There are divergent views about exactly what constitutes Natural Childbirth – while one view holds that natural childbirth means that the mother has used no pain relief aids or any medical intervention.
Another view holds that procedures such as taking labor stimulation aids, electronic fetal monitoring and administration of IV fluids are not debarred from a natural childbirth; that only labor pain relief medications are.
Stories that women hear from other women, from family, in popular fiction, the media and from books; can create a significant amount of apprehension about natural childbirth – women naturally wonder about the amount of pain that labor could cause and whether they would be able to cope with this pain. There is no way to predict how much pain a woman will undergo with her labor or how long and difficult her labor will be.
However women who are interested in having a natural childbirth can help to ease their path by taking some simple precautions during pregnancy – keeping active, fit and healthy during pregnancy is shown to have a beneficial impact on natural childbirth and may even ease labor significantly.
The atmosphere within which a woman gives birth can also significantly impact the way that she feels during labor. A stress free and relaxed atmosphere, where the woman is free to change positions and has supporting people around can really help in her quest to have a natural childbirth.
To this end, a woman should make choices about where and how she will give birth – by asking plenty of questions it can be determined whether the health care provider will be able to provide the sort of atmosphere that is most conducive to the process of natural or non-medically assisted childbirth.
Some centers have policies that are more conducive to the natural process than others. Discuss before hand, the options that are available to you and what would make the birthing mother most comfortable.
The presence of a Doula at the birth is another factor that can encourage a woman and make it easier to have a non-medically assisted childbirth. Studies have been able to demonstrate that the presence of a Doula or a similar entity at the birth, who offers reassurance to the mother that there is someone in charge can help to reduce very significantly, the instances of taking pain relief medication.
Learning some stress relieving techniques beforehand can also help – learning breathing exercises and doing yoga during pregnancy can help women lower stress during pregnancy as well as at the time of labor and delivery. Prayer and spiritual awareness can help women cope with the pain and the enormity of the situation.
Many women also find that taking the aid or alternative therapies such as aromatherapy is also seen to be effective to relive stress and pain and to assist in natural childbirth. Massage can help relieve physical and mental stress.
Techniques such as Internal Focus (where concerns of the body are addressed using the mind), Mental Imagery (a coping mechanism used to transport a person in a stressful situation) and so on can also help a woman achieve the kind of birthing process that she wishes for.