Thinking of having a natural childbirth? We give you the lowdown on what you need to know about vaginal labour to ensure a smooth and safe delivery.
Giving birth can be an overwhelming experience, especially for new mothers-to-be because you wouldn’t know what to expect when you go into labour. While we respect every woman’s decision on what you do with your own body, it’s important to be informed and know what are the options available.
Some may be open to having a caesarean delivery, while others may choose to opt for a medicated labour – or perhaps you simply want to go for the good ol’ natural way. But a simple Google search on natural birth will lead you to the question on every mama’s mind: is natural birth painful? We totally understand, so we compiled some useful tips to help you get prepared for a natural vaginal birth.
#1 Look for the right doctor and hospital
This might seem like an obvious one, but make sure that you pick a healthcare provider that understands and believes in natural birth just as much as you do. Some questions to pose for your prospective doctor include: What are their thoughts on labour and birth? What are their expectations on prenatal care during pregnancy? How does their C-section rate compare to the nation’s average?
Whether you’ve done your own research or gotten recommendations from friends, you probably have an idea of some of the pioneer names who specialise in natural birth. Then it’s just a matter of deciding between a doctor in the private or public sector – although both systems offer top-grade healthcare, you may have to take into consideration the pros and cons to see which option is better for your needs. If you’re someone who prioritises comfort and service, a private hospital will be up your alley. However, it doesn’t come cheap so if you’re going for affordability, your best bet is a public hospital.
Lastly, it’s also advisable to check out the hospital a few months prior to your due date – a maternity ward tour will help you to familiarise yourself with the hospital’s maternity care services and facilities.
#2 Find support
Most pro-natural birth doctors are receptive to the idea of having a doula at your delivery – a doula is essentially a trained professional that provides emotional, physical and educational support during childbirth. Think of a doula as your trusty companion who would be there with you every step of the labour. Renowned doula Tania Grose-Hodge says, “I focus a lot on encouraging the woman to find her inner voice and figure out what is most important to her and her partner for the baby’s birth.”
Likewise, you can also choose to have an obstetrician and/or a specialised midwife onsite to assist the labour. These three roles can work in tandem to provide a safe environment for the mother to achieve an amazing birth.
#3 Understand your body
Every woman’s labour experience varies. But understanding how your body will respond to labour will help to make the process a lot more manageable. Learning about the various labour positions will not only help to ease the contraction pains, but will also do wonders in speeding up the progress.
At the end of the day, it’s all about eliminating the fear and trusting your body to do what it’s meant to do.
#4 Get a plan
There’s no birth plan that’s one size fits all. Create a birth plan to help shape your goals and preferences, and make sure everyone is in the know.