If you’re looking for natural birth tips, chances are you already know the incredible benefits an non-medicated birth can give you and your baby.
Research as found that babies born without medical interventions have increased oxygen, more efficient immune systems and breastfeeding capabilities, and bond with their mothers more quickly.
But sometimes, especially when you hear horror stories from veteran moms, a natural childbirth can seem almost impossible. For new moms especially, the unknowns and fears of labor can seem overwhelming.
Can you really deal with pain? What if you run into a complication? Did they really just say you might labor for 24 hours or longer?
If these questions are plaguing you, let me reassure you…most women absolutely can have a natural childbirth.
As a new mom, I walked into the hospital fully expecting a natural labor. 27 hours and an epidural later, my dreams of a natural childbirth experience were shattered.
Now, after taking three (yes, THREE) natural childbirth courses, I can confidently share with my readers exactly I believe sabotaged my birthing experience and share some key natural childbirth tips to help you achieve the epidural-free experience you’ve always dreamed of.
Basically, this post is designed to give you the heads up of what not to do in order to have a natural childbirth, and give you some easy, actionable natural birth tips that can help you achieve the epidural-free experience you’ve always wanted.
You Might Also Like These Posts:
- How to Turn a Posterior Baby for an Easier Labor
- 17 Legitimate Pregnancy Freebies You Need to Grab
- 5 Best Online Childbirth Classes Every New Mom Can Trust
Natural Birth Tips: 7 Mistakes to Avoid if You Want to Have a Natural Labor
This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase from one of the links I will make a small commission at no charge to you. Blunders in Babyland does not diagnose, treat, or give out any professional advice for any medical conditions.
1 Receiving Inductions and Augmentations
There are circumstances where receiving a medical intervention is the healthiest action for you and your baby. Having said that, if you want to have a natural birth, inductions and augmentations can be a major roadblock.
The two most common drugs used for augmenting or inducing your labor are Cytotec and Pitocen. Pitocen is a synthetic form of oxytocin, a hormone your body naturally creates. Cytotec is a prostoglandin typically used to treat stomach ulcers.
Here are a few reasons why your provider might recommend inductions or augmentations:
- Your water breaks before labor starts
- You’re a week or two past your due date
- You’re experiencing stop and go labor (which is a sign of a posterior baby!)
- You have a serious medical concern such as gestational diabetes or preeclampsia
The downside is, both drugs are linked to labor complications such as uterine hyper-stimulation and cesareans. On the lesser scale, most providers want to hook you up to fetal monitors, severely limiting your mobility and the effectiveness of your pain-coping techniques.
In addition, many women have reported abnormally hard and fast contractions after an augmentation. During my own labor, I received Cytotec, not knowing the risks, not knowing that it would cause more painful contractions than I was prepared to handle.
Solution: Try to explore natural alternatives first.
Sometimes inductions and augmentations is unavoidable. The key is to know your options and have an open discussion with your provider. Try to explore natural alternatives that are safe for you and your baby.
- Overdue baby: Try natural stimulation methods or ask if its safe to wait another few days.
- Water breaks before labor: Ask your provider if you can labor (or in my case, wait for labor to start) at home.
- Active labor stalls: Believe it or not, sometimes contractions can slow or stop midway through active labor! As long as your baby isn’t in distress, consider changing positions, take a shower, or get moving. (It’s also important to realize that stop-and-go labor is a sign of a posterior baby).
2 Not Knowing How to Cope With Pain
This was one of the biggest factors for me. While I expected pain, while I had learned from prenatal classes–in theory–how to manage pain, I still had not acquired the skill necessary to manage pain.
When my cytotec kicked in and I was having contractions 2 minutes apart when I wasn’t even dilated past 2 centimeters, I had no idea how to manage this level of pain.
Let me be real with you: you can research this stuff on Pinterest until the cows come home, but until you actually practice pain coping techniques, it’s all book knowledge. You need to be able to put these skills into practice.
So, let me ask you, have you taken a prenatal class yet? If so, how was the pain-coping techniques section of the course?
Do you feel pretty confident that you know how to handle contractions? What about complications to your labor? Do you know how to have a natural childbirth if say, your labor stops midway through?
The thing is, before the days of modern medicine, you would have a midwife or another experienced woman would coach you through labor. Now, with the convenience of medical interventions and a busy L&D staff, its up to you to know what positions to use and when to use them.
The Solution: Natural Childbirth Classes
I firmly believe that any woman planning on having a natural childbirth needs to enroll in a natural childbirth class.
Unless you luck out and get just the right prenatal instructor, chances are, a hospital-taught prenatal classes will not be able to teach you the skills necessary to successfully have a natural childbirth.
This is not a dis on hospital-led birth courses. The fact is, most women want epidurals. Why should a hospital cater to a minority audience?
A natural childbirth class was designed specifically designed for ladies like you. It teaches everything you need to know about labor plus how to successfully cope with real-life, eye-crossing, labor pain.
If you’re looking for trust-worthy recommendations, I have three: The Mama Natural Birth Course, KOPA PREPARED Childbirth Class, and Mommy Labor Nurse’s Birth It Up. If you’d like to see a quick comparison of the three, check out my Best Online Birth Courses Post Here.
My goal is to help you have the best natural childbirth you possibly can, NOT sell you on a particular product!
3 Going Into Labor Without a Support System
It is so easy to glance over this natural birth tip and go into labor as a one-woman army.
But let me throw this statistic at you: the CDC reported that over 60% of women whose birth was attended by a doctor received an epidural.
Meanwhile, women whose birth was attended by a midwife dropped down to less than 50%. These are two excellent types medical practitioners with two very different views on childbirth.
Your support system can make or break your labor.
Be honest with yourself, how’s your support system? Does your provider understand your desire for a natural childbirth? When the rubber meets the road, are you confident that they’ll be an asset to your labor or do you think they’ll hinder your success?
What about your partner? Does he know what labor techniques to use to keep you focused? He’s 100% down with your decision with your decision to go natural or will he pressure you for an epidural once he sees you in pain?
The Solution: Build a Support Team NOW
If you’re not 100% confident right now, there is still time to put a great support system into place:
- Switch Providers: If you’re earlier in your pregnancy, try switching to a provider (like a midwife!) that understands your desire for an unmedicated birth.
- Partner: Have a heart-to-heart with your partner and attend a natural childbirth class with him (both of the online childbirth classes I recommend have sections specifically designed for your partner).
- Location: Your L&D unit is so, so important. My L&D nurses were phenomenal and without them I probably would’ve had to have a c-section. Before you go into labor, schedule a facility tour and check out those c-section rates. Whereever you deliever, make sure it’ll stand by your decisions!
- Hire a Doula: If it’s too late to switch providers, you don’t want to risk going into labor unattended, or you think you’ll need the extra support, doulas are extremely valuable assets! A doula is a trained professional that will help you throughout your entire labor from start to finish.
4 Not Training for Labor
Make no mistake, Mama, labor is a marathon and you need to train for it.
If you’re not exercising (and it’s not for a medical reason), this can produce a sleuth of pregnancy problems, such as back pain, incontinence, high blood pressure, and obesity. All of which decrease the likelihood of a natural childbirth experience.
Inactivity also increases the chances that your baby will not move to the optimal birthing position, Left Occiput Anterior. This basically means that your baby’s face is toward your spine and right shoulder. If your baby is breech or posterior, this can seriously hinder a vaginal delivery or eliminate it altogether.
The Solution: Mild to Moderate Exercise Daily + Practice Labor Techniques
If you’d really like to prepare for natural childbirth, you’ve got to fight through your exhaustion and exercise daily.
Your workout doesn’t have to be spectacular. Even if you walk the dog 3 times a day for 10 minutes, you’re doing yourself a favor.
Next, practice those labor positions, breathing techniques, and other pain-coping techniques you spent so much time learning! Repeat them daily until they’re muscle-memory. Get your partner in on the action. Make sure he’s completely comfortable with the pain-coping techniques only he can perform.
5 Forgetting to Do Kegels
If you’ve read any natural birth tips posts, you’ve probably seen this before: practice your kegels. On the off chance that you’re totally new to the concept, Kegel exercises work the muscles in your pelvic floor.
The stronger these muscles are, and the more control you have over them, the easier your labor will be.
I hem and hawed over Kegels, despite all of the warning everyone gave me. When my labor finally came and it was time to push, my pelvic floor was so weak that I barely knew how to.
The Solution: Practice Those Kegels!
Kegels are ridiculousy easy to practice and the pay-off is huge.
Practicing your kegels is as easy as squeezing your muscles every time you pee, just a couple times a day. For more elaborate exercises, check out the video above.
I also have a postpartum guest post that goes over how to do kegels effectively that you might want to check out.
The post also teaches you what exercises you can do during pregnancy that improves your pelvic floor (i.e. that part of your body that helps you push your baby out and controls your bladder muscles. If it’s weak you’re more likely to pee every time you sneeze…)
RELATED POST: The Ultimate Guide to Your Pelvic Floor
6 Freaking Out Once Labor Starts
You’re finally in labor. Your contractions are consistent, maybe about 5 minutes apart. Time to go to the hospital and start using your fancy labor moves right?
No! The worst thing you can do in is hone in on every single contraction.
In fact, all you need to do right now is get some rest and enjoy your final hours outside the hospital.
Go for a walk, take a nap. Feel free to time your contractions every once in a while, but overall, don’t make a big deal about it.
When my water broke and the nurses loaded me up with Cytotec, I impatiently counted every contraction, simply because I wanted to prove that I was indeed in labor and they shouldn’t send me home. This was exhausting and, once my contractions grew, became incredibly painful.
This might sound crazy right now, but you may actually feel pressured to prove that you’re actually in labor.
Your labor nurse may ask to monitor your contractions carefully to determine whether or not you should even be there. Or you might be at home, where you will feel tempted to monitor your contractions like a hawk so you can determine if you should go to the hospital.
Once you’re to the point where talking becomes difficult, that’s about the time to head over to the hospital.
Love these natural birth tips? Save this post to your natural childbirth board!
7 Believing You Can’t Do It
Childbirth should NOT be scary.
Is it painful? Yes! But so are menstrual cramps and we survive every month! 99% of the pain goes away the instant you hold your little one in your arms.
I know it’s easier said than done, but try not to let your nerves get to you. If the little voice inside your head is telling you that you’ll never give birth naturally or it’ll be too painful to stand, just ignore it. You CAN do this.
With practice and confidence, you can overcome the discomfort of a natural labor. If it helps, rehearse your labor. For example, KOPA Prepared shows you how to do a “mock labor”.
I love this idea! Going through the entire process of labor with your partner and initiating real life “complications” will help you prepare for the real thing and really put those natural birth tips you’ve learned into practice.
And practice makes perfect, right?
Whatever you do, really focus on remaining calm and upbeat. I know it might seem crazy that a mental attitude can have so much affect on your body, but I promise it’s the key to success.
One of the Most Important Natural Birth Tips You Need to Remember: You Can’t Control Everything
Even with an epidural, I still had an amazing birth. I still felt the moment my daughter came into the world, and we were both completely lucid as we gazed into each other’s eyes for the first time.
Whether you’re able to have a natural labor or not, your labor story is unique, Mama, and it’s going to be uniquely beautiful.
I’ve shared the mistakes you need to avoid in order to have a natural childbirth. Whether you have a natural labor or not, I sincerely hope that these natural birth tips helps it go more smoothly.
If you haven’t already signed up for a natural childbirth class, seriously, check out my post on how to choose the right one for you.
You can also find several pregnancy posts on this blog as well! Here are a few I think you’ll like:
- How to Turn a Posterior Baby for an Easier Labor
- 17 Legitimate Pregnancy Freebies
- The Ultimate Guide to Pregnancy Classes: What You Need to Take and When
- 10 Signs That Your Baby is Actually Breech
Good luck, Mama! I hope these natural birth tips were helpful to you. If you’ve given birth or are close to it, I’d love to hear about your experiences below. It’ll help other mom-to-be’s as well!