When I go about planning anything I usually start with the things I need to avoid in order to have the outcome I want. This was very true for planning a natural birth. So I looked at my previous labours & births. I looked at what went wrong with them. I read many books and made notes about what they suggest. I also asked my friends about their labours in case I overlooked something.
This is the list I have made of the top 10 things to avoid in order to have a natural birth. In my case I see natural birth as a birth that does not include drugs, or unnecessary interventions. Your thought might not be the same, you might be fine with drugs, and that’s fine everyone wants something different. You can still use many of these ideas to get the birth you want.
Top 15 things to AVOID!
1. BEING INDUCED – If your body or baby are not ready to come being induced too early can lead to many problems. Remember 40 weeks is an estimate and some babies need longer before they are ready.
2. GOING TO THE HOSPITAL TOO SOON – Early labour can last days, most women don’t feel this early “opening” stage. (For me it was just a lot of cramping the day before labour started) If you go to the hospital before you are in active labour not only will you most likely be sent home, but if they admit you and you don’t progress quickly enough you are looking at induction where it is not needed.
3. LOOKING AT YOUR DUE DATE AS AN EXPIRY DATE – It is called an estimated due date for a reason, it is an estimate. You can go 2 weeks either way of that date and everything be fine. Your body and baby know when the timing is right.
4. WATCHING A BABY STORY OR OTHER “DRAMA” BIRTHS – The births made for TV and movies need drama to make ratings. Therefore they tend to show the negative side of things. If you watch births with women in hospital screaming in pain you will be convinced that is what labour looks like. (This is not the case)
5. LISTENING TO “HORROR” STORIES OF BIRTH – This goes with the previous one. If the only birth stories you hear are about long, hard labours you are feeding any fears you have and wont be able to relax during your labour and birth.
6. NOT BEING EDUCATED ABOUT THE BIRTH PROCESS – If you don’t know what is normal in birth you might freak out when it’s not needed. Staying calm and relaxed in labour is going to help you progress the way your body needs to. Knowing what to expect can help you relax. And I’m not talking about at what stage you are 5cm. I am taking about the changes your body makes during labour. Researching natural birth will help you on this one. (I am working on a post that will include books and movies to help with this. I will post here once it’s complete)
7. FEARING AND WORRYING BIRTH AND LABOUR – If you have fears and are constantly worried about birth your body will react to this stress. If you are stressed your body will have problems relaxing to open the way it needs to. You need to find a way to let go of your fears. Birthing from Within by Pam England CNM MA is a great book for helping you discover your fears and how to let them go.
8. HAVING THE WRONG SUPPORT PEOPLE WITH YOU – You want people with you that support your choice to have a natural birth and who will help you achieve your goal. A Doula is a great person to have with you if you need the extra support.
9. BEING STUCK IN BED FOR LABOUR – Moving around during labour is needed to help baby move down the birth canal. This can also help to relieve pain by changing positions to keep you comfortable.
10. LAYING ON YOUR BACK TO DELIVER – Laying on your back actually works against delivering your baby. Laying on your back is only benefiting your doctor. It makes you work against gravity, it makes the passageway longer for baby to come out and doesn’t completely open your birth canal. Many birthing books have good positioning information in them.
I also asked my friends If they could change one thing about their labours/birth what would it be. Here are their answers:
“With my second I wish I didn’t get an epidural! I didn’t have one with #3 and it was a much different experience/feeling!” – Jade
” I wouldn’t have gotten them to give me anti anxiety meds because it put me in a near vegetative state and I don’t remember any of the ending.” – Melaine
” After doing it the second time around completely drug free I wish I had of the first time. Way better and I felt much better afterwards.” – Laura
” I would have had a midwife.” – Taryn
“I would have loved to go into labour on my own, maybe if I had a midwife they would have let me wait longer.. then I wouldnt have to have oxy everytime!” – Shauna
What about you? If you could change one thing from your birth experience what would it be? Or I you feel like I missed a good point please leave a comment below.