Guest Author – Sarah Simmons
Having a natural birth is one of life’s peak experiences. It should not to be missed for casual reasons. Letting nature take its course every step of the way is usually the best and safest option for both you and your baby. This is often a minority point of view in our American culture.
You come from a long line of birthing women. While they don’t call it labor for nothing, your body is made to do this work. If the natural process is carefully protected, the laboring woman’s body releases endorphins, which helps make the labor pain manageable.
To stack the odds in your favor, here are some tips on how to facilitate a positive birth experience:
If you are low risk – you have no underlying chronic medical conditions and a healthy lifestyle, then planning a homebirth you will increase your odds of a natural birth exponentially. In the comfort of your own home, a midwife or doctor can guard against unnecessary intervention.
If intervention is needed, you can be safely transported to a hospital. Several studies have demonstrated comparable outcomes for babies born to low risk mothers with a trained attendant at home, and much better outcomes for mothers (i.e. fewer complications.)
Labor is not like a television show — most complications unfold over an extended period of time. Transport to the hospital is almost never a 911 emergency. Most homebirth midwives have about a 1 in 10 transport rate, and about a 3-5% caesarean rate. Other studies show that labors are on average shorter in the home environment and more satisfying for the mother and her partner. Breastfeeding rates are also close to 100% at six weeks postpartum for those giving birth at home.
If you choose to have a hospital birth, find an institution (and a practitioner) that have low caesarean and epidural rates. Hire a doula, stay home as long as possible, and eat and drink fluids during labor to maintain the strength of contractions as well as your stamina to cope with labor pain.
Sarah Simmons CNM, Certified Nurse Midwife, New Life Midwifery, Chicago, 773-473-6262 – firstname.lastname@example.org