Ten Steps to Prepare for a Comfortable, Natural Birth in a Hospital

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The smile on the face of a new mother as she first meets her new child is unbeatable. However, the process of labor, and arriving at the point of being able to meet your baby, is not always easy. A safe arrival for mother and baby are paramount to all mothers. Adequate planning and preparation for your mind and body can often ensure that the birth is not only safe for mother and baby, but calm, comfortable and natural as well.

Following are the ten steps that are needed to be considered for a comfortable, natural birth:

1. The Choice of Practitioner:

It is important for you to choose the right practitioner who will attend to you during your pregnancy and labor. Look for a care provider who is supportive of natural birth. Beyond tolerating the natural birth techniques, look for people who are most likely to encourage and support these techniques during the labor. If possible, try to find out about the previous results of natural birth experienced by other clients of your care provider. Were they happy? Did they feel they were listened to? Supported?

2. Suitable place for Birth:

There are three common choices for you while deciding the place for birth:

• Home birth
• Hospital
• Birth Center

Choosing a suitable place to give birth is no doubt another significant decision. Therefore, aim to get the opinion of previous patients and suggestions from your care provider before selecting a place for your natural birth. Taking a tour of hospitals and birth centers in your area can also assist with making a decision. Being comfortable and familiar with the environment prior to you birthing day can assist with your relaxation while you are preparing for your labor.

3. Preparation for Childbirth:

You are going to find plethora of classes regarding childbirth. The main goal of these classes is to prepare you for the upcoming event, by giving you tools for the day, managing your expectations and providing you with a basic working knowledge of the birthing process. You can prepare your body for labor through these courses, which is a big help. You can learn about labor support, relaxation and managing contractions. You may also have an opportunity to participate in a tour of the birth suite of your hospital, so you know what to expect.

4. Preparing with hypnobirthing

Hypnobirthing is a series of birth preparation classes that can assist you in preparing for your natural birth.

Hypnobirthing works on the philosophy of “fear tension pain syndrome”. That is that fear causes tension and tension causes pain during labor. The notion of hypnobirthing is if you remove the fear associated with childbirth, the outcome can often be a comfortable, calm birth, free of stress and pain.

There is a heavy emphasis on regular relaxation and self hypnosis practice to assist in preparation for the big day. You will also learn correct breathing techniques for the labor and birth of the baby.

If the mother is deeply relaxed, physically and mentally then the female body can go about doing the job it was designed to do – that is to “give birth.”

Hypnobirthing classes are also a wonderful opportunity for the father or birthing companion to learn skills about how they can help facilitate the calm and natural birth on the day. Many father’s report feeling prepared and more involved in the birthing process after attending these classes.

5. Natural Childbirth Labor Support:

There are many couples who choose to go through the birth of their baby privately together, without the support of other family or trusted friends. There are also many couples and cultures that encourage lots of significant friends and family to welcome the birth of their baby. The choice is always between you and your partner.

A doula could be an option to consider if you do not have a partner or are looking for extra support.

A doula provides non medical support, and is an advocate for the birthing mother.

6. Learning the Correct Positioning for Labor:

Learning different positions for labor and birthing can increase your comfort and in some cases the speed of delivery on the day. Familiarizing and practicing these positions before the day is important. Your midwife, who is experienced in delivery, will also likely suggest helpful positions on the day. Remaining active during the early stages of labor can also be helpful. If possible walk around, change positions and use the birth ball when needed to enhance your comfort. Positions for labor and birthing should be covered during your childbirth classes.

7. Consider the Alternative Remedies for Pain during labor:

There are various alternative therapy techniques that help you through labor pain. These methods are mostly taught during your hypnobirthing classes or by a doula. Some of these techniques include:

• Heat or cold packs
• Relaxation music
• Massage
• Aromatherapy
• Correct Breathing techniques
• Avoid Pushing

Nowadays, most hospitals are happy for you to play music of your choice. However you should check what music playing facilities they provide if any, otherwise you may have to provide your own.

Check with your hospital or birthing centre if they allow aromatherapy within the birthing suite as some hospitals have their own policies regarding the use of these oils. Turn off any burners for the decent and birthing of the baby, as the strong fragrances can sometimes be uncomfortable for the baby.

Practice with your birthing partner what styles of massage you enjoy before the day, however be prepared to change styles and adapt where necessary. A massage tool can be helpful to take to the hospital to relieve your partner when their hands get tired. Use non fragranced massage oil, as its best if the baby is introduced to mum with her natural odor.

Avoid pushing once it is time for the decent of the baby. Focus on slow, deliberate breaths, directing your energy down. Take your time. Give your body time to open up and accommodate the baby when it’s ready.

8. Relaxation and Breathing:

Many birth attendants, and care givers will tell you that the best birth’s they have witnessed are from mothers who are “calm, relaxed and in control of their fear”

Gentle, but deliberate breathing can assist with bringing about a relaxed and centred state.

There are a few different styles of breathing:

• Lamaze breathing
• Basic relaxation breathing
• Abdominal breathing for delivery
• Hypnobirthing breathing

If you undertake hypnobirthing classes you will be shown the correct way to breathe for a comfortable, natural birth.

You may also learn breathing techniques in your childbirth education classes.

Above all, the most important thing to do is to “keep breathing”, gentle calm breaths.

Holding the breath while trying to push can often only slow the process down.

9. Water Birth:

Water births are not uncommon, but not all hospitals have the facilities for water birthing.

Depending on where you live, you may have to consider a private birthing centre, or a home birth with a midwife, if you want to participate in a water birth.

If you are thinking of having a water birth you will need to discuss this with your hospital or birthing centre prior to your birthing day.

Use of shower or a bath tub in labor can be a helpful natural pain relief method. Angling the shower head on the top of the belly or the back during labor can provide some comfort.

10. Read a good child birth book:

Reading a book on natural childbirth is a vital step for preparing for a comfortable childbirth.

It can help you to know what to expect and prepare you for your birthing day.