Natural Childbirth recommendations(15 Posts)
I'm only 27 weeks but have decided that I'd like as natural a birth as I can manage. This is because I don't want to inadvertently increase my labour time, my recovery time and the risks to my baby. I also get more stressed out when I think about all the interventions that might distract my attention and make me feel like I'm not in control of my body and my labour.
What I'm interested in is learning methods that will help me to listen to my body, stay calm and manage the pain. I'd ideally like not to have internal examinations or be monitored etc but I don't know how possible this is in a birthing centre. This is my first so I don't know how realistic I'm being, but I feel like animals do this unassisted all the time, women have been doing it since the dawn of mankind and women over the world are still doing it in far less advanced conditions than we have here... I kind of want to keep it simple and uncomplicated.
Anyway, I was wondering if anyone could share their experiences, advice and recommendations on what books and CDs or websites I should look at to prepare myself. I can't afford classes unless they are on the NHS.
Thank you in advance!
I listened to the natal hypontherapy CDs from 32 weeks. I expected to have intervention like my mum and sisters all did. On the day I was very relaxed and had an enjoyable (yet long and painful) birth. I also did 2 courses of Daisy Birthing which I would highly recommend. Good luck. I think staying relaxed but with an open mind to what might happen is key.
I also did natal hypnotherapy (slightly different to hypnobirthing). It was helpful. I got even more out of Juju Sundin's book, think it's called birth skills. Also think about the environment - e.g. I found the birth pool amazing and also got on well with bouncing and rocking on a ball. Imo it's worth preparing yourself mentally for things not going to plan, too, though some would disagree.
I had a drug-free short labour - luckily DD was engaged for a while and in a good position.
I'm a fit person and was aiming for a natural birth from the start. I did pre-natal yoga which was a help (I've done yoga for a long time), carried on with Pilates to 40 weeks, and walked a lot. I listened to a hypno track a few times despite being sceptical and ended up using a lot of the visualisation skills throughout the birth. Try not to have too many expectations or hopes, but keep visualising the birth you would like.
Technically you can refuse examinations etc, but I can tell you that when I went in after a few hours of contractions and I was told I was at 8.5cm, it was a huge boost .
Do coach your birthing partner to stand up for you and help make decisions - I had some unexpected complications with my blood pressure in the second stage and had to ditch the MW birthing centre and go into the hospital ward, and was too in my own zone to decide much for myself.
Thank you ladies, some great advice!
Style - I've started looking into Daisy Birthing, thank you. it seems reasonably priced too.
Glorious - I saw Birth Skills while searching on amazon and was interested in it, so I'll definitely put it in my shopping bag now. And I do agree about being aware that things might not go according to plan (it's all new to me anyway) but I'd definitely like to train my mind to cope better than it would do without any preparation.
Ghost - excellent point about the birth partner. I'm looking into the Bradley method, or husband coached childbirth too - I don't know if anyone has experience of that?
I attended yoga classes with Nicole Croft, but the first 30 mins of each session was a chat about different aspects of birth, based on her book The Good Birth Companion, which I'd highly recommend.
Great sweets, glad this is the kind of thing you're looking for. It's worth knowing that the birth skills book seems a bit repetitive and some of the ideas are quite simple but it was just right in the later stages as I found visualisation got too hard. Sounds like you have a very sensible approach Fwiw I only mentioned the possibility of things not going how you hope because I found I actually let go and worried less when I did, and had a totally manageable labour with a bit of gas and air. It was hard and long (55 hours) but I enjoyed nearly all of it.
Also second ghost's suggestion of some physical work. I did pilates from 20 weeks and swimming and walking. The midwife could tell - she asked what I'd been doing. So it clearly helped.
Oh and ps you can refuse examinations, like any medical procedure. But I too found them encouraging. In the birth centre I was at they were every 4 hours as standard so I only had 3 (one on admission, I was there 10 hours before DD arrived). They checked the baby's heartbeat with a doppler and felt for position quite regularly, perhaps every 30mins. That really didn't disturb me at all as they were very non invasive and worked around me in whatever position. So intermittent monitoring doesn't have to be a big deal and it does help to pick up on any issues.
I would second the idea of mentally preparing yourself for other options. I'm a farmer - was described as fit and sturdy by the midwives and am pretty tough. I did natal hypnotherapy and laboured really well in my own for nearly 3 days. Just at 8cm I had to have an emcs due to babies heart rate dropping. It was totally not what I'd envisaged but the fact I'd thought about how it might feel if I didn't get the birth is wanted
Personally I would say absolutely prepare using natal hypnotherapy etc. BUT bear in mind that you have absolutely no idea how labour will be for you so it's really best to research all the eventualities. Yes, of course have a positive attitude- after all, we did evolve to do this. But try not to have expectations. I assumed labour wouldn't hurt and would be relatively easy. For me, that wasn't the case and in hindsight I had a huge amount of expectations which lead to me feeling incredibly disappointed that I had failed to have the natural water birth I had expected. If I do it again, I won't bother with expectations and just try to take it as it comes. You can refuse examinations although personally I probably wouldn't.
Read Ina May's Guide to Childbirth and learn some Hypnotherapy. Ina May helped me immensely when in labour. When things got tough, I kept remembering the birth stories described and her relaxation techniques.
Thank you so much for all the tips, I'll definitely get Ina May, I had also previously heard some good things about that. I am of course prepared to "go with the flow" and if I need medication/epidural/whatever then I will have no qualms about taking them. The ultimate goal is to get the baby out, however that happens! But doing it naturally is my ideal scenario so anything that will help me prepare for that I am going to try. Thanks again!
I did a natural delivery with my first and found prenatal yoga to be SO helpful in preparing. I'm doing it again in preparation for my second, and since I can't seem to get to classes this time with my little one in tow, I'm using a website called Mama Seeds, which I love (www.mamaseeds.com). It has great videos of several prenatal yoga classes, plus a prenatal Pilates class. There's also some good information in the community section -- and quite a few birth stories. I found reading birth stories to be one of the best things for helping me create a vision of the type of experience I wanted. And I echo the recommendations for Ina May's book. I'm so glad you're considering a natural delivery! You'll find that you'll hardly ever hear a woman who's done a natural delivery say that she wished she hadn't or that she would do something different the next time. It's just an incredible experience to have, and it makes such a difference for the baby and for your recovery. Good luck!
Hi, I really strongly recommend a home birth (still on nhs) as it fits perfectly with your ethos, I had exactly the same ideas as you and had a 2.5hr labour at home, no invention, no drugs, did the hypnotise thing cd and laboured in the bath and the have birth in a pool, rec ina may book too. GL :-) xx
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