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With the continual rise in cesarean sections and the often inaccurate, frightening images we are shown of labor and birth in the media, it’s no wonder some women seriously doubt their ability to give birth naturally.
Thankfully, more and more information is beginning to surface about the benefits of natural birth as well as studies that show us that “low risk women” (women with no serious health conditions) may actually be safer giving birth naturally at home with a midwife than at the hospital.
Benefits of natural birth are many including: the feeling of empowerment, increased chance of natural bonding with your baby, increased chance of successful breastfeeding, quicker recovery and even improved gut flora in your baby, among many others!
Try my top ten tips for making that unmedicated birth you desire a reality:
1. Hire a doula.
A doula is an educated childbirth professional who will support you mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually. She is like your personal cheerleader, masseuse and coach all wrapped up in one. A doula is not a medically trained professional so she does not replace your midwife, but she is an absolutely amazing support alongside your midwife and other birth professionals in the room. Ideally, hire your doula as early in pregnancy as you can so she can learn your preferences as well as your quirks. A good doula will be the voice for your birth plan and make sure the rest of the birth team understands what you do and do not want. A good doula will also be sensitive to subtle energies in the room and work to ensure that you are laboring in a fear-free, supportive and conducive environment that helps you to open and relax. Studies show us that having a continual support system such as a doula significantly decreases your chances for cesarean and other interventions.
2. Make sure you process your previous birth(s), your own birth, and/or any sexual abuse you may have experienced in the past.
Our wombs hold energetic imprints of our past and if we don’t take the time to clear them, they can present themselves as blockages during labor. The way in which we come into the world can have a very big impact on us and may potentially affect the birth of our own baby. A great exercise to do while pregnant is to ask your mother how you were born. Learn the details of your own birth experience to see if there may be any traumas there. Also, If you’ve given birth before and it didn’t go as you hoped, it is of utmost importance to take some time to process that birth so that you can completely integrate the difficult feelings before going into labor again. My favorite tools for this are birth art and hypnosis, which I include in my online birth course.
3. Connect deeply with your intuition (otherwise known as your superpower).
The great news is that there is already an incredible wise woman living within you who already has all the information she needs in her bones and cells to give birth naturally. Learning to connect with your intuition so that you can avoid taking on advice from others that doesn’t serve you is crucial to preparing for a natural childbirth. When your modern mind surrenders to your primal birthing mind, you will sail smoothly through labor.
4. Get comfortable in your sensuality.
World renowned midwife, Ina May Gaskin, says “Whatever gets the baby in, gets the baby out.” In other words, what conditions can you create for your labor that remind your body to relax and open? To birth naturally without interventions, you have to make sure that the helpful hormone Oxytocin is flowing. Oxytocin is considered the “hormone of love” and it is what is activated in labor to help a mother’s cervix continue to open. Being comfortable with expressing yourself sensually is a huge help to get the oxytocin flowing. This may mean swaying your hips, belly dancing, moaning and sighing, as well as cuddling, eye gazing and even kissing your partner during surges (contractions.)
5. Confront and work through your fears before labor.
Labor and birth crack us open and expose all of our vulnerable sides that we thought we could run away from. I can’t stress enough how incredibly important it is to work through your fears as much as possible before you enter into your labor. There are many ways to do this, depending on the type of fears you have. I recommend the methods of meditation, hypnosis, self inquiry and coaching.
6. Make sure that you have a birth team that is completely supportive of your desire for a gentle birth.
If you want to give birth naturally but you also want to birth in a hospital that has a 60% cesarean section rate, you should not be naive in thinking that your birth will be the anomaly. It is crucial to work with a team of care providers who have actually witnessed natural birth and are willing to go above and beyond to create the right conditions for you. Learning where you can and cannot draw your support from during pregnancy will help you to hire the right people for your birth team.
7. Stay in your body- Patience, Presence, Breath.
One of the main reasons a birth can go sideways is because the woman gets stuck in her mind and goes into a state of panic. Practicing these 3 things continually throughout pregnancy can help you access them easily during your labor and birth too. When you can completely stay grounded in your body, and present with each sensation, you’ll be able to let go with more ease. I highly recommend using hypnosis during pregnancy and labor to help with this.
There’s a phase in labor known as “transition.” For some women it feels like dying, for others it feels like traveling to different realms, and for many it is other worldly difficult. If you have the knowledge of this phase along with the right support team and environment, you will be able to completely surrender and it will pass quickly and your baby will soon be in your arms. Childbirth is a way of intimately coming in contact with a power that feels much greater than you. Surrender is not about giving up, but rather, completely allowing that greater intelligence to take over and give birth through you. Accepting this spiritual side of birth can help make your natural birth a reality.
9. Make peace with a “plan b” before you go into labor.
This may sound counter-intuitive but I find this tip to be very powerful. When you desire a natural birth, you may feel resistant, naturally, to the idea of your birth going any other way than what you have planned. Sometimes it is this very resistance that can actually attract the situation that you don’t want. What I encourage my clients to do is to discover what their “core desired feelings” are for their birth experience and then work to see how those feelings could still be manifested even in the back up plan. This brings you to a state of empowerment, and helps you to release the fear of something going wrong so that you can feel empowered no matter what the external circumstances are. Informing yourself about a gentle cesarean option can be a great way to find peace in a “plan b.”
10. Boost your confidence- receive support from like minded women.
When you desire a natural birth, sometimes it can feel like swimming upstream from the rest of society. Finding groups of like minded women to support you can be enormously helpful in smoothing out any worries or doubts, as well as boosting your confidence. There are many online forums and groups you can join if you live in an area where natural birth is not common. In ancient cultures, we knew the importance of surrounding ourselves with women in this way and I believe we still have a deep desire for that kind of support now.
Looking for more tips to prepare for your natural birth?
I designed the Birth Like a Goddess Course to empower women like you. My 9 module course includes:
- Hypnosis Recordings to help you completely release all fears, blockages, doubts and worries and to take into your labor with you.
- Videos to explain introduce each topic.
- Readings to explore each topic in depth.
- Journal Prompts to help you to reflect.
- Rituals to help you to integrate the material on a cellular level.
- Special exercises to further your exploration.
- Access to a private Facebook group to help you feel supported by like minded women.
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Have you had a natural birth? If so, what were the things that helped you to prepare?