I was fortunate enough to have a wonderful support system of my husband Matt and my family when I chose to have a natural birth. It is something my mom chose for herself and therefor had some experience with. Not all women are as fortunate.
The more new moms I cross paths with and share birth stories with, the more I realize how our society has a preconceived notion about child birth. I had a recent conversation with a friend’s brother about his wife’s birth. She had to have an emergency c-section after being induced. He said she was disappointed since she really wanted a natural birth.
Further into the conversation I learned that she opted to have an epidural, so basically, their definition of natural child birth was to have a vaginal birth, not a birth without the use of drugs…interesting.
I do not judge any mom who chooses to use an epidural or other forms of medication to help manage the discomfort of labor. The ultimate goal should be to have a positive experience, not a nightmare story to tell. That being said, here are a few things expecting moms and parents should think about.
By definition natural childbirth is birth without medical intervention; no drugs are given to relieve pain or aid the birth process.
First and foremost, you as a pregnant woman and/or expecting couple (whatever your situation may be), are a customer. You are not sick, you do not have a disease that needs a cure. You are a woman about to give birth, something that women have been doing since the beginning of humankind.
Now some women can fall into a high risk category due to a number of factors, I am writing this based on someone with no other medical contradictions. In many other countries, England included, a midwife assists births at parents homes. They think we are crazy for the way we treat and perceive child birth and that it is almost automatic to go to the hospital where we are “plugged in” to a bunch of machines and restricted to a bed.
If you educate yourself about your pregnancy, your rights as a woman giving birth and find a doctor or midwife who is enthusiastic about natural child birth, you have the best chance of having the birth you want.
The following is a list of interventions:
- Amniotomy – Otherwise known as breaking the water. This is an all too common intervention that can be a slippery slope into complications. Occasionally it may be performed if “Mom” is 8-9cm and can benefit from the direct pressure on the cervix to allow complete dilation to take place, but is not necessary.
- Pitocin – This is used to stimulate the uterus to start contracting and to get things going, but it brings waves of such un-natural intensity and frequency that it is nearly impossible for a birthing woman to tolerate without the help of medication. It is also used post delivery to help stop bleeding, not as big of a deal, I had this done myself.
- IV’s – This is not necessary at all. You are not sick and to assume you will become dehydrated is ridiculous. Sipping on water, juice and sucking on ice are all sufficient ways to keep you hydrated. If it is so called “hospital procedure” then opt for a Heparin lock. It is a little device ready for an IV without you having to connected to one at all times.
- Episiotomy – This when a woman is cut to avoid tearing during the crowning stage of the birth. Here is some statistics for you: When there is no Episiotomy performed, 25% of the time there is a wound and with perineal support is very small. With an episiotomy there is a wound 100% of the time, often extending into the rectum. Trust me, tearing is not as bad as it sounds. You are so enthralled with being a new mom, you don’t care. Plus you heal faster!
Bottom line, be confident in your body and its ability to birth your baby all the while putting yourself in an environment of like minded individuals who want to support your decision to have a natural birth.