Natural Childbirth: What is it, really?

what isnaturalchildbirth

So you know it’s summer when my June series extended into a Summer Series (read the first post here) …. also, I’m pregnant again (woo-hoo!) so when the toddler’s nap time rolls around and I have a choice to nap with him or blog, you better believe I sleep. C’est la vie.

If you didn’t know this already, there are a million and one ways to labor and birth a baby. But there are only like three main categories that we shove them all into: unmedicated, medicated, & c-sections.

So, WHAT IS NATURAL CHILDBIRTH?

Ok, I’ve been making a lot of lists lately (for camping and grocery shopping and garage sale priorities) so this post is going to look rather list-y…

(Also, imagine all the full caps titles being announced in a big booming echoing voice. It’s more fun that way.)

THE ESSENTIALS OF ACHIEVING NATURAL CHILDBIRTH

Here’s what we mean when we talk about natural childbirth:

1) LABOR BEGINS ON ITS OWN

… unless medically necessary.

Inductions increase the likelihood of c-section by 67% and NICU care for baby by 64%.

Plus, important brain development continues up through 39 weeks. So let the babies bake!

2) MOVEMENT DURING LABOR

The pathway the baby has to get through is not a straight shot. There are twists and turns that require movement of the pelvis to accommodate the journey.

(Belly dancing was not originally to be all sexy – it was to teach new moms how to move during labor!)

3) CONTINUOUS SUPPORT

Surround yourself with women who have done this before and can offer physical and emotional care (both for yourself and your partner). Hearing someone respond to your labor pains and groans in a way that helps you and your partner to know that what is happening is normal can be one of the key contributions toward a successful natural birth.

Doulas are great labor support resources! 

Studies have shown that doula-supported women are:

  • 28% less likely to have a cesarean section
  • 31% less likely to use synthetic oxytocin to speed up labor
  • 9% less likely to use any pain medication
  • 34% less likely to rate their childbirth experience negatively(DONA International, Position Paper: “The Birth Doula’s Contribution to Modern Maternity Care”)

4) AVOIDING UNNECESSARY MEDICAL INTERVENTIONS

There is this chart called the Cascade of Interventions. In general, these are effects that CAN happen because of unnecessary medical interventions. This does not mean that these complications WILL happen upon an intervention.

Cascade of Interventions

5) NO BACK-LYING

Lying on your back during labor and birth compresses the opening of your pelvis and limits oxygen supply to the placenta. Lie on your left side with your right knee up, stand up, balance on all fours, squat, lean on the side of the bed on your knees, walk, sway. There are so many different positions that are much more conducive to pushing a baby out than lying on your back! It’s easier for whomever is catching the baby but that’s about it.

6) SKIN-TO-SKIN CONTACT

This is so important for the first couple hours after birth to promote bonding, breast-feeding, and regulation of the infant’s vitals.

Basically, natural childbirth is following your primitive and instinctual gut feelings about what to do and how to move during labor and birth – letting your body do what it was made to do. For many of us, we have to rediscover how to listen to our bodies and trust their sensations.

I’ll stop there for now. The next post will elaborate on the BENEFITS OF NATURAL CHILDBIRTH. Stay tuned.

Learn more about natural childbirth and how to listen to your body during one of Crescent Moon Childbirth’s natural childbirth class series coming up this fall!

2 thoughts on “Natural Childbirth: What is it, really?

  1. Hello! This is my first pregnancy and I’ve been strongly considering natural childbirth. This post is great and very informative, especially with the chart! Thank you!

    Like

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