Although there are several options when it comes to giving birth, many moms-to-be are committed to having an unmedicated birth from the start. There are many benefits for both mothers and babies associated with a "natural" birth, and the feeling of empowerment alone is enough to convince some moms to give it a shot. Still, the idea of having a drug-free birth can be scary. Luckily, there are many things you can do to prepare for your unmedicated birth so that both your body and your mind are ready for the most exciting, yet most exhausting, day of your life.
As with pregnancy, unmedicated births look different for everyone. For some women, they go smoothly without any unexpected turns and the pain is described more like "intense pressure." For others, it's less predictable and much more painful than they expected. Although there's no real way to tell how your labor will go beforehand, being prepared is quite honestly the most helpful tool for success.
These tips will help prepare your body for labor, but perhaps more importantly, they'll also get your mind in the proper "head space" for delivering all naturally. Those two things, when combined with your raw, natural strength, are a recipe for an amazing birth.
1Get In The Right Mindset
As powerful as physical preparation can be, according to Parents, mental preparation is just as important for birth. Be it in the form of daily affirmations or meditation sessions where you learn to control your mindset, there are many ways to prepare your mind to give birth.
2Practice Progressive Relaxation
According to the American Pregnancy Association (APA), progressive relaxation is helpful during labor, since relaxation is key to easing pain and allowing your contractions to move labor from one stage to the next. To practice progressive relaxation, begin relaxing the muscles in your head, face, and neck, slowly moving down the rest of your body until you're fully relaxed. Gaining better control over your muscles and learning how to relax on command are both invaluable tools heading into labor.
The classic exercise helps support your pelvic floor and tone your muscles "down there," preparing for labor in a very practical way. Parents instructed moms to hold the muscle they would use to urinate (without the help of your thigh, buttocks, or abdominal muscles) and release, repeating as often as you'd like to strengthen your pelvic floor.
4Practice Common Birthing Positions
Knowing common and effective birthing positions before you go into labor is extremely helpful. Another Parents article noted that getting mobile and switching your position often during labor is one of the most effective ways to feel empowered during your labor, instead of laying in the hospital bed enduring contractions. Whether it's using a birthing ball, rocking on your hands and knees, kneeling and having your partner put pressure on your lower back, or any other position, knowing them ahead of time will make you feel more prepared.
5Stay Healthy During Your Pregnancy
Of course, prioritizing health during your pregnancy is just as important as thinking about your labor. Be sure to get enough rest, so that you're physically ready for labor, and eat healthy, energizing foods to support both you and your growing baby.
6Believe In Your Body
Mama Natural noted that the simple act of committing to a natural labor and believing that your body is able to do it may be the most empowering way to prepare.
7Prepare Your Partner
If you'll have your partner, birth coach, or anyone else in the room with you, it's vital that they're just as prepared as you are. Consider signing up for a birthing class together, or simply reading a few books on natural labor to prepare together.
8Choose A Supportive Birth Center
Although the majority of hospitals are "natural birth friendly" some aren't as familiar with unmedicated births as others. When you're choosing where you want to have your baby, be sure you choose an environment and medical team that will be as supportive and encouraging as you need them to be.
9Write A Birth Plan
When you go into labor, you'll be focused on one thing only: giving birth to your baby. Parents noted that by writing a birth plan ahead of time, you can tell your doctor, partner, and medical team exactly what you expect and are hoping for ahead of time. Everything from your desire to labor drug-free, to whether or not you'll have a photographer present can be included in your birth plan.