Is A Natural Birth Right For You?
Before we tackle one of the most controversial topics in the realm of motherhood and birthing, it’s important to note that we believe strongly in the importance of a woman choosing the birthing method that’s right for her. There are numerous benefits to choosing a natural childbirth, but that doesn’t mean that they automatically outweigh various other health, family, or personal concerns that may factor into a woman’s decision.
Our aim here is to provide reasons why natural childbirth is beneficial, so that mothers-to-be who are exploring their options can make an informed decision.
(Also, please note that we use the term “natural birth” to describe a drug-free experience with almost no medical intervention. The term is sometimes mis-used to denote a vaginal delivery with all the standard hospital accoutrements (e.g., IV, epidural, forceps, episiotomy). Natural birth means seriously au naturel! It’s not for the faint of heart.)
1) There’s nothing natural about those stirrups!
Now, more often than not, women deliver on a bed, laying completely horizontal. Think about it: in that position, you can’t make use of your friend Gravity. In slightly more medical terms, what this can mean is that the mother’s cervix doesn’t have the space to expand as much as it might if she was free to move around. Not only does this mean a birth takes longer, it also means that a baby’s cranium can get compressed during delivery.
2) Water births are less painful
Water births, or even spending time in a birthing pool prior to the actual birth, can reduce pain dramatically. Of course, nothing comes close to the numbing effect of an epidural, but if you like the idea of delivering without drugs, you may want to find a facility that has water birthing tubs.
3) You’re still allowed to move around
A natural birth means no restriction of movement. This means that in the time leading up to the birth – or until pain thresholds allow – you can do almost anything that takes your mind off the pain. Bake a cake, go for a walk, watch your favorite tv show. If you’re not bedridden, you won’t be so focused on the pain.
4) No side effects for you or baby
Epidurals can leave you numb and restrict your ability to move even after the birth; procedures like the use of forceps or suction can injure your baby. If you don’t use these methods of intervention, you avoid the possibility of them impacting you or your baby.
5) You’ll feel like Superwoman
Women who go through natural birthing experiences frequently express strong feelings of empowerment. It’s up to you whether the pain is worth it!
Most doctors likely won’t support the idea of a natural childbirth outside a hospital environment, because they will be concerned with the availability of medical equipment in case of emergency. But increasingly, some doctors are becoming more open to supporting the natural birthing process within the walls of a well-staffed and well-equipped medical facility. Also, for those mothers-to-be who might cite the high infant mortality rate in rural India as a reason to avoid natural birth, it’s important to note that infant mortality in rural India has much more to do with post-natal hygiene and health rather than problems during home births.
Natural births can be done in a hospital setting with a supportive doctor. If you think this option is right for you, it’s worth finding a doctor who is flexible in her approach and willing to support your decision.