Tips for natural birth in a hospital — The Bump
Natural Birth

Tips for natural birth in a hospital

Hello! I'm a first time mom about 10weeks along. I know it's still early, but I really want to ensure that I will get the natural empowering birth I desire without medical intervention unless absolutely necessary. Any advice? I'm not sure where to start! Thank you!!

Re: Tips for natural birth in a hospital

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  • Educate yourself on every aspect of birth and what your options are.

    A strong support system is key. I don't believe a doula is necessary but make sure you have someone support you.

    You want to also make your wishes for a natural wish very clear from the beginning and if you are going with an OB instead of a MW make sure they support your desire for a NB.
  • Have you thought about birthing in a birth center or at home?
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    Patrick: born at home on January 14, 2014

  • Thanks for all of the advice! Home is not an option for me. We live very far from any birthing centers so we were left with hospital as our only choice. I would love to have access to a birthing center. But I'm working with what is available to me :)
    Again, all the tips are greatly appreciated and will be taken to heart.
  • I recommend doing yoga during pregnancy. It helps strengthen and loosen the muscles you need to be powerful and stretchy during birth. Also, talk to your provider about what you want. Take the hospital tour and ask about their procedures. When you check in, tell them you want the nurse who is most experienced with and friendly toward natural birth. And don't spend a lot of time and energy telling people you're going to have a natural birth. Lots of people will try to talk you out of it, and the added pressure of "oh, God, I talked all this smack about how I was going natural and now I'm not sure I can" will give you crazy monkey brain. The last thing you need during labor is monkey brain (where you can't concentrate and start going into spirals of negative thoughts).
  • Find an ob who is nb friendly. Also announce your intentions when you're at the hospital since you'll mostly be dealing with nurses during labor. Have your partner tell them to not ask you if you want pain medication.
  • jenn43jenn43 member
    Definitely find a practitioner who supports natural birth. I changed from my OB to a midwife halfway through my pregnancy for that reason. It really helped, because she set the tone for all the nurses. I never had to argue with anyone about my IV, eating while in labor, being off the monitors, or any of the other things I was worried about.

  • mb314mb314 member

    I echo that your OB or midwife being on board with your choice is the most important. I didn't have a doula.  However, I had a natural-birth-friendly hospital and a great midwife.  They never offered me an epidural and the nursing staff was awesome - at one point, the nurse said to me, "listen if you want to do this without an epidural, you need to breathe deeper and lower."  She was awesome. 

    Educating yourself and DH as much as possible is key.  Make sure DH is able to stick up for your decisions.  Also make sure that you and DH are on the same page about when interventions may be necessary/when you would accept certain interventions.  A doula could be really helpful if you can afford it. 

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  • When it comes to a hospital birth I think two of the best things you can do is 1) find a provider who will be supportive and 2) labor at home as long as possible.

    Doulas are nice, but not a must-have, both of my hospital births were med-free and I did not have a doula.  

    I think classes are wonderful.  I took Hypnobirthing, which we loved.  I've also heard great things about Bradley and Hypnobabies.

    Also hanging out on here and reading.  I like, "The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth" and "Ina May's Guide to Childbirth"
  • My OB is only semi-into the idea of "natural" birth - what I'm defining as low-intervention, med-free birth. I don't have a doula, and I'm giving birth at a regular hospital, but I'm still confident that if it is in the cards, I'll be able to do it. For me it's more about knowing that my husband and mom are both really supportive, and making my preferences known to the hospital staff. And then I am relinquishing the idea that I can control the situation! :)
    Southern California
    Together for six years, married for five
    BFP 12/06/13 - EDD 8/11/14 
    BABY BOY born 8/14/14!

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  • MommyAtty said:
    I recommend doing yoga during pregnancy. It helps strengthen and loosen the muscles you need to be powerful and stretchy during birth.
    ^ And that. Get yourself a pregnancy yoga DVD (they're cheap and any will do, usually only 30min long), and do it as often as you can. So incredibly helpful!
    "Can I call your baby 'Ze Munchkin,' or 'ZM' for short?" - my best friend
  • I want to thank everyone for all of the amazing support and advice!! You are all wonderful! I feel much more secure about having the birth I hope for!!
  • i would search for the right doula
  • I used the Bradley method and my husband was my coach. It went really well. My husband felt like he had a key role and not just standing there and his support was essential to my natural delivery. Since it was my first baby, we flew to the hospital during my beginning stages and I labored there. Not ideal, but still do-able. Good luck to you! My advice is to have techniques to get you through (Bradley method has good ones) and know what is happening in your body during labor. Once I reached 8 cm I wasn't panicked because I knew what my body was doing. Hope this helps!
  • Definitely look in to Bradley classes.....DH and I felt so empowered just after class #1! We finished the 12 week course 2 weeks ago and just feel so good about everything! Know your options and stay educated. I just declined the glucose test which really pissed off my OB. (He said I'm morbidly obese and probably will have GD) yes, I've always been overweight and yes I've put on a lot this pregnancy, but I have always been an althete and very active, despite my size. I eat a balanced diet and did not want to give my LO 50mL of sugary drink just to test. I told my OB I understand his concerns, but I will monitor and log my blood sugars, fasting morning and before and 2hours after meals. He agreed. And guess what, 2 weeks in and my numbers are great! So I feel even more empowered. GL!

    Me:Hypothyroid DH: Type II diabetic. Together since 03/2007, Married 10/2011, D/C bc 10/2011. TTC: 11/2011. Charted BBT and CV along with OPK 10/2011-02/2012 Baseline labs 02/2012 WNL, SA 03/2012: botched sample by lab - destroyed hubby's confidence. 04/2012 Clomid 05/2012 Clomid 06/2012 Clomid 07/2012 Clomid and Ovidrel 08/2012 Ovidrel (I never knew that I was supposed to be monitored while on meds...I never was. I asked for u/s and other tests to see why we weren't getting pregnant, doc just kept giving me meds and telling me to go to his church for a "laying of hands") Stopped all monitoring/testing/temps, etc, Sex became a chore and we started to grow apart. At 12 mos I decided to look for another doc. 02/2013 consult with new doc....3 days later testing began...u/s, all good, HSG: all good, labs: all good, ovulating, etc. Started on Pregnitude. 04/2013 failed attempt for SA, 05/2013 failed attempt SA. 12/2013 SA: 3% morph, abnormal functionality. DH started Pycnogenol. RE consult 01/15/2014.

    ALL Welcome :)

     Expecting one baby bean!! EDD: October 3, 2014

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  • I gave birth naturally in a hospital,  I was on IV antibiotics because I was strep-B positive.  I think its really important to have good support.  There is no guarantee that your favorite doc is going to be the one that delivers your baby.  For me, my mom who had her three children naturally in a hospital was there, she really helped me advocate for what I wanted.  Saying "let me try this for 2 hours and if I'm not progressing, we can reconsider" was a very useful phrase when dealing with my pushy labor doc.  
    Listen to your body.  Get up and move.  They only have to monitor the HB for 10 minutes an hour.  Do what feels right for the other 50.  For me it was walking, squatting, and getting some lower back massage during contractions.  

    I also read a lot about why this was the right choice for me an my baby, including the section in The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding. If there aren't Natural Childbirth classes near you, I highly recommend this series. The relaxation/hypnobirth segment really helped.  GL!!

  • I had a natural hospital birth in November and it was amazing! While you are doing the hospital tour, make sure they are natural birth friendly and will abide by your wishes. I told them I did not want nurses asking me if I wanted drugs, etc. and they were all very supportive. I also had a midwife as opposed to a regular ob/gyn, and she made the experience out of this world. At no point did I even ask for pain meds, and I found it to be a very peaceful & (dare I say, fun?) birth! It was so worth it. Read up on the natural birth stories on these boards (that's what I did) and make sure you are comfortable with your provider and hospital. You can do it!!
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  • I had a natural birth in a hospital with an OB June of 2012, I also had an IV for group strep B. While I did have a doula present (my gram) I really didn't rely on her as I was in a don't touch don't talk kind of mood. I would say make sure you have a hospital with a great nursing staff though. The doctor will be in there very little and if the nurses are good your experience will be. I had no medication and the hospital I delivered at couldn't believe how well I managed, or how quiet I was. As long as your ready mentally you can do anything! Good luck!
  • H&H2014H&H2014 member
    edited July 2014
    Echoing what everyone said - EDUCATE yourself on everything that is hospital protocol and understand that it is your choice and you do NOT have to do anything that you are not comfortable with. 

    Read Ina May's book. I also really enjoyed Mindful Birthing and think that the mental approach to "rushes" instead of "contractions" and the mindfulness to stay open was a key to my successful and beautiful natural birth on June 5th.

    Lastly, I'd really consider the doula. Your partner won't know how to help you, and it's really hard for them to see you in that much pain.  You can get an apprentice doula for next to nothing or even as a volunteer. I live in SF and paid only $695 for my doula and although she didn't have to do much, it made a huge difference when I started to lose my focus during the transition.  I would certainly get a doula again.

  • Stay home or out of the hospital as long as possible.

    Timing worked out that my ob checked me at 9:30am at 4cm in his office but sent me anywhere but home. I went to the park and returned to the office at 12:30pm at over 6cm. At that point, he sent me to the hospital and by the time I was in my room, it was almost 2pm. My baby was born at 5:36pm med free. Pretty much, once I was there I didn't have to deal with the tiny birthing room and heart monitor and everything for long that it was far more manageable.

    I agree with all the reading too. I read like crazy but didn't take any classes.
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  • I meant to say he sent me anywhere but the hospital. 
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  • I echo the advice that has been given- educate yourself, choose a care provider who supports your desire to go med free, labor at home as long as possible.  I labored at home until my contractions were about 30-45 second and a min apart.  I was 10 cm when I was checked at the hospital after about 4 hours of labor.

    We didn't take a birth class before our first- I read the Bradley book and we went with the flow.  I had a great midwife and nurse and walked into the hospital well after the window to give an epi, which probably helped (I always joke that I had a drug free birth by default!).  In my opinion, the entire process was mind over matter and I tried to stay focused on relaxing so my body could do the work that it needed to do.  This time around, I'm reading or rereading and have been learning more about the birth positions as I think that I was under prepared from that perspective with my first. I also am doing some yoga and will start seeing a Webster certified chiro soon to help keep my pelvis aligned.  
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