So, you want a natural birth in a hospital. The medical model of pregnancy and birth in most societies means that having a natural birth in hospital is quite rare these days, especially if you want a real ‘hands off’, no intervention kind of birth.
But it is definitely possible. Here are my five top tips to get you on your way for having the birth of your dreams in a hospital setting.
1. WRITE A BIRTH PLAN
Make sure everyone knows what you plan to do for your birth. Write it exactly as you dream it and then shorten it so it is only about one page long and includes only the most important parts. Discuss the birth plan with your midwife/obstetrician/doula/partner and talk about what you would like and would not like during your birth. You can change things as you feel during your birth but at least everyone knows what kind of birth you are striving for. A birth plan is very handy when you have a long labor and hospital staff change shifts because they can refer to it if they have not met you through your pregnancy.
2. HAVE AN ADVOCATE WITH YOU
Whoever is with you during your birth, make sure they can advocate for you and your needs. While you are busy bringing a human to Earth your support person can do the practical stuff like talking to hospital staff, answering questions and telling them about what kind of birth you are having. Your support person needs to know exactly what you want and what you don’t want for your birth, including the types of drugs, interventions and monitoring. If the person you are taking with you into the birth is not on the same page as you then you should probably hire a doula.
3. PREPARE YOUR BODY
You have months and months to prepare your body for birthing. Birthing can be quick but many first-timers the birthing process can be long…very long. Sometimes days! So, you need endurance. Eat well and with a purpose, to nourish your healthy body and baby. During your birthing, you are often in certain positions for hours. I was squatting and bouncing on an exercise ball during my first birth for a good four or five hours. My legs were pretty numb the next day. When you know you are pregnant, start exercising to prepare for your marathon birth. By exercise I mean you need to move every day. Check with your doctor and start preparing your body for natural birth.
4. PREPARE YOUR MIND
Trying to have a natural birth in hospital means that the temptation to induce, medicate, take pain relief meds and have a cesarian is a whole lot more intense than if you were birthing anywhere else. This means that you need to know all there is to know about the process of birthing and about the hospital you are going to be at. Educate yourself and have the right mindset. Be aware of everything that can happen, understand all the options out there and what exactly constitutes an emergency. Know what you are up against in terms of hospital policies and educate yourself independently.
5. BELIEVE YOUR DREAM
Hot off the previous point, one of my top tips to have a natural birth in hospital is to wholeheartedly believe you can. It sounds simple but this takes a whole lot of preparation. Meditate to centre yourself and focus inwards, watch inspiring (make sure they are inspiring!) birth videos, repeat mantras about the birth experience you are aiming for and visualise your birth every day. Know what kind of birth you want and go into the hospital confident in your beliefs about birthing.
There are so many more ways to expand on this post but there it is for a starter on natural birthing in hospital. I would love to hear your thoughts so feel free to send us an email about your questions and experiences! Good luck!