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Are you planning on having a natural birth in a hospital? Planning for one is great but actually going through with it can be challenging!
From the moment I found out I was pregnant with my daughter, I knew I wanted an unmedicated vaginal birth.
I didn’t know exactly what to expect or how I was going to get through it, but I just knew I wanted to. I hate needles and I didn’t want to have to deal with potential epidural side effects.
I’ve heard of many women (including my own mother) who’ve experienced back pain at the site of the epidural injection years later.
I didn’t want to deal with that. Of course, the pain of unmedicated childbirth certainly pales in comparison to getting a needle; But it was just not an option for me.
By God’s grace, I was able to make it through my daughter’s birth without an epi. So when I got pregnant with my son, I knew I wanted to go that route again. And I made it!
Are you planning to have a natural birth in a hospital setting?
Nowadays, the majority of pregnant mamas do get an epidural, but the number of moms opting for a natural birth has been on the rise.
There are so many benefits to having a drug-free birth not only for you but for your baby.
I’ve decided to put together 8 key tips that will help you actually make it to the finish line and have the natural birth of your dreams in a hospital setting.
8 Tips for a successful natural birth in a hospital
1- Have a birth plan
If your plan is to have a natural birth in a hospital, I would most definitely recommend preparing a birth plan. Trust me, I had both my kids naturally, in a hospital. The first time by an OB and the 2nd time by a Midwife. Although I had fairly smooth births, I totally wish I had a birth plan for my 1st birth like I did for my 2nd!
I did quite a bit of market research to find out if there were other moms out there into birth plans.
I was really shocked to see that many women (and their OBs) don’t care for them!
I typed in “Do I really need a birth plan” into Google. Below are some quotes that I took from a popular pregnancy app in the search results (along with my commentary😏):
“My OB pretty much told me to not have a birth plan because they can change drastically in the moment.” So by your OB’s logic, we shouldn’t plan outdoor weddings because it can rain at any time?
“The goal is just to get baby out safely.” Umm…What about mom?
“You really don’t, it’s fine to just let them know verbally or go with the flow.” I was literally moaning, groaning, and growling during birth. I didn’t want to speak to anyone.
All of these comments frustrated me. But it wasn’t until I dug a bit deeper, that I found some facts about childbirth in the U.S, that really floored me.
Facts about hospital births in the U.S:
Just as with many things in life things happen, and things change. Does that mean that we should just stop planning things?
If you’re planning to have a natural birth in a hospital, you should have a birth plan.
Why? Well, according to this study, women who give birth in a hospital are more likely to receive medical intervention during birth.
I’m not about to leave it all in someone’s hands just because they’re a professional. No ma’am!
Childbirth is a multi-step process, from labor to postpartum, so many things can happen. It’s not just as simple as “get baby out safely”.
Some births are very straightforward, like mine were, and others a little more complicated. Either way, having a birth plan for a natural birth in a hospital is important.
Things can go from 0 to 100 real quick and you really don’t know if you’ll be able to communicate your wishes in the middle of active labor.
Having it on paper and sharing it with your birth team will ensure that everyone is on the same page.
2- Stick to your choice of having a natural birth
“You don’t get a medal for going through all that pain.” Ever heard this?
The moment you tell people you want to have natural birth, I guarantee you that at least one person will question your decision. Some may even call you crazy!
Considering at least 60% of mamas in America elect to get epidurals, you’ll quickly realize that you are part of the minority. It’s important that you do what you want to do regardless of what others may say.
3- Knowledge is power
The only way you’ll really be confident in your decision to have a natural birth, is by knowing why. Ask yourself why you want to have a natural birth. Ask questions and read books to get educated about natural birth in a hospital.
I recommend this awesome book by a world-renowned midwife by the name of Ina May Gaskin. What better way to prepare for a natural birth in a hospital, than to read a book written by a pioneer in midwifery, right?
Her book is called Ina May Gaskin’s Guide to Childbirth.
I’m somewhat of an information junkie and I like to be prepared. All the videos I watched (check out The Business of Being Born) and books I read helped me get an idea of what my natural birth would be like.
You can also join online natural birth groups where you can meet other like-minded mamas. Familiarizing yourself with what the entire process will definitely give you a boost of confidence.
4- Think positively
It is important that you think positive thoughts during your pregnancy and childbirth. This is definitely so much easier said than done but I believe that pregnancy is a gift and blessing that is meant to be enjoyed.
The thought of childbirth and the pain associated with it can be scary, but remember that it is pain with a purpose!
Stop thinking focusing on what can go wrong (like pooping or worse…tearing during childbirth) and how long it will last, and just focus on the bigger picture!
Having trouble staying calm and thinking positively? Go get your Pregnancy and Childbirth Scripture and Prayer Prompt cards printable!
(I ♥ the Philippians 4:13 scripture which says, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me and also 2 Cor 12:9 which says, My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Great scriptures to meditate on!)
“I wouldn’t mind being in labor for 3 days,” said no mom ever! Don’t forget to check out this post if you want a quicker and easier natural birth!
5- Find a healthcare provider/hospital that supports your decision in having a natural birth
You need to make sure that your hospital’s policies (especially for Vaginal Birth After Caesarean mamas) and your healthcare providers’ practices align with your birth plan.
If you want to go for a VBAC, you need to ensure that this is something that your hospital of choice/healthcare professional will allow.
Make sure you do your research and look around until you find the hospital and healthcare team that will support you in your decision. If you’re concerned about you or your birth partner not being able to advocate for you during birth, consider getting a doula.
6- Make sure everyone gets the memo
There is nothing more annoying and frustrating than someone offering you something you don’t want. Especially when you’re in LABOR. Like hello?? Did you NOT hear me the first 5 times I said NO?!
Prepare a birth plan and hand one out to everyone who will be in that room come D-day.
Remember, you’re the boss. Ok?
7- Don’t go to the hospital right away
You’ll probably want to head over to L&D as soon as your water breaks or your contractions start. My advice to you is: wait. At least until you are in active labor (6 cm, per the ACOG).
The earlier you go, the more likely you’ll experience a series of potentially unnecessary medical interventions.
I do want to mention that everybody is different. For example, during both my pregnancies I was told to go in once my contractions were 5 minutes apart and I was no longer able to talk through them.
Most women are told this however with my 2nd pregnancy, I felt no pain whatsoever. You can read more about my crazy experience with painless labor here.
All I felt was my stomach tightening every 2-3 minutes but NO pain. I walked into L&D expecting to be sent home but my MW checked me and I was 9cm dilated.
I didn’t feel pain until my waters were broken! So I probably would’ve given birth at home if I didn’t go in.
Some will feel pain at 1cm dilated and others won’t until nearly fully dilated. Every woman is different. Make sure you confirm with your doc when you absolutely need to go to the hospital.
8- Have faith, sit back, and enjoy the ride
Stressing out will drain you of your energy and rob you of your joy. Pregnancy is a blessing that is meant to be enjoyed. Don’t let fear and worry rob you of this joy!
I hope you found these 8 tips for a natural birth in a hospital helpful. I honestly found that giving birth naturally was extremely empowering for me.
There are so many benefits to giving birth without the use of drugs. The pain you’ll endure will be nothing like the joy you will feel once you get to hold your baby.
I’m grateful that I was able to deliver my babies naturally but I know that everyone’s experience is different. I am no better than the next mom who gets an epi or a C-Section!!
Don’t ever let people’s opinions and judgment make you feel bad about you want/have to do. At the end of the day, what’s most important is your well-being and that of your baby.
Until next time,
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