Natural Birth Anyone?

Updated on May 25, 2008
N.S. asks from Chicago, IL
14 answers

I am currently pregnant for the 3rd time, 2nd child. With my daughter who is now 2, I had a 32 hour labor with the last 15 hours of labor being 2 minute apart contractions lasting about a minute and a half. It was not fun. At the end of my labor, towards transition (7-8 cm) I began to panic due to losing my breath and feeling like I would black out nay second. At that point I begged for an epidural. My plan was NOT to use medication and have a natural birth but fate had it not to happen that way. I am ok about it but I would like to try again (more successfully hopefully) this time for a natural birth without intervention. Has anyone gone that route and how did they make it happen successfully? Also, we plan on having my 2 yr old at the birth so I need it to be somewhat calm for her as well. I just remember being out of breath and terrified of fainting from the lack of oxygen and overabundance of pain. I think knowing what to expect makes it a world of a difference but I would like to have a very calm and mellow labor if possible. I have a doula and a midwife whereas I only had the midwife that time around. Any ideas welcome!

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So What Happened?

Thank you, ladies, for all your advice, stories, ideas and more! I continue to anticipate hearing from others in your shoes. I am starting to get excited and anticipating the labor and how it'll go. Of course we never know ultimately how labors and deliveries will go so we'll just have to wait and see! I am so happy to hear that there are others out there who chose this more holistic path. Way to go to all of you....

More Answers



answers from Chicago on

I delivered both of my daughters naturally and my biggest advice is just realize that it's goign to hurt, it's going to be exhausting, and it may be long (my first labor was 26 hrs which I know is not long in terms of first labors, but it's still a long time!), but you can get through it and it's only temporary. That's the thought that actually got me through my 2nd labor naturally, since it was much shorter but I had pitocin which made it much harder and more painful.

I would definitely wait as long as possible to head to the hospital. Even if your water breaks and they tell you to head in, you have time and as soon as you're there, you're stuck there. As previous posters have mentioned, I've heard great things about Bradley and Hypnobirth, however I didn't take any classes. I did get a Bradley Method book and also a yoga for labor book that I read and took bits and pieces from. The thing that helped me the most was to breathe very deeply during contractions sitting upright with my legs in a lotus-type position and close my eyes. I did this with both labors and for whatever reason it was the best way to get through it. Also, having my husband counterpressure my back (I had back labor) and having a cold cloth on my head were very helpful.

I do wish you the best of luck!!



answers from Evansville on

Hi, My biggest advice is to be open for anything. Working for years on a l&d floor anything can happen and it's better if you are prepared for that. I had my first son completly natural for me that is what i choose to do. Then my second son I wanted to also go natural. My son at the time was 5 and they brought him to the hospital and he wanted to be there and spend time with me and it just wasn't working with the pain so I choose to go ahead with the epid. And it was wonderfull to be able to read and spend time with him right up until his brother was born. He left the room for a snack then came back and his brother was there. I choose the epid for him to be able to have a good memory of his brothers birth not me screaming or him having to stay in the waiting room the whole time. But what ever you choose just be open for anything to happen and things will prob go better. I do hear that dualas help alot in the del room. Good luck!!



answers from Chicago on

i felt bad that i wasn't able to go the nature route, until......the DDS i work for said to me......." Would you have a tooth Extracted or root caneled with out any anesthetic"??????? then Why would you want to give bith and have pain...........if you can be relaxed and pain free.....................

If your going to have your little ones near why not be as comfertable as poss.....

I remember B/4 the epidural i was so uncomfertable and in pain that i was not very nice to my family that was in the room to support me.............but after the epidural.........i was very relaxed and ready for what was to come.......

So don't feel like your less of a mom or anything like that because you opted for an epidural........Its what ever works best for you........



answers from Chicago on

I went into labor wanting to have a natural birth, but very open to medication if I thought I needed it. (I still believe that every birth is different and you do what you need to do to make it through.) Although I did ask for meds after several hours of labor, I am glad my midwife found other ways to comfort me and I was able to deliver naturally. I did not have a doula, but my midwife was wonderful and really talked me through the entire birth. Some things she did that really helped me:

- Massaged me and breathed with me. I often needed help refocusing on my breath. She then coached my husband and let him take over the massage and the breathing support.

- She encouraged me and told me to have confidence in myself and my body. She reassured me my body would know what to do.

- She helped me find different positions and encouraged me to use a birthing tub, which was great! (I think a water birth would be amazing!)

- She told me to take it one contraction at a time instead of thinking about when the baby would be born. This became really important -- being in the moment, thinking about my baby, but not thinking about how many hours I had to go.

She was great and definitely got me through an amazing experience! I also took prenatal yoga classes which helped a lot, too. The "relaxation pose" was the most important one to learn. Moaning loudly helped, too.

One more note: I think I remember my midwife saying that the "transition" stage (between contractions and pushing) was really painful, which is perhaps where you were when you asked for meds. She said that a lot of women find a bit of relief when they start pushing because they can actually be doing something. It was incredibly painful, there's just no around that, but I do think when I started pushing it got a little better.

I admit that a few hours after the birth, I thought that next time I might choose to have the epidural. Now that a bit of time has passed, I think I'll try to do it naturally again. However you get through birth, I think it is undoubtedly the most incredible experience ever. Good luck!



answers from Chicago on

Hi N.,
Congratulations on chosing a natural birth. I agree with the doula and midwife and will second the idea of Bradley Birthing.

We attempted a Bradley Birth with my first and he was born via emercency c/s @ 29 weeks. With my 2nd, we wanted to try natural again.

The Bradley Classes helped my husband to know all there is to know about a woman's body and how it is affected by labor. We practiced our squats and relaxation every day. My husband and I were already close, but doing "husband coached childbirth" brought us even closer. I was able to stay calm through my entire labor and had an amazing birth experience.

Best of Luck to you!!



answers from Chicago on

Yes. Hypnobirthing. Cannot say enough good things about it. I wanted natural childbirth with my first child, but he was induced and it was a very fast, painful labor. I asked for an epidural but they didn't get it started in time, so I basically had a non-natural but also no pain-relief birth.

I'm not really a go-to-classes kind of person, so I found a hypnobirthing therapist who was willing to sell me the books and tapes and we did private sessions with my husband. It ended up costing a little less than the class, and it was on my schedule and private! The therapist I went to was a hypnotherapist who also does hypnobirthing. I no longer have her contact information, but her name is Kathy Foulser and she was in Elmhurst.

She - and the tapes too - really helped me to overcome my fears and tension about the second birth. The program helped me to envision the pain as opening and my body working, instead of just pain. Instead of tightening up I was able to open up. My second labor was really peaceful and wonderful and exactly the birth experience I had wanted.



answers from Chicago on

Well, I have had all my births natural. The best one of all, was having my son where I had a midwife and not an ob like the last two times and also 2 fellow doulas, plus my husband. I did not even ask for anything this time. The other times, there came a point where I did start to ask for something. I am glad to hear you have a doula. That will really help you out alot. I am sure I probably know her too. Take care and good luck and if you want to talk about this more, then email me privately or you can also call me. If you want my contact info, you can go to my website listed below, or I can give you my contact info.

S. Bailey CLD



answers from Chicago on

My plan with my son was to have a natural birth. I had a midwife and my mom, also a midwife, was going to be my doula. Unfortunately events conspired against us and my son was breech, so it didn't happen. I'm now pregnant with #2 and am planning a natural birth with this baby too.

I think the key is to have absolute confidence that YOU CAN DO IT. Your body is amazing and powerful and is made to have babies. Trust it. Hire a doula - it makes a difference. Use a midwife instead of an OB - they're more likely to suggest helpful natural ways for pain relief and to keep you comfortable. Take a Bradley or Birthing from Within (or similar) class and take your husband with so that he knows how to support you.

I also highly suggest reading "Ina May's Guide to Childbirth" - this is written by Ina May Gaskin - one of this country's premier midwives. The first half is wonderful positive birth stories from her practice (called "The Farm") in Tenessee. She has a 2.5% c-section rate (compared to the nation-wide average of nearly 30%) and does all natural births. (Sounds like a great place to have a baby doesn't it?)

Other good books are the Birthing from Within book - basically this one's approach is that childbirth is similar to an atheletic event such as running a marathon - and so being mentally and physically prepared is the key to finishing, and the Bradley book (though the pictures in this are a bit dated).

Other tips: WAIT to go to the hospital as long as you can. Or consider a home birth (Homefirst is a group of doctors in the city that attend home births) or a birth center birth (like the Alternative Birthing Center at West Suburban Hospital in oak park - this is where I'm having kid #2). Walk around a lot during labor. Labor on your hands and knees. Keep active. Refuse continuous fetal monitoring unless there is a good medical reason to do so. Refuse an IV unless there is a medical reason to do so.

ps - depending on which hospital you're at, you may be setting yourself up for a more difficult natural birth. For example, Northwestern (Prentice) is "used" to a high level of intervention. Even the midwives there, while wonderful care providers, are used to dealing with clients who frequently want the epidural. I would go somewhere where more women choose a natural birth - it's much easier if you're not the exception to the rule.



answers from Chicago on

I think you will find having a doula is a wonderful step in the right direction. In fact having that continuous support may be all you need to make it to the end.

I don't know who your midwife is, but rememer that not all midwives are tree-hugging natural birth lovers. You may still have to resist interventions like artificial rupture of membranes, inductions, and fetal monitoring that will cause labor to be more painful and require more interventions. Staying home from the hospital as long as possible (have your doula come to your house) is a great way to avoid interventions.

Lastly, consider an independant birth class. Hospital childbirth practices are geared towards that hospital's policies and procedures. Taking a class outside a hospital will give you a different perspective and probably also offer better coping techniques. Bradley is a great class for natural birth.

Good luck- I'm sure you will do great. I am in the same boat of having begged for pain meds (the hospital where I delivered didn't offer epidurals!) and wishing I hadn't had them. Also hhoping for a natural birth with #3. I am also a doula, labor and delivery nurse, and student nurse-midwife.



answers from Chicago on

Hi there!

I am going to 2nd the doula advice but also highly recommend taking a Bradley Class. Of course-- I teach Bradley so I am a bit biased. Bradley will not only give you the tools to find natural comfort measures that you can use in labor but will also make you extremely knowledgeable of the process so that there is no fear (which is a huge cause of pain).

My 2nd Bradley baby is about to turn 1 and I had a fantastic, enjoyable and joyous birth!

I have many 2nd time moms in my classes who are looking for a better birth this time around.

I'd love to talk to you. If my class doesn't fit your schedule-- I can help you find someone's who does.

Call or PM me!

C. Szczeblowski, AAHCC



answers from Chicago on

I had my 3 children naturally. With my first I was getting to the point where I had asked for some meds, but I was already dialated to about 9, so no go. Everthing went fine in delivery.

When I was pregnant with my twins, I had full intention to get an epidural, just in case an emergency c sesction had to be done. As they were taking vitals and making sure things were ok to get a epidural, I was almost fully dialated, so no time for an epidural. I had my twins naturally as well.

I had some horrible back labor with both pregnancies, but I am glad I had them naturally.

Good luck whatever route you choose.




answers from Indianapolis on

OK, as for any message that compares natural child birth to any other procedure, just ignore them. There is a lot of evidence that going natural is better for both you and the baby. PM me if you'd like links to pages and titles of books to check out for more info in that area. This is NOT to say that you are hurting your baby if you don't go natural, it is just something to consider when making the decision. I went natural and it was NOTHING like a tooth extraction with no Novicain, I promise.
You had a long labor and that is hard.
Yes, a doula can help, I had one as well. However, you are already at an advantage with the midwife who is trained to do things naturally where most doctors and nurses don't know how to help you. If not giving birth at home, stay home as long as possible because it's proven to be more relaxing when you are in your own environment. Besides, you can continue to eat and drink as you wish.
I thought the #1 thing that made my natural birth possible was the labor tub. The hot water was the difference between my lying on the ground rolling around in pain and being able to sit still and just vocalize through each contraction (no I don't mean yell obscenities at my hubby, I mean low vocal tones meant to help with pain and opening of the birth
I have blogged my birth story on MySpace and I invite you and anyone else reading this to check it out. I don't lie and say natural birth didn't hurt, but it was definitely the right choice for me. I hate a quiet, alert baby ready to breastfeed in my arms as soon as the cord was cut.
The pain was so much stronger when I got out of the tub to be checked. I'm planning to have number two in the tub!

I am an open book when it comes to my labor and birth. Feel free to PM me and ask anything.

my blog page:

I think you can get to it that way. If not, PM me, I'll make you a friend on MySpace and then you can read it :)



answers from Chicago on


I too had all 3 of my children naturally. I would HIGHLY recommend hypnobirthing. I didn't know about it with my first child but I used it VERY successfully with my second child and it was AMAZING!!! My labor was only about 6 hours, I pushed 3 times and on the video I look like I'm sleeping. My husband requested that I moan while I had contractions so he knew what was going on but otherwise I was silent - until I pushed at which point I made quite a bit of noise. :) I'm not sure if my teacher is still in practice but I have a friend who also took the class from someone else so I can get names if you would like.

good luck!!



answers from Chicago on

I had a natural birth with my son, other than having a tiny bit of pitocin (which wasn't needed and kinda makes me mad that they did it now). My husband and I took Bradley courses, they helped him a lot know what to expect and myself as well. The relaxation techniques helped alot...I was able to let go and kind of seperate myself from the pain and let my body do what it needed.
Now, that being said, I wanted drugs at the end, but by then he was already crowning and really it was too late. I am surprised they were even able to give you an epi that late because usually they cannot. My labor was also very very fast because I had had contractions off and on from 28 weeks on and was on bedrest because I was 3-4 cm dialated and pretty far effaced for many weeks before I went into the hospital to have him. The entire labor I think lasted about 3 hours. We ended up inducing at 37 weeks because I was Strep B positive and because I was so far progressed they were afraid I wouldn't get to the hospital in time to have the antibiotics I needed before he was born. My labor was EXTREMELY intense though....I got NO breaks between contractions at all. I did deep breathing the entire time (not the Lamaze type that just tenses you up) that is similar to what you do in yoga for relaxation. I laid on my side with a long pillow between my legs. And I had my Mom and my husband in there who were fanning me when I got hot, putting cool towels on my head, helping hold my legs etc. Then when the worst part came, I did some very low guttural type moaning which did way more to push the pain away than any high pitched anything would ever do.

I highly recommend the Bradley classes. The teacher we went to was Deb Lawrence...she has been doing it for years and is excellent. I want to do them again myself and would love to teach it someday (expecting our second in March) but I don't know if I can afford it this time around (classes run for 12 weeks and are usually bt 200-400 for the session)...we may just study our old materials. Knowing physically about how the process happens helps give you confidence in yourself and your body that you can do it, you can handle it. I am a baby with pain and everyone laughed at me when I said I wanted to do a natural birth....but I did it just fine. You have to believe in yourself and your body. It was CREATED just for this purpose!

You can find info about Bradley teachers /classes at

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