Tips to Empower Yourself to Have a Natural Childbirth (and why you’d want to do that when epidurals exist)
I decided before I even got pregnant that I wanted a natural childbirth. This came as no surprise to anyone that I knew. I always try to do everything the most natural way possible.
Fast forward to two beautiful natural childbirths later, each where I reached down and pulled my baby up onto my chest.
Any pain, any worry, disappeared as though it never existed. Only feelings of immense joy, love, empowerment, and accomplishment filled me like never before. A true utopia.
Please know as you read these tips that I am not against having an epidural, I pass no judgment on women who choose to have one and I believe every birth is unique, beautiful and should be celebrated.
What I am for is empowering and educating women!
I’ve heard too many stories from women who were made to feel like they didn’t have the choice, were not strong enough to handle the pain, or silly for choosing not to have an epidural when they are offered. I mean how many times do they really need to ask if you want one?
I have also heard too many stories from women who have permanet side effects from their epidurals or feel like they had no control over their own birth experience or body.
No woman should have to look back on her birth experience with sadness or regret that she should have done things differently.
#1: DO YOUR RESEARCH
I know what you are thinking, research? For birthing a baby? Haven’t women been doing this since…forever? Yes, they have. But birthing has changed throughout the years!
So what exactly do I mean by “research”?
Well, you wouldn’t buy a car without researching it first. The color, the kind of seats you want, used vs new, is the gas mileage good, how are the safety ratings, does it fit your budget?
You also wouldn’t buy a house just because the realtor thinks you should buy this specific house, because she thinks it would suit you best.
You get the point I’m trying to make here. Do your homework, ask questions – of yourself and your provider!
Start with: what kind of birth do you want? Do you want a natural birth? Do you want to be induced or go into labor on your own? Did you know that there are different types of C-sections?
Once you figure out what kind of birth you want, then you need to figure out what kind of birth provider you want? An OBGYN, a Midwife, do you want to have a Doula, do you even know what a Doula is? If you are wanting a natural birth I highly recommend using a Midwife or a Doula.
What kind of birth experience do you want? Do you want to have your baby in a hospital, a birthing center, or at home? I had both of my babies with a Midwife in a hospital.
Look up statistics of where you are planning to have your birth. Do they have high c-section rates, or transfer rates to a hospital if it is a birthing center?
Ask your provider questions. How many natural births have they done? C-Sections? Do they prefer inductions or letting the baby come on their own time? How long will they let you go naturally before they want to induce? How long will they let you labor before you have to have a c-section? Do they provide gentle cesareans?
You have the option to choose all of these things. Birth is not the same as a knee replacement or a gallbladder surgery. Every birth is different and special in its own way.
This is your body and your birth and you should have a say!
Educate yourself on as much as you possibly can. Read books, watch documentaries, take a childbirth class, find a support group, talk to other moms that have gone through a natural birth. Ask them what they loved about their birth and what they would have done differently if they were able.
Wait, there’s training involved? Yes!
You wouldn’t sign up for a marathon, do no training and then just show up and expect to win would you? No way! You need to train. Improve your time, stretch, condition so that you don’t run out of steam halfway through the race. Birth is no different, it is a marathon.
I’m not telling you that when you get pregnant you need to go sign up for a crossfit class, but if you are already in one by all means, have at it.
I’m talking about regular activity to keep your endurance up and your muscles and ligaments in good working order. After all, you are going to need some of those muscles and ligaments to push that baby out.
Take daily walks, do some yoga or stretching, a little resistance training is great at any stage of life. Squats are always a good idea, especially if you are planning a natural birth. You don’t want the first time you do a squat to be when you are in active labor and it’s the only position that brings you relief. Those legs will tire out in no time if that’s the case.
Listen to your body, do what feels good. Don’t push yourself to exertion but stay as active as you can for as long as you can. You will thank yourself and your body later.
Remember to stay hydrated! Drink plenty of water. Being dehydrated is never fun, but it’s especially not fun if you are pregnant. You don’t want an added trip to your care provider for scary cramps or contractions because you didn’t drink enough water.
#3: PREPARE YOUR MINDSET
Wait, are we still talking about childbirth here? Yaaaassss Girl!
If you fail to plan, then you plan to fail.
What does this mean? Well there is no pass or fail in birth but I can tell you that doing nothing and just hoping for the best, is probably not the best option for anyone.
Once you have figured out ALL the things, make a birth plan. Go over the birth plan with your partner and provider so that everyone is on the same page for the goals that you have and the desired birth experience you want.
Once you have this plan (in your mind) have a backup plan, and a back up for the backup plan. You can not be over prepared with this.
Somewhere in all these plans, plan for something to not go the way you planned!
I like to think of this as your official welcome to motherhood, because these kids are always throwing something crazy into the mix to keep you on your toes.
Do whatever you need to calm your mind, reset, and remind yourself of all the why’s of your birth plan should be practiced before the big day. That will look different for everyone.
You might choose to use birth or empowerment affirmations, it may be a specific prayer, it could be a bumpin’ playlist… did you see what I did there? I know, I’m so punny.
Think of what it is that is going to get you through a rough minute to 90 seconds of contractions… repeatedly… for hours. (It’s not as bad as it sounds)
To prepare my mindset, I decided that when I was working out (after I did my squats to prepare) I would do a wall sit for 1 minute in between sets.
I know what you are thinking, why on earth would anyone do that? Let alone at 9 months pregnant! Surely I must be crazy.
I’ll tell you why – This prepared me better than any class I took, any book I read, any of the things!
Wall sits suck! I think everyone can unanimously agree on that. However, this proved to ME that I could do something physically and mentally hard, exhausting even, and that I could prepare my mental space. I practiced my breathing even though it was hard, and learned that a minute isn’t actually that long.
When it came time to pop this baby out, my body knew what to do and kicked into autopilot mode.
My body remembered that I’ve been here before, I’ve struggled this struggle and I’ve fought this fight of self doubt and physical exhaustion. These contractions were a part of me and I am stronger than they could ever be.
I took my deep breaths, and rode the wave. Learning to work with my body, not against it. Feeling gratitude that each step was one step closer to meeting my baby.
Just know that some of it is going to suck at the time, but then it’s over.
Your body made and birthed a person and you feel an accomplishment and empowerment like you have never felt before.
Every birth is unique and beautiful in its own way.
Birth is something that should be celebrated, not treated like an illness or a routine surgery, even if surgery ends up being a necessity.
You can do this!
Master Storyteller of Quirky Canary Copywriting
I am a copywriter and full time mom of two little girls that keep my hands and my heart full. I am a vegan and a lover of anything natural or holistic. The Golden Girls may have helped develop my personality so I have a natural ability for story telling and sarcasm with a light hearted touch.
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LOVE THIS! Knowing your options and feeling confident in your choices is important in any aspect in your life, but in birthing your children, you definitely should be doing it your way. I would love to reiterate that if you truly take this to heart, you are the master of your own life, you control 85% of it, so make sure your voice is being heard and if that 15% that you can’t control happens then just know that you have done your research and are prepared to work with anything that may or may not come up. You can do this (love this!!!).