Choosing to give birth naturally can be an empowering decision for many women. However, deciding not to have pain relief can also be daunting. But, with lots of support and careful preparation, you will be doing all you can to increase the likelihood of having a natural birth without needing intervention.
Once you make your decision you need to start preparing for the big day. Preparing early is important. So is speaking openly with your maternity care provider and partner about how you would like to manage your labour and birth.
Read on to discover how to give your body and your baby the best chance at a smooth and uncomplicated, natural labour and vaginal birth.
Most women are inherently capable of giving birth naturally. However, sometimes, vaginal birth is considered not possible and unsafe. In 2014 64.8% of women giving birth in New Zealand had a vaginal birth while 12.1% of women had an elective caesarean section.
When deciding on the type of birth you’d like to have, it’s important to check if there are any reasons why you may not be able to have a natural labour and childbirth. Some pre-existing medical or obstetric conditions make vaginal birth risky.
Some of the main reasons why your healthcare professional might recommend against a vaginal birth include:
Another important factor to consider when you make your decision is your tolerance to pain. Aim to choose the most secure and comfortable option for you and your baby.
On the flip side, if a natural birth doesn’t pose any risks it can offer a number of health benefits for you and your baby. In particular, a natural birth:
Despite its name, a natural birth actually requires lots of preparation to help everything go smoothly. These are the three most important things to organise well in advance of your due date:
A birth plan is a written form that outlines your childbirth preferences to your maternity provider. Create your birth plan with your partner and discuss your wishes with your healthcare professional. Make sure you include details about:
Childbirth classes are one important way to help prepare for labour. Typically, classes cover information on:
If you’re not sure where to go, Parents Centres New Zealand is a good place to start looking. They are the largest provider of childbirth education in the country and have 50 centres across both islands.
When you reach your third trimester of pregnancy, start thinking about what you’re going to need when it’s time to go to the hospital. These are some of the most helpful items to pack: