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What to Know About Natural Childbirth
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What to Know About Natural Childbirth

Whether you choose a natural childbirth or decide to go with medical pain relief, your labor and delivery experience should feel tailored to fit your needs and goals so that you feel supported, prepared, and empowered throughout your baby’s birth. It’s important for you and your loved ones to have a safe and comfortable place to welcome your family’s newest member and to always receive high-quality care throughout your labor and delivery. A team led by board-certified obstetricians with ample experience and doctors, nurses, and staff who blend their expertise with compassion and personalized care can make your experience a positive one.

Natural Childbirth, Defined

For many women, the goal of natural childbirth is to feel connected to the natural process of labor and delivery. A major component of this can include choosing to deliver your baby without the use of medications for pain relief. Instead, moms-to-be choose nonmedicinal methods to help alleviate pain. These can include:

  • Breathing techniques for relaxation
  • Changing positions during labor, including leaning on a birthing ball, rocking, or walking around
  • Listening to music or doing other activities to keep you distracted from the pain
  • Meditating, including visualization
  • Taking a bath or shower, or sitting in a tub of warm water
  • Using massage or counterpressure to relieve pain

What It Feels Like to Give Birth Naturally

For some women, natural childbirth feels similar to menstrual cramps. Other women say they felt like they had to use the bathroom, and others say it feels like a severe pressure. Contractions within your uterus can cause aches and pains in the stomach, back, and groin. The baby’s head and the dilation of the vagina can also cause pressure on the bladder, bowels, and cervix. How your labor feels will depend on a variety of factors, including the strength of contractions, the size and position of your baby, the size of your pelvis, and your mental outlook throughout childbirth. No matter how many children you already have, each birth is an exciting new occasion. We can’t tell you exactly what natural childbirth feels like because your experience with natural childbirth will be as unique as you are. Childbirth experiences will be different for each woman and each pregnancy.

Overcoming Fear of Childbirth

It’s normal to worry about how you will handle labor and delivery pains, especially if you elect for a natural childbirth experience. Here are some things to keep in mind.

  • It’s OK for your plans to change during labor and delivery. If you realize you would prefer pain medication during labor and delivery, our providers can accommodate your choices. Our goal is to keep you safe and comfortable, and if the way to achieve that is through the use of pain medication, we’ll be happy to help.
  • Knowing what to expect during labor can ease your mind. Taking a birth education course can teach you different ways to manage pain during labor, as well as helping you and your partner feel informed about your delivery.
  • Physical activity during pregnancy can help ease the pain of delivery. Regular exercise can help increase your endurance and strength. Ask your OB-GYN or primary care provider about safe and effective exercise you can perform during pregnancy.
  • We’re with you every step of the way. Throughout your child’s birth, our providers will be there to offer medical and emotional support. However you choose to manage your delivery, we’ll use our multitude of resources to provide comprehensive, compassionate care.
  • You are strong, regardless of how you handle labor. Fear of childbirth is completely understandable. It says nothing about your ability to be a parent. Giving birth is a rewarding and remarkable experience, and we hope you will feel proud of yourself and excited to welcome your baby into the world.

Can I Change My Mind?

Plans change—we absolutely understand that. If, during labor and delivery, you or your OB-GYN realizes you need medical assistance, providers can intervene. Our hospital has two designated C-section surgical rooms for women who need C-sections during delivery. Our hospital has a low C-section rate, and that’s a good thing; unnecessary C-sections can cause complications for babies and mothers alike. By offering surgical suites and keeping our rates low, we ensure that C-sections are performed only when medically necessary.

Learn more about the Center for Women and Newborns at Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital.

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