Giving birth is a life-changing event. Most importantly, it's your life-changing event, which means you deserve the autonomy to do your birth, your way.
Based on their doctor's advice, some women find that natural birth is the right choice for their body and their baby. However, if you've never given birth before, you may worry about how the labor and delivery process will go. And since natural births seem less common now, you might also have a hard time finding women who can discuss their labor and delivery experiences with you so you know what to expect.
Below, we provide some easy tips that can help you feel more prepared for your natural birth experience. Talk to your doctor about the following tips, and then implement them based on his or her counsel.
Work With a Doctor Who Cares
Most doctors will talk to their pregnant patients about the risks and pay-offs of each type of birth. Additionally, most doctors will recommend that women with high-risk pregnancies avoid natural births—which doesn't make them anti-natural birth, but simply practitioners who follow the most current medical guidelines.
However, some doctors and hospitals have higher C-section rates than others and tend to steer patients away from natural births—even patients with low-risk pregnancies. If you're worried your doctor could fall in this camp, it's okay to shop around to find a doctor who can talk in-depth about your birth plan and offer you the support and resources you need.
Remember, your doctor should respect you and your choices, getting to know you individually while offering sound medical advice that you can rely on. Find a reliable, well-educated, experienced doctor who understands your needs. You don't have to settle for less.
Take Care of Your Body
Labor and delivery are hard—and while delivering without pain meds isn't necessarily harder, it's often more painful depending on your baby and labor. The healthier and hardier your body is, the better it will be up to the task.
No pregnancy is entirely risk-free, and maintaining your weight and staying in shape won't guarantee that the birth goes as smoothly as possible. But doing so will increase your chances that your labor and delivery go well.
You and your doctor should keep tabs on your weight gain during your pregnancy. You should gain a healthy amount of weight—not too much and not too little—as giving birth while overweight can take a higher toll on your body. Take the prenatal vitamins your doctor recommends, find an exercise regimen that works for you and eat healthily during the pregnancy.
Be Willing to Adapt
Having a solid birth plan will make you feel more relaxed and more prepared for your delivery. However, as any doctor will tell you, circumstances can change quickly once you actually make it to the labor and delivery stage. While your birth plan can serve as a great roadmap that helps you, your doctors and your nurses stay on track, if complications arise, it's okay to abandon it and take another course of action instead.
Remember that your health and safety—as well as those of your baby—are paramount. If this means scrapping your plans for a drug-free vaginal birth and having an emergency C-section instead, you haven't failed; you're simply taking the right steps for yourself and your baby at that moment.
Look Forward to Your Baby's Birth
Pregnancy, labor, and delivery obviously cause anxiety, pain and stress, but they result in a beautiful, life-changing moment. If you have a low-risk pregnancy, following these tips can help you create a natural birth plan you're happy with and prepare you for your baby's arrival.
Looking for an OBGYN in the Monterey Bay area? James E. Ramseur, Jr MD is happy to help. Whether you want a natural birth or not, schedule an appointment today, and visit our blog to get more tips on pregnancy, labor and delivery.