Natural Childbirth - Stratford,CT

Updated on May 16, 2012
S.S. asks from Stratford, CT
34 answers

I am PG with my 3rd child and due in 3 weeks. For both my other 2 PG's I went into the hospital with full intend to have an epidural. I really would like to try natural childbirth with no drugs this time. I am looking for advice from other moms that have gone through natural childbirth and have advice on really helped them in labor. Thanks for the tips in advance!

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answers from Washington DC on

I had the first 2 with epidurals, they were quick and easy. With the third, there wasn't enough time. it was the worst pain I could ever imagine and 7 months later I still cringe at the thought of it. i think I blacked out for part of it. The first thing I said after she was born was "why the hell would anyone WANT to do this naturally?!!!" I had just as much pain after as I did with the epidurals. Thank goodness it was fast. If I ever had to do it again, I would ask for the epidural as soon as I got to the hospital. I am sort of glad I got to experience both ways, but there is no way I would want to have that again. And my SIL was in there with me and the sight of me thrashing against the bed scared her away from ever wanting a natural birth.

Sorry to rain on your parade, just thought I would give you my experience to weigh in on.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Provo on

I have done just about everything...I've gotten an epidural after hours of hyperventilating and being in worst pain at a 4 than I EVER was with any of my other labor and deliveries...gotten one from the a shot of something...and done all natural. With this one that we are expecting in a few months, I hope to go all natural. I agree with staying at home as long as you can. I LOVED my exercise (birth) ball. Walking helped. When I was able to...water helped. Music also helped me...something that I could just get lost in. I would read as many positive all natural birth stories...that helps me.

Listening to this download has helped me get a lot better about relaxing. It's free, but you have to click 'add to cart'...but you never have to input any credit card info or really is free.

I've heard there are pressure points and massage techniques that help...that's one of those things that I wouldn't count on tho' - I did NOT want to be touched with most of mine...but let my hubby rub my feet with one...and that helped.

Good Luck! If you happen to type up your birth story or anything...I would love to know how it goes...or if after you're have any tips for another mom that hopes to do it all natural :).

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

I was in labor with my first son for 24 hours when I got an epidural. It gave me a chance to rest and easily delivered him a few hours after that.

But, my second son came fast and furiously. I didn't have time for an epidural or anything of the sort. I think the Lamaze class my husband and I took really helped a lot. We both had good ideas of what I liked and didn't like before going into labor. Also, the midwives and nurses were full of ideas to cope with the pain. Not sure if you've heard this, but pushing actually was a huge pain reliever.

If I was to have a third child, I would try to do it at a birthing center focused on natural birth because I think they really have all the best ideas, techniques and equipment available. If you can afford it and can find one you're compatible with, a doula could be beneficial.

And finally, the best part of natural child birth is that once the baby is out, the pain is gone... completely! It's the coolest thing ever! I was walking to the bathroom less than 30 minutes after he was born. And my recovery was so much faster than when I had an epidural. Even my husband agreed that as tough and painful as the natural birth was, overall it was so much better of an experience. I wish you all the best of luck!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Erie on

Deep slow breathing. Forget everything lamaze teaches and focus inward and again, breathe deeply and slowly through your contractions and they won't seem to hurt as much. Also look into hypnobirthing, I was at my friend's birth who did this and I was amazed at how calm she was and how little she had to push. I used the Bradley Method and had two home births, two hospital, all natural.

Like 3girlsforme, I was more afraid of the risks of the epidural than the labor pains.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Austin on

I was shocked that I made it through with nothing. No pain meds..

There was an intervention for our child towards the end. My labor was so long, I had lost all of the amniotic fluid so early that she was really having some trouble in there.

The Doctor added fluids and so I had to stay in bed for the last part of the delivery. I told them I was willing to do whatever was needed to keep our child safe. I had planned on lots of walking.

I feel like my husband was a huge help. He knew that I would ask for what I wanted. He followed all of the directions he had been given in the child birth classes.

Distraction, He would suggest I turn my body to another direction. He would suggest some juice. He knew how to massage my lower back, my hands, my neck.

I also told the nurses I wanted them to offer any advice they had based on their experiences.. and then I followed a lot of them.. I wanted them to feel like they were on my team, and I think it made us all work together really well.

They suggested a shower at one point, I did that.. They suggested a heating pad, I did that, they of course offered juice. and each time I drank it.

To myself, I kept saying, "no one died from the pain of childbirth".. and "in the end it will be worth it."

I had a very long labor. It was uncomfortable. It felt like the worst cramps I had ever had. At the end.. They went that little bit further with the pain.. and I told the nurse.. "wow, these are really taking my breath away.". that is when she checked me and said "ah,, it is time for the baby.."

After it was all over, I was so surprised that I had gotten through it.

Our child was very alert, she even lifted her head and turned to look at me when I first said her name. I was able to be cleaned up and feel everything.

It was an amazing moment.

My main goal the entire time.~ To do whatever was necessary to make sure our child was born as healthy as possible.. If that had meant meds for me, a C section.. I was willing.. I was not trying to be some hero or prove a point to myself or anyone else.. I just wanted to try my best..

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

Hi S.,

I had my son at home, so no drugs were available. My son had a great, medically-uneventful birth.

Some things that helped:

1. Doing process work around birth beforehand. The book "Birthing from Within" invites the pregnant mother to process her feelings regarding labor and birth through artwork, talking with our partners, and seeking out our own hidden feelings or fears and acknowledging them.

2. Because I was working with a midwifery team, we did have a birthing class which really focused on being present during the birth and accepting what comes. Other mothers I knew took hypno-birthing and other sorts of natural childbirth classes.

3. Ina May Gaskin's "Guide to Midwifery"... the hundred or so first pages of homebirth testimonials were inspiring, but what really helped me was reading the appendices; Gaskin writes about 'sphincter logic' and ways of helping labor along and relaxing. Believe me, the "horse lips" way of breathing out 'raspberries' was actually very useful and probably helped me more than I knew...

4. Attitude. I was working with the labor, asking it to come on stronger and stronger, and I was willing to be in that very unreal dimension of the unknown.... I know it sounds a bit woo-woo, but acceptance is a very powerful emotion. Not fighting the labor, not backing away from it but welcoming it... I think this is what got me through the birth so well and so quickly.

5. Support. My midwife came and checked on me about 4 hours or so after my labor had started, after my water broke, around one a.m. or so, and said I was in 'light labor', just 2 cm dilated. Figuring it would be a while, she left to go sleep at home. I hit transition about two hours later or so, maybe, and only my husband was there, but he was prepared, calm and fantastic. While we didn't get the birthing tub filled, I did end up having a very quick delivery at 4:16 in the morning, with the midwives arriving in good time. I think things went so well in good part because of his constant presence and support. He was able to keep his head and not freak out...I was able to as well.

Happy birthing day to you, and feel free to PM me if you have any follow-up questions.:)

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Indianapolis on

Depending on how fast your labors are, stay at home as long as possible! Walk as much as you can, take warm showers and have a great support person there with you! It also depends on your pain tolerance. I went natural with all 3 of mine, was induced with pitocin with the last two. The last two were worse, because I couldn't walk around. I was more afraid of the epidural needle than I was labor pain, so that was my motivation! Good luck with the new baby! :)

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

I had two completely drug free births. I will say that granted with my first I did not know what to expect so I was a little more dramatic and noisy. However with my second I had a practically silent birth for the majority of the pushing process. I had each of them at 35 weeks respectively. I found that with my 1st the hospital pushed the epidural but I was adamantly against it. Had my 2nd at the same hospital and this time I remained focused the entire time on the fact that the pain was temporary and personally I had endured worse pain in my life. I kept my mind on getting see my little bundle and watched my 2nd being born not through a mirror but by looking directly down. I have never regretted what I did and with neither did I tear badly or require an episiotomy. I highly recommend doing it as it will be something you'll never forget and I mean that in the most positive way possible. Congratulations mama!

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answers from Phoenix on

I definitely recommend a doula to support you if you can swing it. Worth every penny and more.
The way I got through the contractions was to think "I can do this one, then one more, and then I will be done." For some reason, that was do-able for me. I could handle the idea of this one and one more, it was the idea of dozens of contractions until baby that freaked me out. My husband and doula were great at picking that up- OK, Erika, just this one, then one more...
Do not fear pushing. It is a huge relief, and by the time you get to the pushing part you will just be focused and determined. I try to tell people what the pushing is like and can only come up with it is like trying to pick up a car. You know it is impossible, but you have to do it anyway, so you do.
My word of warning- when I felt the "ring of fire," I was so thrilled that the baby was coming out that I just pushed him out. Before the contraction. Not a good plan, that prevented the last turn into position for baby's head and caused some tearing. So when you feel that, know you are almost done, but wait one more contraction!

Finally, I totally agree that it is the best feeling ever. Not just the sense of accomplishment (though that it great- mine was a 9lb 2 oz VBAC and I loved having the nurses call me a rock star), but there is an actual biochemical high. I literally did not slepp more than about 30 minutes in a row for the 2 dyas after birth that I was in the hospital. The nurses kept telling me to sleep, I was just giggling like a tween at a sleepover and watching bad TV with my new little man.

It is the single most incredible thing ever. It is getting a new baby plus feeling like a superhero- like your wedding day and college graduation all wrapped up with a new life. Awesome. If I can do it, trust me, you can do it.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Eugene on

The Bradley Method childbirth classes were very helpful to me. If you don't have time for a class, you can find a book and practice on your own. I had 4 natural births, each faster than the last and didn't really have time to do the drugs even if I'd wanted them.

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answers from Seattle on

Total transparency: I have the sense of humor of a teenage boy. And I was not a delightful/delighted pregnant woman. I was really, really unexcited about being pregnant (I was very excited to become a mother).

So, my husband (then boyfriend) and I enroll in a birthing class. We did it since we were first time parents, were hoping for a home birth, and I wanted to better understand the process ahead.

The class was, at times, pretty outside of my comfort zone. I mean, in most ways I'm reeeeeeeeeeally crunchy. Other ways? Not so much. Some things just make me squirm, giggle, or flat out roll my eyes.

Our birth class was on a pretty extreme end of the spectrum. Ever seen the show Portlandia? Well, it could have been taped and used as part of the show. We discussed eating placentas postpartum, elimination communication, and I was one of thirty people who planned on using disposable diapers (one of the topics discussed).

No worries.

So then, the "birth ball" is brought up. It was really hot that summer, I was cranky, and I wanted to go home. I did not care about a "biiiiiiirth ball". Nor the ways my partner could center my breathing from my fifth chakra. Or whatever ;-)

I told my mom about it and she said, "Oh, I have one of those. They're just fitness balls right? I'll bring it over, who knows, maybe it'll come in handy."

Okay. Here's the important thing:

THAT fitness ball was a GODSEND. I don't know if I could have made it through my labor without it.

My water broke the morning of day one. Day two, still no baby. Second night, no baby. NEXT morning, my daughter was born. It felt long, hard, and intense. She was turned around sunny side up, and had to get turned around during the contractions.

I hung my torso over that ball and rolled my hips into my mom's legs, over and over and over. It was the only thing that gave me relief, like scratching a really good itch. The ball supported me gently and allowed me to contort my body into positions that best supported my labor process.

I got into the tub a few times and let the hot water work it's magic too. That really helped me to relax. I walked around a lot, and didn't make much sound. I didn't have the energy to put into it. I just let my body breath in a way that felt good, and tried to listen to the part of my brain that extends through my limbs, sans intellectual thought.

I tried to disconnect from the concept of time. When I thought about how long it was going to last, I would start to panic and loose hope. Instead, I just surrendered to the pain, and sort of visualized an ocean rolling me in and out. In my head, I kept a constant stream of encouragements to myself. I kept on saying to myself, don't fight it, just let it come. And I prayed a lot, because it helped me not feel alone.

What Hazel described, about acceptance, is really accurate for me too. She said it well, I think.

I think one other thing she hit on, that was huge for me, was to feel supported. I felt safe and supported. Like Laura, I was ready to do something different if it seemed something was medically wrong or alarming. I was attended by an experienced nurse midwife and felt comfortable with her. I trusted her big.

Most of all, the reason I wanted to have birth at home, and without the pain relief, came from a genuine desire of mine. I didn't feel pressured or guilty, I just went with what felt right for me and my family. Pain medication doesn't have much affect on my perception of physical pain, but it does yank me out of my experience. I have a hard time feeling really awake and present when on it. In birth, I wanted to be fully in my body, using only my natural endorphin and responses, so that I could feel more there. I feel scared and upset in hospitals (bad memories I suppose) and I wanted to be somewhere that I felt safe. And surrounded by people who I trust.

For me, that's just what felt good.

I have a friend who had a natural birth because she felt shamed into it. I think it was a really nasty experience for her, because she didn't get to emotionally consent to the process. I think it's really important that a woman feels safe and respected when she's giving birth, so if that's at a hospital with pain medications, I support her.

Congratulations and Good Luck!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Fear causes pain. Childbirth doesn't actually hurt that much, if you are relaxed and in the right frame of mind. If you can, watch lots of clips of women giving birth naturally. You will see how calm they are, and how birth can be --helping to free you from silly Hollywood images.

I labored my second at home. It was soooo easy......Focus on what is going on. Breath deeply. Imagine holding your baby.

Water birth is the only way to go.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Sacramento on

I didn't have drugs or epidural with either of my kids. With my first though, I was lucky enough to deliver her in the water and that was a beautiful experience for both of us. The water helps tremendously! So if you can, do that.

With my second child, I was not able to have a water birth because he was early and I was all hooked up with IVs. The hardest part of having him was that I was pumped full of fluids and my water was huge, but wouldn't break. After they broke it for me, it was a breeze.

All labor and delivery experiences are different. Knowing how to breathe is what helped me the most, and being supported by a nice group of people, (my husband and midwives) that didn't pressure me into "needing" drugs because they were seeing how much pain I was in. With both of my kids I remember turning inward and using my own sense of strength. I think it's referred to as "labor-land." Though they were very different I felt very empowered by both deliveries.

Good luck to you on a peaceful labor and delivery :)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

I had all three of mine without drugs/epidural. It wasn't ever easy, but it's worth it! Concentrate on breathing. Spend time daydreaming, and try to relax as much as you can between contractions.

My middle one was breech, and the last was my beautiful boy who was over 10 lbs at birth.

I've always been more worried about how any drug would affect me and the baby, more than fear of pain that is forgotten the instant you get to hold the life you've created.


Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

I had an epidural with my first 2, but my 3rd came so fast that there wasn't time. It was so nice to be able to get up and walk around afterward! How nice not to have a cathetor or numb legs. A totally different experience. Sure, it was painful and I couldn't believe the noises that came out of me, but it was really incredible. I have no advice, except that it's worth a try - especially when you've done it twice before to "make way" for #3.
Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Jacksonville on

Take a child birth class that teaches breathing and methods of dealing with pain. And also informs you regarding current medication trends and potentialities.
Being educated and informed is the best thing you can do to have a great labor/delivery--whether you make it "natural" or you accept medication or pain relief, or you have a C-section, or however your baby gets here. Know what medications (and their possible side effects) are and how they work. So that you have a "back up" plan. :)


1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

Here's my labor story (The short version):

At 5:30 am I woke up and realized that my water "broke". I called my hospital and they gave me some of the scariest news ever... They were full! Apparently, due to pressure changes a lot of women went into labor at the same time. I was crushed. Not only was I no longer delivering in the hospital that I had carefully researched and chosen, but my doctor (Who had been my doctor throughout my pregnancy and who I shared many opinions with and loved) couldn't deliver my baby at a different hospital. They directed me to a different hospital, and I arrived there at 7am. My new doctor (Who was a man... Was NOT happy about that) got there at 8am. He checked me and said that I was 4cm dilated. Then he told the nurse to start the pitocin. Um... I'm sorry... What? No. When I asked why I would possibly need pitocin only 2 and a half hours after my water broke and my baby was not in distress... He sort of did this double take, shocked that I would question his judgment. We argued about it for a few minutes before he gave in and left. He even rolled his eyes when he learned that I was gonna try to do it naturally! Oh, I was mad. So I walked and walked and walked around the hospital, and by the time that my fiance got there at 10:30am I was only at 5cm. The pain at this point was only a 2 on a scale of 1 to 10. By 1:30pm the pain was a 5 and when they checked me I was still only 5cm. So I decided to take a warm bath hoping it would speed things along. By the time I got out of the tub at 2pm the pain was at 7. I told the nurse that if I was still only 5cm I wanted an epidural but if I was magically 7cm I just wanted something to take the edge off. She checked me and I was at 8cm. She told me that it was too late for any medication. I asked again and she left to get the medication. By the time she got back the pain was at 8 or 9 and I was 9cm dilated. She said she gave me the medication to take the edge off but my eyes were squeezed shut and I didn't feel any relief so I have a hard time believing it. When it was time to push, the contractions stopped hurting. I needed an episiotomy and they numbed the area right before that so I didn't feel the "ring of fire". Oliver was born at 3:45pm (The same time that I was born).

The first couple months after he was born I had mini panic attacks thinking about it, but now I know that I can do it. Next time around I'm going to try to do it naturally again!

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answers from Minneapolis on

This is what worked for me, for my first birth - warm shower at home until contractions were close together, had a midwife that stayed with me the entire time, in warm bathtub at hospital until ready to push, again midwife there and doing perineal massage during pushing so needed no episiotomy. I didn't do any special breathing. Stayed calm!

I was pretty confident of my ability to deal with pain. I'd met with a doula ahead of time who did a great job of describing what I should expect. I believed in my body and my physical fitness for birthing a baby.

About five years before having my baby, I'd been training in karate and I was put through a 3.5 hour test to earn my brown belt. It was hard, hard physical and mental work with no water breaks allowed and I was sore and bruised all over for several days afterward. The experience of childbirth for me was very much the same (3.5 hours of pushing!). It felt familiar. And even more rewarding!

One thing the doula told me that helped - each time the pain escalates, give yourself 30 mins to get used to it, because you can and will. Then, for me anyway, once the pushing started, the pain decreased a lot. The pushing was harder work, but less painful.

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answers from Los Angeles on

Hi there,
I did a natural child birth w/ my one and only. We hired a doula and I put together a birth plan on paper laying out my goals and desires and stressing that my intention was give birth w/out drugs. The great thing about having a trained doula on hand is that 1. they are part of 'your' team as an advocate for helping you stick to your birth plan. I found our doula to be most helpful in dealing w/ the nurses/doctors who wanted to keep me on a monitor when nothing was medically wrong; so she was in charge of the negotiating and she did a great job of getting the nurses to allow me to get up and walk around/take showers vs. being stuck in bed. 2. She was also a great breathing coach.

But beyond our doula, the support you'll have from your husband is absolutely priceless. I had a 36-hour difficult labor (baby was turned wrong and I was in great pain most of the time) and at a certain point, although I couldn't respond to my husband, I could hear him talking to me in my ear constantly and that's what really got me through the whole thing.

I don't know about you, but I'm a very stubborn person by nature. When I put my mind to accomplish something, I do it. So while I was in a lot of pain from the baby being turned wrong inside me, I didn't give up on my goal and that was to have a C-section free birth and drug-free birth so that I could accomplish my ultimate goal of a successful nursing relationship (epidurals can hinder nursing once baby is born).

Best of luck, you CAN do it!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

I had a natural birth with my DD. I loved it and would do it again ANY DAY! It was a great experience.
I did not do anything in particular to prepare, other than reading a lot about it. I particularly liked I. May Gaskin's books, but you have to be able to look past the hippie factor.
In order to increase my chances for a good birth experience I did a few things: I had a midwife instead of an OB, I chose a very small community hospital w/o a NICU (or even a nursery for that matter). I would have given birth at home but DH wouldn't go for it, so that was the best alternative. I also labored at home for as long as possible. I actually went back home, IV in place an all, to labor after getting abx for GBS at the hospital after my water broke. It was no issue at all and everyone was very supportive.
So my #1 advice would be to find providers who will be supportive of your wishes and a facility that has a track record of supporting natural birth.
Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Houston on

I had a great natural birth. I was actually due to go in for a c section, but the day before I was scheduled, I went into labor. I was scheduled for a c section because my son had been an emergency birth due to him being posterior positioned. After his birth I was laid up for weeks, couldn't drive, lift, hardly move, it was miserable. But I was so scared of going through the pain and long labor again that I agreed with the doctor that my second should be a scheduled. Anyway, I went into labor, but tried to ignore it, coz I still wanted that c section come hell or high water! I ignored it for a couple of hours, the labor pains were not too bad, then when I timed them I noticed they were only 5 minuted apart! and we live an hour from the hospital, so off we went. It was painful, I won't lie, but breathing helped a lot, and counting down the contractions. My daughter was born weighing 7lb 10 oz 30 minutes after arriving at the hospital. I left the next day and was driving the next day after that. I just bounced back immediately after my natural birth

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Madison on

I had all three of mine without drugs, my second got stuck coming out but still managed to get him out on my hurts, it hurts a lot but it is over, there is an end...that is what got me through it, you know that at some point in time in the near future that pain just is gone (and that feeling when the baby comes out and the pain just disappears immediately is (for me at least) an amazing feeling!

My first I did not have drug free by choice, I labored to fast and had no option for pain meds, which in turn made me believe I could do all others without drugs and I did, even having the astronomical pain of a child with shoulder dystocia come out without drugs and beign stitched up for over an hour afterwards (eeks I think I might be making this less appealing lol) but he my last delivery I didn't tear or anything it was amazing! LOL just shows that every pregnancy and delivery is different.

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answers from Dallas on

I didn't want an epidural, but I gave myself permission to use something if the pain got in my way. I used stadol, and it helped me get over the hump. No epidural, thank goodness :) The childbirth classes were helpful. I know a mom who did hypnobirthing. I think it's an individual thing, finding what works best for you.

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answers from Portland on

My daughter had an unplanned natural birth because the baby came too quickly. Because that birth went relatively smoothly she opted to have a natural home water birth. She was pleased with that experience.

I suggest having a doula if you decide to have a natural birth. Part of what made the home birth so satisfactory was that a midwife coached her thru it.

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answers from Washington DC on

My first I had an epidural. About 10 hours of labor - about 7 of it hard - and appreciated the absence of pain. My body felt like it had been hit by a truck, but that may just have been because it was my first.

My second I kinda wanted to do it natural, but chickened out and got an epidural. It failed. They tried again. It failed. They gave me something that took the edge off for about 20 minutes, but for the most part it was an awful labor where I felt everything. I think I blacked out a couple of times. Again about 10 hours - 7 of it hard - and I wondered if part of the reason it was so bad was because of the attempted epidural. I felt like a million bucks afterward...until the spinal headache hit from the result of the epidural. It was fine if I was lying down, but who can lie down for days on end with two little kids - one a newborn? Went in for a blood patch (drawing blood, more injections up my spine) to 'cure' the horrible headaches that I was having.

For my third, and in large part because of the previous experience, I DID NOT want an epidural. It only happens 1/100 times, but I figured I'd rather go through an awful labor and be DONE than have three days of migraines. I stumbled across some information about red raspberry leaf tea helping with labor and chugged it like crazy for the month before I was due. No epidural, but I did have something to take the edge off for a little bit, and 1 1/2 hours later (5 minutes or less of pushing) and I was holding a sticky, messy baby. It would have taken longer for the epidural to wear off than for the labor. So glad I didn't get one.

So, I've had both, and I prefer natural, although I am glad I had an epidural for the first one (more tearing and stuff with that one). My advice would be to go natural (after chugging a large quantity of red raspberry leaf tea ;), but that is due in large part to my negative experience with the failed epidural, and my subsequent awesome short labor. Give it a shot. There is something pretty amazing (painful, but still amazing) about feeling the baby exit your body, and I'm really glad I've had the chance to experience it - twice. Have your husband stand by your head and help you breathe (seriously - sometimes you forget when you're caught up in a contraction) and you'll be fine. Good luck!

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answers from Columbus on

I would strongly recommend getting a good doula. A list of accredited doulas can be found here: From this website:
"A Birth Doula
* Recognizes birth as a key experience the mother will remember all her life
* Understands the physiology of birth and the emotional needs of a woman in labor
* Assists the woman in preparing for and carrying out her plans for birth
* Stays with the woman throughout the labor
* Provides emotional support, physical comfort measures and an objective viewpoint, as well as helping the woman get the information she needs to make informed decision
* Facilitates communication between the laboring woman, her partner and her clinical care providers
* Perceives her role as nurturing and protecting the woman's memory of the birth experience
* Allows the woman's partner to participate at his/her comfort level

A birth doula certified by DONA International is designated by the initials CD(DONA).

Research evidence shows that the quality services of a postpartum doula can ease the transition that comes with the addition of a baby to a family, improve parental satisfaction and reduce the risk of mood disorders."



answers from Phoenix on

Laboring in the jacuzzi tub till 9 cm helped me avoid drugs/epidural with my last baby 2 yrs ago. I felt like it reduced my pain by 80% and made it bearable. My husband was an awesome support too! Nurse midwife mom of 3



answers from Los Angeles on

Have an advocate or two (husband, friend, doula) who can support you plus represent your desire with the medical staff. It will give you ecnouragement and peace of mind when things get "scary" :)

Also, having a doctor who is supportive of your desire for natural childbirth and knowledgeable in natural childbirth, in my opinion, is a MUST! Otherwise, when a complication or concern does arise they won't be knowledgeable or confident in non-medication solutions.

Good luck! You'll feel like super woman afterwards!



answers from New York on

I did natural childbirth with my first (and only) baby. It was one of the best experiences of my life.

What I really recommend is communicating to everyone -- beginning with your OB or midwife -- that this is what you want. Make sure your husband/partner also communicates this to the L&D nurses and anyone else who's present.

I labored in a birthing tub, which was wonderful, but even if you don't have this option, try to move around as much as possible -- this includes standing up and pacing the floor. Sure, you have to lie down (or back, anyway) to actually give birth, but not through every contraction.

You should also be aware -- if this is your third birth, chances are it'll go very quickly and smoothly. Labor is never painless, but it is quicker and less painful with every successive birth. You probably don't have a long labor ahead of you.

Finally, my "secret weapon" for natural childbirth is the countdown. Through every contraction, my husband counted down from 60. He'd just say, slowly and steadily, "59, 58, 57, etc." This gave me something to concentrate on besides the pain, to the point that the numbers were honestly more important to me than the pain. And today, I have a very bright, healthy, mathematically gifted little boy. I'd like to credit the countdown with his mathematical orientation, but my highly logical son would find that ridiculous.

Best wishes! You've made a wonderful choice.




answers from New York on

Mine was an unintended natural and glad I did. :) Does that count? What happened was I arrived at the hospital too late for any epidurals or anything else, because I wasn't sure if I was in labor. (The labor pain was just too faint.) I remember my doctor telling me there is no such thing as "stork parking"..."Those stork parking signs you see are located in the wrong spot and should be at the end furtherest from the entrance." He had me park far away from the stores and told me I had to make sure I did a lot of walking, since it's the safest form of exercise and that all pregnant women need exercise. He told me they don't realize that preparing for childbirth is like running a marathon. If you aren't ready, the going is going to be tough. Also, I didn't listen about the Kegels and glad I didn't. Instead of Kegels, I did squats to keep me open and relaxed. (Kegels are good for after you've already given birth to tighten you back up.) I find the key is to relax, even if you have to distract your brain. Your body loosens up naturally to prepare for childbirth. If your bladder is giving you a problem, then empty it before it asks to be emptied. Once I got to the hospital I just started distracting my mind from the whole process....I thought about being Zira and how she felt when she was going to give birth (Zira is from the original Planet of the Apes.)...I don't know why, that just popped into my head as they walked me across the bridge from the doctor's office to the hospital..(I refused to get into the wheelchair, so they followed me with it and stood me against the wall every now and then, which I found to be annoying since I just wanted to get it over with due to nerves.) ....Once in the delivery room, which looked like a living room; they had the TV on. Hubby turned it off, so I didn't get to see Pres. Clinton's trial. (Hubby was kind of annoying, so I just ignored him.)...I focused on the clock and pictured myself doing the Richard Simmons deep knee bends as my son slid out...Had a great nurse. The doctor was not my normal doctor, but was in that group. He left the room, because I didn't know how to push. The nurse told me to pretend that I am having a really difficult bowel movement and wound up screaming for the doctor to come back. One big bowel movement type push and my son was crowning. 2 more and he was out. The midwife missed it, because she thought it would take longer. I even missed out on my snow cone! (They have the husands make snow cones to keep them out of the way.) They did give me a turkey club on foccia bread, chocolate cake, and an apple afterwards. I was starving! Um....main idea...relax.



answers from San Francisco on

Hopefully you have been exercising throughout your pregnancy. (walking, streatching, etc.) and been on a good diet. If not start exercising as much as "safely" possible. Go through your labor as long as possible, but prior to delivery (before it's too late), let the anesthesiologist prep you and take the drugs! There is no virtue in suffering unnecessary pain. If you are concerned about any long term effects on your baby or your own body, speak directly to a doctor.



answers from Chicago on

I did it, but not by choice. I had actually gotten the epidural but it slipped out or something and the anesthesiologist was in surgery and couldn't come to fix it until it was too late.

I did go through classes and had music and focal point etc, none of it worked. The music drove me nuts, it just irritated the hell out of me, and I couldn't open my eyes long enough to use my focal point. My husband really was not much help, so my recommendation above all else, is to maybe get a good doula who knows what they are doing and can really help you through the process. That may have helped me better through the process.



answers from Cincinnati on

I did not have a natural child birth, but in response to the mom who said childbirth doesn't hurt that much, well that depends. With my son I had Alot of back labor and the epidural wore off two hours before I acutally gave birth. The back labor hurt ALOT. With my daughter the contractions were not that bad. Once again my epidural wore off. But it was just like bad menstal cramps this time so not so bad, but then I started dilating so fast and she started desending so fast that I felt horribly painful pressure on my perenium with each contraction (and drugs don't do anything to help that!) labor is not the same each time as I am sure you know by now with your third child. Personally since the chances of complications with pain relief (you don't even have to get an epidural you could go with the stuff they put in your IV I think it is called Nubain.) I didn't see any reason to be in pain.



answers from Amarillo on

When I gave birth I was in Quebec. Besides the language they believe in natural childbirth. I got a shot to relax the muscles and that was it. How I prepared was reading many books and breathing. Near the end the nurse advised me to breath more and faster so that we would be well oxygenated. There were pains that I slept through and don't remember. The one that I remember the most was the last pain and then all was quiet and peaceful like floating through space with birds chirping. And then the slide sensation started. I told hubby to let the nurses that the baby was coming and by the time he came back to the room I was crowning. The resident nurse pushed him into the wall (he was an volunteer fireman and prepared) and she slightly guided my daughter and she popped out crying.

It was the most beautiful experience you can ever go through naturally. All I could remember is saying, "I did it all by myself." I felt proud of what I had accomplished and could not remember any pain. I did get the shakes but that is normal and they lasted about 15 minutes and went away. My stay in the hosptal was 5 days the normal is 10. In that time I was almost healed and had my milk.

I left the hospital in regular clothes (sweater and pull on pants) with a tiny tummy and a baby in the arms.

Just go with the flow and allow your body to do the work. When you think you are done pushing your body will continue to push and take over from you to make things happen.

Your reward for all the work is your baby.

The other S.

PS Doctor checked me at my appointment and I was at 5 cm and sent me to the hospital and broke my water at 3:45 pm and I delivered at 5:45 pm. My contractions started at 90 seconds and went down to 30 seconds. Baby was 7 pounds 15 ounces and 21 inches. I kept saying I was having an 8 pound baby short by an ounce and overdue by 3 days.

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