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Are you interested in having a natural birth?
Would you like to at least attempt a drug-free birth?
Then this post is for you!
Now, please understand that it’s not always possible to have a drug-free, vaginal birth.
Sometimes having a healthy baby and mom means having medical interventions.
There are many many women who can testify to the fact that sometimes… no matter how hard you try… or how much you prepare… your birth plan doesn’t always go as planned.
Not only that, but some women don’t really know what they want when it comes to birth.
Maybe you want to keep the option available for an epidural or pain management medications…. that’s okay too!
But… even if you want to keep those options open… I bet you’d still like to know how you can increase your chances of having a natural, drug-free birth.
If this is you… keep reading…
What You Can Do During Pregnancy to Prepare for a Natural Birth
Understanding that there are no guarantees… are there still things you can do to increase your odds of having a non-medicated birth?
Did you know that what you do during pregnancy can make all the difference in how you labor and birth?
Here are some of my favorite recommendations to prepare yourself physically and emotionally for childbirth:
16 Great Pregnancy Tips!
- Start by eating a healthy real foods diet during pregnancy.
- Take a prenatal vitamin (made with real food) to supplement a healthy diet. Check out my favorite vitamins made without synthetic ingredients in this post.
- Include moderate exercise and stretching.
- Try prenatal yoga or
- Lap swimming
- Take a natural childbirth class! If you are serious about trying to have a natural birth, then this is the course for you! It’s my favorite online childbirth class… But, if online courses are not your “thing”, then check out this post on how to find the childbirth class that’s right for you!
- Visit the Spinning Babies website to find out how to encourage “optimal fetal positioning” during your pregnancy.
- Hire a doula! Visit DoulaMatch.com to find a doula in your area. Research shows that women with doula support have much lower rates of interventions and improved labor outcomes.
- Learn all that you can about pregnancy and childbirth…read, read. read. Here’s one of my favorite pregnancy books to get you started!
- Take the fear out of birth by watching birthing videos of natural normal births. Here are some great videos to get you started!
- Use a midwife instead of an OB
- Sit upright during pregnancy, instead of slouching or reclining. A birthing ball is a great way to do this! Why? Because sitting upright with hips open encourages the baby to settle into an anterior position (which speeds labor) There are many other great benefits of using a birth ball during pregnancy, too. Replace your chair or recliner with a birthing ball. Here’s why
- Exercise with a birthing ball. Here is my favorite birthing ball since it includes other helpful items for pregnancy and birth. Check out this great pregnancy exercise video for some pregnancy exercise ideas!
- Eat dates during pregnancy. Evidence supports the claim that eating dates during pregnancy really speeds labor! Here’s why.
- Learn how and why to use raspberry leaf tea during your pregnancy.
- Prioritize sleep! Fatigue is the enemy of labor. One of the best ways to prepare for labor is to get enough sleep!
Find out more about the Mama Natural Birth Course in this video clip!
What You Can Do During Labor to Assist Natural Birth
14 Great Labor Tips!
- Rest in between contractions
- Spend early labor at home
- Change positions often – a doula will really help with this!
- Don’t labor on your back!
- Use gravity – sit upright, walk, stand, etc.
- Don’t fight the contraction or tense up during – surrender to the contraction
- Sleep during early labor
- Stay hydrated
- Empty your bladder every hour
- Eat during early labor
- Create a calm, relaxed atmosphere in the room
- Don’t focus on your progress during labor
- Breathe through the contractions
- Learn and use comfort measures during labor – These are discussed in most childbirth classes.
18+ Methods of Natural Pain Relief (Aka… “Comfort Measures”)
- Walking around
- Standing during contractions and/or leaning on the palms of your hands…Did you know that there are mechanoreceptors on the bottoms of our feet and on the palms of our hands that actually provide natural pain relief when pressed or stimulated? Here is a great little article about how to tap into our body’s natural pain relief responses!
- Sitting/rocking on a birthing (exercise) ball
- Taking a hot shower (aimed at your low back)
- Sitting up and rocking
- Massage – back, head and foot for relaxation
- Counter-pressure on the back (especially for back labor). Try tennis balls.
- Massage oils for all-over massage
- Chiropractic adjustment (some will make house calls)
- Focusing on the baby and “opening”
- Changing positions often
- Soothing music
- Foot and hand massage (pressure points and mechanoreceptors)
- Getting in a pool or tub of water
- Staying hydrated
- Eating small snacks, if you want to
- Use other comfort measures for natural pain relief as well.
How About You?
Are you planning to try any of these tips?
Have you had a drug-free or low-intervention birth?
What tips do you think may have helped your body during pregnancy or labor to prepare for birth?
I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas!