The term “natural birth” is used to describe a spontaneous, unmedicated vaginal birth. No matter how a child is born, it’s important to remember that each pregnancy, labor and birth is unique and special. If you hope to have a natural birth, you may find these tips helpful as you prepare.
What are some things I can do to prepare for a natural birth?
- Read up.
- Learn what options may be available to you during labor, delivery and your postpartum stay in the hospital. Determine which options are important to you and which ones are not.
- Take advantage of the many books and online resources that are available to help moms prepare for a natural birth.
- Talk with other women who have had natural births and ask what they found helpful.
- Create a birth plan.
- After you have done your research, write down your wishes in an easy-to-read, concise format.
- Discuss your birth plan with your health care provider about a month before your due date.
- Pack a few copies of your birth plan in your hospital bag so you can share your wishes with your nursing team, physician and birth partner.
- Prepare during pregnancy.
- Stay healthy throughout your pregnancy. Make healthy eating, regular exercise and prenatal care part of your pregnancy routine.
- Take labor and delivery classes that are specific to natural birth. There are many different techniques you can choose from including The Bradley Method® of Natural Childbirth, Lamaze® and HypnoBirthing®. These classes can help you prepare mentally and physically for the birth of your baby.
- Learn about different techniques to help you relax through your contractions and manage the pain of labor. Get any supplies that you may want, such as a birthing ball, ahead of time.
- Choose a supportive birth partner.
- As in all births, your birth partner plays an important role. Determine who you would like with you during labor and delivery.
- Make sure your birth partner is on board with your birth plan. Have him or her attend classes with you so he or she can learn the different pain management and relaxation techniques you would like to use.
- Be flexible.
- At Virginia Women’s Center, our first priority is always a healthy baby and a healthy mom. Unexpected emergencies can quickly arise and medical interventions may be necessary to ensure a healthy delivery. A birth plan is good to have, but realize that it may need to be changed in order to meet our first priority.
- Every labor and birth is different. What worked for one mom or for one pregnancy, may not work for this delivery. It is best to have an arsenal of techniques to try, but also realize that you may decide to alter your birth plan in the midst of labor and delivery – and that’s okay!