Any mama will tell you that along with pregnancy comes some big emotional, hormonal and physical changes. As a baby grows, a pregnant woman also grows, sometimes wildly. She finds herself sharing her hopes and dreams with her little one, imagining how her pregnancy will progress, how her birth will go, and who her baby will be. It's really amazing. The whole experience is profound. During this exciting time, an expecting mama can also be hit with a lot of anxiety. But with the right planning, support and preparation, her anxieties will ease. She will learn to trust her body and her baby. Then pregnancy, labor and birth will be given space to be the sacred journey that they are.
From the very beginning of time, birth has been a natural process. Most women used to give birth at home with the assistance of midwives, and still do in many countries today. In the US, giving birth in hospitals was once only necessary for women with complications, but quickly became the norm. In recent decades, birth has become a highly medicalised. profitable business, especially in the US. We are grateful for modern medicine and intervention when it is necessary, but for most healthy, pregnant women, it is not.
Now a days, expecting mamas are finding that they have many more options available to them then women of the past. Women today are taking back their power, knowing that they don't want all the unnecessary interventions they might face during a standard hospital birth. These women opt for birth center and home births with the assistance of loving and experienced midwives.
The birth outcomes for healthy mamas who desire natural, un-medicated births are most often better at home or a birth center. Women report feeling much more in control and supported when they are allowed to birth their own way. They also feel more supported during the postpartum period with adjusting, healing and breastfeeding. So how do you prepare for a natural birth at home or a birth center? Glad you asked! Here are the top ten things we recommend:
1. Find a trusted midwife early in your pregnancy.
2. Eat a healthy, balanced diet and keep exercising.
3. Meditate regularly, and visualize your birth. Prenatal yoga is great too!
4. Attend your prenatal appointments.
5. Do your own research to feel comfortable consenting to any testing your midwife recommends to ensure a healthy, safe birth. Always ask questions and be sure to share any concerns.
6. Surround yourself with positive people that support your birthing choices. Read positive birth stories and books.
7. Find your village and take a natural childbirth class.
8. Find a birth doula, and consider a postpartum doula. This support is essential.
9. Write a birth plan.
10. Prepare your space. Purchase a birth kit and anything else you might need for your birth.
Natural birth is normal. It is healthy and it is powerful. More women today accept these facts and have beautiful birth experiences. Understand that birth doesn't always go as planned, but if you have done the right preparation, you'll have faith in your support team, your body and your baby. Relax and let this magical process take place. You can do this!
By Christine Rapsys, Writer and Pure Births Mama