Dr. Shannon (a family medicine physician) just prepared this handout for patients in her practice who want a “natural” or un-medicated birth. Although she believes in the ability of all women to give birth normally, Dr. Shannon knows firsthand that a little bit of preparation goes a long way. Here are her tips for those of you who want a natural birth! If you are a doula, childbirth educator, midwife, doctor, or nurse, you can access a free, printable version of this handout here for your clients.
Dr. Shannon’s Tips for an Un-medicated Birth
© 2012 by www.evidencebasedbirth.com
If your goal is an un-medicated birth/natural vaginal birth…read below!!!
- Prepare and Practice! You wouldn’t run a marathon without training, would you? Labor and birth can be long and hard. Take a natural birth or Hypnobabies class at an independent childbirth education center NOT affiliated with a hospital. If you do this, you won’t even need to read the rest of the list! You will already know it all!
- Practice your relaxation exercises every night. Get your partner involved.
- Hire a doula. This is a woman who provides continuous labor support. They are trained to provide encouragement to you and your partner as well as massage, instruction on labor positions and help in navigating the medical world of labor and delivery. In research studies, doulas decreased C-section rates and epidurals and shortened labor duration, even when a supportive partner was present. They are worth every penny! For a list of doulas in the area, contact your local independent childbirth education center.
- Exercise, eat a nutritious diet and gain the appropriate amount of weight during pregnancy. Go to prenatal yoga classes or rent a prenatal yoga video.
- Visit http://spinningbabies.com/ to review healthy sitting positions for the third trimester and exercises that are vital to getting your baby in a good position before birth. Do 40 “Cat-Cow” poses every day!
- Read as much as possible on natural birth. These books are often available at your local library or for cheap at www.half.com:
- Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth, by Ina May Gaskin (strongly recommended)
- The Official Lamaze Guide: Giving Birth with Confidence by Lothian
- Husband-Coached Childbirth by Robert Bradley
- Your Best Birth by Ricki Lake
- Birthing from Within by Pam England
- Birth Matters by Ina May Gaskin
- Do not watch television shows (A Baby Story) or movies that show negative birth experiences. Do not read or allow people tell you hospital horror birth stories. It is important for you to develop a confident mindset that birth is normal and healthy.
- Write down your birth preferences and give them to your partner, doctor, and nurse.
- Avoid an induction unless it is absolutely medically necessary.
- For every intervention that is offered, ask, “Is mom okay? Is baby okay?” Then use the BRAND acronym:
- What are the Benefits?
- What are the Risks?
- What are the Alternatives?
- What if we do Nothing?
- Give us time to Discuss and Decide.
- If this is your first baby and your provider says it’s okay, stay at home as long as possible during labor! If labor might be starting, try to ignore it. Walk, eat, stay hydrated, and relax. If it is nighttime, sleep, and if it is daytime, go about your normal activities. Try to keep moving during labor and avoid lying on your back. (If your water breaks, ask your provider what they recommend.)
- Be flexible! Every baby has its own timing and way of being born. Try not to get too worried about having a specific experience. Just try and make you and your baby as healthy and as ready as possible!
Have you used any of these suggestions before? Do you have any additional tips you would like to share with readers?
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