Updated: Apr 2
For my first birth I was DETERMINED to have an unmedicated birth. I wrote out my birth plan and made a copy for the go-bags, the hospital, and my mom who would also be in attendance. Well, apparently my mom shared my birth plan with my aunt who laughed at it (I found out after the fact). She had a hard time in childbirth and assumed that I would have a hard time and not be able to have the birth I had laid out. Well, I did, 13 hours laboring at home and 4 at the hospital.
If you are talking birth with friends or relatives and how you want to give birth without medication you will usually be met with scoffs and the story of how they wanted to have an unmedicated birth but wound up with an epidural, or proceed to tell you really traumatic birth stories. I'm here to tell you that there are a lot of positive birth stories out there. In fact, this website is dedicated to them.
How do you talk to yourself during hard situations now? My favorite example is the stair stepper. It's a love hate relationship. I loved the burn and the sweat but HATED the act of stair stepping. In my head I would be thinking JUST 10 MORE MINUTES. This is something I carried with me during labor but framed it this way, "just 30 more seconds in this contraction" or "ok, this is the peak I'm almost done."
Other helpful tools you can use to get your mind on the right track include:
Prenatal Yoga (we love Amy Bizal!)
Read Mindful Birthing
Take a Hypnobirthing Course
Birth Affirmations. Start in pregnancy, and develop a birth mantra
2. Birth Place
Where are you birthing? Do you know their medicated versus unmedicated stats? Do they see a lot of unmedicated birth there? If you arrive and you are only 2 cm dilated are they going to pressure you to stay? What tools do they have for people who want to have an unmedicated birth? If you are birthing in a hospital, these are important questions to consider.
If you are birthing at a freestanding birth center like Health Foundations, Roots, Willow, or the Minnesota Birth Center-what does the locations hospital transfer rates look like? What are most of the transfers to the hospital for? What hospital would you likely transfer to? Does your midwife have privileges at the hospital you would transfer to?
3. Birth Team
Who is your provider? Did you hire an OB? If yes, when is the last time they caught a baby at an unmedicated birth? How would they support you in an unmedicated birth? If your OB operates as a team and you get whoever is on call, does the whole team feel the same way about unmedicated birth? If you have chosen a midwife but are birthing at a hospital the same questions apply.
Did you and your partner decide to hire a doula? Does your doula have a bias towards supporting medicated versus unmedicated births? How will they support you in the event of a transfer or in the event that you choose to get an epidural? What does their support style look like in an unmedicated birth setting? Consistent support from a doula is extremely beneficial at all birth locations, but get to know who you are hiring.
Other people to consider having on your team in pregnancy include: chiropractors, massage therapist, yoga teacher, acupuncturist, and maybe even a naturopath.
Our goal at Bright Earth Doulas is to help every client decide what they want at all stages of their pregnancy through birth. We spend time talking with you and getting to know what your hopes and fears are for birth and postpartum to best support you in whichever way your birth may go. This means having honest conversations surrounding obstacles you may face desiring an unmedicated birth in a hospital.