What do you think as a "natural" childbirth ?

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-16-2009
What do you think as a "natural" childbirth ?
10
Wed, 07-06-2011 - 10:18am

What do you think of when your think of natural childbirth?

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-16-2009

I am hoping for a natural childbirth.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-21-2011

To me a "natural" childbirth is a birth achieved without

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-12-2006
I guess in general I think of "natural" childbirth as unmedicated childbirth. I've had two unmedicated births but the two were very different experiences.

My first was delivered by an OB who was generally supportive of my plan for "natural" childbirth, but I delivered in a hospital where the nurses were not at all accustomed to women having natural childbirth - of any kind. Because of some heart decels (due to compression - nothing serious heart always came back to normal after a contraction) they put me on continuous fetal monitoring and then required that I use an oxygen mask and then wouldn't let me eat anything ... and then had me push on my back while they counted to 10 and directed my pushing. When the doc came in they covered me with sterile cloth things (so I couldn't see and couldn't reach down and fell baby crown), and I also ended up with an episiotomy. I was not pleased with the management of my birth, but I still considered it a "natural" childbirth.

Baby #2, we'd moved states and I chose a midwife for my routine woman's care as well as my pregnancy care. I LOVED this midwife (who sadly has now retired). Even among the other midwives, she had a reputation for doing things her own way. No heplock? No problem. Labor in the tub? No problem. And the hospital we delivered at the second time around was for more accustomed to and supportive of natural birth. There was a time i thought I wanted to deliver in the tub and I asked if that was possible during my hospital tour. The nurse giving the tour (obviously not my midwife) said that technically giving birth in the tub was not permitted. But then with a wink she added, but you'd be surprised how many times those babies just surprise us - we don't think they're quite ready to come out and then ... there they are. We have several babies a year that end up being born in the water, as result. In the end, I really didn't like the tub, so it ended up being a silly point of interest.

My midwife was gone only 2 days of my pregnancy and I ended up in labor on one of those 2 days ... so I was delivered by the on-call midwife, but she was really wonderful.

She did request a heplock if I was open to it - I said fine. Once I got out of triage (where they make sure I'm in actual labor and at least 4 cm), and I was in the control of the midwife, I never once had a "traditional" fetal monitor. All monitoring was done via fetal doppler. I was free to move as I wished. In the tub. Out of the tub. Whatever I wanted.

When it came to pushing, I was able to push in whatever position I wanted (she recommended some positions for me as well). I labored on my hands and knees for a while, pushed in a squatting position, pushed in a modified squatting position, side lying position -- I tried a number of positions looking for something comfortable (in my first birth while pushing I was really relaxed and comfortable between contractions ... but with my 2nd birth, I was in constant pain even between contractions. I simply couldn't understand it. When she was born, she had a perfectly round head instead of the misshapen oblong head of my first, so i now think it had something to do with that. Either a rapid descent or simply strong head bones. I was actually worried they were fused prematurely but they weren't - just a weird labor thing).

Anyway, as my baby began crowning she had me reach down and feel the baby and asked my DH if he wanted to catch her ... and he did. So the midwife was really there just to keep us from hurting ourselves. And otherwise she pretty much stayed out of the way, and let us give birth to our baby in our way. I did have some tearing (but no episiotomy) and she had to stitch me up. But it was a far more "natural" labor in my opinion - at least more what I had originally imagined when i began planning a natural labor with my first.

But still I consider my first birth a "natural labor" as well.

I also have fast labors (5 1/2 hours was my longest), so I don't really reach a point of extreme fatigue where I need a lot of management and encouragement (other than the fact I went into labor at 11:30 p.m. w/ #2 and ended up delivering at 4:30 a.m. ... I was very tired by then simply because I'd not gotten to sleep at all. My first was born at 6 p.m. on a Saturday).

Anyway, in general I consider a natural labor an unmedicated labor (this includes demerol, etc. - I have friends who say they did it all natural except a couple shots they had "to take the edge off"). But antibiotics and what not - while medications - don't count as "labor medications" in my opinion. They're sort of treating a different condition imo. So really I guess I consider a labor w/o pain meds a "natural labor".
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-01-2010
River I absolutely encourage you to do whatever you want!!!!
You will be surrounded by professional who can DEAL with whatever happens, that is what they are there for. Don't worry about slightly inconveniencing them because you took a position that they have to actually adapt to.
YOU are the one giving birth, this is not just birth #384 for you, this is you and your precious last baby. Do what you want!
You are not going to "offend" a nurse or OB by asking for what you need/ want during your birth! Worry more about yourself than the people working that shift!!

I went into my first with a great attitude like that :-) and fully intended to hang from the chandeliers if the desire struck, and to tell the doc "don't worry, you'll catch it honey!"

But when the time came I was SO TIRED. I knew I hated my position (reclined seated, probably the worst possible position LOL), with legs up on something pushed back.
I remember asking multiple times what other position we could take, as pushing was going on FOREVA, but they just said "Keep pushing!" I think none of them had any suggestion at all so I just kept pushing in that position ....

This time I am bringing a doula, so when I ask " what else can i do here?" there will be an answer!!!!

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-15-2010
I know that technically, natural childbirth is when you give birth without any form of medical intervention, but personally, I like to think of it more along the lines of giving birth without pain medications. That's what my goal is for a natural childbirth.

Ideally, I would like to go into labor on my own and avoid getting pitocin and pain medication. We'll see what happens though!
 BabyFetus Ticker
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-16-2009

NY_in_CA - *LOL* When I was pregnant with my first, I had all these plans to give them what-for if they tried to force something on me.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-01-2010
I hear you River! Everyone is so agreeable before hand :-) but one you are in labor or pushing you are pretty vulnerable and need HELP /assistance to do what you want to do, so it can be hard. I am really hoping my Doula will help me to assert my instincts including requests for help. I figure if there are a few adults in there who are not elderly or pregnant themselves, they shoudl be able to help me move around if needed!!

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-01-2010
Good luck to us regarding positions!! :-)

By the way I didn't answer the question. "All Natural" sounds like the birth should be in a warm spring in a forest with the birds chirping while the baby slips out, is naturally cleaned by the spring water & then roots its way to nursing :-)

For me, my plan for natural primarily focuses on avoiding labor augmenting drugs and pain medications- all of which I don't hate for being "unnatural" so much as they bring in new risks and new issues that didn't need to be there. (If the interventions were not really needed I mean)

Last time I had AROM but I still thought of the birth as all natural because I avoided all drugs.

This time I have GBS / so antibiotics, but that doesn't make me think it will be any less "natural" because that doesn't interfere much with labor progression (other time time on an IV) and doens't stop me from feeling the amazing birth happening!
Mind you I am not hell-bent on being natural, if this birth is radically different then I may seek "relief" if I feel to overwhelmed or scared (I never felt those things with first birth).

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-30-2004

I guess I would deem "natural" childbirth as one where there are no pain meds used at all. I would say that my first (and only) true labor was probably as close to natural as I could have managed. I did get some Stadol(sp?) early on and they attempted an epidural, but it didn't work for whatever reason. That's why I considered it as natural as possible...because I did manage to deliver without the epidural and if I had the change again, I would definitely try to go without one.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 01-07-2011
I think of natural childbirth as not using any pain medications.

I have no desire to do that. With my first labor, I did not get any pain relief and was absolutely miserable for about 12 hours and did not dilate one bit. I got a working epidural so I could get a c-section and about 10 minutes later, they went to put an internal monitor in, I went from a 2-3 to a 10. So, I did not get a c-section.