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Are you planning to have a natural, unmedicated childbirth? This empowering experience requires a lot of preparation to get your mind and body ready for one of its biggest challenges. In this article, we’ll discuss 5 simple ways you can prepare for a natural birth.
I remember the second time I was in labor, we were having problems with my epidural and the delivery nurse looked at me and said “if we can’t get this in soon, you just might be having a natural birth so let’s get you ready”. Thankfully, I had already taken a Birth Course that prepared me for an epidural birth AND touched on some natural birth coping strategies as well, but that being said, I was still a little nervous.
That’s because a natural birth wasn’t my main birth plan. I was flexible enough to be prepared for the worst but had I really prepared for an unmedicated birth the same way I had done for a medicated birth, I guarantee my confidence would’ve been through the roof.
That’s why I’m here to help you prepare (to the best of your abilities) during pregnancy for your natural birth experience. Remember, the key to a successful unmedicated birth is always education and support.
How to Prepare for a Natural Birth: 5 Simple Tips
The process of giving birth is truly an art. It requires breaking into a part of your soul that requires you to focus and dig deep so that you can bring your beautiful baby into this world. That includes knowing which positions are most comfortable for you, understanding breathing techniques, setting the mood long before labor begins, and much more.
Below, are 5 of the best ways you can use to prepare for a natural birth (whether you choose a home birth, a birth center, or a hospital delivery room).
1) Education: Take a Natural Childbirth Class
If you’ve never given birth before and this is your first child, you 100% need to take a natural childbirth class. These types of childbirth classes are the best way to prepare for a natural birth. You should learn things like:
- How to cope with labor pain
- Relaxation techniques (including breathing techniques, partner support, counterpressure, and more)
- Setting up your support team
- Understanding the labor process (all the stages of labor)
- Different positions to help you push
- Types of natural birth options (such as in the shower or a water birth)
- And much more!
The last thing any mother needs when going into labor is to feel scared, worried, and uncertain. Instead, arm yourself with knowledge so you can have an empowering and positive experience with your natural delivery.
2) Prepare Your Space
It’s a good idea to prepare your space with calming and soothing items. For instance, if you plan to have your natural vaginal delivery in a hospital setting, keep in mind that hospitals can feel a little stressful. In order to alleviate that stress, you’ll want to consider bringing in some items to help.
I ran a poll on my Instagram page to see what items other moms who have had a successful natural birth would suggest bringing and here are their suggestions:
- Soothing playlist (one mom suggested bringing a portable speaker to connect your phone to for music while another suggested using headphones to tune any outside noises out)
- Fake candles (since more facilities won’t allow real burning candles & you’ll be too busy giving birth to keep track of any live burning candles — these ones were highly recommended by multiple moms)
- Essential oils
- Soft robe (one mom said the feeling of sleek silk always helps her feel incredibly calm while another mentioned the feeling of a plush robe helps to calm her nerves)
- Comfortable slippers to prevent from walking on cold or uncomfortable hard floors
- Caretaker for the kids (this was for those having a home birth and didn’t want their other children to be involved or interrupt the birthing process)
- Birthing ball or peanut ball (I know your birth center or hospital will likely have one for you, but if not, you won’t want to forget it)
- Water bottle to keep hydrated (as long as you’re allowed to drink while laboring)
- Positive birth affirmations (one mama said it helped her when her birth partner would read out positive affirmations to her because it helped her feel more grounded and in turn, empowered to get through laboring — you can download my free printable birth affirmations here if you don’t have any yet)
- Watch or read about positive birth stories for inspiration
I’m sure everyone has their own special items and rituals that help them feel relaxed, but the above items are great to start with!
3) Pack Your Hospital Bag
A natural birth is the kind of birth that really needs to have the least amount of stress possible. This means, not waiting until the last minute to gather up all your necessities and pack your hospital bags. Instead, have your bags packed and ready to go with all your recovery items, toiletries, comfort items and don’t forget the items for your baby and partner!
If you need a full checklist of what you should be packing in your hospital bag, check out my FREE hospital bag checklist here.
4) Familiarize Yourself With Birthing Positions
Did you know there are over 10 labor positions for childbirth? That’s right you have a ton of options when it comes to getting comfortable and into the best position to help you squeeze that baby out. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, “no one position needs to be mandated nor proscribed”. The goal should always be getting into a position that will help your baby fit through the birth canal without getting stuck or causing you too much discomfort as well (which will be different for every mother).
Many of these positions you can learn about just by taking a birth class like this one, but I’m going to share 5 of the most LOVED positions by mothers who have had a natural birth.
- The Backward Chair (also sometimes called “the lean”)
- Stand & Squat
- Hand & Knees
The important thing to remember is that there is no perfect labor position for everyone. You will have to experiment and see which one feels best for you during childbirth. This includes trying them in a bathtub or a shower and using whatever external support you can to get yourself comfortable.
5) Consider Hiring a Birth Doula
A birth doula is a trained expert who provides emotional and physical support (labor support), comfort, and education to new and expecting parents (mothers) before, during, and after birth. There are some doulas who specialize in just birth, postpartum, or just postpartum.
Doulas do NOT have medical training so they are not able to do things like diagnosing problems or prescribing medications. What they can do is educate their prospective families on ways to have a successful birth experience, they can provide support throughout the actual labor process, and they can help to provide encouragement after the baby is born.
If you think you’d like to hire a birth doula, I always suggest word-of-mouth referrals. Post in a local Facebook group or ask your friends and family who they would recommend. If you have no luck finding a doula through word of mouth, you can look one up through one of these professional organizations that offer training and certifications to doulas:
How to Prepare Your Body for Natural Birth
In addition to educating yourself on labor positions, creating a support team, and taking a childbirth class, there are a few ways you can prepare your body for the act of childbirth.
Stay Active During Your Pregnancy
Outside of research, think about your birth experience as a marathon. You have a window of time to prepare your body for this marathon and why not train it to be in the best health and strength possible to deliver a healthy baby. Working out and being active doesn’t need to equate to some crazy workout routine, instead, it could be walking around the neighborhood once a day.
If you are someone who regularly works out, you might enjoy these prenatal fitness routines created just for expecting and postpartum mothers.
Of course, if you have a high risk pregnancy, you’ll want to make sure that any workout or physical activity you do is cleared by your healthcare provider first.
Know How To Strengthen Your Uterus With Red Raspberry Leaf Tea
Red Raspberry Leaf Tea (despite tasting nothing like raspberries) is commonly known for helping to strengthen a woman’s uterus and help shorten labor by improving the effectiveness of contractions.
However, due to there being somewhat conflicting research and studies, you should always consult with your health care provider first. If you do opt to consume this tea, most do not recommend drinking it until at least your 2nd trimester. It’s said that 1 to 2 cups per day is more than enough for your body to reap the benefits of red raspberry tea.
Other benefits of RRLT you may not have heard of:
- Help reduce birth intervention
- Strengthen the amniotic sac
- Can help ease an upset stomach
- Very rich with vitamins and minerals
Consume Healthy Nutritious Meals
Lastly, you’ll want to make sure you’re fueling your body with nutrients. Of course, pregnancy cravings or food aversions might hit hard and the only thing you can fathom to eat is a piece of chocolate, but slowly working your way back to healthy meals should be the goal.
If you need some help coming up with a few healthy meal ideas throughout your pregnancy, THIS pregnancy plan meal guide isn’t just packed full of recipes, but also with nutritional tips specifically for the prenatal period. If you have any type of dietary restrictions, always be sure to check with your medical provider first.
Get In Tune With Your Body
It’s easy to say “Oh, I know my body”, but are you really in tune with it? Take some time each night practicing some belly breathing to help. Lay down with your hands on your belly. Close your eyes and inhale. As you inhale, feel your belly fill with air as your hands gently rise. Then, begin to exhale. Really feel each breath and all the muscles involved in completing that movement.
Once you can feel truly in tune with your body, you’ll be able to implement special breathing techniques, certain positions, and more because you’ll know exactly what your body needs in that given moment.
Preparing for a natural birth (an unmedicated birth experience) can be an incredible and empowering experience for many mothers. Prepare yourself ahead of time and nothing, not even the biggest surprises, will be able to dull your flame. You’ve got this mama!
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