A common question I get asked about natural birth is related to “tips, tricks, or techniques” to get through it. It’s hard to wrap our minds around getting through so many hours of labor without pain medication. After all, our society is filled with many stories of how “scary and painful” labor and birth is.
I’m sure most women understand that natural birth is a difficult task, but the use of the word “tricks” sometimes makes me wonder if women are hoping for some secret “thing” that will make the experience easy. I don’t want to set the expectation so high that people think there is a magic way to sail easily and effortlessly through the experience.
I’m sorry to say there is no easy fix-all or cure-all or make-it-super-easy-all when it comes to getting through natural childbirth.
But I do want to share two tools that helped me get through my natural childbirths. These tools transcend birth location, which means they are needed whether you plan to birth in your home, a birth center, or a hospital. And I think they are the most important tools. Ones that will get you through your natural childbirth, too.
My Top Two Tools for Having a Natural Childbirth
1. One primary tool for having a natural birth is determination.
Determination is born from a deep, internal conviction. No external challenges—or challengers—can sway you once you have made your decision.
Determination is what will carry you through the challenges and obstacles along the way, during the preparation as well as during the birth itself.
Determination to have a natural childbirth is what will drive you to prepare, to:
- become knowledgeable about the physiology of birth
- become knowledgeable about commonly used interventions
- know your options
- seek out a supportive birth location
- seek out a compatible caregiver
- ask lots of questions
- seek out labor support
- prepare your partner
- take a natural childbirth class
- exercise, eat healthy, and prepare your body
Determination to have a natural childbirth is what will get you through the challenges of labor itself, the:
- increasing intensity of contractions
- possible difficulties with hospital staff
- detours in path of labor
Finding determination is different for each individual.
I recommend spending some time reflecting on these questions:
- Why do you want a natural childbirth?
- What reason is more important than any pain or challenge you may encounter?
2. Another primary tool for having a natural birth is belief in yourself.
Since pain medications have been used for birth, and especially since epidurals became so common, women have started doubting their ability to give birth without them. However, as a woman you’ve always had the ability to birth your baby naturally.
You have always had your own birth power, you just need to tap into it.
This doubt in your ability to work with your body during birth—expending great effort, reaching deeper inside yourself, transforming—is a new phenomenon. And you don’t have to buy into it.
Forget the negative spin society plays on childbirth. You aren’t crazy for choosing a natural birth. You don’t have to be talented, special, athletic, or have a high pain tolerance (if there even is such a thing).
It matters not what anyone else thinks, says, or does; it only matters what you think, say, and do.
Your thoughts create your reality.
What reality are you creating for yourself? One filled with doubt and fear? Or one filled with confidence and courage?
To start increasing your belief in yourself:
- address and clear your doubts and fears
- create and state daily positive affirmations
- create a positive atmosphere
- read many positive natural birth stories
- surround yourself with positive people who support you and your decision
When you feel capable, you feel courageous.
Bonus: Tips and Tricks You Were Expecting to Hear
But first, let’s call them “tools”. You need to have many tools on hand during natural childbirth; you won’t know what you will feel like using until you need it.
I believe this list is what most people want to hear when they ask about “tips and tricks” to get through natural childbirth. This is good information to know and I give it to you happily. I believe they work together with determination and belief:
- sit on a birth ball
- sit in a rocking chair
- sit on a chair in the shower
- sit in a tub of warm water
- walk stairs
- breathe the energy out, deeply
- relax your face and body during each contraction
- accept the contractions as they come, don’t fight them
- stay in the moment, no looking back or thinking ahead
- vocalize, low, deep, primal grunts and moans are good
- visualize your perfect birth
Whatever you want to call them – tips, tricks, techniques, or tools – they are all good and useful and you should know them, make sure they are available, rotate through them, use several at a time, whatever it takes.
I walked in the garden outside the birth center.
But while walking I didn’t say, “Pain is gone. I could keep walking forever.” In reality, the contractions still hurt but I remained focused on my husband’s words: “breathe down the energy” and “peace”, as I breathed deeply through each one. I was determined and I believed in myself.
I sat on a birth ball.
But while sitting on it I didn’t say, “Labor is so easy now. I can sit here and sail right through to the end.” In reality, the contractions still hurt but I remained focused on my husband’s words: “breathe down the energy” and “peace”, as I breathed deeply through each one. I was determined and I believed in myself.
I sat on a chair in the shower.
The water felt good on my belly, but I didn’t say, “Now *this* is a piece of cake. I’ve found the secret to birthing bliss.” In reality, the contractions still hurt but I remained focused on my husband’s words: “breathe down the energy” and “peace”, as I breathed deeply through each one. I was determined and I believed in myself.
It was good to do different things during labor. My different positions helped the baby rotate and descend. A change of scenery was good for me. Mixing things up helped break up the time.
Know that labor is still hard work.
It was my determination and belief that got me through each contraction – one at a time – and in turn, through the labor and birth.
Secret About My First Labor
Here is a little secret about my first labor. While I was walking in the garden at the birth center, I was around 4 cm dilated. This is where I actually said, “Now I know why people get epidurals.” But that didn’t change my mind. I was determined. I wanted this. And even though it was hard, I knew I could do it.
In the end, it will be your strong determination to have a natural birth and your belief that you *can* do it that will get you through, too.
More Encouragement for Building Your Determination and Belief
I recently wrote a book that I believe is helpful in helping you prepare for the natural birth you want. It is filled with lots of encouragement, not only from me but from the 65+ natural birthing moms I surveyed. After reading this book, you will know what you have to do to have your own natural birth – and you will believe you can do it, too! For more information about my book, click here.
Best wishes for a beautiful birth!
Wendy – AwakeningWillow.com
P.S. It *is* worth it! 🙂