So You Want a Natural Birth
When I talk with moms-to-be about their desired birth, and birth goals, many will list having a natural birth as a priority. It’s certainly a rising trend among new moms, and a return to births we have not seen the United States for quite some time. If this is your birthing goal, I fully support it and want to help you reach that, if it’s not, I support that too. But what factors aid in bringing about a natural birth?
Type of Care Provider
One of the ways most likely to bring about a natural birth includes using a Midwife, whether in home, or in a Birth Center (we have one in Silver City, and one in El Paso). A midwife is trained to take care of mothers prenatally, in labor and delivery, and postnatally. A midwifes scope of practice is not in surgery, nor in in the use of intravenous medications. But not only do midwifes increase the chance of a successful natural birth, they offer more personalized care in your home.
If a home birth is not for you and you would like to have your baby in a hospital setting, the ease at which you will be able to move around and labor at your own pace is important. Upon arriving to the hospital they will want to monitor you and baby to see how the baby is handling contractions. You can opt for external fetal monitoring that is checked every couple of hours, depending on your care providers instructions.
There are some people that believe that going with out pain medications, is going natural. And some that believe that a natural birth has to be spontaneous and un-augmented to be natural. But here is the basic rule of thumb; generally one intervention leads to another. The use of pitocin, which causes uterine contractions, leads to a higher chance of the use of an epidural, which has a higher chance of leading to a c-section. This is called the cascade of interventions. Knowing this, is half the battle. If your medical provider is talking about augmentation, and you want to know more, make sure to ask why they think it is necessary, as well as the benefits and risks of taking this route. Information gives you power.
Speaking of information, part of undertaking a natural birth is understanding birth. Read books! Child Birth Without Fear is a classic when it comes to understanding natural labor and reducing anxiety about that. Hire a doula! We are chalk full of ideas about getting through stalled labor, back labor, long labor, and techniques to help you through naturally, if that is your goal. Doulas are a great resource to have when the stress and fatigue of labor are in full swing, and everything you have read has made a clear exit from your mind.
If you want to give birth naturally in a hospital, know that you could meet some resistance from OBGYN’s or nurses. Other times you may have their full support, but a hospital is medical treatment center full of staff trained to medically treat. If there is anything you don’t feel comfortable about, it’s okay to ask questions, it’s okay to say no. You do have the right to consent to treatment, or not. Having yourself and your partner on the same page as far as desires and goals can go along way in achieving the birth experience you desire.
The bottom line may boil down to the health of you and your baby. If you have pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes, or another underlying health factor, your care provider may decide that an intervention (or several) is necessary. That is O.K. Even if you decide that you are not handling labor well and need the use of pain medications, that is O.K too. At the Mountain Doula, we are here to support your plans, and to support you if the plan needs to be adjusted. Healthy moms and healthy babies are the goal. So make sure to list that as the number one goal, on your birth plan.
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