I want to address this question: What words of advice/wisdom would you give a woman considering a natural birth?
1) View natural childbirth videos, study the risks associated with epidurals and cesareans.
Listen to the blogtalk radio message Discover Natural Alternatives to Epidurals that Work.
2) As for pain in childbirth, I will share with you my beliefs. I consider it hard work and powerful. My two hospital births were overwhelmingly painful. I cried, wailed and was so afraid. But my five home births were NOT! I actually enjoyed them ALL!
The decision of location of birth and birth attendant is key to a natural birth and it is a decision that should be made after studying natural childbirth, home birth, Christ-centered childbirth (and even unassisted birth) then by pondering and praying. Let God direct you.
3) Study vertical birth. With my first home birth, when hard labor had begun, I thought, "Well, I guess I should lie down in bed." (Because that is what we all have been taught.) Well, I lied down and that REALLY hurt. So I got out of bed and that was the last time during that birth and all of my next 4 births that I ever lay down!!! Instead I spent my labors standing, swaying, kneeling and sitting (in the tub or on sheets on the floor, against the couch.)
4) Study vocalizing (not crying or screaming or saying negative things. But moaning, saying positive things.) This birth tool is amazingly helpful!!!
5) Use water.... hot bath, shower, hot towels on your lower back and perineum.
6) Use counter pressure. My husband applied counter pressure on my lower back/butt during 6 of my births. I don't walk during labor, I like to lean over the sink, or bed (while resting on a pillow, towel etc..) and sway my hips, (or get down on hands & knees,) and vocalize. Then my husband applies counter pressure. He is cued when my vocalizing begins.
7) Study what the Bible says about Natural Childbirth. Apply your faith in God to childbearing. Believe that God created you to give birth and that faith in Jesus Christ overcomes fear which hinders labor and increases pain in birth. What we think we create! Study childbirth related scripture. The Bible is the best childbirth book!
8) Learn about releasing instead of pushing during labor. During birth I really try to go inward and think about releasing and trusting and listening and praying. I believe that Jesus Christ set the example for us when he said, "Not my will, but thine be done." To me this means that we are to not to try to control our birth, but rather release to it. When we do this, by faith, we do not fight our body, we work with it!
9) Limit bystanders at the birth. Realize that privacy is vital! During my home births, not having strangers watching me during labor & delivery, no wires connected to me and someone's hand up inside me checking me every so often transformed my births. I was free to make noise, move as I wanted, and focus inward without distraction. Try to accomplish this as much as possible in the hospital.
10) Last but not least, study fathers at birth. Invite your husband to be an integral part of your birth! Men want to be their wife's knight in shining armor. They don't want to see their wife suffer in birth! They are uncomfortable being mere bystanders. If they are uneducated, have no knowledge of how to help their wife, no "tools" for birth, they will demand their wife be given something, anything to take away the pain! But with most men, if they are informed, and taught how to assist their laboring wife, they will rise to the occasion and be rock that she needs him to be during her most powerful, yet vulnerable, moments.
11) I have come to realize after many years of advocating natural childbirth, that many women who desire a natural birth but are not able to have one, end up struggling with feelings of failure, anger, and other negative feelings about themselves and God. It is imperative that natural childbirth advocates and women who desire one, acknowledge that our bodies are in a fallen state here on earth, and though faith and our mental preparations increase the likelihood of having a natural birth, our bodies may not cooperate!! We may experience complications.
It is imperative that expectant women prepare for the possibility of a birth that is contrary to their plans and desires. Please do so by reading my article Thoughts on Adversity & Expectations.
Listen to my blogtalk radio interview with a woman who desired a natural birth but ended up having a placental abruption and a cesarean. She discusses her emotional trauma she experienced and how she overcame it.