“Yes you can!”
Despite the stigma hospitals have developed, please note that it is possible to have a natural hospital birth. The question is, are you prepared for a natural hospital birth? I’ve said it before and will continue to spread the word, labor is like participating in a marathon. It is rare, near impossible, for someone to just wake up one day and decide to go and complete a 26 mile race without months of preparation. Well, the same with labor. Many enter into the hospital stating, “I’d like to go as natural as possible”. But few are prepared enough to succeed. Unfortunately, this has caused many members of the hospital’s labor staff to treat this statement as an ongoing joke if it is not evident that the mother has been doing some serious training.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s great to stay open-minded. However, there is something about using that phrase, “I’d like to…”. It usually is attached to a mother who has done no formal or consistent training in order to prepare herself to “Go natural”. Now, what is the meaning of natural? It usually means a unmedicated vaginal birth. Therefore if one desires to go unmedicated, no pain medications that is, it is imperative that she prepare herself to cope with the anticipated discomfort, length of time she maybe experiencing that discomfort, as well as become knowledgeable of the norms and ways to troubleshoot the abnormal process.
“You don’t know what you don’t know?”
If you know you have the tendency towards having some anxiety or are an advent learning and have a need to receive lots of education from several resources than I highly recommend private classes and coaching lessons. However, childbirth classes may be received in a group, private, home, hospital, or birth center setting. It has been the norm for those delivering at home or in a birth center to understand that preparation is the key and therefore that is what they do, prepare. Fortunately, since the majority of births are taking place in the hospital setting and more are desiring a natural birth due to greater realization of the benefits, childbirth education is breaking out in various settings. These days there are more pregnancy and family learning centers developing like Colorado Family Life Center, Belly Bliss and even hospitals like Rose Medical Center in Denver, CO are dedicating classes for those desiring an unmedicated birth experience.
Practice relaxation and labor rehearsals frequently
Laboring naturally in a hospital is like being on a diet while staying overnight in a candy shop or bakery…God bless you if you stick to the plan. You must have your full armor on to make it through. You as well as your support team should already have an idea of how you tense, panic, stress, and relax. It is imperative that you know how to tune into yourself and how to push all external distractions out of your mind.
Become a sensual woman
No, I’m not saying have more sex. What I am recommending is that you become more attune to your body. Your baby needs your help to figure their way out into the world. That little head will be nudging and twisting consistently trying to find his/her way through your birth canal. Practice understanding every sensation moving within you. Close your eyes often and try to figure out where baby is lying and where each body part is located inside of you. Learn and embrace your curves. Practice fluid movements of the hips, buttocks, and waist. Increase your flexibility. When the time comes, your baby will give you clues to what positions they need you to maneuver yourself into so that they may properly align themselves into the doorway of life.
Hey, newsflash, tiredness is one of the number one reasons women give up on their dream of going natural. Like I’ve stated before, labor is like a marathon. Most of us could run from a wild dog chasing us, or possibly get out there and run a mile without training if need be , but what would happen to you by mile 5, 10, 15, OMG 26? Chances are without diligent training many of us would flop and cry out for medical assistance. How do you react now when you are super tired? During exhaustion, getting up to go potty seems like way to much. I believe to many stress that the importance of exercising during pregnancy is to prepare your stamina for pushing out the baby. Well, when you consider that the average labor for a first time mom is 19 hours and her pushing up to 3 hours, pushing is only about 1/6th of the labor and delivery process. You need your energy to endure the other 5/6th. So yes, build your stamina because labor maybe a long race.
Ok, this is my last marathon reference…maybe. I recommend that you begin to prepare from the moment you find out you are expecting. Get the clearance you need from your healthcare provider and start your physical and mental preparation. Heck, if you are reading this prior to becoming pregnant, start now. Every effort helps. Keep in mind that birth fitness is different from regular fitness. So prepare accordingly. I have witnessed body builders and triathlon participates flop in labor because they didn’t adjust their training for labor. Don’t wait until 36 weeks to start “walking the baby out” and think that is sufficient. I know most childbirth classes recommend attendance between 28-35 weeks. But is that really enough? What happens if you are really out of shape? Have a history of being a high anxiety female? You may need to start earlier than the classes’ recommended time-frame in order to truly learn how to dump the junk, build your relaxation skills, and physical endurance. This is why I created a plan that starts your preparation from the moment you pee on the stick.
Consider a Birth Doula
Birth Doulas are trained in helping you through the experience. They are so much more than that person on the sidelines of the race handing you water, Gatorade, or orange slices (I know, here I go again). So since I’m there anyway, I’ll continue on. In the race analogy, they are more like the Pit Crew of NASCAR. Your doula is not only there to refuel you through comfort measures consisting of heat, cold, massage, and aromatherapy, and more, she is trained on how to assist you in readjusting baby into proper alignment when they knock themselves out of whack, providing recommendations, and ensuring your understanding of the process. Biggest of all, when you are exhausted and out of mind and your brain turns to mush, a doula is there to be the sound mind advocating for your birth plan. Your birth plan consist of the desires you have set with a rested, informed, sober, and intellectual mind.
It boils down to you
All this to say, yes, you can have the natural hospital birth you have envisioned.
Just prepare and educate yourself. It all boils down to you. The hospital staff are like your life guards, if it looks like you have the potential of drowning, it is their medical obligation to save you. They can’t leave you suffering in uncontrollable pain. They have taken an oath. And liability is the hidden factor that drives every decision. Therefore, you have to know how to swim before you come to the pool. Life guards are not designed to be your swim coach. And they surely don’t have the time to play in the water with you, they are busy monitoring the environment, added elements, and others around you to ensure you and baby stay safe.