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  Pregnancy Labor
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  Natural Child Birth
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  Labor Pain
  Reduce Pain
  Preparation Labor
  Care For Placenta
  Plastic Surgery
  Labor Countdown
  Natural or Epidural
  Best Birth Positions
  Using a Doula

Understanding Natural Childbirth

The term “natural childbirth” means different things to different people. To some, it means any delivery in which the baby is delivered vaginally, as opposed to through a Caesarean section. Some people take a more strict definition and think of natural childbirth as only vaginal childbirth without medication. An even smaller group would consider natural childbirth to be only those births that are free of all medical interventions, including fetal monitoring or IV fluids. However, for the purposes of this article, we’ll define it as spontaneous, un-medicated vaginal delivery, during which some additional medical interventions may have taken place.

For the vast majority of healthy women, natural childbirth is not only possible, but desirable. The human body is designed to successfully labor and give birth – if it weren’t, the human race would have ceased to exist some time ago. Unfortunately, much of our innate wisdom about labor and delivery, and our experience with technology and medication-free births has been lost – it’s up to us to reclaim it.

There are those who believe erroneously that childbirth used to be fraught with peril. However, throughout history, the most common cause of death during childbirth was infection – not something intrinsic in the birth process itself. In a bit of irony, these problems with infection, or childbed fever as it was sometimes called, began when women first began to go to the hospital to have their babies and abandoned the traditional practice of giving birth at home. With the advent of germ theory, hand washing and antibiotics, childbed fever became a thing of the past. This is where the modern misconception that hospital birth is safer than homebirth was born.

This is not to say, however, that modern obstetrical knowledge and technology has no place in modern, or even natural, childbirth. One of the most important forms of medical care that obstetrics can offer is screening for conditions which may affect the mother and baby. Diabetes during pregnancy, for example, whether pre-existing or brought on by pregnancy, is one condition for which strict medical management during pregnancy is extremely desirable. However, it isn’t necessary for a diabetic mother undergo a Caesarean section. Even when a mother is diabetic and, in fact, even when a mother is considered high risk, a natural childbirth may actually be the safest course of action.

Does natural childbirth hurt? Yes, but not to the extent you may think. Women who are planning for a natural childbirth can learn how to manage the pain without medication. In some cases, it is as simple as staying hydrated during labor, and frequently emptying the bladder. Others involve relaxation techniques. In addition, because the mother isn’t medicated, she’s free to move around and assume a variety of positions to find one that’s most comfortable. It’s also more likely that she can take advantage of the relief to be found in laboring in a shower or in water.

When no pain medication is given, the body naturally produces chemicals that help both the mother and the baby to handle the pain of labor. Further, the pain of childbirth isn’t without pause – there are breaks between contractions when the mother can rest and relax. In addition, studies have also shown that the presence of a doula can increase a woman's ability to deliver her baby without medication as well.

If you want to have natural childbirth, begin by educating yourself, and then find a care provider who will support you in your goals. Overall, you’ll find that natural childbirth is a reasonable goal, and a very empowering one at that.

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