Everything you need to know about a natural birth

The number of women opting for a natural childbirth is constantly on the rise. But the term ‘natural birth’ means something different to everyone. If you have your heart set on a natural birthing experience, then here’s everything you need to know.

What is natural birth?

The definition of “natural birth’ is different for everyone. For some women, it can mean a vaginal birth with or without the use of medical intervention or pain relief. But for others, a natural birth can mean a much broader labour and birth experience. A natural birth in this instance typically means delivery without pain relief or medical interventions.

How to improve your chances of a low-intervention or natural birth

With the right preparation and support, any woman with a low-risk pregnancy can opt for a natural birth and feel comfortable and happy with their choice. Basing your birth plan around a natural birth is a good way for you to effectively communicate your preferences for your birth with your midwife, and the rest of your birthing team and increase your chances of birthing the way you wish.

You may also wish to try these four strategies either at home or in the hospital for your best shot at a low-intervention birth.

  1. Increase your movement

In-between resting, it is a good idea to maintain gentle movements. The movement along side your contractions will help the baby move into the birth canal. Try squatting/rocking on a birthing ball or walking around the room to ease tension and improve comfort. Moving around will also help to keep your mind off the pain.

  1. Try a birthing pool

A birth pool creates a quiet, private environment that can help you feel safe and secure while in labour. Immersing yourself in warm water helps to keep you feeling comfortable, reducing stress and, in turn, lessening your perception of pain by increasing the body’s production of endorphins.

Water immersion can also ease muscular tension and can help you to relax between contractions. The feeling of weightlessness found whilst in water enables you to move more readily and freely so you can find the position in which you feel most comfortable.

  1. Deep relaxation

Finding that level of calm and relaxation will help you through all stages of labour. If you’re planning to birth at home, create a calming environment for yourself where you feel most comfortable. Try listening to calming music, lighting candles or immersing yourself in warm water.

  1. Be patient

Labour is typically a long process. For first time mothers, just early labour alone can take 8 hours or more on average. So however much we’d like it to be over, there’s no point trying to rush things. Be sure to keep yourself entertained, nourished, hydrated and relaxed during the early stages to give yourself as much energy as possible for the final push. However, if you do have any concerns for you or the baby, make sure you inform your midwife as soon as possible.

Whether you choose to birth in a hospital, at home or in a birth centre, your midwife and birthing partner will be on hand to guide you through natural childbirth. Use all these techniques and you’ll give yourself the best chance at having the natural birth you hoped for.

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