With the buzz of Kate Middleton's natural birth it leaves the United States to be desired and their not so comparable statistics on having our natural birth rates. In fact, the United States C-section rate far exceeds the World Health Organization's rate of 15 percent by 15 percent and some hospitals have a c-section rate of 40-50 percent. Should we be concerned? Yes!
Here is what you can do to have a natural birth:
- Find a healthcare provider that will support your choice. Finding a midwife that will do a natural birth is easy, finding a doctor that has experience doing a natural birth is a bit more tricky. Just because your doctor has been your OB/GYN for the last several years, doesn't mean they are a good fit for your bith. Ask questions on their natural birth rate, their c-section rate and other questions. It has to be the right fit for you too.
- Hire a Doula. By hiring a doula you reduce your chances of having a c-section, the use of pitocin, a reduction in epidurals, having shorter labors, reduce chance of having the baby blues and improved breastfeeding outcomes
- Taking a Natural Birthing Class. Taking a natural birthing class such as hypnobirthing, The Bradley Method are two ways that will help teach parents how to birth together. They will also teach you methods and how to labor through pain and offer ways to encourage the mom through postpartum and offer breastfeeding advice.
- Exercise! Exercising can help strengthen your body to endure the long distance event. Labor is physically exhausting, but a strong body can help decrease labor time and improve postpartum recovery. If you can't get to a class, check out Belly Beautiful Workout DVD and yes, the 140 heart rate method for prenatal exercise is outdated
- Have a Birthing Wish List. This is a list of your wishes that you want for your birth and for your baby. It may be you want dimmed lighting, use of essential oils or a birthing tub. You most likely will want the baby to not leave your sight or at least have one parent in the room at all times. Whatever it may be, it is a one-page list of your wishes understanding that there may be a Plan B and you should leave room for options.
Other important things to consider is to eat a healthy diet that is high in good fats and proteins, be well hydrated and take high quality, food-based prenatal vitamins, supplements such as DHA, probiotics and getting your Vitamin D levels checked.
Remember to labor as long as you can at home to decrease your chances of any medical interventions. Drink plenty of fluids such as SmartWater, snack on easy to digest foods such as peaches, applesauce, pears, bananas, crackers, whatever you feel will sit best with you.
Have your partner be your voice when you are tired and use your doula to help with walk you through in any decisions you make prior and during your labor. Making sure you have a team that supports you!
If you live in Chicago, be sure to check out Mount Sinai Hospital's new birthing suite for women who wish to experience natural childbirth. This suite is designed to be a positive experience for parents and their babies by bringing all of the comforts of home into the safety and security of a hospital setting.
One of the most exciting features of the new suite is the laboring tub which allows the mother to experience warm water immersion; a technique that has been used for centuries and is shown to not only help alleviate pain but also reduce the number of epidurals.