Thursday, March 5, 2015

My Top Ten Tips for Natural Birth

On instagram yesterday I had a question from a follower that is having her first baby.

This question comes from Brooke of stylehomeandhappiness . On a side note you should follow her IG account. She does a lot of pin it spin it, and she always looks so cute!

Anyway Brooke writes:

"How was your experience with an at home water birth? I am due in June and although I will be delivering at a hospital with no option of water birth, I still plan to delver drug-free. Any tips?"

To answer the first question having an at home water birth was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. I wouldn't trade it for anything.

 However, after having three natural births I've covered just about every scenario including one in the hospital and one that was not a water birth. So, even though all women, babies, and births are different I do hope that what helped me through labor and delivery might also help you and anyone else that is interested in labor techniques.

1. Commit

Just like marriage, running a race, or any endeavor that takes endurance you have to be all in. If you think, "Maybe I'll just wait and see how I feel at the halfway point" then you will quit, because you probably will not feel good. This applies to a lot of scenarios. Some things take determination. If you do get an epidural or have some other form of intervention there is absolutely nothing wrong with that! I can't stress that enough. However, if you are passionate about wanting to go natural then make that commitment ahead of time. This is critical!

2. Connect

Find other mother's who had a natural hospital births and listen to their stories and advice. If you don't know anyone personally check the web. You could spend days reading other women's experiences on line. I have all three of my birth stories written in detail here on messy mom.

3. Prepare

You have to mentally and somewhat physically prepare yourself for the act of labor. This could mean childbirth classes, books, or online videos. You don't want to go into childbirth without doing your homework.

4. Create Your Atmosphere

Even though you are going to be in a hospital you can still play music or have special momentos around you.

5. Wait it Out

It's so hard to know whether or not you are actually in labor. The rule of thumb is wait until contractions are a minute long and three minutes a part. Don't be surprised though if you never get those text book constant contractions they talk about. My labor was never consistent. You'll know when it's time though. The longer you wait the better your chances are of not getting that epidural.

6. Utilize

Make the most of the natural pain management the hospital offers and find out what that is ahead of time. There may be a birthing ball, rice sock, or shower. You can always bring your own stuff too, like a tennis ball or oils for massages. Unfortunately, you usually never know what helps you in the moment, until that moment!

7. Visualize

This one sounds cheesy, but it's so true. I can't say enough how much visualization helps me in labor. Practice before hand. This one can get kind of spiritual too, so my disclaimer is that I am a christian and I use prayer and scripture when I'm in labor, but I have also imagined flowers slowly opening up or butter melting until it's completely liquefied. I'm really visual so using imagery like this helps me  focus.

8. Know the Stages of Labor

If you know what to expect then you can use that knowledge as a road map. Recognizing transition for example helps you know just how close you are to having that baby in your arms. Sometimes that is all the encouragement you need.

9. Have Help

Whether it's a doula, your spouse, or a trusted friend don't go into labor alone. Have someone with you that knows your birth plan and will be completely supportive of that.

10. Loosen Your Body

This goes hand in hand with number 4 and 7.


In the movies you always see women screaming their way through birth, and that's part of the reality of it, but ideally you want to moan or make the "puh" sound. Screaming, clenching your teeth, straining your neck- all that is tightening up your body and when your body is scared and tight it is is no position to birth. I wrote a post a long time ago about eliminating fear during labor and there is more info there.

I would say this is my #1 tip out of all of them, just to do your best to relax. Make a motor boat sound (or "blow horse lips") to help you keep those lips loose. That was a tremendous help when I was in labor. Your body will take over and do what it was made to do.

These are some practical tips that worked for me, but no matter what happens you are going to do a great job and I am sure you will be a fantastic mom! 

I hope this list was helpful. Anyone else that wants to chime in with advice please do so! As strange as it is, talking about birth never gets old to me.


Bethie The Boo said...

YES! I had a natural water birth with my son as well and I agree with all of these! I remember my doula reminding me to relax my forehead and relax my jaw during contractions and it made a huge difference - and so did the birth ball! All of these tips are wonderful suggestions! Good luck to your reader who asked the question!!

J Young said...

I have had two completely med free births and 1 with an IV drug drip. I think these are some great tips. However, I do also think it's important to be open minded and flexible, because even with the best plans and the best intentions, sometimes things don't always go the way you want them to. And if you let an unforeseen circumstance bum you out because you're not going to have the kind of labor you intended, it can ruin the whole experience for you. I also agree about not screaming, I always find that hilarious in movies because I've never once yelled during any of my labors! :-)

TracyL26 said...

I had the best of intentions of having a drug free birth with caleb but 36 hours of labor later and only 6 cm, I took the drugs with a smile :). I wanted to try for a natural labor with Asher but the minute I walked through those hosptial doors, I said "give me an epidural" which was a wasted $1500 as he came as the epideral was being administered and it never had time to take effect. With alden, I didn't even put up the pretense ;).
I think your first tip is the best, you have to go in being commited and for me, a home birth would have been the only way I could have done natural labor ... Knowing there was pain relief once I got to the hosptial took away my resolve (but I have no regrets :)

Natalie Busch said...

I love these comments.

J young, I agree with you 100%. I have friends who really struggled after having a c section or some other form of intervention and while they are certainly entitled to their feelings, it's a shame because there should be a celebration of healthy baby & healthy mom no matter how you get there!

And Tracy, if anyone could do it, it would be you! I think even 36 hours of home birth I would have had to beg to be administered to the hospital! No regrets is right. I am so proud of the strong and beautiful mother you have become.

amanda huffman said...

My favorite is the first one. My birth story didn't go as planned and I was crying in the shower feeling like a failure when they said I had to get an epidural. I have learned so much since then. Hoping for another great birth experience if I get pregnant again.

Sarah said...

I could have used these with my second baby! I was not expecting to have a drug free labor, but I got to the hospital and 15 minutes later she was here! Oops, I went from a 7 to a 10 in the time it took the nurse to give me the IV. I was that person screaming because I wasn't mentally prepared. Being mentally prepared to do that probably would have helped a lot!

Jessica @ Barefoot by the Sea said...

I read this post last night and wished I had a new baby to look forward to! What an amazing and realistic guide straight from someone who experienced it! I have to say I had my first hundred percent natural and it was the best experience of my life, blissful relatively "easy" and the way I had envisioned. It made me put the fears of having a baby aside. Sydney's birth, on the other hand, was quite different and a completely different set of circumstances. I'll save that for another time, but I absolutely think any expectant mom would benefit from the points you made!

{amy} said...

Y'all moms who've done it without drugs are beasts! And I mean that in a good way! :)