Photo by Becca Marsh
By Jackie Scrivanich, Contributing Writer
So you have decided you want a natural birth, possibly even a homebirth. How do you prepare for this? How do you ensure you do everything in your power to succeed?
First, find a care provider you trust. Find someone that you connect with, someone that understands your goals and desires, and someone who you know will make a great addition to your team.
Secondly, find a birth coach. This could me your husband, your best friend, your mom, or a doula. Doulas are trained to give support in all birth situations. Many women find having a doula in addition to their husbands a very good addition to the birth team.
It is important to also research about different labor and birth positions and complications to ensure you are most prepared for birth. Write some birth affirmations to empower you on your journey. There are many different things that you can do to be prepared for childbirth.
Five Natural Childbirth Programs
Many women find a childbirth technique or method that is most suitable for them and they take a class to be prepared.
The Bradley Method
The Bradley Method is most effectively taught through 12 weeks of classes where the mother and her birth partner (usually the father) are taught how to have a natural birth. The focus is on understanding how the body work during pregnancy, labor, and birth and working with your body to reduce pain and make labor more efficient. During the 12 weeks, couples will learn everything from best nutrition and exercise during pregnancy to techniques for labor and delivery, as well as postpartum care and breastfeeding information. It is a really well rounded course for couples who wish to be informed.
This method is also known as husband-coached child birth because it places an emphasis on the husband or partner as the birth coach.
To find out more information about The Bradley Method, go here.
Hypnobirthing is taught over the course of 5 classes. This method prepares a woman to give birth in a peaceful manner by considering both the psychological and the physical well-being of those involved. The program focuses on education that includes “special breathing, relaxation, visualization, meditative practice, attention to nutrition, and positive body toning”. This is done mostly through self-hypnosis. Hypnobirthing focuses on the truth that nature perfectly designed women’s bodies to birth.
To learn more about Hypnobirthing, go here.
This program, which also focuses on self-hypnosis, is regularly taught through 6 classes. This program focuses on teaching about nutrition, pre-natal exercises, birth plans, optimal fetal positioning, how to avoid back labor, birthing choices, unexpected situations, and much more. It is a very comprehensive program for new parents. Through self-hypnosis, a woman works to train her inner mind that contractions will be felt as pressure and tightening and movement sensations instead of pain. Many women claim to have very comfortable, even pain-free, births.
To get more information or find a class, go here.
Lamaze is the one birth program that many people think of when they talk about birth programs. They imagine different breathing techniques being used. Lamaze is actually more than that.
The class is taught in a variety of formats. The class in my area is taught during a one-day or two-day session, whichever works for you. The primary goal of the course is to help provide couples with both the knowledge and motivation to advocate for their childbirth health decisions and also to provide care for their newborn. The program discusses the different procedures and outcomes used during typical childbirth, how to communicate their childbirth decisions, what skills are needed to deal with birth pain (both non-pharmacological and pharmacological options), as well as information on post-partum and newborn care. The program covers a lot in a short timeframe.
Go here to learn more.
Calm Birth is a program that focuses on meditation as a technique for pregnancy, birth, and beyond. During this program women and their partners are taught different meditation techniques that have an array of benefits. This empowering program helps to reduce anxiety and fear and promotes calm and comfort during childbirth.
Check out Calm Birth here.
If you are unable to attend a class, home study of these programs is also an option. For many women and their birth partners, going to actual classes over the course of a few months is more beneficial than doing study at home where there is no interaction between them and their teacher.