There are several methods of giving birth, with the best method being determined based on the circumstances of the individual. From the benefits of natural childbirth (no medications) to medication-assisted births (epidurals) to Caesarean section (surgical assistance), there are valid reasons for each delivery method, from both a medical perspective and a personal choice. You have lots of options when it comes to delivering your baby, including having a coach or doula to help you. Today we will discuss the benefits of natural childbirth and a few variations on that theme. Low-risk pregnancies are the best candidates for a natural, medication-free delivery. If your pregnancy is high risk, your doctor will suggest the best course of action for your delivery.
Labor progresses naturally
When laboring without medication, your body’s natural processes are not interfered with by being sped up as when labor is induced or slowed down as may happen when pain medication is involved. Medications may also affect your sense of equilibrium, cause nausea, and lower your blood pressure. By not using any medications during the birthing process many women feel they have more control and are able to work with the rhythm of their bodies. Labor is often shorter with natural childbirth than with medication. Specifically, epidurals can make it difficult for the laboring mother to know when to push.
You may feel more connected
When laboring mothers don’t use pain medication or other drugs during labor, they are more alert and aware of the birthing experience. This may provide the mother with an increased connection to the baby and their own bodies. When a mother’s senses are dulled by medication, it can result in a feeling of physical detachment, which can be disconcerting for some women.
Recovery time can be reduced
Because a woman’s body releases endorphins during labor which act as naturally calming and pain-relieving hormones, women who opt for natural childbirth often feel great soon after delivery. With natural birth, more endorphins are released than when pain medication is utilized. New mothers who decide on natural childbirth can get out of bed and move around shortly after birth if they so desire.
Breastfeeding is easier
When pain medication is used during labor, it passes to the newborn baby and can impact their interest in breastfeeding. One of the benefits of natural childbirth for mothers looking to breastfeed is that natural-born babies are generally more alert and have an increased interest in the breastfeeding process.
Bradley Method of Natural Childbirth
A popular method of natural childbirth known as The Bradley Method (also sometimes called husband coached childbirth) emphasizes that birth is a natural process and encourages mothers to focus on diet, proper nutrition, and exercise throughout pregnancy to facilitate childbirth. It also teaches couples how to manage labor through deep breathing and encourages a partner or labor coach to support the birthing mother. Classes on the Bradley Method of Natural Childbirth teach nutrition, relaxation, and natural breathing for pain management, and active participation of the husband as the birthing coach. This method was developed by Robert Bradley, M.D., in 1947 and remains one of the foremost methods of natural childbirth, as it encourages healthy mothers and healthy babies.
Proponents of this method believe that most women can give birth naturally without the use of drugs or surgery, if they are adequately educated and prepared, and have the support and help of a loving birth coach. Dr. Bradley believed the six needs of a laboring woman are:
- deep and complete relaxation
- abdominal breathing
- darkness and solitude
- physical comfort, and
- closed eyes and the appearance of sleep
The Bradley Method of Natural Childbirth also teaches various labor positions, comfort measures, and several relaxation techniques.
The Alexander Technique
Developed by F. M. Alexander, this technique teaches pregnant mothers how to sit, stand, and move with safety, efficiency, and ease. This method teaches how to release muscular tension to help increase breathing capacity, restore the body’s original poise, and develop proper posture.
This technique teaches simple modifications in movement that can help alleviate lower back pain, balance, digestive problems, and shortness of breath. This helps mothers breathe better during labor, remain calm, and focus during the birthing process. It also aids in opening the cervix during dilation and facilitates effective pushing when the time comes.
This method was developed by Dr. Ferdinand Lamaze in Russia and utilizes the power of distraction during active contractions to decrease the mother’s perception of pain and reduce her discomfort. Lamaze classes teach controlled deep breathing, concentration, massage, different birthing positions, and how to maintain control during labor. The goal of the Lamaze method of childbirth is to help parents feel comforted, supported, and powerful.
The staff at Colorado Obstetrics and Women’s Health provides personalized, comprehensive health care for Colorado Springs women in all phases of life. Give us a call today at (719) 634-8800 to schedule an appointment. We look forward to serving you.