I have been blessed with 2 wonderful children, and both of those children were born without any pain medications.
Having a natural birth is no picnic. I won’t pretend and say that it was painless, but I will say that it was worth it.
While I may have had two “natural” births, both of them couldn’t have been more different.
I had my son in a birthing center with midwives that I had known for years, and trusted with my life. I labored a little bit at home, then went to the center, and was able to have such a peaceful birthing experience. It was calm, and everything that I could have imagined.
And then there was my daughter’s birth.
I moved to Arizona while pregnant with my daughter, so those amazing midwives at BetterBirth were no longer available to me.
The idea of going without pain medications was a little daunting without the wonderful support system that I had with my previous natural birth.
But I was still determined.
My daughter’s birth was in a hospital though, with a doctor, and I had to be induced.
So I didn’t go into labor naturally with her, and it was also a million times more painful than with the birth of my son.
So here are my 8 main tips for having a successful natural birth.
1. Wait to go into labor naturally
I truly, truly believe that the main reason my birth with my daughter was less….enjoyable, was because I was induced.
My son was born 5 days early, and since he was my first, I was convinced that my daughter would be early as well.
But she had attitude from the beginning, and was late. And with the amount of pain that I was in throughout my pregnancy, I opted to be induced.
I don’t know if I regret it, since it meant that I wasn’t pregnant any longer, but my labor was pretty awful. I was in lots of pain because I never got a break from my contractions since they were artificial. And once the contractions started and my water broke, I went from 2 cm to 10 cm in 15 minutes and then pushed her out in 10 minutes.
It was INSANE.
So I highly recommend waiting until your baby is ready to come, unless medically necessary, since it will be much “easier” than forcing your baby out when he/she doesn’t want to come yet!
2. Prepare Yourself
If you really REALLY want a birth without pain medications, then you HAVE to prepare yourself. And I don’t mean taking the one birthing class offered at the hospital.
No, I mean that you need to take a course specifically on having your baby without pain medications.
With my son, I took the HypnoBabies course, which sounds weird, but seriously helped to prepare me for pain. It taught me a lot of self-relaxation techniques to help cope with pain. And, I actually know of women who have practiced the techniques so much, that they didn’t even feel pain during childbirth!
I won’t guarantee a pain-free birth AT ALL, since I did the course and did feel pain. But the techniques taught were invaluable, and I couldn’t have handled labor without them.
3. Have the right support system
The right support system in this case may not be your husband and mom. What I mean by this is that if you are about to have your very first natural birth, then there really should be someone in the room familiar with natural births.
If your mom had natural births and you want her there? Then great!
If you have a midwife that you trust? You’re good to go!
But is it just your husband? Maybe look to get someone else too.
My husband was seriously THE GREATEST! And he was all I needed for my second birth. But I am SO GLAD that I had my midwives around for my first birth, since neither my husband, nor I, had a clue what was going on.
A resource for support that I highly suggest you look into, is hiring a doula.
Doulas are there specifically to be a mother’s support during labor. They don’t have training in the actual delivery of the baby, but they will help you with natural pain relief and calming options. They are worth their weight in gold if you find one that really works for you.
4. Move constantly
The joy of not having an epidural is the ability to move and walk around! There are few things that will help with pain as much as simply moving throughout labor. Labor is easily stalled when you are in the same spot for too long too, so walking around, rocking on a birthing ball, or doing a hands and knees position will truly be beneficial to move your labor along.
5. Use water
If you are really in labor, almost nothing can stop it. A good test is taking a bath. If your contractions stop while in the bath, you aren’t actually in labor, but if they don’t stop, then you will find the water to be soothing as it progresses.
I don’t say this from personal experience though. Many many women that I have helped while they were in labor LOVED sitting in a birthing tub. I both witnessed, and helped with, quite a few water births. Some swear by the pain relief properties of water, but I’ll admit that I’m not one of them.
I think this is mainly because I got in the birthing tub with my son while I was in transition, so the contractions were already really intense, but what I did enjoy was just taking a hot shower.
And if you’re worried about the water being too hot, a good rule of thumb is that if you’re too hot, you’re baby is too hot as well.
6. Look into homeopathics and essential oils
A lot of women love using both while in labor. I didn’t know much about either for my births, but I remember my midwives giving me homeopathics during periods of my labor with my son when I would start to freak out or have a hard time handling the pain.
I’m not a “super granola” kind of girl, but these things totally worked. If you’re worried about emotionally struggling or not being able to handle the pain, ask your midwife, your doula, or even look them up yourself. They are pretty dang awesome.
7. Create a birth plan
A birth plan is basically just a list of what you want/don’t want throughout your birthing experience. You can write this up and give it to anyone who will be at your birth, since it is good for them to be aware of what your desires are. And I highly recommend that you give it to your care provider prior to going into labor so that you can discuss it ahead of time.
In your birth plan too, I think it is important to note whether or not you would be flexible on pain medications. Like, if you say something specific, that means you really want them, or whether or not you are just saying that in the throws of labor.
8. Be flexible
Now, I am a HUGE advocate of natural births. But I am also a HUGE advocate of women being happy with their birth experience. If you want an epidural, then have one! If you don’t, then prepare yourself to not need one.
What I think is vital though, is having a certain amount of flexibility regardless of your preferences. Sometimes things just don’t go according to plan. For instance, I desperately wanted an out of hospital birth for my daughter, but really felt strongly that I needed to be in a hospital. It ended up being a good thing since she had blood sugar problems and needed an IV shortly after delivery. My son was perfectly fine though, so being in a birth center for him was the perfect decision for me.
Point is, I had to be flexible with my plan, and I had to come to terms with it. If you really wanted a natural labor and ended up with an emergency c-section or an epidural due to back labor that lasted forever, THAT IS OK! That doesn’t make you ANY less of a mom. Just try to focus on the goal of every birth.
A healthy baby and a healthy mom.
If you have those two things, it doesn’t matter if your birth plan changed a little bit. It will be ok.
Now tell me about your experiences! Have you had a natural birth? Or are you planning one? Tell me about what you did!
And as you are waiting to go into labor naturally too, make sure to check out my post Braxton Hicks or True Labor Contractions?
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