There are two ways to give birth: medically or naturally. For women with high risk, thank goodness for doctors and numbing medicine, but they both have their place.
For my last three children, I have chosen the natural route, and I would like to share why -- and how.
First, why: First and foremost, it is my first gift to my children to welcome them into this world drug free, where they are as aware as they can be when they arrive. Secondly, natural, relaxed birth also prepares me for dealing with the stress of raising children more than anything else. Hey, if I can remain relaxed during the intense stress of delivery, I can remain calm during the chaos of screaming children!
Here are two great ways I have given myself and my children the gift of a natural pregnancy and birth:
1. During pregnancy
If you are using a doctor as opposed to a midwife, you will most likely notice how many times you are supposed to go see the doctor. I think with my previous doctor, I was supposed to go in every month, then as the time grew nearer, every two weeks, then every week. Cumulative, that was 12 visits -- or 30 hours spent traveling and sitting in a doctor's office!
It began to occur to me that to prepare for this birth, it would probably do me much more good to use those hours to prepare for the birth. You may also realize that when you do go in to the appointments, not much happens. And you may also realize that there are several tests you are supposed to take "just in case". And if you go further to ask what the chances are that you would test positive for the specific problem, and the risk of not being tested, you will find that both are quite minimal.
May I suggest that when considering doctors, you ask if they would 1. allow you to come in as infrequently as possible, and 2. inquire about their stand on testing during pregnancy. I have found a doctor that allows me to come in only a few times (only three times so far, and I'm due in November!) She also "highly recommends" the tests, but does not require them. How nice it is to not feel like a poked and prodded medical experiment when something as natural as pregnancy is happening to my body!
2. During Delivery
When I tell people that I have delivered all my babies naturally (meaning without an epidural), many times they tell me they could never do that. Other friends tell me they went into childbirth ready to "try to go natural", but ended up getting an epidural.
What I think they don't understand is that natural birth takes preparation -- it's not just something to "try out" once the big moment comes. To do so would be like trying to pass the law exam without going to law school first ("Eh, I'll see what happens")
To prepare, I was recommended "Hypnobirthing: The Mongan Method" by my sister, and I highly recommend it to you, even if you're set on getting an epidural. Or perhaps, especially if you are thinking about getting an epidural.
The first part of the book opened my eyes to how awesome it is to be a woman and be a part of the natural yet miraculous happening of pregnancy and delivery. For this reason alone, I think every expecting woman, or any woman expecting to be expecting, ought to give this book a read.
I know the title can be deceiving. No, you're not going to be looking into a spinning spiral or anything. Hypnosis is really a way of reaching a state of relaxation where your body is willing to do what your mind wants it to do. The second part of the book teaches about ways to reach that state of relaxation so you can remain relaxed even during the high stress and pain of delivery. The book even comes with a CD to facilitate this learning process.
Are you , or is someone you know pregnant? Get this book and give it a good read. It will make you even more proud of being a woman blessed with the gift of bearing children and, if interested, will prepare you well for a natural birth.