Learn how to prepare for a natural unmedicated birth with the most effective methods. Preparation can help you have a beautiful birth experience!
I want to preface this post by emphasizing that I support all mothers in birthing the way that feels right for them. Every mother and every circumstance and every birth is different. I support you in your choices and it is my hope that you will be able to find a care provider who will support you in your birthing choices as well. Additionally, while the term “natural birth” may be more searchable and is used in this post, I consider each birth “natural,” so I prefer the term “unmedicated.”
When I was pregnant with my first baby, I planned to deliver in the hospital with an epidural. After a long labor and a posterior baby, I was so grateful for that epidural!
A little while later, my baby was getting older and we were beginning to think about having another baby. I began to have this unexplaniable curiosity about natural, unmedicated childbirth. My mother-in-law had several of her babies at a birth center with midwives. She talked about birth in such a beautiful way and I was so drawn to her birth stories. But when it came to the thought of me giving birth, I seriously doubted my ability to do it without pain medication.
Eventually we found out we were pregnant with another sweet little babe. We hired a midwife, and I was so nervous to actually deliver without an epidural! But I knew that I would always wonder what would have happened if I never followed my desires. I began preparing for natural unmedicated birth.
I ended up delivering that baby in the back of our minivan on our way to the birthing center (that’s a story for another day!). Although things didn’t go as planned with that birth, I felt prepared and I consider it a very positive experience. God was leading me along the whole time, helping me be ready for the unexpected.
Although the circumstances of each birth vary, I want every mother to be able to have a positive birth experience as well. Here’s what I found to be most effective in preparing for a natural unmedicated birth:
1) learn about natural unmedicated birth
The first thing I did to help me prepare for my natural, unmedicated birth was learn about birth. You don’t have to be a crazy, birth obsessed person like me and read ALL. THE. THINGS. but some knowledge about birth will go a long way.
Learning more about the process of birth was so empowering to me as I prepared for my unmedicated birth. What I would give during my first pregnancy to have known about positioning, pain management techniques, how the people in the room can have an effect on a laboring woman’s progress, and so much more. I especially wish that I had known I had a choice about what was done to me and to my baby during the birth of my first daughter.
Here are some of my very favorite birth resources that helped me learn valuable information while planning for my second birth:
- Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin
- The Gift of Giving Life: Rediscovering the Divine Nature of Pregnancy and Birth
- The Birth Partner by Penny Simkin
- The Business of Being Born
2) seek out positive natural unmedicated birth stories
The next thing I did in preparing for a natural unmedicated birth is listen to, read, and watch positive birth stories. To have a positive birth experience ourselves, we must first help our minds believe that positive birth is normal and doable.
Avoid negative and traumatic birth stories and take this time to fill your brain with positive birth stories that most closely mirror the kind of birth you would like to have. Listening to positive birth stories really helped me believe I could have one myself!
Here are some of my favorite resources for positive birth stories:
- The Birth Hour Podcast with Bryn Huntpalmer
- YouTube videos (just search “Positive Birth Story”)
3) develop a positive mindset to help you prepare for a natural unmedicated birth
Actively working to develop a positive mindset about birth can make your birth experience so much more enjoyable. Train your mind to lead with confidence, faith, and positivity over fear and worry.
Even though I felt so strongly that an unmedicated birth was the right choice for my second birth, my anxiety ran high about whether or not I would be able to birth without an epidural. I wanted to pursue this dream of an unmedicated birth so badly, though, so I looked for a way to calm my nerves.
I had heard good things about the Hypnobabies program, so I decided to give it a try. It was a decent time commitment (about 90 minutes of studying and listening to affrimations and hypnosis tracks each day) but I really loved that it helped me deeply relax. The tracks were so relaxing, in fact, that I could never stay awake during them (that’s ok! Your mind absorbs the affirmations even if you listen while sleeping). During the birth, I found that although I could still feel discomfort, I wasn’t afraid or worried about it. I was able to breathe deeply and welcome each new wave.
Whether you use a guided meditation program (I’ve also heard good things about Hypnobirthing and the Bradley Method) or your own method, I really believe that some kind of daily birth meditation and affirmations can really shift your mindset and help you have a positive birth experience.
4) create a supportive birth team
Another citical element of preparing for a natural unmedicated birth is creating a supportive birth team. Whether you choose to deliver with an OBGYN or a midwife, finding the right care provider can help so much in achieving the kind of birth you desire. Interview different care providers, and choose someone who will be respectful of your choices and supportive of your desires.
A doula can also be a great addition to your birth team. Doulas offer information and physical and emotional support to women as they labor.
For my second birth, I hired midwives that I really trusted. It was so fun meeting with them during every prenatal appointment, and I was excited to have them at my birth. I knew they supported me and my birth plan and they would advocate for me and my baby. My husband and I also hired an amazing doula. As the birth drew closer, I felt confident that my birth team respected my desires for my birth.
5) have faith in God’s plan
Last but not least, have faith that God will be by your side as you deliver your baby earthside. I now know with certainty that the “unexplainable curiosity” I had about unmedicated birth was a gift to me from God. That curiosity helped me be prepared for a speedy delivery in the back of our minvan! If you feel a pull to deliver your baby in any specific way, trust that God is leading you along. Women sacrifice so much as mothers. I believe that we are blessed with power as we raise our children. With God at your side, you can do this!
What are your tips for giving birth? I’d love to know what helped you to prepare. Let me know in the comments below!