I distinctly remember the moment that I first met a woman who was planning a natural birth. My initial reaction was something along the lines of “why would anyone choose to suffer in that way?” At the time I had no children and I didn’t really have an opinion either way. Then I went to visit the first of my friends to become pregnant. She wanted to go natural. She was nearly in her ninth month and shared with me her reasoning. She wanted to be present to the experience of birth. She felt that drugs would numb it. She had abstained from drugs and alcohol during her pregnancy for the health of her baby. She didn’t feel that it made sense to suddenly drug baby up at birth. She wanted to connect deeply with baby right after birth and knew this would be more probable if both she and baby were drug free. Wow! She impressed me.
By the time I became pregnant, I was sold.
The advantages of natural childbirth are huge! Here are the most important ones.
1. Natural childbirth is much better for the mother. Mother are aware and are able to work with their bodies. Mothers have a significantly more fulfilling and beautiful experience of labour. Moms feel more in control of their health, and feel the full power of their ability to bring forth life. Plus there are no nasty side-effects from inventions & epidurals to deal with. Healing time is generally faster too!
2. Natural childbirth is much better for the baby. Baby arrive un-drugged and therefore much more active and responsive. They are more able to interact with their parents. They hold deep and alert eye contact. Their own instincts are not compromised by drugs and consequently are much more able to breastfeed easily with minimum support. Drugged babies can barely move. Epidurals do include drugs with pass through the placenta and onto baby, but to a lesser degree that other drugs, such as morphine, which go straight to your blood system and straight to baby.
3. Natural childbirth is better for families. When an aware and alert (un-drugged) baby is placed directly on the tummy or chest of an aware and responsive (un-drugged) mother something magical happens. Mom and babies fall deeply deeply in love with each other. It’s this powerful, amazing experience for which this blog is named… Birth Bliss. Moms and babies connect and bond in a significant and real way.
Natural childbirth is possible in hospital, but not unless you take the steps to make it happen. You need to find a care provider (doctor or midwife) who supports your wishes and who believes in natural birth. You need to take steps to prepare your body, mind and spirit for the awesome task of labour. A class focused on natural birth, such as hypnobirthing, is your best option. You need to learn what your options are. As they say, if you don’t know what your options are, then you don’t have any! You need to communicate your wishes for birth with doctors, midwives and nurses. This is best done with a birth plan. Your chances of achieving a natural birth will increase dramatically if you hire a doula. A doula is a professional labour companion who is trained to support you and your partner emotionally and physically throughout the entire birth journey. That support is incredibility valuable. I have worked with over 200 women in the past 4 years, and not a single one, NOT ONE, has ever regretted hiring a doula. What they do regret is not doing for an earlier birth if it wasn’t their first child. (Dads & Doulas)
Lastly I’d like to live you with a quote from world renowned midwife Ina May Gaskin.
“It is possible to have an ecstatic birth-in fact, that is the best- natural high that I know of. And these states of consciousness are best reached when a woman is fully aware and fully awake. Women don’t have a way to know how their body works until they really try it out in birth. I think that women can be just completely surprised by the change in them from giving birth- you have something powerful in you -that fierce thing comes up-and I think babies need moms to have that fierceness-you feel like you can do anything and that’s the feeling we want moms to have.”