I don’t remember exactly when I decided to have a home-birth. For me, there is no other way to do it. I can’t say it’s for everyone, but what I experienced through both our home-births is what I would want every single mother to experience in childbirth: a birth of her choosing. If a woman is educated, knows all the risks and benefits, has access to her desired birth, and makes a choice from this place I support her wholeheartedly.
What I don’t support is that one birth fits all. I don’t support women being bullied into interventions that aren’t wanted or needed while in labor. There are simply too many women who are being bullied and beaten down verbally until they gave into interventions which began the cascade toward an unwanted and often unnecessary surgery.
In my chiropractic practice I help moms to achieve their desired birth, whatever that may be. If she chooses an elective Cesarian birth, the list of things she MUST do is shorter. She certainly has less barriers to overcome to achieve it. Today, as long as you have insurance and a signature you can schedule a C-section.
Here’s a list of things I recommend to all my moms who want to be a natural birth ninja!
1. Commit to your outcome. I achieved my natural births because there was no other option for me. If you are going to cut my baby out of me, you might as well take my arm too. I know that sounds very harsh, but it’s how I feel in my gut. If you want a natural birth, it is achievable for most women but you have to be unwavering, committed, and unwilling to simply “try” for a natural birth. It is ludicrous to think that 30% of women (the average for most American hospitals) need C-sections. When you commit to something, there are an infinite number of ways to achieve it.
2. Chiropractic care throughout your pregnancy. Chiropractic gently aligns the hips and spine to allow mom’s body to function better and therefore labor more efficiently. You don’t want to be in a hospital gown in the middle of a contraction and find out your hips are out of alignment or you have a crick in the neck. Women who receive chiropractic care throughout pregnancy report shorter over-all labors, more comfort, and have more optimal positioning of the baby.
3. Take a Natural Childbirth Education course. Your hospital may have some great information for you in their class, but if you want a Natural birth, you need to prepare yourself with laboring techniques and pain management options other than medications. Every woman has a different set of needs during labor, so the more techniques you have in your pocket going into labor the better.
4. Labor support. I highly recommend a doula for all natural births. If your partner or husband is not well educated and 100% supportive of your desire for natural birth you need to have an advocate in attendance at your birth who is. A doula is there to support you through labor and assist in achieving the birth you desire.
5. Written birth plan. If you don’t write it down and share your wishes with everyone who will be attending your birth, it’s less likely your wishes will be respected. You still may have to make some decisions, but putting them onto paper in advance is the best way to let everyone know what’s going down. You will also want to indicate what kind of newborn care you want. Will you delay cord clamping? Will you be breastfeeding? Will baby be placed on your stomach or be swept away to be cleaned? Will you be catching your baby or someone else?
6. Choose your provider wisely. If I wanted a natural birth, I wouldn’t choose a high-risk pregnancy OB. Ask questions of your provider well in advance. Interview several providers. If you don’t get an answer that fits your needs, it’s really okay to change providers. Get to know the nurses too! If you are choosing a midwife, ask her about transport rates and emergency plan.
7. Stay fit. Labor and child-birth are really like running a marathon. You would never show up to a starting line without preparing adequately. Labor requires a lot of energy, a lot of focus, and a lot of muscles. The better you care for your body before and during pregnancy, this includes exercise, the better prepared you will be for labor. Sure, it’s important to rest plenty during pregnancy (you ARE growing another human), but it’s equally important to keep your body strong and fit.
There you have it! If you want a natural birth, that’s a very human thing. You aren’t trying to prove anything, you aren’t trying to be super-mom. You are a woman, and it’s okay to embrace that. You don’t have to explain yourself.
“A flower doesn’t try to be a flower to attract a bee. A flower is a flower… because it’s a flower and the bees come.” -Unknown