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A beginner's guide to preparing for a natural childbirth! Information on the why's and how's of planning out a natural birth for your baby.

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Beginner guide-to-natural-birth-slideshare

  1. 1. PRESENTS
  2. 2. Sometimes the term “natural birth” is in itself confusing. 1 in 3 moms having a baby today will end up with a cesarean section, or c-section. This is surgical delivery of the baby. Because c-sections are so common, “natural birth” is sometimes thought to mean any birth that’s not surgical. This isn’t true, however. There’s a difference between vaginal childbirth and natural childbirth. A vaginal birth means your baby is born through the birth canal. But medications and interventions such as forceps, vacuum extraction, etc. are still possible. Having a natural childbirth means no drugs/medicines are used. If you’re birthing in the hospital you may have IV fluids, but there are no pain relief medications in it. What is Natural Birth? Page 1
  3. 3. A Beginner’s Guide to Preparing for a Natural Childbirth Natural childbirth also doesn’t mean having drugs early in labor and then having them “wear off for pushing.” Drugs change the course of birthing – natural childbirth means no drugs. This doesn’t mean that choose pain relief drugs is wrong, but as you’ll see throughout this guide, there are important reasons to plan a natural birth. On top of that, you’ll see that you can give birth naturally. “When a woman gives birth, she has to reach down inside herself and give more than she thought she had. The limits of her existence are stretched. There is a moment when every woman thinks, “I can‘t do this.” If she is lucky, she has a midwife, a doula or her mom to whisper in her ear, “You are doing it.” As she does it, she becomes someone new: a mother. Pam Udy Page 2
  4. 4. But How Do I Handle The Pain? You’ve heard the stories. You’ve seen the movies. You’ve read the crummy mass-market pregnancy books. You’ve seen the articles on leading baby websites talking about the pain and minimizing the impact of drugs. Yep. It’s going to hurt. Even if I told you that culture has conditioned you to fear birth, and even if you believe me (I hope you do), all of that is in the back of your mind. How are you going to deal with it when it hurts so much? Page 3
  5. 5. A Beginner’s Guide to Preparing for a Natural Childbirth I’m not trying to skip over the issue, so hear me out: Imagine you are trying to climb a mountain. You’ve spent months preparing for this single journey. Now it’s time to make the ascent. You’re pumped, excited, energized. As time goes on, and you make your way up the mountain, you get tired. Your body is sore. You practiced and trained for this, but it’s still not easy. You never expected it to be. You pay attention to your body. You move in response to the mountain terrain. Sometimes the climbing is slower. You have to stop for a bit, think about how to make it over an obstacle. Sometimes it’s obvious. The going is pretty easy (comparatively speaking). Then you can see the summit. The fatigue and aches seem to melt away. You have your eye on the prize. It’s there, it’s coming. That final burst of energy propels you to the top. You make it. You are literally on top of the world. The aches, the muscle soreness fade into the background. None of that pain matters anymore. This is one of my favorite analogies. You’ll probably see it again ;) I want you to think about this. The mountain climber is focused on her victory, not on the discomfort and intensity of the journey she faces on her way to the top. Page 4
  6. 6. A Beginner’s Guide to Preparing for a Natural Childbirth Birth is this way. It may be uncomfortable. I’ll tell you honestly, it may hurt. But you can do it. And you don’t need to focus on the pain. You’re not a martyr suffering through it. That is a lie. It’s a lie. Lie. Mountain climbing, marathons, novel writing… all involve some kind of pain and discomfort as you grow and change from a woman into a mountain climber, marathon runner, author. Nobody calls mountain climbers martyrs. Nobody tells them their pain is useless, pointless, and that they’re foolish for not taking drugs while climbing the mountain. You can do this. Focus on the summit (that’s your healthy baby, in your arms, totally over-the-moon in love with you). Don’t focus on the discomfort from the journey. Best thing about this climb? You’re not alone. Your baby is going with you. Read on, we’ll get back to this. Page 5
  7. 7. So Are All Drugs Bad? I’m not going to tell you that medications are always bad in labor. There are times when an epidural or another medication gives a mom the rest she needs to avoid a c-section. There are times when labor really feels overwhelming for a mom, and those medications help her to cope. But it’s not true that those medications are harmless. There are multiple studies that document the effects of the epidural and other labor medications. Babies are more likely to be posterior (stay in a bad position). Babies are more likely to experience fetal distress. Medications effect your ability to push your baby out effectively (normally your body does the pushing all on its own. You don’t have to bust blood vessels, turn purple, or look like your eyes are bulging out of your head). Page 6
  8. 8. A Beginner’s Guide to Preparing for a Natural Childbirth Medications drug up your baby. Your baby isn’t as alert and aware after birth. Neither are you. Hormones that are supposed to be working at high levels don’t get very high. It changes the way the third stage of birth works. It can make postpartum hemorrhage more likely. Birth works. At least, it does until we mess with it. Again, I’m not saying that there aren’t times when medications are needed. There are times when interventions are truly lifesaving. But honestly, most of what has been done with birth has made things worse – more infections, more postpartum hemorrhage, more damaged babies. We know enough now that we can step back, stay out, and only “help” when that “help” is truly needed. Want more? Click here for detailed information on the epidural and other labor medications. “Only about 15% of medical interventions are supported by solid scientific evidence...This is partly because only 1% of the studies in medical journals are scientifically sound and partly because many treatments have not been assessed at all." Richard Smith, editor of the British Medical Journal Page 7
  9. 9. What About Other Interventions? “Other interventions” mean induction, forceps & vacuum extraction, c-sections… Fetal monitoring, forcing moms to stay in bed, IV lines… All of these things are interventions, and all of them change the course of labor. These things don’t technically stop you from having a “natural birth” (well, a cesarean will), but they change the way labor works for you, and make it much less likely that you’ll be able to have a natural birth. Page 8
  10. 10. A Beginner’s Guide to Preparing for a Natural Childbirth This isn’t to say you can’t have a natural birth at a hospital. You totally can. Many, many women can and do. It’s to say that you need to be aware that all of these things change things. Induction of labor, for instance, creates contractions that are much harder than normal contractions. They don’t give you as much of a break between contractions. That’s hard for you to deal with. It’s hard for your baby to deal with. The synthetic oxytocin used to induce labor floods your uterus. The receptors for oxytocin on your uterus start to shut down due to the flood. They’re not listening when your natural oxytocin tries to work, after birth, to stop postpartum hemorrhage and help with mother-baby bonding. Synthetic oxytocin only works in your body. It can’t cross to your brain like your own oxytocin does. Maybe you’ve heard of oxytocin as “the love hormone.” The problem is, it’s only giving you loving when it’s in your brain, too. The fake stuff doesn’t cut it. You get the forceful contractions, but you don’t get the relaxation, excitement, even pleasure of natural oxytocin. You and your baby don’t get as much of the post-birth high. Click Here to read more about interventions and how they affect the process of birthing. Page 9
  11. 11. So No Drugs, No Interventions: How Do I Get Ready for This? I know what you’re expecting. I’ll tell you to “trust your body” and “trust birth” and then I’ll go off on my merry way, long hair and long skirt flowing behind me. Okay, I do have long hair and I actually do like long skirts, but I’m not going to leave you hanging. Page 10
  12. 12. A Beginner’s Guide to Preparing for a Natural Childbirth I do believe in birth (and I believe in your body). I think intuition and instinct are important in birth. But I also know that you need to be prepared and ready for birth. That’s what gives you the freedom to really work with birth, your body, and most of all, your baby. There are specific steps you can take to get ready to give birth. This can be pretty simple, as you’ll see from the overview in this book. Or it can go more in depth – after all, I have an entire website about it and I teach online childbirth classes that really dig into it. But the core of all of that is the same. That’s what I’m going to show you now. Good birth starts during pregnancy. It starts with your body (eating and physical activity). It gets to your choices for birthing and your well-being. It probably means a little practice here and there. All of that translates into belief. Belief in yourself and in your baby. Let’s jump in! “You are constructing your own reality with the choices you make...or don't make. If you really want a healthy pregnancy and joyful birth, and you truly understand that you are the one in control, then you must examine what you have or haven't done so far to create the outcome you want." Kim Wildner-Mother's Intention: How Belief Shapes Birth www.naturalbirthandbabycare.comPage 11
  13. 13. How Much Should I Eat to Build a Healthy Baby? Your baby begins with what you eat. The food that you take in helps to build your baby’s body. It bears repeating: your baby’s body is literally made of the food you eat. Also vitally important: the food you eat nourishes your uterus (womb) and your body. It builds your blood supply. Can you see that this is vital to birth? Good nutrition prevents pregnancy complications and complications for your baby. www.naturalbirthandbabycare.comPage 12
  14. 14. A Beginner’s Guide to Preparing for a Natural Childbirth What should you eat?  80-100 grams of Protein  Vegetables  Good Fats  Vitamins & Minerals  Salt To Taste We can get a lot more complicated than that, but those are the basics. How do I recommend you get that?  1 quart of milk daily (protein and fat)  2 eggs daily (protein and fat)  Meats / Seafood / Dairy daily – Beans from time to time (protein, fat, vitamins); you want 6 servings that provide 7 grams of protein each (about 1oz meat)  Salads with olive oil or homemade dressing daily (veggies, fat, vitamins, minerals)  Cooked greens (like steamed spinach) with cheese or butter daily(veggies, fat, vitamins, minerals)  Steamed veggies (like broccoli) with butter (veggies, fat, vitamins, minerals)  Orange veggies and fruits (like pumpkin or oranges) (vitamins, minerals) Page 13
  15. 15. A Beginner’s Guide to Preparing for a Natural Childbirth Foods like baked potatoes or sweet potatoes (yams) are also good for you because you can load them up with butter, sour cream, broccoli, bacon bits, cheese, etc… lots of good foods for you and for your baby. Potatoes also help satisfy carbohydrate cravings without you hitting the candy bars. Eat grains (bread, rice, etc.) in moderation as they’re typically empty calories. You and your baby need all the nutrition you can get. Make the foods you eat packed in good nutrition. It’s OK to splurge and have treats, too (I really like sub sandwiches and homemade ice cream while I’m pregnant)… just eat the good stuff first. I have a basic guide to all of this diet information, complete with a recording on the ever-popular pregnancy super-foods. Click to check out Natural Prenatal Nutrition. Page 14
  16. 16. But I Can’t Eat That Much! Even as basic as it is, the pregnancy diet I outlined above looks like a lot of food! How are you going to eat that much protein every day??? Think again to your baby. A healthy mother eating well makes a healthy baby. A healthy mother’s body (maternal body in the scientific lingo) is able to give birth. Now over-eating the bad stuff can make you gain a lot of weight, and that’s not healthy. Page 15
  17. 17. A Beginner’s Guide to Preparing for a Natural Childbirth But the weight that a well-nourished mother gains is not the same. In fact, eating well will give you a strong, well-developed newborn of a healthy birth-weight. These babies actually tend to be thought of as “compact” – they’re heavy for their size not because of fat flab, but because of muscle mass, bone density, and brain size. They’ve got a good birth-weight for all the right reasons. That’s what you want for your baby. Low birth-weight babies are at risk for their whole lives. You don’t want that. You can eat a good pregnancy diet. Pregnant moms often find it helpful to “graze” even if you never do that during normal daily life. Eat three moderate meals and three moderate snacks (morning snack, afternoon snack, evening snack). The smaller portions of food are manageable and they help prevent nausea early in pregnancy. Work up to these levels as your morning sickness fades. If morning sickness is really bad, try eating as soon as you get up, before breakfast, then eat your three meals and three snacks – and always have a protein food with a light carb. For example, eat full-fat Greek yogurt with berries. Eat apple slices and cheese. Eat peanut butter with some raisins. This seems to overcome morning sickness for most moms. You’ll probably find you can eat a varied diet with all these nutrients by 16-20 weeks, and continue throughout pregnancy. Page 16
  18. 18. Wait a Sec… Let’s Go Back to Weight… I can hear you now… “Kristen, you mentioned fat. You told me to butter my veggies. You told me to use full-fat Greek yogurt. What are you thinking!??” I promise fat will NOT make you fat. Nope. It won’t. It’s a lie. Not true. I’ll say it again: it’s a myth. Page 17
  19. 19. A Beginner’s Guide to Preparing for a Natural Childbirth More importantly? Fat builds your baby’s brain. Your baby’s brain is mostly fat. Your baby needs fat. Learning disabilities, autism, ADHD, Bipolar children… the list goes on and on… those things are a plague today. Think about it. What’s the common denominator? Those all involve the brain. Tiny brains that have been starved of fat. Your mother was told to keep fat away from you. You’re told to stay away from fat. Now our children are reaping the consequences of that. And they’re not pretty. If you are worried about pregnancy weight gain, stay away from the sugar, the bread, the pasta, the candy bars. That’s what makes you fat. Don’t shortchange your baby of the fats that are vital to his or her brain development. By the way, fats are important to your brain too. Have you wondered why postpartum depression is such a problem? Sure, medical births are a factor… but your brain is giving up its nutrients to try and give your baby’s brain what it needs. Don’t let that happen. Eat good fats for your baby’s brain and for yours. Both of you will be better off. What are good fats? Think fats people have been eating for centuries: full-fat dairy, olive oil, coconut oil, butter, avocados. Stay away from “industrial” fats that have been processed and bleached. Just say no to corn oil, cotton oil, soybean oil, etc. Page 18
  20. 20. Okay, Got Diet… Now Can We Get Back to Birth? People First. What does that mean? You need to look at your care provider next. Who are you getting prenatal care from? You’re a big factor in natural childbirth. You, after all, are the one giving birth. But supportive care providers make a huge difference. The person you choose to attend you in birth has their own philosophy and their own agenda. Page 19
  21. 21. A Beginner’s Guide to Preparing for a Natural Childbirth I’m not saying that’s a bad thing. Most doctors and midwives get into pregnancy and birth because they really want to make a difference. They want to help mothers and babies. The thing is, they have wildly different views about how to go about helping mothers and babies. Some of them think that they need to use every piece of technology available. Some of them think they should avoid all technology. Some are in the middle. There’s really no right or wrong answer. It depends on what you want and what you believe about birth. You might not even feel like you have any sort of philosophy about birth right now. But I’ll tell you this, if you know that you’d like to birth naturally, you should look for a care provider who supports that. Don’t look for someone who just gives it lip service. Ask how many natural births their patients have. Ask around to see what other moms have experienced with them. Don’t expect that you’ll be the exception if the caregiver doesn’t have many natural births and does have a lot of cesareans. Pick a care provider with a track record for supporting natural births. Page 20
  22. 22. OB, Midwife, Manwife, Medwife… What?? There are many different people to choose to have prenatal care with and to attend your birth. It can get a little bit confusing. Most of us have a basic idea that we go to a doctor or we got to a midwife. Here’s a brief run-down of doctors and midwives: Page 21
  23. 23. A Beginner’s Guide to Preparing for a Natural Childbirth Doctors:  OB/GYN: This is the type of doctor (OB = obstetrics = pregnancy/birth) most women see during pregnancy. They’re trained in pregnancy and birth, as well as in how to do cesarean surgery.  Family Doctor or GP: This is your “normal” doctor. Some can and do oversee prenatal care and vaginal births. They do not perform cesarean surgery.  Maternal-Fetal Medicine / Perinatologist: These doctors specialize in high-risk pregnancies (for instance, if you have a pre-existing heart condition or if you develop a major pregnancy complication) “Unfortunately, the role of obstetrics has never been to help women give birth. There is a big difference between the medical discipline we call "obstetrics' and something completely different, the art of midwifery. If we want to find safe alternatives to obstetrics, we must rediscover midwifery. To rediscover midwifery is the same as giving back childbirth to women. And imagine the future if surgical teams were at the service of the midwives and the women instead of controlling them." Michel Odent, MD Page 22
  24. 24. A Beginner’s Guide to Preparing for a Natural Childbirth Midwives: • CNM: A certified-nurse midwife has trained as a nurse and has additional, graduate-level training in midwifery. She can attend you at the hospital or perhaps at home. • CM: A certified midwife has a college degree and had done additional, graduate-level training with a midwifery program (she had a college education in a specialty outside of nursing). She can attend you at the hospital or perhaps at home. • CPM: A certified professional midwife may or may not have a college degree in midwifery, but has completed an extensive apprenticeship and training in birth, then passed the NARM written and clinical competency exams. She can attend you at a birth center or at home. • DEM: a direct-entry midwife has not gone to a midwifery college (though she may have taken formal midwifery courses), but has gone through an extensive apprenticeship to learn midwifery. She may or may not also be a CPM. She can attend you at a birth center or at home. • LM: a licensed midwife has been licensed to practice midwifery by her jurisdiction (state, province, etc.). She may also be a CNM, CM, CPM, or DEM. “Attending births is like growing roses. You have to marvel at the ones that just open up and bloom at the first kiss of the sun but you wouldn't dream of pulling open the petals of the tightly closed buds and forcing them to blossom to your time line." Gloria Lemay Page 23
  25. 25. A Beginner’s Guide to Preparing for a Natural Childbirth “Manwife” is a term for men practicing with a midwifery model of care. Usually male birth attendants are doctors and not midwives, but there are some male midwives. A “medwife” is a slang term used for a midwife who seems to think of birth as a medical event more than a natural process. Generally, but not always, doctors intervene more with birth from the start. Generally, but not always, midwives watch and support through the natural process of birth. Midwives often spend much longer on prenatal appointments, covering not just physical health but also emotional health, diet, exercise, etc. Your best bet when choosing a care provider is not to examine solely based on credentials, but to ask for statistics from their practice, interview other families who have used them, and to see how well they listen to you and your concerns. Click here for more details on natural pregnancy and checklists for interviewing care providers. Page 24
  26. 26. Where Am I Going to Have This Baby? Along with the “who” comes the “where.” In fact, it may be better to start your natural birth planning with thinking about where you are going to give birth, then find a care provider who will support you in that place. Page 25
  27. 27. A Beginner’s Guide to Preparing for a Natural Childbirth Hospital Most women today give birth in a hospital. They’re kind of the “automatic” birth choice because, well, you think that only crazy women give birth elsewhere. More on that shortly. Hospitals offer immediate intervention if something goes “wrong” with birth, but that benefit brings with it a slew of problems. Put simply, things are more likely to go wrong when they’re messed with, and the hospital is going to mess with things. I do believe you can have a great natural birth at the hospital, but you need to choose a supportive doctor or Certified Nurse-Midwife – otherwise it will be very challenging to advocate for yourself. Birth Center Some birth centers are part of a hospital, and some are “freestanding.” A birth center attached to the hospital gives you the advantage of having the hospital there, but being in a separate area where (hopefully) natural, unhindered birth is expected. A freestanding birth center offers a homelike atmosphere and a staff of midwives. Some birth centers have a consulting doctor as well as a nurse or nurses on staff. A birth center may be able to offer some interventions that aren’t available at home, such as IV fluids and pain relief medications (though no epidurals). www.naturalbirthandbabycare.comPage 26
  28. 28. A Beginner’s Guide to Preparing for a Natural Childbirth Home Your home offers all of the comforts of… home. You’re free to labor and birth as you wish. You can move with your body and your baby. You’re not attached to fetal monitors, you can eat when you want, walk when you want, and essentially do what you need to do. One of the biggest benefits of home comes as your baby is born. Your baby comes to you, on your chest, and you are (hopefully) left alone to bond with your baby. As I’ll share later in this guide, that’s important to your safety and to your baby’s good start. A very few doctors will attend home births – home birth are mostly attended by midwives. A mother may also consciously choose unassisted birth (also called freebirth or family birth). Click here for full write-ups on natural childbirth basics, including detailed articles on each place to give birth. “Women's strongest feelings [in terms of their birthings], positive and negative, focus on the way they were treated by their caregivers." Annie Kennedy & Penny Simkin www.naturalbirthandbabycare.comPage 27
  29. 29. Your Mission, Should You Choose to Accept It Okay, you’re eating well, you’ve chosen where to give birth, and you enjoy your appointments with your doctor or midwife. What else can you do to prepare for your baby’s birth? The next step is to practice. There are a number of childbirth methods and techniques – you can choose whichever resonates with you and the way you think about birth. www.naturalbirthandbabycare.comPage 28
  30. 30. A Beginner’s Guide to Preparing for a Natural Childbirth But whatever you pick, you need to practice. That’s what gets you comfortable with your chosen childbirth method. That’s what makes those things come to you “naturally” during your birthing time (labor). In the online childbirth classes I teach, I encourage mamas-to-be to become really aware of their bodies throughout the day (what makes your hips/pelvis feel open? How do you breathe when you’re relaxed). That awareness teaches you things you wouldn’t notice. It’s part of the how? in “how do I trust my body?” Practicing the specific skills and techniques from your class will put those in a virtual toolbox you can pull from during birth. Try out different positions for birth throughout your pregnancy – you don’t have to do squats or anything while anybody else is watching. But practicing your techniques and positions will give you an advantage while you’re figuring out what works for you and baby during birth. Sit on a birth ball – a virtual “birth hack” that works at home, birth center, or hospital. You can create an open pelvis and tons of movement to help your baby navigate down through your bones just by rocking on the birth ball (even in a tiny hospital room). Practice. It helps. It really helps you work with your baby. It’s worth being aware now and then throughout the day, and spending 10 minutes or so every day practicing in the last 6-8 weeks of pregnancy  www.naturalbirthandbabycare.comPage 29
  31. 31. Lining Things Up Pregnancy and birth are your journey, steps that you will take on the awesome path into motherhood (or motherhood again). Many women find that birth is far more than just a means to get your baby, but part of being a woman and a giver of life. That’s awesome, and I want you to acknowledge and relish that. I also think it’s important to remember that birth is very much your baby’s journey. Midwife Celesta Rannisi calls mamas the “mother gate” because it is through you that baby comes into the world. As a mama, you want to focus on your baby during the journey of birth. I’m not saying that you forget about you in the process – this is not to cut you out of the experience. But it means you focus beyond yourself, on the journey you’re in with your baby. www.naturalbirthandbabycare.comPage 30
  32. 32. A Beginner’s Guide to Preparing for a Natural Childbirth You can start doing this during pregnancy by helping your baby get into a good position. Good pregnancy posture keeps your back feeling good and it encourages your baby to stay in a favorable position the last few weeks of pregnancy. Even if you go into labor with your baby in a “poor” position , such as posterior, that’s OK. Virtually all babies turn during birthing (unless you’ve had an epidural, that’s a documented side effect). You should work with your baby during birthing, too, to help him or her move down through that mama gate – your pelvis. Your baby is turning and rotating to work through that. You can dance, spiral your hips, spiral while sitting on a birth ball, etc. to move with your baby. In fact, this spiraling movement is one of the most instinctive movements for birth, and many unmedicated moms find they want to do it! Grab that birth ball and practice now. Sitting on the birth ball with your bum poked out a little (think of a cat who has her tail out and up in the air… don’t site on your tail(bone)! and let your belly lean slightly forward. This encourages your baby to take a good position. Grab your hubby, your sister, mom, or best friend and do some dancing. Leaning on your doula or birth partner, swaying your hips, is a great way to help your baby move down during birth. Walking up and down stairs also helps to line your baby up and work down into your pelvis - and has been proven to get stalled labors moving again. www.naturalbirthandbabycare.comPage 31
  33. 33. Seeing is Believing This one may seem a little far-fetched, but it’s not. Picture your birth. The birth you want to have. Your “dream birth.” Every day. It can be when you’re drifting off to sleep, when you’re driving, when you’re waiting in line – it doesn’t matter. Picture it. Essentially you’re “practicing” for birth. You only give birth to this baby one time. But you can practice for birth over and over before the big day – at least in your imagination. Put detail to this. Picture it in the first person (as if you’re actually birthing, not watching yourself give birth). Make it how you want it to happen  Like I said, this may seem far-fetched. But let’s look at athletes again. What do their coaches and trainers encourage them to do? Picture themselves winning, over and over and over. Why? It’s because it makes it much more likely that what they’ve pictured will happen. Victory comes to those who have practiced, and science has shown that mental practice makes a big difference. www.naturalbirthandbabycare.comPage 32
  34. 34. A Beginner’s Guide to Preparing for a Natural Childbirth So you can and should imagine the birth you want in detail. Picture how you’ll handle the intensity of things. Picture how you’ll talk to your baby. Picture how you’ll work with your baby as your body starts pushing. Let me share a personal story: I first did this in my fourth pregnancy. I had just moved to a new state and had a new midwife. I was a little apprehensive about having a different midwife (though I LOVE her!!). So I wasn’t sure where I wanted her to be in the room while I gave birth. When I pictured the birth, I just didn’t picture her. I figured she’d be somewhere outside my field of vision. When I went into labor I called my midwife. She came over, set up, and checked me. I was at 3cms, so she headed home to sleep (she lived about 10 minutes away), and encouraged us to go up and go to sleep. I tossed and turned in bed awhile, then got up and went downstairs to pace a bit. Finally my husband encouraged me to get in the tub… and about 5 minutes later, I was pushing!! 5 minutes after that, I had a baby in my arms. My husband called the midwife right after that first 5 minutes, but she still arrived about 15 minutes after Galen did ;) I had practiced that birth over and over without seeing my midwife…. And she wasn’t there. Oops! She did help with the placenta ;) My fifth and sixth babies both had beautiful births as well (midwife made those) – and both very similar to the way I’d pictured them. I share this story because it shows the power of your mind in preparing for and getting the birth that you want. Newborn Galen – Before the Midwife Arrived! www.naturalbirthandbabycare.comPage 33
  35. 35. Your Amazing Baby Yes, your baby is totally awesome!! As I shared above, your baby is working hard to get into your arms, just like you are working to birth him or her. Make that the focus of natural childbirth. It’s not about the pain and the suffering. It’s not about “just suffering through” without the medications. It’s about working with your baby and helping your baby move through your pelvis, down the birth canal, and out into the world. www.naturalbirthandbabycare.comPage 34
  36. 36. A Beginner’s Guide to Preparing for a Natural Childbirth There You Are! We kind of think that birth may be a peak experience for us, but that baby is just dazed after such a rough ride through the birth canal. That’s not true. Your baby is a participant in birth, and your baby has been being primed for months just to meet you. Sorry daddies, baby is all about mama! Your baby wants you! Sciences has shown again and again and again over the past few decades that babies begin to know and need their mothers during their time in the womb. And when they are born, they know you and they want you. Midwife Carla Hartley calls the third stage of labor “There You Are!” because it’s like you’re finally meeting this little person who has been kicking you, and your baby is finally meeting that wonderful person who has been nourishing, carrying, and comforting him or her. It’s an awesome, awesome time. You can help that time go more smoothly with a natural birth, and also by taking care of yourself during pregnancy. Some stress is normal (and even beneficial) for your baby. But on the whole, try and relax and enjoy your pregnancy. Get emotional support if you need it, and work out relationship issues. www.naturalbirthandbabycare.comPage 35
  37. 37. A Beginner’s Guide to Preparing for a Natural Childbirth It makes natural birth work more smoothly because there are no emotional hang-ups for either of you. Yes, science has shown that babies and birthing women can physically respond to emotional stress. Give your baby that gift. More on “There You Are!” next… “The truth for women living in a modern world is that they must take increasing responsibility for the skills they bring into birth if they want their birth to be natural. Making choices of where and with whom to birth is not the same as bringing knowledge and skills into your birth regardless of where and with whom you birth." Common Knowledge Trust www.naturalbirthandbabycare.comPage 36
  38. 38. Natural Birth is Not Selfish “When did birth become about the experience?” is a question that I’ve seen asked on the ubiquitous mommy blogs. It’s meant to be a stab at women who talk about the experience of natural birth. It’s meant to imply that they’re somehow selfish. That question gets it all wrong. “The Experience” of natural birth is a side effect of safe birth. I’ll say it again – the experience is a side effect of safe birth. www.naturalbirthandbabycare.comPage 37
  39. 39. A Beginner’s Guide to Preparing for a Natural Childbirth When natural birth happens, the way it’s supposed to, the mothering hormone oxytocin reaches amazingly high levels. This is natural oxytocin. It’s working physically and it’s crossing the blood-brain barrier to influence the mind of the mother. It’s also wafting through the room, affecting the baby, Daddy, and everyone else in the room! Oxytocin ensures the safety of the mother at birth. It causes the uterus to contract and sheer the placenta off cleanly. It causes the exposed blood vessels in the uterus to constrict and close off (preventing hemorrhage). As you look into your baby’s eyes, falling deeper and deeper in love, your body responds with oxytocin and other hormones that keep you safe. Your baby is also safer. Your baby needs cord blood. All of it. At birth, 40% of your baby’s blood is still circulating in the placenta and umbilical cord. The amount of iron in that cord blood is equal to the iron in 26 gallons of breastmilk. There is oxygen in that cord blood. We often think babies instantaneously switch over to breathing air at birth, but the truth is that it’s a gradual transistion. Baby takes small breaths at first as his/her lungs inflate and become fully functional. The cord blood is bringing oxygen to your baby, and enabling blood to get to the lungs so they inflate properly. Your baby needs it. www.naturalbirthandbabycare.comPage 38
  40. 40. A Beginner’s Guide to Preparing for a Natural Childbirth A natural birth, where baby is brought right up to your chest with cord intact, protects your baby. It may even save your baby from brain damage. While you and baby are falling in love, getting high on birth hormones, that blood is pumping oxygen and warmth to your baby. While you smell your baby’s sweet smell, your body is being triggered to do exactly what it needs to do to keep you safe. Natural birth is an incredibly selfless act. The experience is nature’s reward for following the safe blueprint for giving birth. Enjoy your birth! www.naturalbirthandbabycare.comPage 39
  41. 41. What are the Criticisms of Natural Birth? We just covered a big one – that natural birth is somehow selfish, and that moms are doing it for the experience, disregarding the safety of their babies. You’ve already discovered that’s totally false. The other big criticism is that natural birth is somehow needless suffering on the part of the mother. In other words “why feel pain when we have the technology to make sure you don’t feel pain?” There are even bloggers and writers that argue that natural birth is so horribly traumatic that it causes PTSD in women. www.naturalbirthandbabycare.comPage 40
  42. 42. A Beginner’s Guide to Preparing for a Natural Childbirth I humbly ask that you consider that PTSD and other horrible experiences come from births where technology, procedures, and “rules” were imposed on birthing women. These women felt their choice was stripped away. That they were robbed of what they should have. That is what causes traumatic births. Another cause is women who are not at all prepared. I’m not going to lie to you – birth can be intense. Yes, birth is natural, but it will benefit you to do some of the preparation I’m talking about here in this guide  You will be ready to work with birth and your baby, rather than suddenly faced with overwhelming birth sensations. (and if you do get overwhelmed at some point, you can get back in control – this is a great time to have a birth partner or doula helping you breathe and realize, (and if you do get overwhelmed at some point, you can get back in control – this is a great time to have a birth partner or doula helping you breathe and realize, yes, I AM DOING THIS) Choosing a home birth brings safety criticisms back up. I’m not going to tell you you have to have a home birth if you truly feel a hospital is best. Most of the moms who take my online birthing classes have hospital births. But home birth is safe. Sometimes there will be transfers to the hospital. That’s why you have a competent midwife you feel confident in (or listen to your intuition and body signs if you’re birthing unassisted). The fact is that scientific literature shows that home birth with a skilled midwife is as safe if not safer than a hospital birth. And you and your baby get that start that you’re supposed to have - along with all the safety we already discussed. www.naturalbirthandbabycare.comPage 41
  43. 43. My (Sister, Friend, Aunt) Had Pain Meds and Her Baby is Fine… Okay, I can’t force you into having a natural birth, and I don’t want to. I support you if you choose natural birth, and I support you if you decide not to have a natural birth. What I want to do is give you the information that you deserve to have as you make your choice. www.naturalbirthandbabycare.comPage 42
  44. 44. A Beginner’s Guide to Preparing for a Natural Childbirth Babies are resilient. Seriously. Even if things don’t go perfectly, even if there’s an epidural, even if there’s a cesarean, you and your baby will still bond, have a great breastfeeding relationship, and totally fall in love! You can and will still love being a mama. Find peace in the fact that needed medical intervention is needed. I just want to show you that natural birth gives you both advantages, and that there are disadvantages to medications. There are things that have to be overcome and there are experiences that are missed if you choose a medicated birth. I encourage you to really prepare for a natural birth. Don’t just read a couple of articles and say you’re good, it’s all natural, you’re a woman and you can do it. That may work, but most moms find it doesn’t. Research natural birth. Find out more on the “why” and plan out your “how” – when you get to birthing, with all of its glorious intensity, you’ll be ready and determined. Like that mountain climber we talked about 20 pages ago… you’ll work hard, and you’ll put your arms around the prize – your healthy, happy baby. Click here to read birth stories from moms who have chosen and had natural births! www.naturalbirthandbabycare.comPage 43
  45. 45. My name is Kristen and I started Natural Birth and Baby back in 2006. Since then I’ve worked to provide information and resources to moms who want to plan natural births – and who want to explore practical but respectful parenting choices. I’m also a wife, and mother to six babies born naturally. I love all things pregnancy and birth. About Kristen Burgess and Natural Birth and Baby I would love to get to know you and help you have a happy, healthy baby. Click here to get more information about me and what I believe about pregnancy and childbirth. Find more from me at Join our lively discussions on Facebook and Twitter Check out the latest in Birth & Baby on Pinterest! And listen in every other week on the Birth, Baby, and Life Podcast  www.naturalbirthandbabycare.comPage 44
  46. 46. Where Can I Get More Info? Would you like a downloadable copy of this guide? You can get this as a free download, along with a free copy of my Trust Birth 101 mp3. Just click the link below, enter your details, and you’ll get both along with a mini-childbirth class series and updates  CLICK HERE to Download a Copy of A Beginner’s Guide to Preparing for a Natural Birth and Trust Birth 101 www.naturalbirthandbabycare.comPage 45