Wanting to have a successful natural birth isn’t too much to ask or plan for. With c-section rates increasing and interventions in hospital births becoming more routine, it’s absolutely a good idea to prepare yourself for success ahead of time.
As a mama who’s had 2 natural births in a hospital and as a birth doula, I’ve learned many things a long the way that I think you should be aware of.
There are some things that should just never be done in the birthing room if your goal is to have a natural birth. And yes, of course nothing in the world of birth can be 100% guaranteed but not doing the following things in the birthing room can really help you on your way to having a successful natural birth.
**This post may contain affiliate links. I am NOT a licensed medical professional. Always consult with a qualified healthcare professional. For my full disclosure policy click here.
Want a Successful Natural Birth? Avoid Doing These 12 Things in the birthing room!
Laying on your back during labor
As a birth doula it irks me (to say the least) that the lithotomy position, aka: laying down on your back with your feet raised, is still the most commonly used position during the 2nd stage of labor in hospital births. Not surprising since it’s only convenient for your medical birth team.
For a successful natural birth, forget that this position even exist because it is literally the worst position for labor! This position is not helpful or conducive to a successful natural birth because it makes your pelvis smaller and causes you to have to push “uphill”.
Why do that when you can stand instead for example and allow gravity to help you birth your baby?
I personally birthed both my babies in the squatting position. One of the many benefits of having a natural birth is having the freedom to move as you wish.
Your body will communicate its needs and lead itself into various labor positions. Trust me, you’ll know exactly what I mean when you’re in labor. Have fun and try out different positions!
For less than 5 bucks, you can get this mini digital labor pocketbook and in it you’ll find TONS of info including pictures of various labor positions you can try!
This is basically when your medical team tells you how to push and when to push. According to the WHO, women in the pushing stage should be encouraged to follow their bodies own urges to push.
Following your body’s natural urges is key to having a successful natural birth.
This makes perfect sense because if you really think about it, in a natural birth, only you have the ability to feel what is occurring within your body.
Only you are able to identify what your body needs throughout the various stages of labor. Why allow outsiders to tell you what to do and when?
By saying “NO” to coached pushing and listening to your body, you’re preserving your energy, reducing your risk of tearing, keeping your baby happy and not in distress, giving your baby time to descend safely, giving your body time to open up.
All of these will help you have a quicker and easier postpartum recovery.
We already agreed that there will be no coached pushing during labor, right? Not only because it sucks and is counter-intuitive, but also because it typically involves purple pushing, which is basically holding your breath as you bear down and push.
Your baby receives oxygen from you. So if you’re not breathing guess what happens to your baby?
Purple pushing increases your risk of tearing your vagina, is exhausting, causes low oxygen levels in both you and baby, increases your risk of needing medical interventions such as a c-section, etc…
Breathing during labor is super important for a successful natural birth.
Not DYI-ing your birth space decor
Transforming a blah birth space into a birth sanctuary fit for a goddess, is a great way to help you achieve your goal to have a natural birth, and also to help you cope with labor pain naturally.
If you’re going to be giving birth in a hospital setting where your surrounding are typically cold and more clinical, you’ll want to make the birthing space your own.
Bringing some of your favorite pictures from a home, a comfy blanket, and using a diffuser with some lavender or geranium essential oil or is a great way to make your birthing space a safe space for you and to help you relax— and shorten your labor!
Want to stock up on some high quality, batch tested, and affordable essential oils? Good! Studies have shown that using aromatherapy during labor can to reduce stress, nausea during labor I love using my oils and diffuser from Simply Earth.
Studies have shown that movement during labor is a super important key to having a successful natural birth. So long as you’re staying active and not laying down flat only our back (like we talked about earlier), you’re good mama!
Laboring on all fours, slouched over an exercise ball, standing, or while walking, are all great ways to shorten your labor, decrease pain, make contractions more effective, and all the other good things you can think of.
Worried about not knowing which position to get into and when? I’ve got you covered. Moms have been loving My Labor BFF. I created this mini digital labor pocketbook and in it you’ll find TONS of info including pictures of various labor positions you can try!
Not controlling your birth space
Remember that you’re control of your surroundings. If there is too much chatter going on, to many people waltzing in and out of your birthing space, too much interference, it’s OK for you to say “no”, or to let people know you need space, quiet, or whatever the case might be.
Being zoned in and in tune with your body and the birthing process is key for a successful natural birth. After all, childbirth is more of a mental game than it is physical.
Anything that is done or said at the wrong time can throw you off not only mentally but physically. So with that being said, don’t forget that you’re in control!
Keep all negative thoughts and ideas far from you. I’ve already mentioned that childbirth will challenge you mentally more than it will physically.
Negative thoughts can trigger stress response in your body and cause it to go into fight or flight mode thanks to a hormone called adrenaline. This is obviously not part of the recipe for a successful natural birth.
Print out these FREE birth affirmations (there are 32 to be exact) and hang them around your room to create a positive birth space. Also get your free activity workbook and work through it during pregnancy to help you bust your natural birth fears!
Not eating and drinking
Another benefit of having a natural birth is being able to drink and eat as you please. Of course you don’t want to be throwing back heavy greasy foods that can make you feel queasy and sluggish. Instead, opt for foods and drinks that will fuel your body to have a successful natural birth.
The uterus is a muscular organ and muscles that need hydration and energy to perform efficiently. If you are dehydrated and weak during labor, not only will you be exhausted, but your uterine contractions will slow or they’ll just stop altogether.
Once any or all of these things happen during labor, you’re increasing your risk of developing labor ketosis and of needing forceps, an episiotomy, a vacuum, or even a c-section.
Keep in mind that you may not want to eat or drink at all during active labor. That’s normal and totally OK! Just remember that at that point when labor is more intense, only drinking liquids is perfectly fine.
If you keep yourself nourished with high quality foods specifically during the earlier stages of labor, you won’t really need to eat your way through labor.
Not quite sure what to eat & drink? Here are some suggestions
Dates: there are so many benefits to eating dates both during pregnancy, labor, and postpartum.
Bananas + peanut butter: high in glucose and protein (glucose and protein)
Orange juice: high in magnesium, vitamin C, and potassium
Coconut water: high in electrolytes and magnesium
Nuts: convenient and high in protein
Honey: great for a natural boost of energy. These organic honey sticks make it super convenient
Bone broth: high in collagen and electrolytes
Looking at the clock
Instead of looking at the clock, stay in the moment. Take each contraction and event as it comes.
If you keep thinking about how much longer you’ll be in labor, you may end up feeling discouraged because things aren’t progressing as you think they should be.
Childbirth is more challenging mentally than it is physically (I keep saying this because it’s important and it’s true!). You want to remain headstrong in the game, and only focus on what is happening in the now.
Any mental breaks can lead to physical changes that may call for medical intervention which you want to avoid.
Routine cervical checks
I don’t know about you but I’m not a fan of having randoms put their fingers up my vagina. That’s icky in general and during pregnancy when you’re sporting a massive bump, it’s uncomfortable to say the least.
During labor, it’s distracting and it can be discouraging especially if you’re not as far along as you think you should be.
According to this Chocrane review, “If labours that are slow, but not abnormal, are mis-diagnosed as being abnormal, this can lead to unnecessary interventions such as drugs to try to speed labour on or caesarean section or forceps for giving birth.”
Yikes! Definitely not conducive to a successful natural birth. Cervical checks also increase the risk of infection. If you’re having a natural birth in a hospital and you don’t have a midwife, then you’ll probably have more than a couple medical staff putting their fingers up there to check you. That doesn’t sound good at all.
I personally believe that our bodies which have been perfectly designed by God, will never mislead us. With a natural birth where none of your senses are numbed, trust me when I say that you’ll know when that urge comes.
You won’t be able to fight it, nor should you! When you feel the urge to pee or poop, you go to the bathroom. You don’t check yourself or need to have anyone tell you to go. You just do it when you have the urge to.
The same thing goes for labor. Eventually you will have that urge. If you really want to be checked while in labor, perhaps wait until you actually have that natural urge… And know that there are other ways to assess dilation that do not involve anyone’s hands up your lady bits.
By the way, the authors of that Cochrane review I mentioned earlier state that, “We identified no convincing evidence to support, or reject, the use of routine vaginal examinations in labour”.
Keeping the lights on
So you want to have a successful natural birth. Of course you do. Turn the lights off! Research has shown that labor in natural birth typically start at night or in the wee hours of the morning before the sun even rises.
This is probably due to what I would like to think is God’s perfect design in enabling our bodies to produce an important sleep and labor hormone called melatonin.
Your brain produces this hormone at night and it actually starts building up in your body during the later part of pregnancy in order to facilitate labor.
Bright lights hinder the production of this hormone which works with another hormone called oxytocin to make your contractions more effective thus shortening your labor and to facilitate the process of childbirth.
If you’re really concerned about your birth space being too dark, consider getting warm white string lights that will provide you with delicate lighting instead.
I hope you enjoyed this post and that it really helps you have a the natural birth of your dreams!