Childbirth is a transformative experience that has the potential to empower and inspire a mother. While different women have different birthing preferences, natural childbirth has become increasingly popular among expectant mothers. With a crunchy movement gaining momentum, women are looking at natural childbirth as a more empowering experience for their body and mind.
What is Natural Childbirth?
Natural childbirth refers to the birthing process that happens without any medical intervention or pain relief medications. It is a method where mothers are expected to rely on their bodies to give birth to a baby. In this method, care providers ensure minimal medical intervention, providing a healthy environment and continuous emotional support throughout the process.
The Benefits of Natural Childbirth
While natural childbirth is not for everyone, the benefits have become increasingly apparent. Here are some benefits of natural childbirth:
Less Chance of Medical Intervention
One main advantage of natural childbirth is that the need for medical interventions is significantly reduced. Women who opt for natural childbirth often experience shorter labor and are less likely to have a cesarean delivery. In turn, this helps reduce the likelihood of developing complications, like infections, blood loss, and other side effects associated with cesarean delivery.
Natural childbirth may be a more empowering experience because it empowers women to trust their bodies and instincts during the process. Women who give birth naturally tend to be more confident and have a greater sense of achievement. It can be a confidence-boosting experience that can benefit the new mother well beyond the moments during childbirth.
Because there are fewer medical interventions during natural childbirth, women tend to recover faster. There is less pain during the recovery process, and this leaves more opportunities to bond with the new baby. As a result, women who choose natural childbirth tend to enjoy more successful breastfeeding, a crucial early bonding process recommended by the WHO.
Reduced Need for Pain Relief
During natural childbirth, the body releases hormones that help reduce pain naturally. Research has shown that women who use natural childbirth techniques are reported to have manageable pain levels compared to women who use pain relief medications. Women who choose natural childbirth tend to have access to different pain management techniques, such as massage, gentle movement, and immersion in warm water.
Natural Childbirth Techniques
When it comes to natural childbirth, there are different techniques that women can use to help make the process more comfortable. Here are some natural childbirth techniques:
Breathing exercises for natural childbirth are essential because breathing well promotes relaxation, which reduces the intensity of labor pain. Taking slow, deep breaths during childbirth helps to oxygenate the blood, reduce pain levels, and provide an opportunity to focus inwardly. Breathing techniques for natural childbirth that are popular include slow-paced breathing, hypnobirthing, and Bradley Method.
Relaxation techniques during childbirth can help with the pain management process. These techniques include visualizations, music, aromatherapy, meditation, and massage. When women are relaxed during childbirth, their body produces endorphins, which help reduce pain levels. These techniques help women maintain an optimal comfort level and prepare them for the rhythm of the birthing process.
Massage during natural childbirth can offer significant comfort, especially during early labor. Massage can soften muscles, reduce muscle stress, and help women feel physically comfortable. It can trigger the release of relaxation endorphins, which can help manage pain levels. It’s a technique that partners can use during natural childbirth to provide physical and emotional support.
The Importance of a Birth Plan
One crucial aspect of natural childbirth is having a birth plan. A birth plan is a document that outlines a woman’s wish for how they would like to deliver their baby. Birth plans help women plan and prepare for childbirth, communicate their preferences to healthcare providers, and give them a sense of control over their birth experience.
A birth plan should state the woman’s preferences regarding the usage of medication during childbirth, food and beverages during delivery, support team during labor, and other essential elements for their comfort. Women should discuss the document with their healthcare provider, and it should be written preferably in the third trimester of pregnancy.
How Healthcare Providers are Supporting Natural Childbirth
Across the world, healthcare providers are encouraging and supporting expecting mothers to take natural childbirth. Partners, midwives, and doulas are increasingly providing tools, resources, and education to help women prepare for natural childbirth.
Some hospitals and birthing centers even have programs and birth suites specifically designed for natural childbirth with facilities like birthing tubs, squat bars, and birth balls. Such tools help provide support to women, minimize medical interventions, and give access to different natural childbirth techniques.
The World Health Organization (WHO) Position on Natural Childbirth
The World Health Organization recommends that women should have access to all suitable options of delivering their babies, including natural childbirth. In its intrapartum care guidelines, the WHO advocates for the judicious use of medical interventions in childbirth, highlighting the risks they have, including slower recovery rates, poorer baby outcomes, and a greater likelihood of requiring further caesarian delivery.
Natural childbirth is a personal journey, and that’s why women are unique in their approach to childbirth. Whether women opt for pain relief or natural childbirth, the most critical element is that they feel in control of the process, have access to healthcare providers who can offer support, and are well-informed of their options.
Giving birth should be an empowering experience that reflects a woman’s beliefs, hopes, and aspirations. By choosing natural childbirth, women can tap into their inner strength and gain a deep appreciation of their bodies’ incredible abilities.