No matter if a medicated or unmedicated birth is chosen – or a last-minute Cesarean is necessary – it’s important for parents to prepare for a natural birth. Even if a mother hopes to use every available drug, births don’t always go according to plan. There is no guarantee an epidural will be effective. Pregnant women who count on epidurals may get to the hospital in the middle of labor and have no choice but to have unmedicated births. A little preparation would save a lot of panic, uncertainty, and pain from botched epidural attempts.For parents who are leaning toward – or have firmly decided upon – an unmedicated birth, it’s essential to be prepared before going into labor. Don’t hope that you’ll be able to just wing natural childbirth because women have been doing it since the beginning of time.
If you want a natural, unmedicated childbirth, prepare yourself. Have a game plan. Practice. Find a midwife or doula – or an obstetrician who supports unmedicated birthing options. Unprepared mothers may think they’d like to try a natural delivery, but when contractions intensify, a fear of pain could lead to a last minute choice for an epidural. Or, during the height of contractions, some mothers may feel persuaded by healthcare professionals to use drugs.
Two popular methods
Two methods of natural childbirth are most popular: The Bradley method and Lamaze.
- The goal of the Bradley natural method of childbirth is to give birth without medication or medical interventions. It involves the husband as a labor coach and teaches mothers to work with the entire birth process – including pain.
- The Lamaze method of natural childbirth also includes husbands as coaches, but it uses distraction and breathing techniques to avoid pain.
While both natural methods are taught at classes, books also are excellent resources for expectant parents who don’t mind doing a little extra reading. Most of the books provide good explanations for what to expect.
One informative book that explains all aspects of childbirth – medicated and unmedicated – is The Birth Book: Everything You Need to Know to Have a Safe and Satisfying Birth by Dr. William Sears and Martha Sears.
“Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way” by Susan McCutcheson includes Bradley’s childbirth process as well as preparatory exercises to perform during pregnancy. “Husband-Coached Childbirth: The Bradley Method of Natural Childbirth” by Dr. Robert Bradley explains the reasoning behind his method.
“The Official Lamaze Guide: Giving Birth with Confidence” by Judith Lothian and Charlotte DeVries explains the Lamaze approach to the childbirth process.
I strongly recommend reviewing at least one natural childbirth book during pregnancy, regardless of the epidural decision, to better understand the birthing process and relaxation techniques. Healthy Child Healthy World also explains healthy options.
If you’d like to share your birth stories, please e-mail them to firstname.lastname@example.org by Thursday. I’ll post them this weekend!
Disclosure: Purchasing a book via Amazon.com through this post results in a modest commission for Accidentally Green.