires to give birth without medications.

Seriously consider hiring a doula. Studies repeatedly show the presence of a doula decreases requests for medication while also decreasing need for cesarean, forceps and other instrumental deliveries. Doulas provide a different type of service than the doctors, midwives and nurses. A doula is there only to be emotional support for the mom or family. She helps and encourages in any way she can.

Completing these three steps during pregnancy will give you the best possible chances of giving birth without medication. While following these steps won’t prevent every potential problem, they will make you better able to handle a problem if one should arise.

Jennifer Vanderlaan is a childbirth educator and doula. She invites you to learn how to stay healthy during pregnancy and prepare for childbirth at

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