The Ultimate Guide to Planning a Natural Birth

Hey Everyone! Have you read my post about me choosing a natural childbirth??Guide to Planning a Natural Childbirth

If you have: Awesome! If you haven’t, go read it right now!!! It explains the benefits of going natural and the potential risks an epidural can pose for you and your baby!

If you are also planning a natural childbirth, you have come to the right place. I have put together a HUGE list of resources for all the information you need to prepare yourself for a natural birth.

First, have you considered hiring a Doula? In my natural childbirth guide I’ll talk about the benefits of a Doula!

A Doula is basically your personal birthing coach who helps you get through even the hardest parts of labor naturally. They use words of encouragement and offer several pain relief methods to help you get through your delivery. Find more information on hiring a Doula here.

Childbirth Methods/ Education Courses

These are different birthing methods and techniques that offer medication fee pain relief. Each method usually consists of a series of classes starting around 7 months pregnant.

1. The Bradley Method

This method uses a partner-coach approach to birthing. It focuses on the birthing partner (often the father) coaching the mother through birth through the use of massage, encouragement, as well as other relaxation techniques. While they prepare for a medication free birth they also inform the mother about unexpected pregnancy complications such as Cesarean Section. They also focus on healthy lifestyle choices and exercise throughout pregnancy, relaxation techniques, postpartum care, breastfeeding, and conduct labor rehearsals.

2. The Alexander Technique

This method focuses on preparing the mother physically for birth by improving a mother’s freedom of movement, balance, and flexibility. The technique is meant to improve comfort during delivery, help mothers push more effectively, and improve postpartum recovery.

3. Hypnobirthing

Also known as the Mogan Method, this method uses self-hypnosis techniques to relieve pain during labor and delivery. Mothers learn breathing, relaxation, visualization, and meditation methods to help ease labor pain and discomfort. They also focus on empowering women and eliminate the fear surrounding labor and delivery.

4. Lamaze

Is a widely popular prenatal education course that doesn’t take a position on using pain medication during labor, but focuses on educating parents to be about all of their options during labor and delivery. The method teaches massage and relaxation techniques, breathing techniques, breastfeeding, healthy lifestyle choices, different birthing positions and effective communication.

Pain Management Techniques

1. Breathing Exercises

Focus on breathing out through contractions while keeping breathing rhythmic and calm. Check out the practice of Patterned Breathing  for a very effective breathing technique during labor.

2. Movement

Rocking, swaying, or even walking can help ease labor pain by releasing Oxytocin into the body (the body’s natural pain relieving hormone). Try to focus on relaxing muscles you are not using as the more relaxed you are the easier labor will be. 

3. Massage

This study claims that labor massage can be a very effective pain management technique. Having your birthing partner massage or gently apply counter pressure to your lower back can be very effective in easing labor pain! (Especially if you are experiencing back labor) Check out this video for a great labor massage. Or check this out for more great massage techniques! 

4. Hydrotherapy

Soaking in a warm bath or shower can be a great way to not only relax the birthing mother but also relieve pain. Try sitting in a warm  jacuzzi with gentle jets aimed at your back. Don’t have access to a Jacuzzi? Try taking a nice warm bath or sitting under a warm shower. Many hospitals and birthing centers have jacuzzi tubs for you to use. If birthing at home, it is possible to rent a tub as well!

5. Acupuncture or Acupressure

 This method triggers the release of endorphins which are your body’s natural pain blockers! For more information on this method check out this study or check out this article!

6. Reflexology

 This method is very similar to acupressure but mainly focuses on pressure points in the feet!

7. Hypnosis

While this method doesn’t exactly help with physical pain, it can deeply relax the birthing mother to the point where your mind is far removed from your body. Hypnobirthing is a popular birthing technique that uses hypnosis for pain relief.

8. TENS (Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation)

This machine is placed on your lower back and sends low-volt electrical pulses to the nerves leading to the uterus. It is commonly used in parts of Europe and can be a very effective (medication free) way for mothers to ease labor pains.

9. Distraction

This method also doesn’t exactly ease labor pain, but it can be a great way to take your mind off of the pain (at least in the early stages of labor). Read magazines, play a game with your partner, or watch a movie.

10. Positive Affirmations

By thinking positively and telling yourself that “YOU CAN DO IT!” you can get through even the worst labor pains! These Labor Affirmation Cards will be sure to encourage you throughout your labor and delivery! 
Natural Pregnancy Guide

Products/ Tools

1. Birthing Ball

A birthing ball can be used in a variety of ways during labor to help ease labor pains. You can use it to get into different positions that ease pain and can help move labor along! They usually come in a number of different sizes depending on the birthing mothers size. Check out this Baby Bump Birth Ball it comes in a number of different sizes and colors, is slip resistant, and burst proof and even has legs to provide extra stability.

2. Massage Oil:

Massage can be a great way of relieving labor pains. Try this Weleda Massage Oil which includes rosemary and lavender extracts for a relaxing scent. This massage oil also warms slightly when it is rubbed on the skin!

3. Rebozo Scarf

These are scarves commonly used by midwives and Doulas to ease labor pains in many different ways. They are commonly tied around the mothers hips to help with back pain.This Del Mex Mexican Rebozo is extra long and comes in a variety of colors and styles =) Also check out this book “The Easy Guide to Rebozo for Pregnancy and Birth” for more information on how to use your rebozo scarf during labor.

4. Miracle Ball

Elaine Petrone has developed a method of pain relief using small stress balls to ease back pains throughout pregnancy and labor, ease tension during labor, and provide overall pain relief using pressure points in the lower back. Her method also includes ways of using the Miracle balls to help lose weight after pregnancy! Check out The Miracle Ball Method

5. TENS Machine

Like I mentioned before, a TENS machine sends electronic pulses to the nerve pathways to your uterus and can be very effective in reducing labor pains! Many hospitals are now providing these for their patients but you can also choose to buy your own! Be sure to check with your insurance provider because a TENS machine could be covered by your insurance! Check out this TensCare MamaTENS Digital Maternity Machine or check out the Perfect mamaTENS

6. Heating Pad

A heating pad may reduce some pain and discomfort in the lower back (especially if you are having a back labor!) You can also make your own by sewing together a small sack and filling it with rice and some lavender!

7. Birth Bag

Everything you need to plan your natural childbirth can be found in this AMAZING Birth Bag! It Includes labor affirmation cards, essential oils, personal care products, A birth plan, a guide to packing your hospital bag, and so much more! Its like having your own personal Doula in a Bag.

Books

1. Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth

Written by Ina May Gaskin, the most well known midwife in the United States!

2. Your Best Birth: Know All Your Options, Discover the Natural Choices, and Take Back the Birth Experience

Written by Ricky Lake and Abby Epstein. This book complements the documentary “The Business of Being Born”

3. Active Birth: The New Approach to Giving Birth Naturally

Written by Janet Balaskas, focuses on the importance of movement throughout your labor experience.

4. Childbirth Without Fear: The Principles and Practice of Natural Childbirth

Written by Dr. Grantly Dick Read, focuses on mentally preparing you for a labor experience free from fear.

5. Birthing from Within: An Extra-Ordinary Guide to Childbirth Preparation 

This book by Pam England and Rob Horowitz offers great advice on how to mentally prepare yourself for birth.

6. The Birth Partner – Revised 4th Edition: A Complete Guide to Childbirth for Dads, Doulas, and All Other Labor Companions

This book, written by Penny Simkin is a great book to not only read yourself but to have your husband or birthing partner read in preparation for labor.

7. Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way: Revised Edition

Written by the creators of the Bradley Method.

8. Pushed: The Painful Truth About Childbirth and Modern Maternity Care

This book by Jennifer Block explains in depth the truth about modern maternity care and empowers women to explore their choices and other options.

Documentaries

1. The Business of Being Born (2007)  

The Business of Being Born offers an in-depth look into modern labor and delivery procedures. Simultaneously, it weaves through natural labor birth stories and information. Available on Netflix!

2. Born in the USA (2000) 

This film presents three different childbirth settings and compares the safety, effectiveness, and experiences of each one. Born In The U.S.A. is available for purchase at Amazon.com

3. Its My Body, My Baby, My Birth 

A documentary that follows women as they progress through their pregnancies and natural childbirths. Available for purchase at Amazon.com here: It’s My Body, My Baby, My Birth.

4. Orgasmic Birth  

This documentary follows different women throughout their natural pregnancies and labors. It shows how labor can be an intimate and enjoyable experience. Available on Netflix!

5. Laboring Under the Illusion: Mass Media Childbirth vs. the Real thing

A great film that shows the different between how labor is portrayed in the Media and what labor is actually like. Available for streaming or purchase at Amazon.com (click here: Laboring Under An Illusion: Mass Media Childbirth vs. The Real Thing (Download/Stream)).

Want More? 

Want more information on a Natural Pregnancy and Childbirth? Check out the Magic of Dates  or 11 Ways to Induce Labor, Naturally!

As always, thanks for reading! I hope this helps all you natural mamas prepare for your labor and delivery experience! I would love to hear your labor stories! Be sure to comment below =)

Sources:

  1. http://wellnessmama.com/215/pregnancy-books/
  2. http://www.webmd.com/baby/guide/childbirth-class-options#2
  3. http://www.whattoexpect.com/pregnancy/labor-and-delivery/labor-pain/complementary-and-alternative-medicine-techniques.aspx
  4. https://www.nct.org.uk/birth/working-pain-labour#working-with-pain-in-labour
  5. http://www.ourbodiesourselves.org/health-info/birth-films-childbirth-in-the-u-s/

7 Comments

  1. Naya @ Lactivist in Louboutins October 19, 2016 / 2:22 am

    This is a very thorough list of resources! I had two fantastic natural hospital births, my second was even in the water! It was amazing and empowering. My doula was so so necessary. In addition to your list of books, I found that Henci Goer’s “Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth” was so helpful to me.

    • daywithfe October 20, 2016 / 1:18 pm

      Great to hear! I am really looking forward to my birth and hope to do it in the bathtub as well! I will have to check out that book as well =)

  2. Savannah October 19, 2016 / 3:38 am

    Such great resources. I tried to go natural but in the end it wasn’t what was best for me and the baby. I hope to try some of these methods if I have a second baby.

    • daywithfe October 20, 2016 / 1:20 pm

      I hope these resources can help you with your next baby. I am planning a natural birth but I am also fully aware that it may not always go as planned! Best to be prepared for anything =)

  3. Briana Marie October 20, 2016 / 2:23 pm

    This is a very thorough list here. I am all for natural childbirths but unfortunately I ended up taking a different route when I had my 2 little ones. I think reading a post like this would’ve helped me a lot when it came to making that final decision.

    • daywithfe October 20, 2016 / 4:54 pm

      As long as you feel you did what was best for you and your babies thats totally okay! I am planning a natural birth but I also know that things may not go as planned and I am totally okay with that! Maybe if you have another child you could look back on this list for some inspiration =)

  4. Rebekah October 22, 2016 / 12:47 am

    This is a great resource list!! I haven’t read all of the books you mentiom here but one of my favorites that I reccomend to my birth clients, I’m a doula (I have a doula at my births with me too!), is Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering. Another good one is Natural Hospital Birth by Cynthia Gabriel. So, so good!!

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