Natural Birth

Before reading this, please know that I do not hold any negative thoughts or feelings towards mothers who choose to receive any kind of medical interventions for their labor and delivery. These thoughts are here to merely keep things, for my sake, in perspective as I gear up for a planned natural birth. It should also be known that I am willing to do anything medically necessary to deliver a healthy baby, if that means c-section, fine, if it means induction, okie-dokie. Every mamma is different and there is never any shame warranted for giving birth, no matter how it's done. A healthy mamma and baby are all that matters. :)

Out of the 4.3 million babies born every year only 5% are born naturally. That means that out of 4,300,300 babies, only 200,000 are born via an un-medicated labor/birth. As if that seems totally crazy, consider this statistic:
1:5 births are induced, meaning that 20% of births are induced. Of the women that make up that 20%, only 16% of them were induced for medically indicated reasons.
Today my American Pregnancy magazine came. While leafing through it I came to another set of shocking stats! These stats compare labor today with labor in the 1960's. They are as follows.
% of moms given oxytocin to assist in labor: 31% compared to 12%
% of moms give epidurals: 55% compared to 4%
Hours to dilate from 4-10cm for first time moms: 6.5 compared to 3.9

Crazy huh? The one that shocked me most (for some unknown reason) was the huge jump in epidurals. I mean, of course no one wants to be in pain or uncomfortable if they don't have to but we, as women, are built to do one thing- give birth.
I am doing my best to educate myself in terms of understanding what happens during each phase of labor and how to do my best in supressing any tension and/or pain that may come along with laboring. Studies suggest that when women are tense during labor, it often makes the pain of contractions stronger, thus leading to more discomfort/pain. I have never given birth, so I cannot say whether I found this to be true or not, but I have come to peace with my decision to {hopefully} labor naturally, without the help of medications.
You can do it mamma!
I am practicing deep breathing, trying to exercise my ability to use visualization in stressful moments (being pregnant, Lord knows the stupidest things stress me out),  and honestly, my number one "motivation technique" is thinking about when Jesus was born. His mother didn't have an epidural or any other method of calming the pain. Mary gave birth to the one and only perfect person in a manger. If that isn't enough, I plan to visualize the love Jesus had for me when he died on the cross for my sins. You may be thinking I'm totally nuts by now for visualizing something so dark. But when Jesus died on the cross, he did so out of love, nothing more, nothing less. I love my baby and I am going to do everything in my power to give her the very best start possible.

If you are considering a natural birth, do yourself a favor- educate yourself! Education is such a powerful tool. Reading birth stories, watching videos of moms who birthed without fear, learn about different techniques for reducing or even eliminating the pain associated with birth. Study up on different labor positions. Read about birthing balls and how they can help you during all stages of labor.
 Through hours of research, I can finally say that I have no hesitations of 'going natural'. A month ago I would have told you that I wanted to have a natural birth, but there would have been a crack in my voice, and I would have admitted that I was a little weary of my ability to do so. Honest.
Additionally, there are things that you can do to prepare your body for labor by means of natural supplements. Of course, you will need to discuss anything with your Ob/Midwife before you start taking anything. After research and a discussion with my midwife, I decided to start using Evening of Primrose Oil (EPO) at 36 weeks. EPO has been shown to soften(ripen) the cervix. It will not put you into labor, ladies! It only gets things nice and soft so that when baby decides he/she wants to come, some of the work has already been started. Women who used EPO in the late weeks of their pregnancy had shorter, less painful births. All you do is prick a hole in the gel cap and insert it (vaginally) before bed. I've read that it could make a little mess down under, so a panty liner is necessary. I am also going to be taking Red Raspberry Leaf. This also, has shown to soften the cervix. It comes in tea or pill form. I haven't decided if I'm going to drink it or digest it in pill form. Once again, this will not put you into labor :)

Did you know that holding off on the clamping/cutting your babies umbilical cord could actually help them out? It allows more blood to flow to them, lowering their risk of anemia.
Delaying the cord cutting/clamping for 2-5 minutes can also:
increase infant's blood volume by 25%
increase infant's red blood cells by 50%

I wanted to talk to Jennifer (my midwife) about this and was afraid she would look at me like I had a third eye. Nope. She only agreed with me and told me how she usually gives the baby to mamma and will let her nurse the baby, and will actually keep the cord intact until the placenta has been delivered (if everything goes according to plan- baby and mamma are healthy). This means that Claire will not be taken from me until she has nursed, has had the opportunity to receive the remainder of her blood, and has a nice warm body temperature.

Ohh how I yearn for the day when she's placed on my chest and I get to kiss her and nurse her and breath her in.
{i'm going to stop now because i'm getting too emotional thinking about meeting her}

Happy Friday!

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    I actually had goosebumps reading this. I admire your determination to not just stick to your convictions, but be incredibly educated to "defend" them.

    It sounds to me that you have the perfect prepared groundwork for a natural birth. I cannot wait to read your birth story!

    And I used EPO starting at 36 weeks and drinking RRL tea around 33. I believe these truly helped me.

    (Grabbing your button!) :)

  2. Thanks so much! You made my day :)
    I really hope that women who are thinking about a natural birth will read and learn because it's so incredibly empowering. Seriously, it's amazing how much I believe in myself now, opposed to me 3 weeks ago. Lord willing everything will go according to plan and I'll have a truly inspiring birth story, like the ones I've been reading!!

    I'll be grabbing yours too!

  3. I switched from a OBGYN hospital birth to a midwife and birthing center when I was 26 weeks pregnant. Best decision ever!!! They told me to trust my body and when my little one decided to come 14 days late, I stayed patient. Because I trusted my body, I was in 4 1/2 hours of labor, and I pushed for just under 45 min. 100% natural and it was amazing! You can do it momma!!


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