So many women want an unmedicated birth. We see beautiful videos and pictures of women giving birth at home or in birth centers. They are surrounded by family and friends. Maybe they are lounging in a tub, holding they’re new born baby, looking like the very definition of peaceful empowerment. Women see these pictures and hear these stories and think “I want that”. Women may want that birth but for whatever reason a hospital birth is in their future. Maybe (like me) they have a preexisting condition. Maybe because of insurance a hospital is their best financial option. Maybe they look at those pictures and think “I want that! But in my house? This isn’t ‘Little House on the Prairie’!” So how can these women have the amazing natural birth of their dreams? Here are a few tips (used by yours truly) to help you prepare for a natural hospital birth.
Get and stay healthy
There is no magic pregnancy diet. You just have to do the things that every health and human services PSA has been telling you to do since you were 8 years old. Drink plenty of water, walk/stay active, eat a well rounded diet full of protein, and take your prenatal vitamins regularly. On top of this, if you have a preexisting condition, visit your specialist regularly and do what you need to live a healthy lifestyle. This will keep you and your baby healthy and help prepare your body for labor.
Get an amazing birth team
Interview multiple doctors and CNMs and when you interview them don’t be shy about what you want from your birth. So often in life we dance around what we really want because we are afraid of being told no. This. Is. Not. The. Time. To. Do. That. You want a care provider who knows what you want and is willing to discuss options with you, and you can’t get that if you start the relationship by hedging your bets. The same can be said when you’re interviewing doula’s (you need to also get a doula BTW). If your doula doesn’t know what your needs are they are not going to be able to help you like you need.
Watch the movies, read the books (I recommend Cynthia Gabriel’s Natural Hospital Birth) and when you’re done with that take an evidence based birth class! A good birth class is not only the best place to learn about birth but also hospital procedures that might influence your birth AND what options you have! If you walk into a hospital not knowing your options you are starting the race behind.
Get a birth plan together
Make a birth plan EVEN IF you don’t plan on showing it to anyone at the hospital. Making a birth plan helps you and your partner talk about and cement what you want for your birth. Plus a good birth plan WILL help you at a hospital. If your plan is short (one page), direct, easy to read, and polite it is just one more excellent tool to help communicate your wishes to the birth team.
Get ready to…labor at home
Yes, you are giving birth in a hospital, but how long you labor there is up to you and your care provider. There is no telling how long a woman’s labor could last so there is no need to head to the hospital at the first sign of labor. Once you check-in to a hospital you are put on a clock, which means if that baby isn’t born in a certain amount of time it is going to be ridiculously hard to avoid interventions. However, if you labor at home you’re not on a clock, you can eat, you can walk around, you can watch something fun on netflix! Most importantly you are more likely to relax and let labor progress the way it needs to.
It’s hard to give birth without interventions at a hospital. If the statistics are to be believed it is an uphill battle. If you think about it for too long it’s easy to get discouraged, but if you do these 5 things you are well on your way to an unmedicated hospital birth.
Kayte Gardner is a doula and childbirth educator that lives in Lehi, Utah with a husband named Mark, a son named Fox, and a dog named Mouse. She loves genre fiction, podcasts, waffles, and all things birth. Kayte especially likes learning about how to best serve women who have high risk pregnancies. She is one fifth of the Wasatch Mountain Birth Boot Camp group. Every morning she wakes up and can’t believe how lucky she is to have a job this amazing and get to work with women this wonderful.