I LOVE unmedicated birth. I live for it. Unmedicated birth is the reason I went to nursing school and why I've focused my career on birth. No matter which hospital I've been a labor nurse at (I am a part-time travel nurse, so that's been a lot) the staff learns right away to give Trish the natural chick.
I am here to tell you, YOU MUST BE PREPARED. It's near impossible to wing unmedicated birth.
“It is important to keep in mind that our bodies must work pretty well, or there wouldn’t be so many humans on the planet.” Ina May Gaskins
Unmedicated birth is subjective to each individual, as some call it natural birth.
Definitions of natural birth per patients:
"Natural birth means your baby came out of your hoohah and not a c-section"
"Natural birth does not include inductions"
"Natural birth means you didn't have an epirudal but you could have other pain medications"
"Natural birth is when you have a home birth"
"Natural birth means no medical interventions"
However, for most people, unmedicated birth refers to no pain interventions. So, we are gonna talk about that little tidbit in a minute.
Also, this post may contain some affiliate links (which means if you purchase after clicking a link I will earn a small commission, but it won’t cost you a penny more)! Click here for our full disclosure. Thank you!
But first, I started this blog as a place for women to gather, around the proverbial kitchen table if you will, and discuss, pregnancy, birth, and motherhood. I am here for you and I want to help you. If you want a labor nurse in your corner, subscribe to my email list. I promise I won't overwhelm you with junk. What I will do, is be there for you and supply you with the knowledge to grow as a mom and woman! You will also have my email address to ask me questions and seek advice during your pregnancy and beyond. Your personal labor nurse!
I had my first son when I was 17 and I honestly think my fear of needles led me to go natural and natural I did. Girl, I even did shots of castor oil, and let's just say, after puking and pooping my guts out, I had my bouncing baby boy. Castor oil works, if and only if your body is ready, but there is a price to pay because castor oil is rough.
Subsequently, I had 5 more unmedicated births over the years (the many years). Again, I love unmedicated birth. It is empowering to face the amount of pain and say, $% you, I got this. Unmedicated birth is a mind over matter issue. If you can grab your mental game and harness it, you will succeed. But you need some tools to do that. So here is my unmedicated birth guide for you to follow.
But first, This post may contain some affiliate links (which means if you purchase after clicking a link we will earn a small commission, but it won’t cost you a penny more, and we can keep writing)! Thank you! For our full disclosure read here)
Mama, I can not scream this loud enough. To be the birth queen you want. You need to be fully prepared. Being prepared reduces fear. Fear and lack of understanding on the other hand can destroy birth. Fear can literally cause your labor to slow down or even stop.
Because of seeing women enter my labor room unmedicated and therefore coerced into terrible decisions, I have been educating the stink out of my peeps. If we are connected you will not be unprepared. It's my mission mama.
I also just launched 3 mini-courses: (40% off this weekend, head to Instagram for a coupon!)
You must, must, did I say must choose your provider wisely. If you know anyone who works in this "industry" then ask their opinion. When you find a provider that you feel is a fit, then you need to ask the right questions and listen between the lines. It's so important to be on the same page. This is a monumental occasion for you but a workday for most providers (although I know some that truly are present and love their job) You need to be upfront about your expectations. (Which also means you need to know what to expect or what you would like to happen at your birth) Unmet expectations lead to frustrations.
Do you want an Obstetrician or a Midwife? There are benefits to both. I personally had an OB for my first two and a midwife for my last four. I adored my Midwife and loved the extra care she provided to me. Now, that being said there are two types of midwives: "Midwife midwives" and "Doctor Midwives" The first being more likely to spend a significant amount of time with you at your appointments and during your labor. (Hard cold fact: it's usually you and your nurse until the baby is about to make its grand entry, at which time the nurse summons the Dr., who then delivers said baby.)
Keep in mind Midwives only deliver healthy, noneventful pregnancies. They cannot manage a High-Risk patient or deliver via cesarean. However, a midwife always has an OB that backs them up in case of emergencies.
Choosing where to give birth is also important. This choice can be made prior to choosing a provider. But then you have to choose a provider who delivers at that facility or if you have chosen a provider, you must deliver where they have privileges. In choosing a facility, visit and ask about unmedicated birth. Ask what options they provide for those who want to labor unmedicated.
Girl, you have to educate yourself. Education is the key to facing any fears. If you walk into a difficult situation without knowledge, your chances of a win are down low. Unmedicated birth is big and scary without understanding the components.
You need to know the stages of labor and all each one entails. Each stage has its battle and once won, you face the next.
I totally recommend anything by Ina May Gaskins, you should devour her books. I'll admit that some of the content is a bit strange but she has valuable knowledge for the c patient. ( also, check out her breastfeeding books)
Next, I would tell you to talk to women who have had planned and unplanned Unmedicated birth. If you only hear from mamas who chose medicated births, you won't have a fair picture. Their perspective of the pain involved is different. When you go into labor not wanting to feel pain and not prepared with ways to deal, it is overwhelming.
I highly recommend taking a prenatal class. If you are a crazy busy millennial mom, then check out this Online Prenatal Course by a labor nurse names Hilary. or this one (you can take online or search for a local class) Birth Boot Camp
Either a weekly class at the hospital or a class you watch from your couch is valuable in assisting you to stay the course and finish your unmedicated birth like a boss.
Unmedicated birth is a mind game. So, talk to those chicks who did it and ask them what helped them, what didn't help them, and find your game plan.
You will need someone who supports your decision if you choose unmedicated birth. Childbirth wasn't always a "medical" event. At one time in history, it was a celebration and a woman made a wall around you and guided you through. There wasn't this sense of judgment and condemnation for your choice. A woman supporting another. That's what you need. Women who will come alongside you, encourage you, and hold you up when you want to quit.
I mentioned earlier, your husband may be the right choice and may rock as a coach. However, I still recommend a second coach to be with you if possible (thanks Covid). Partners are emotionally involved. They might now be able to separate your pain and their need to fix it for you. They need to guide you through it, not around it.
If you have a close friend whom you trust and know will support your unmedicated birth path, then ask her if she would be willing to do this with you. You want someone who won't say "You're hurting, you can always quit" Nope, this girl won't be the right one. You NEED a rock!!
What is a doula? Hiring a doula to support you through unmedicated birth is a well-spent investment. She is not emotionally involved therefore supports you based on her knowledge of childbirth. You will experience the stages of labor in similar ways to countless (if not most) other women. She will be trained to respond appropriately to that particular stage. She will know the amount of firm direction you need. Which is exactly what you need. You need to read all about doulas and why to choose doula services! Also, Be prepared with a list of questions to ask prospective doulas.
My only soapbox when it comes to some doulas (not many) is that you (my patient) need to trust me (the nurse). Please be cautious when warning her of the "medical establishment" and the unnecessary things we do. We as nurses have to follow orders, that is true. But we a feisty bunch....and if your nurse is like many that I know, we are the ones who will pop them claws out and fight that doctor for our patients. It's damaging when a patient comes into the hospital to have this incredible experience and she mistrusts her nurse. At least give us the chance and if it is, in fact, a nurse who is not quite the right fit, ask for a new one. I tell my friends and family, this often, you have the right to have a good nurse. Birth is your moment, be kind but let your needs be known.
Now that you have been educated about unmedicated birth make your plan. I prefer to call it an unmedicated birth preference (aka Birth Plan). Your support group needs to know your desires and also what you are opposed to, and when to stand their ground against you. Sister, you will fight your own plan at some point in labor!
If you have some questions or want to share your experiences, please comment.
Let's learn from one another.