Labor and natural Childbirth

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Labor and Childbirth

Pregnancy and childbirth are very special times in our lives. The problem is that so many times we are over come with worry over what's going on. It starts with the pregnancy tests - is it right? Did I test too soon? Do I need to see the doctor or midwife immediately?

From there it progresses to concern for our baby. The pregnancy calendar says that the baby weighs this much, but how do I know? This continues to when will I feel my baby move? Followed quickly by does my baby move too much?

Hopefully this information will help you regain a sense of well being and that it will allow you to focus on the happier side of pregnancy and not every last pregnancy symptom.

Some women choose to give birth using no medications at all, relying instead of techniques such as relaxation and controlled breathing for pain. With natural childbirth, the mother is in control of her body, usually with a labor assistant gently guiding and supporting her through the stages of labor.

For many moms-to-be, having a natural childbirth isn't about being "brave" or a "martyr" — it's about treating labor and delivery as a natural event. Many women find the experience, despite the pain, extremely empowering and rewarding.

About Natural Childbirth

Natural childbirth is a "low-tech" way of giving birth by letting nature take its course. This may include:

  • going through labor and delivery without the help of medications, including pain relievers such as epidurals
  • using few or no artificial medical interventions such as continuous fetal monitoring or episiotomies (when the area between the vagina and anus, called the perineum, is cut to make room for the baby during delivery)
  • allowing the woman to lead the labor and delivery process, dealing with it in any way she is comfortable

Many women with low-risk pregnancies choose to go au natural to avoid any possible risks that medications could pose for the mother or baby. Pain medications can affect your labor — your blood pressure might drop, your labor might slow down or speed up, you might become nauseous, and you might feel a sense of lack of control.

But many women choose natural childbirth to feel more in touch with the birth experience and to deal with labor in a proactive manner.

How Is It Done?

How you choose to work through the pain is up to you. Different women find that different methods work best for them. Many can control the pain by channeling their energy and focusing their minds on something else. The two most common childbirth philosophies in the United States are the Lamaze technique and the Bradley method.

The Lamaze technique teaches that birth is a normal, natural, and healthy process but takes a neutral position toward pain medication, encouraging women to make an informed decision about whether it's right for them.

The Bradley method (also called Husband-Coached Birth) emphasizes a natural approach to birth and the active participation of a birth coach. A major goal of this method is the avoidance of medications unless absolutely necessary. The Bradley method also focuses on good nutrition and exercise during pregnancy and relaxation and deep-breathing techniques as a method of coping with labor. Although the Bradley method advocates a medication-free birth experience, the classes do prepare parents for unexpected complications or situations, like emergency C-sections.

Other ways women handle pain during labor include:

  • hypnosis (also called "hypnobirthing")
  • yoga
  • meditation
  • walking
  • massage or counterpressure
  • changing position (such as walking around, showering, rocking, or leaning on birthing balls)
  • taking a bath or shower
  • immersion in warm water or a jacuzzi
  • distractions via activities that keep the mind otherwise occupied
  • listening to soothing music
  • visual imagery

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