When you think of natural birth, you probably also think of the pain and discomfort. With the right support and preparation, women can actually feel empowered and deeply satisfied by natural childbirth.
You will be asked to check into the hospital once your contractions are around 5 to 10 minutes apart. You will probably have a blood show as the vaginal cap comes off. It might be followed by your water breaking anytime. So you are all set for birth! Except for the labour.
What should you know before the process?
- Learn as much as you can ahead of the process, about the natural and medical pain management. Clear all your questions with the doctor. Anything that can ease your anxiety will help with the challenges ahead. If you are stressed, it releases stress hormones in your body and this can affect your uterus’s ability to contract.
- Yes, you are young, confident and well prepared. But nature can still throw a surprise at you. You might need medical intervention although you have been told you are going to have a natural birth. This can make it more difficult for you manage pain naturally, your labour might be longer than anticipated.
- Go with the flow. Ultimately when reality strikes, it might be very different from what you imagined it to be. Then is your own capability to manage the pain that kicks in. Going in without any rosy expectations helps.
Why is natural birth a good thing?
- It is non-invasive, so potential harm to you or your child, no side effects.
- You feel in charge of your body.
- No loss of alertness. You participate in the process when the time comes to push the baby out.
- If are not getting an epidural then it is less likely that you would need interventions such as forceps delivery, vacuum evacuation or bladder catheterization.
- Your partner can be involved in the process. It helps you manage the pain.
Since we have mentioned pain management several times, let us look at some coping techniques as well. Especially since you have decided not to get epidural intervention.
- Have a dedicated caregiver like a partner or a parent who will reduce your anxiety levels and talk you through the pain and discomfort. They will help you keep up your cheer and morale.
- Some birthing classes teach you breathing techniques that help you through the pain.
- Practising yoga and meditation through your delivery can help you breathe your way through the pain.
- There is also the method of progressive relaxation taught in some birthing classes. You zero in on a muscle, tightening it up and then releasing it as soon as possible.
- Take a favourite photograph or a possession with which you can distract yourself and ease the pain.
- Try to get into a position that is comfortable for you. It might actually help to move around during labour, but even if you cannot, try to find a comfortable position on the bed. During the pushing stage, a squatting position may work best for you.
- Gentle strokes from your caregiver can assuage your perception of pain. Some of you might like to have a back massage at this stage. A hot water bottle can also help.
Whichever method of birthing you choose, remember that no method compromises on the bonding between you and your baby. So go with your instinct. You will be a supermom anyway!