Hey, Mama! Are you researching how to have a natural birth?
I believe in you! Now I’m going to share some myths about natural birth as well as the simplest secrets about how to have a natural birth and the reality of natural birth.
Before I go into greater detail about this topic, I want to remind everyone that The Mommy Hub is a non-shaming blog. We support all women who carry their babies and give birth–and we aren’t criticizing your methods on how you do it.
That being said, we do approach many wide-ranging topics about pregnancy and childbirth, even if they’re controversial. One of the hot topics right now is natural birth.
I do not feel that women should give birth naturally (and please, define natural birth… there are a hundred ways to view the term “natural birth”) if they do not want to do so.
Pressing women or shaming them into a specific method of childbirth will cause fear and a lack of confidence–the very opposite of what The Mommy Hub is here to do!
What I can say, however, is that if you are considering a natural birth, it can be a beautiful experience.
If you’re still weighing it out, there are some things to take into consideration. I’m going to go over a few key (and probably controversial) points for you to consider.
My goal is that by the end of this article, you’ll have a better idea of which method of birth you’d like to use, and if you decide the natural route, the secret to making your life a whole lot easier.
First, there are some things out there on the subject of how to have a natural birth that you should probably know.
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Myths About How to Have A Natural Birth
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Myth 1: Natural Birth Has Only One Definition
This is completely and entirely false.
There is this idea that natural birth means only “home birth”, and that idea scoffs at any woman who gives birth anywhere other than at home. The concept of “natural birth” can mean so many different things to different women.
Some may view a natural birth as free of medications and interventions. Some may view it as a home birth, while others view a “natural birth” as a vaginal birth.
To clarify, most women who say “natural birth” will probably mean they did not receive an Epidural. It’s okay to ask someone to clarify what they mean when they say “natural birth”. It will help you understand their point of view.
Do you have a baby registry yet? You can easily create an Amazon Baby Registry (trust me it’s super convenient and easy for out-of-town family/friends) and check it off the list! Start it now and be that wise mama!
Myth 2: Anyone Can Have a Natural Birth, No Matter What
This myth should be busted–ASAP. This line is touted by way too many women who have had babies and should understand all the directions a childbirth can take.
Yes, I do believe anyone can potentially have a natural childbirth. But no, not everyone gets the luxury of choosing their method of birth and having it all go their way.
Yes, there are some things we can do to have the best chance of having a birth the way we want, but when “push comes to shove”, you need to be prepared for the fact that it may not all go according to plan.
This idea has caused many women to feel inadequate and less than capable when their births took an unexpected turn. Instead of celebrating the miracle of new life, they are beating themselves up and working through disappointment because now they feel like they failed somehow.
Myth 3: If You Don’t Have a Natural Birth, You’re Weak
Natural birth is a lot of things. It’s beautiful and wonderful, and it’s painful.
That’s the way birth is designed to be.
There are ways to prepare for and handle the pain of natural childbirth, and yes, that does require some strength. Maybe your pain threshold isn’t very high, and the idea of the pain scares you.
That doesn’t make you weak. It makes you fearful. Feeling fearful is not the best way to approach childbirth. Fear can actually interrupt your labor.
If you want to have a natural childbirth, there are ways to face that fear head-on and go for your goals.
However, if the fear is so strong you’re at a loss, take the route that gives you the most confidence.
In my opinion, caving to the pressure and forcing yourself to have a natural childbirth when you’re afraid of it is weaker than choosing a confident childbirth and sticking to it.
You’re the mama. You choose the best method for you and your baby.
Myth 4: Natural childbirth is easy
Since when is anything about childbirth easy?
In fact, everything from pregnancy on is going to have it’s challenges. It’s what being a mother is about.
Labor and childbirth is a challenge–it’s meant to be a challenge. It can be faced and it can be conquered, but it won’t always be easy.
There are those few women out there who get pregnant, love every minute, and then popp their babies out like nothing.
They’re the exceptions, not the rule.
You’ll be setting yourself up for a rude awakening to think that laboring at home or following certain methods is going to completely rid you of pain and challenges.
It may be more relaxing and even less painful, but you’re still most likely going to labor and feel the discomfort. And you can do it!
Preparing For Natural Labor
Now that we’ve debunked some of the myths, let’s focus on some things that can help you achieve your goals. There are some key things you need to know about natural labor.
Natural Birth and Natural Labor is Still Labor
This one may seem odd, but I have run across some women who expected their labor to be painless because they were laboring at home.
Please do yourself a favor, and don’t confuse less stressful with less painful. Stress and fear will surely intensify your labor (it did mine–you can read about it in my birth story ), but laboring at home doesn’t mean you’re eliminating the pain.
Being home adds comfort and ease–not magic.
Preparation for Natural Labor Begins Way Sooner Than You Think
If you want a natural birth, that’s awesome! You’re going to have to work for it. Not saying you can’t have one without trying, but most of us are going to have to start preparation way in advance.
For me personally, I knew I wanted a natural birth so I started working toward it as soon as I got pregnant.
I stayed as active as I could (it wasn’t the exercise you think. I walked and swam and did some stretches), I monitored what I ate, I prayed, and I mentally prepared.
It took nearly the entire pregnancy to get my body, my mind and my soul completely ready for my baby’s birthday. If you’re reading this and you’re already nearing your due date, don’t feel discouraged. .
You can still have a natural birth–you just have a lot of work to do, and you’re already on the right track by reading this!
Natural Labor Is Not About Your Body
Yep, I’m being totally serious. Natural labor is 95% mental prep.
Your body is perfectly equipped to do exactly what it needs to do. It knows how to have contractions, how to prepare itself and your baby for birth. Everything works in tandem to get that baby out. It’s beautiful and miraculous.
The challenge that we mamas face is having confidence in that. Regarding labor, what is the biggest thing we worry about?
The idea of feeling pain is frightening. That’s our first reaction. But did you know you can change that? It’s important to get yourself to the place in your labor where the idea of pain is associated with the concept: “my body is working normally.”
In almost every other instance, pain means “injury” or “wound”. It’s our body’s way of protecting itself.
In labor, pain actually means, “Great! You’re doing exactly what you should be doing!”
No, that doesn’t eliminate the pain. It just puts us in a different place, and handling the pain becomes a whole lot easier.
Not because we eliminated pain, but because we eliminated fear.
Now For Secrets About How to Have a Natural Birth
We’ve now come to the part we’ve been waiting for. This simple little secret is many times overlooked and is extremely helpful.
Ready for it?
We often will develop a birth plan, which includes our choices broken down into parts: labor, delivery, and postpartum care.
While the idea of a birth plan is cool, you won’t always get to control how it goes.
If you’re at the hospital when pushing time comes and something changes and requires action, the doctor is going to inform and then offer their recommendations, and you’ll make the best decision for you and your baby.
Sometimes things happen and the doctor will tell you what you need to do. Your birth plan will be the last thing anyone is thinking about.
After having an honest heart-to-heart about birth plans, my (amazing) OB educated me that birth plans, in a lot of cases, are unrealistic.
A lot of times they just reiterate the obvious, and sometimes they make popular decisions of the time without a lot of medical backing.
A birth plan is nice to have if you have a preference on Epidural, Pitocin, birth positioning, your choice of medications/immunizations administered to your baby, but it’s all going to be taken with a grain of salt by your OB’s and the L&D nurses.
The secret to a natural birth is not a birth plan.
The secret to natural labor is to develop a labor plan.
This is not a birth plan. While a birth plan lists the things you want to take place during your hospital experience, not everything you list may happen, for a myriad of reasons.
But a labor plan is all you. It gives you the freedom to control every single aspect of your labor while you’re at home and having a plan will solidify it for you.
You can choose how you want your surroundings to be, what tools you want around you (birthing ball, tub, etc)
I typed up a home labor plan and gave it to the people who would be with me as I labored. We discussed it several weeks before Baby arrived, and when the time came, there were no questions.
It Changed My Labor and Natural Birth
Everyone was clear on what I wanted and what to expect. I was able to labor at home and never once had to push away someone offering me a snack or drink that made me want to heave.
The things I preferred had already been discussed and were on my labor plan.
The atmosphere was calm, relaxed, and stress-free. Having a labor plan wasn’t only for my benefit, it was also to help those around me–and it worked beautifully.
I cannot stress how much having a labor plan made my childbirth experience so much easier for everyone.
It Gave Me Control Over My Labor
I was able to stay at home for almost all of my labor. It was great to have labored in the comfort of my home without stress.
A labor plan made the difference. It’s so simple, yet it’s so overlooked. We focus on the birth plan but we forget how to plan being at home and how to help our birth team help us.
My husband and I toured the hospital before our first son was born. The nurses told us that the best way to labor was to stay home for most of it. Being in a familiar environment makes it less stressful.
They gave us specific things to watch for and instructed us to come to the hospital when those things happened. What better way to organize your decisions than to have it all written down?
While not everything about your birth is guaranteed to go exactly as planned, you have a lot more control over how you choose to labor. Capitalize on that, and set yourself up for success.
You’ve got this, Fearless Mama.
Labor like a boss!
Ready to Fight Fear?
If you found the simplest secret to a natural birth helpful, check out these other resources:
Simply Mama Fearless (A One-Day Read) The only preggo book out there that’s straight encouragement!