Choosing to give birth naturally is an empowering decision. You will have more control over your body and are more likely to stay mobile during those strong contractions, which will help your labor to progress more quickly. Many women that give birth without any pain-relief feel a huge sense of satisfaction afterwards. Planning your natural birth will help you to feel more ready for your new arrival.
Who will be with you at the birth? You need a supportive partner that is good at calming you down when you are feeling anxious. Talk your birth plan through with your birth partner so that they are fully aware of what you want.
Are you planning to give birth at home or at hospital? Both have advantages and disadvantages. Giving birth at home is nice because you are in familiar surroundings and you can have more of your family and friends around you. Hospitals only usually let you have one or two people with you, but the advantage of having your baby at hospital is that if anything should go wrong you will be in the best place. It's about weighing up the pros and cons and deciding what is best for you and your baby.
How are you going to cope with the labor pains? You need to try to get yourself in a relaxed state, which sounds like a contradiction when you are experiencing intense pain, but the more relaxed you are the better able you will be to cope with the contractions. Think about what relaxes you. It might be listening to classical music, meditation, massage or perhaps a warm bath. When you are relaxed your perception of pain diminishes, so it's really worth practicing some relaxation techniques before hand.
Breathing techniques can help a lot during labor. Try to breathe in 'rhythm' when you are having strong labor pains. We don't usually think about how we breathe, but its worth noting that when we breathe in, we pause for a moment before we breathe out and our in-breath matches our out-breath. This is rhythmic breathing. Sometimes when women are having strong contractions they start to panic and their breathing becomes shallow and rapid. This reduces their oxygen levels and makes them feel light-headed and exhausted. It's really about practicing what you do naturally when you're not in pain.
Discuss your birth plan with your midwife as it will give you the opportunity to ask any questions that you have. She will be able to tell you what is most likely to happen during the birth which will hopefully calm some of the fears that you have.
The new arrival
Meeting your baby for the first time is an amazing moment and with the right planning, giving birth can be an empowering experience.
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