Throughout history, a woman giving birth naturally was the norm. Having a baby was viewed as a natural life event, not a medical procedure. We were made for this.
There was no fear, only confidence. Confidence in a woman's innate ability to birth a child. Most births took place at home, some without even the assistance of a midwife. Shocking? By modern standards, yes.
In truth, women worldwide had been giving birth naturally for centuries until routine anaesthesia was introduced only 150 years ago.
Our society has conditioned women to fear natural childbirth. We are bombarded with images of labouring women screaming. Years of exposure to those images can incite self-doubt in even the most determined woman.
Typically, a woman's biggest fear of natural childbirth is pain.
Choosing a natural birth does not mean choosing a painful birth. We are in control of every aspect of our birth experience, from early labour to afterbirth and even the degree of discomfort we do or do not feel. By trusting your body's ability to birth your baby, you too can be a woman giving birth naturally.
Why Choose Natural Childbirth?
Choosing natural childbirth is choosing to trust your body. Even more than that, it's knowing that you already possess all the tools you need to give birth.
Having a natural birth doesn't mean choosing pain. There are a wide variety of natural comfort measures that can be employed. However, the effective use of such techniques often requires diligent pre-labour practise. They are not a "quick fix". Mothers who choose natural childbirth willingly devote the necessary time to hone these skills and lessen the risks involved in choosing medicinal options.
Planning a natural childbirth does not mean swearing off all interventions. Situations will always arise when interventions become life-saving necessities. These mothers carefully weigh the cost-benefit ratio of any and all interventions. The possibility of pain is never a factor in making such decisions.
Mothers who give birth naturally understand how their actions in labour affect their birthing. They welcome contractions as the force that brings their baby to their waiting arms. The mother and her child unite in a partnership as each contraction ebbs and flows into the next. They work as one with the rhythmic cycling of birthing until finally the baby arrives.
Natural childbirth empowers women. It instills self-confidence. But this is not why women choose it, it's not about them at all, it's about making the safest, gentlest choices for the well-being of their child.
There are several formal vaginal childbirth methods from which to choose, the most widely used, which include:
is a natural childbirth method that is rooted in the belief that a Fear-Tension-Pain cycle creates pain during childbirth. By eliminating fear and tension, the labouring mother experiences no pain. It is the only natural childbirth method that teaches pain is not a necessary part of childbirth.
The Bradley Method,
also termed "husband-coached childbirth" teaches women to focus on and manage pain during labour. Classes focus not just on childbirth, but also on healthy pregnancy habits through postpartum care.
is the most widely-known of all the natural childbirth methods. It is most widely recognised for its breathing techniques. However, Lamaze has undergone several significant changes over the years and breathing techniques are no longer the foundation of this method. It teaches women that they can distract themselves from pain by focusing their attention elsewhere.
If you are considering birthing at home, do your research. Find an experienced midwife or other birth companion. Ask them for a list of references or if you may contact other families whose births they've attended. If so, ask the family about their experience and satisfaction with that attendant. Be sure to select an attendant with whom your whole family is comfortable.
- Continuity of Care
- Unlimited Birth Companions
- Freedom from Interventions
- Unlimited Labour Choices
. Imagine your own personal pool, centred in a room filled with soft light, your favourite scent wafting past as you languish in its gentle warmth. The room is hushed with a subtle sense of anticipation. You sigh and settle deeper into the pool. This may not be the scene you picture when visualising natural childbirth, but it is the reality for many women who are experiencing it.
Giving birth in water offers numerous benefits, which include:
- Anxiety Reduction
- Lower Blood Pressure
- Fewer Interventions
- Newborn Adjustment
- Environmental Control
- Shorter Labour
Whether you do or do not choose to use one of the formal methods of childbirth, you can still have a pain-free natural childbirth. While we wouldn't describe our natural birth experiences as pain-free by any means, we do know women who do. The key to be finding what works for you. It may be more convenient to use a method that has tools pre-assembled for your use, but this might not suit everyone.
The best course of action is to educate yourself about your options, then select the path that best suits you, your family, and your desired birth experience