In the USA giving birth in a hospital and doing so naturally and without medications is not the norm. Many nurses haven’t seen a natural birth and neither have many OBGYNs. So what’s a pregnant woman to do when she wants to birth naturally in a hospital? Here are some tips to have birth your way while in a hospital setting.
- Take a birthing class that supports natural birthing (usually not the hospital class)
- Read natural birthing books and stories of women that have birthed naturally such as Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth.
- Find a provider that is supportive of your natural birth choices – truly question your provider so that you know you both are supportive of natural birthing.
- Visit your hospital birthing room to get a feel for the environment.
- Create a birth plan that specifies your birth options.
- Include a after birth plan for what you’d like to have for your baby.
- Give your birth plan ahead of time to your provider and give it to the nurses at each shift during your labor.
- Hire a doula
- Discuss your birth wishes with your partner and ask for your partner’s support
- Discuss your birth wishes with your family and also ask for your partner’s support.
On birth day
- Remember that every decision is yours to make.
- Labor at home as long as possible – you’ll be more comfortable and avoid interventions.
- Once at the hospital have your doula or your partner set up the environment for you per your requests.
- You may want to avoid progress check-ups as much as possible unless medically necessary.
- Consider requesting intermittent monitoring vs. continuous unless it’s medically necessary.
- Request to move around and shift positions, walk, and be comfortable.
- Ask for a birthing ball.
- Request that any extra personnel not be allowed in the room
- Be kind but firm in your decisions.
- Remember – it’s your birth