When it comes to childbirth, there are a lot of decisions to make. Who you want as your healthcare provider, where you’ll deliver and whether or not you’ll have pain medication are just a few of the many options. Some women choose to have a natural birth, which may mean having a vaginal delivery without medical intervention or drugs. For some, “natural” means any type of vaginal delivery, while others use the term to mean that they won’t have pain medication. No matter your definition of natural birth, Banner Health labor and delivery experts are here to help you decide what’s right for you.
While the goal of a natural birth is to avoid drugs, it’s important to remember that everyone’s body and pregnancy are different. This means that even if you’re planning on having an unmedicated birth, you might end up with a more complicated delivery than some other women. The key is to be prepared.
One of the most important things you can do to prepare for a natural birth is to learn about and practice a variety of drug-free methods of pain management. This includes massage therapy, aromatherapy, acupressure for labor, relaxation exercises and breathing techniques. Practicing these techniques during the weeks leading up to your delivery will help you make them second nature when it’s time for your big day.
Another important step is to limit the number of people in your birthing room. Having too many people around you can distract you and cause you to focus on them instead of your own labor and delivery experience. This is why some women choose to give birth at home or in a birthing center with only their partner and a midwife or doula.
Other techniques that can help during natural birth include hydration (drinking plenty of water), resting in various positions, exercise and hot and cold therapy. During labor, the release of hormones like Oxytocin and Endorphins can reduce pain, making your delivery a more pleasant experience.
In addition to preparing by learning about the different pain-management techniques available, it’s also essential that you make sure your healthcare provider is on board with your plans to go without medications. If you don’t feel comfortable with your healthcare provider’s support of a natural birth, you may need to find a new practitioner who is willing to be there for you throughout your journey.
Some hospitals and birthing centers have a “natural” or wellness-based approach to childbirth, meaning that they’re open to patients who wish to have a natural birth but will still provide access to the necessary medical interventions in case of complications. For example, they might let you know that a cesarean section is always an option, if that’s what you decide to do. If you’re looking for a hospital or birthing center that supports natural childbirth, visit our maternity centers map.