So You Want to Be a Natural Woman…
Like any birth choices, deciding
whether or not to labor naturally is a very personal decision.
Arm yourself with information, and then go with what makes you feel
comfortable. If you do plan to labor naturally, more power to
you! Here are a few suggestions to help you out:
Prepare. Research and practice natural methods of pain management such as positioning, counter-pressure, water labor/birth, and massage. Mentally, you will also need an extra dose of preparation to help carry you through. My husband and I took Bradley classes, which encourage a natural, husband-coached childbirth. We also have memorized Hebrews 12:2 as a theme verse for labor. It talks about fixing your eyes on Jesus, who endured the suffering of the cross for the joy set before him. I hope in labor to remember this verse, being reminded also of the joy set before me: meeting that baby!
Find a Supportive Environment.
At your home, this is easier, because it’s your environment
and you set the tone. If you’re laboring naturally in a hospital,
make sure you communicate your desires to the staff. Every few
minutes you don’t want someone poking their head in asking, “You
sure you don’t want that epidural?” Do whatever it takes
to make your laboring space comfortable and stress-free. Play music,
dim the lights—whatever takes you to your happy place.
Find a Supportive Birth Team. This starts with your husband or partner and the midwife or doctor you choose. If you plan to have other friends or family members present, again make sure that everyone is aware of your desire to labor naturally. Most importantly consider hiring a Professional Labor Assistant (also called a doula), whose job it is to assist women in labor. Studies show that mothers who use a doula had shorter labors, needed fewer medical interventions, and had a lower cesarean rate. To locate a doula, check www.dona.org, the website for the Doulas of North America.