Are you looking to have a natural birth in a hospital setting but put off by the high rates of cesarean section creeping up across the country? Don’t be scared. A vaginal, unmedicated and peaceful birth in a hospital is possible with these six easy steps:

  1. Choose A Natural-Minded Hospital

This is probably the biggest factor in ensuring your natural birth. You can’t walk into a Chinese restaurant and expect to order Italian. So don’t choose the most convenient hospital if it is not the one that is the most open to your way of birthing.

If you want an unmedicated undisturbed birth, choose a hospital that uses the least intervention possible. Look, you can certainly have a natural birth in a hostile environment, but do you really want to fight against the tide at moment you are the most vulnerable.

For starters, compare hospitals’ c-section, epidural and induction rates.

Second, ask LOTS of questions:

  • Does this hospital require constant monitoring or are they comfortable with intermittent monitoring? Do they require a mandatory IV or is a hep lock enough? Statistically speaking, the less you spend laying on your back the more likely you are to have that natural birth you were hoping for. Stick to a hospital with intermittent monitoring and try to opt for the hep lock.
  • Do they consider it standard to break the bag of waters? If the hospital’s standard policy includes an intervention of this magnitude, assume they will likely want to control other aspects of your birth as well.
  • Is it standard policy to induce labor after your ‘due date’? If so, realize that if you are even a day after your due date, you may be inundated with a ‘mandatory’ series of interventions with this hospital.

 

  1. Choose A Natural-Minded Provider

I will assume that you didn’t just choose the first wedding dress on the rack without trying it on. And I will also assume you didn’t just choose an apartment based on its proximity to the train station. So, don’t choose your provider because it was the first one on your insurance provider’s list or because it is conveniently located next to your job.

Choose a provider that is excited and knowledgeable about natural birth.

Personally, I prefer midwives. Don’t get me wrong, I think doctors are great at what they do. But what they do best, is surgery. What midwives do best, is natural birth. Most doctors will have only seen a natural birth a handful times in their practice whereas midwives are trained in this kind of care and have seen hundreds if not thousands of cases.

That being said, whatever you decide, be sure to ASK your provider how he or she feels about natural birth. Do not assume anything. Discuss your birth plan BEFORE you choose this person as your provider.

Make sure your provider is familiar with natural birth. Ask your provider how many natural births she has actually seen. Don’t take a quick glance at your birth plan and a nod as assurance that she will do as you ask. Your provider may in theory say she agrees with natural birth but in practice if it’s not what she is familiar with, she will likely make choices based on what she has done in the past.

  1. Take A Child Birth Education Class

4821320353_475265c365_zI know you’re wondering why you need all of these extras. Aren’t you spending enough on a birth as it is? Trust me, you are worth it. Birth memories are ones that always stay with you. It’s the first day of your precious little one’s life and is worth investing and learning about.

Take a birth class. I am personally a big fan of hypnobirthing because of its reported low rates of c-section/epidural and extensive preparation for both mother and partner on how remain relaxed in birth. Plus, I used it so I know it works from experience.

Birth class helps you prepare you AND your birth partner. Trust me, it will be much easier to stay calm for your birth if you have a loving supportive partner who is equally calm.

No matter what kind of class you choose, be sure it is NOT connected to your hospital. Hospital birth classes only teach you how to be a good patient not how to have the birth you dreamed of.

  1. Consider A Doula

If you can get a doula, GET A DOULA. Doulas are the only birth intervention with no side effects and statically proven benefits.

Even if you took a child birth prep class, your doula can really help you remember what you learned in the heat of the moment. Your doula can be a priceless anchor for both you AND your husband.

Most importantly, your doula can help you advocate for your needs in the hospital in the event that a provider or nurse needs reminding of what you detailed in your birth plan.

  1. Stay Home As Long As Possible

Don’t worry, you won’t be tardy to your child’s birth. It is very unlikely, especially with a first birth that you will get to the hospital too late. In fact, most women arrive too soon only to be turned down.

Statistically, women with successful natural hospital births have reported staying at home as the number one factor to their success.

This is because you are more likely to labor peacefully and calmly at home than in the hospital. That relaxed state will allow your birth to continue peacefully without a stop in labor.

  1. Familiarize Yourself With Natural Pain Relief

Hydrotherapy a.k.a. jumping into a bath or shower is actually considered a first choice in European hospitals. Its even considered unethical to offer a woman an epidural before a bath or shower. Women have reported that hydrotherapy helps cut the discomfort in half.

 

In short, the biggest factor in a natural hospital birth is choosing the players and location that are the most receptive to natural birth. Remember, you are paying for this, don’t choose what you ultimately don’t want.