This article is a part of the Carnival of Natural Mothering hosted by GrowingSlower, Every Breath I Take, I Thought I Knew Mama, African Babies Don’t Cry, and Adventures of Captain Destructo. This month’s topic is Natural Birth Choices. Be sure to check out all of the participants’ posts through the links at the bottom of this page.
Throughout my daily life, I prioritize making choices that help our family live a green and natural lifestyle. Is everything we do completely eco-friendly and natural? No, but we really do try our very best. It was important to me to have as natural of a birth experience as possible when my daughter was born 16 months ago. You can read her VBAC birth story here, but here are ten choices that I made to create the most natural birth experience possible for us even though we were in a hospital setting:
1. Hire a doula.
No matter how wonderful and supportive your partner is, there is nothing like having the additional support and knowledge of a doula. I feel very blessed to have had Jennifer of Family Strong Birth Services by my side.
2. Say no to the epidural.
I think most women beg for it at some point during labor, but I was so thankful to have made it through without it and to have been able to move around as I needed to.
3. Labor at home for as long as possible.
The longer you can labor at home, the more likely you are to avoid medical interventions.
4. Set the mood in the hospital room.
Have your phone or iPod set with a music playlist that creates the mood that you are looking for. Have your doula and partner pin inspiring pictures and words to the walls around you. Bring healthy snacks and drinks from home to keep up your strength. Say no to the hospital gown and wear something that makes you feel like you rather than just a hospital patient.
5. Make sure that everyone who you come in contact with has access to your birth plan.
At our hospital, the birth plan was scanned into the computer system in advance, so everyone was aware of our preferences.
6. Register to have a midwife attend your delivery.
Most hospitals now give you the option of having a Certified Nurse Midwife attend your birth rather than an OB-GYN. Typically, midwives are more naturally minded and supportive of natural birth choices. Although I had been seeing a practice of midwives before my daughter’s birth, I had never met either of the midwives that attended our birth. I felt so lucky to have them as they were so supportive of VBAC and of all of our natural birth choices – even when they went against hospital policy.
7. Don’t be afraid to voice your needs.
If your choices go against hospital policy, that is okay. You are not at the mercy of the hospital. You are in charge of your own birth experience. You may have to sign paperwork before or after if your choices differ from the hospital’s, but that’s okay. Do what you need to do to make yourself feel at ease.
8. Don’t forget all of the natural choices you have once the baby arrives.
You can breastfeed, co-sleep, delay cord clamping, bathe your baby yourself and/or choose not to have the baby vaccinated, circumcised, bathed immediately, taken away from you, etc. These things are all part of your and your baby’s birth experience, and they are optional – not required.
9. You can leave the hospital when you’re ready.
If all is well with your health and your baby’s health, you do not have to stay in the hospital a certain amount of time. Actually, many insurance plans will send a visiting nurse to your home if you leave early, which was a very nice experience for me.
10. It’s all about your mind set.
There is not one way to give birth. There is not one way to have a natural birth. You have to choose what is right for you. What is most natural for you is not the same for someone else. Trust your instincts, know your options, and stand by your choices!
What natural birth choices did you make or hope to make in the future?