1.Make a ‘natural plan’ with your Ob/Gyn provider
Talk to your Ob/Gyn and midwife once you have decided that natural childbirth is what you want. Ask your provider what “natural childbirth” means to you and about the support options available at their facility.
William P. Clements Jr. University Hospital, for example, is unique in that it supports many options for childbirth, from pain relief to emergency treatment. A certified nurse-midwife is on hand and a doctor is available to assist you, whether you’re in labor for hours or just minutes after arriving.
2. Find support persons or doulas
A solid support person is key to natural childbirth. They can distract you from the pain, help you navigate what lies ahead, and cheer you on. You could have your mom, your partner or a friend who’s been through labor before.
I was accompanied by my husband and a doula during natural childbirth. Doulas are trained to help women through labor. They help women have the birth experience they want.
Doulas offer a variety of services, including before, during and after labor. They can be as low as $500 or high up to $2,500.
3. Get educated
It can take several hours to deliver a baby. You’ll be better prepared the more you know.
Childbirth classes are highly recommended. They cover everything, from deep breathing to pain relief and C-sections. Each labor is different and things may not go according to plan. It is important to be prepared for every situation. Childbirth classes can help you set realistic expectations and build confidence.
A Bradley Method class may be a good choice. It breaks down labor’s stages, what you can expect and how your support person can guide you through the natural birth process.
4. Mental preparation
People in the West are less used to experiencing intense pain. People associate pain with something that is wrong and should be treated, most often with medication.
However, pain during childbirth can be normal and even necessary. This is a sign that your body has completed its task. Each wave of pain brings you closer to your goal: your beautiful child.
My doula helped me to get into the right mindset before labor began. I imagined my baby’s birth like a professional athlete during my third trimester, and then returned to it during labor. She helped me to keep my eyes on that prize through the labor and delivery pains.