Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Why Natural Birth?

My reasons to choose natural childbirth are different now than they were almost 4 years ago when we first considered it as an option.  At the time I think it's fair to say my biggest reason to consider it was simple curiosity.  The more have I learned, the more strongly I feel that low-risk Moms should pursue natural birth as a first choice. As I learned with my own Hypnobaby, even high-risk Moms still have choices too.  They may be limited choices, but couples are still ultimately in charge of their pregnancy & birthing time.

With both the C-section rates and also the maternal mortality rates on the rise in the US, it is important for couples to be informed.  Couples need to understand interventions during pregnancy and birthing time, when to consider them, and how to avoid them and other alternatives if they are unnecessary.  Having an epidural or other forms of pain medication during birthing time, usually comes with other interventions for the safety of Mom and/or the convenience of the staff or adherence to hospital policies.

Natural childbirth to me is more than just avoiding pain medications.  

  • It is having a belief in the normalcy of pregnancy and birth.  
  • It is also taking a proactive approach to pregnancy and making careful and conscious preparation towards birthing time.  
  • It means Mom does her best to remain healthy and low-risk and avoid all unnecessary interventions during pregnancy and birthing time, even the seemingly harmless ones (note: if Mom is making an informed decision and feels good about an intervention, that is the pregnancy & birth that Mom & Baby need).  
  • It is being intuitive and confident as Mom & partner search out to understand the best course for pregnancy and birthing time.  
  • It means the birth partner is actively involved during the preparations and also birthing time.  
  • A natural childbirth to me includes baby kindness and similarly avoiding those routine interventions for Baby that are not necessary. For example, allowing baby skin-to-skin immediately following birth if baby is healthy or delaying cord clamping, etc.

Reasons to consider natural birth:
*Preparation time can be bonding to the couple and also Baby.
*Can be empowering to Mom and birth partner to know they brought Baby into their arms together.
*Avoiding side-effects of medication.
*Avoiding the domino effect of unnecessary interventions that could slow or change birthing time.
*Mom is usually able to birth in her choice of positions, particularly, those upright and modified upright positions that use gravity to facilitate a shorter birthing time.
*Staying low risk and healthy will usually give Mom more choices during birthing time.
*Babies are usually more alert & calm when pain medications are avoided.
*Baby can have a more gentle transition from womb
*Birthing time can be faster.
*Healing can be easier/faster.

What holds couples back from choosing natural birth:   For most Moms and couples choosing a natural childbirth, it isn't as common for Mom to just "waltz/waddle" :) on in on birthing day without previous preparation.  At the time, I believed I was getting a great deal out of it: I just walk into the hospital and they gave me an epidural and I'm completely numb.  I can see now that I missed out on some wonderful growing opportunities by taking a passive role in my pregnancies and birthing time.  A natural childbirth takes time, effort, and commitment.  The couple needs to find a method they are willing to commit to wholly and put some serious preparation into it.  When you look at the benefits, preparation time can actually be an investment  to couples preparing for a natural childbirth.

Katy Willis
RN, HCHI, HCHD, Thetahealing Practitioner

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