Natural Birth In a Hospital: A Young Mom's Guide / asipoftruth.com

Natural Birth in a Hospital: A Young Mom’s Guide

Natural birth in hospitals is rising to be one of the top searches on Google. Why? Because people want to know if it can be done.

I, myself, searched for the same thing when I was pregnant with my daughter. I wanted to know the best tips for natural birth from other moms!

What exercises should I be doing? What do I want in my birth plan? I loved reading positive birth stories and watching videos to see how women birthed peacefully. Water births really intrigued me and I knew positive affirmations were a must. But… how could I get the birth I wanted at the hospital?

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How To Have A Natural Birth In A Hospital: featuring my birth story / asipoftruth.com
Natural Birth Mega Pack, birth story, tips for natural birth, research checklist, birth plan template, essential oils for birth, affirmation cards / asipoftruth.com

Natural Birth in a Hospital: A Young Mom’s Guide

I sometimes lovingly call myself a hippie-crunchy lady because of my growing obsession with natural living. I’m a cloth diapering, baby wearing, snot sucking (hooray for Nose Fridas!), sugar-free kind of mama.

Our birth experience couldn’t be any different!

We started our prenatal care at a wonderful birthing center in the middle of Amish country. I loved the midwives there and really enjoyed their holistic approaches to prenatal care. We later had an insurance change and it became obvious that (for financial reasons) we needed to deliver at the hospital instead.

I was so bummed. I was worried that I would have to fight my way through my pregnancy and then again during delivery to have the natural experience that I wanted. Thankfully, that didn’t end up being the case! I will say that if you aren’t sure of what you want, then you will be pushed into medicinally minded care. I had to stand my ground a few times throughout my pregnancy but during delivery, my choices were respected. I hope this post will help you to have the same experience!

Labor and Delivery: Our Story

I started feeling contractions around 3 AM on Delivery Day. I mostly felt crampy, kind of like my stomach was bothering me. I could sleep but every 20 minutes or so I would wake up again feeling a light cramping sensation. I told hubby to go to work because I knew I could be in early labor for a while. I had a routine OB/GYN appointment scheduled for that morning at 10:30 AM. I went in and told them that I had been contracting since early morning. At that point, I was dilated to about 2CM. My midwife said that I could have our baby that day or, because I was a first-timer, it could be a couple days. Contractions were about 10ish minutes apart then and were still mild, feeling like period cramps.

I went home and straightened up the house a little bit, resting during contractions. I did my hair, then had a snack. By this point, contractions were every 7 minutes so my husband decided to come home from work to be with me. We relaxed on the couch together while I gently labored. I knew that I wanted to get into the tub at the hospital but I didn’t want to go in too early because I was told it could slow labor. We left the house when my contractions were 4-5 minutes apart.

The Baby Is Coming NOW!

When we arrived to the hospital (20 minutes away), my contractions had sped up to being roughly 1 minute apart. At 4:30PM, I was 10CM dilated and I didn’t realize it but I was pushing. Contractions were overwhelming but not scary at all. The word pain doesn’t really properly describe the sensation. Contractions for me felt like immense pressure. My body did just what it needed to and started pushing without me having to even think about it.

40 minutes later, our baby girl was in our arms and I felt wonderful! We enjoyed her first hour of life skin to skin with me…which she found to be the perfect opportunity to poop on me. What beautiful memories we have of our first delivery!

How To Have A Natural Hospital Birth

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Can’t read everything now? Download the free printable pack that goes along with this post.

How Do You Deal With Labor Pains Without Medication?

Prepare Your Mind For Natural Birth

If you don’t decide that you want a natural birth no matter what, then you won’t have a natural birth. In the end, it doesn’t matter if you deliver in your car, at home, in water, at a birthing center or at a hospital- if you aren’t in it mentally, then you won’t have an enjoyable natural birth.

When you think about labor, mentally decide that it won’t be a big deal. Remember that you were created to do this! Things can go crazy (and against plan) but even still, your mindset can make or break your enjoyment of the experience.

1. Think Better About Natural Birth

Negative thinking changes the physical chemistry of our brains. The more you have a negative thought, the more you will be able to have more negative thoughts. But, guess what? The same goes for positive thoughts! The Science of Apes has the best article I have ever read on The Science of Happiness. Steven Parton lays out the importance of thinking positively and the effects of negative thinking in a relatable and simple way.

Be transformed by the renewing of your mind. (Romans 12:2 abbreviated) Scripture memorization and filling your mind with positive affirmations are two great ways to ulitilize positive thinking.

Here are some of my favorites to get you started:

  • Isaiah 40:28-31, Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not be faint. (ESV)
  • Psalm 23:1-3, The LORD is my shepherd; I have all that I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name. (NLT)
  • My baby is the perfect size for my body.
  • My body knows how to birth my baby. Relax and release.
  • My body and baby are safe and strong.

2. Think Better About Pain

One of my midwives once explained to me why women have such a hard time sticking to their wishes of having a natural birth. She told me that when we’re in the pain, we can’t see out of it and therefore panic. “Most moms just tap out and start calling out for the epidural. If natural birth is your thing, then you shouldn’t even think of epidural as an option.” (Paraphrased) “You can’t die from pain alone. You can die from complications that are accompanied by pain but you cannot die from just pain. Women deliver all the time without any pain medication and they make it out alive”, is what she told me.

  • Replace ‘I’ll try to birth without pain medication’ to ‘I will birth without pain medication’.
  • HypnoBirthing is an excellent program to help you have better thoughts about birth. It utilizes breathing, visualizations and positive affirmations to cope with the pain and fear of childbirth. You can read more about HypnoBirthing in my article, “What Is A Doula? And Other FAQ’s Of Natural Birth“.
  • Know your why and make sure that your spouse (or birth coach) is on board. Natural birth is a choice, be sure that you are choosing it. Don’t muscle your way into it because that’s what you think you should do.

3. Educate Yourself About Natural Birth

For me, knowledge of what was to come really did ease my mind. Start watching peaceful natural labors to see how uneventful (for lack of better words) and good labor can be. Fill your mind with positive thoughts about your labor and baby.

  • Watch empowering videos of women giving birth. Take note of their serenity.
  • Read successful birth stories. Join natural birth Facebook groups!
  • Research until you feel comfortable with what you want for your birth.
  • Download one of my research checklists. (shameless plug)
  • Get a copy of the Natural Birth Mega Pack – you won’t regret it!

Some of my favorite FREE educational natural birth videos:

The best way to prepare for birth is to attend a birthing class!

  • Reading online will get you a long way but there is nothing quite like a full-out birth class to get your mind ready.
  • Sign up for the Birth It Up! course – gain the confidence you need for your natural birth in under 3 hours in the privacy of your home.
  • Liesel Teen (Mommy Labor Nurse.com, creator of Birth It Up!) is a labor and delivery nurse and mom who is passionate about helping other moms through childbirth.
  • This course is affordably priced at $39 because she wants to provide education to as many women as possible, which I love!

We felt more at ease about labor after attending a local birthing class BUT I felt like I could birth like a rock star after going through the Birth It Up! course.

Get 10% off with my code: ASIPOFTRUTH

Using Essential Oils During Labor

Unfortunately, I never had the chance to diffuse essential oils before my daughter was born. (Hint: read my birth story above) I can attest to the power of essential oils during the fourth trimester (postpartum) and when applied topically. Essential oils helped balance my emotions during the newborn phase. I found instant mood support with essential oil use!

Always use caution and talk to a trusted medical professional before using essential oils. I have more information about using essential oils for pain relief during pregnancy in my post, “8 Tips to Relieve Pain in Pregnancy.”

  • Diffuse peppermint for increased focus and boosted energy.
  • Diffuse lavender to help promote relaxation.
  • Apply lavender (diluted with a carrier oil) on the skin to assist in healing. Pop over to my article, “The Best 7 Essential Oils For Frugal Mamas” to see lavender’s effect on a bad burn that I had.
  • Apply clary sage for more efficient and productive contractions.

Diffuse uplifting oils for energy and emotional wellness. My favorites are:

  • Joy Young Living (YL) Blend: a floral, feminine blend to uplift mood. Joy is inspiring and cultivates feelings of warmth and togetherness. It also smells simply AMAZING!
  • Stress Away YL Blend: relaxes mind, body, and environment. It has a warm vanilla citrusy scent. This blend features lavender, cedarwood, and copaiba for pain relief and feelings of wellbeing.
  • Valor YL Blend: gives courage and energy. I diffused Valor constantly when my daughter was born and I believe it is the reason I coped so well with the newborn phase. Valor has a strong earthy floral scent

Related: How To Become A Wholesale Young Living Member

Natural Birth Mega Pack, birth story, tips for natural birth, research checklist, birth plan template, essential oils for birth, affirmation cards / asipoftruth.com
Don’t forget to grab a copy of the Natural Birth Mega Pack!

Prepare Physically As Much As You Can

People often refer to childbirth as a marathon, which I do agree with, but I think of it more as a triathlon. Pregnancy is long and grueling, then once you’re good and tired, you get to endure through labor and delivery. My biggest question during pregnancy was how was I supposed to get ready for delivery when I couldn’t even get around? I couldn’t walk a full mile yet blogger after blogger said to walk 2-3 miles a day to prepare physically. What?!

Due to my physical limitations, I had to learn other ways to prepare my body for birth. Eating balanced meals, frequent chiropractic adjustments, gentle low-impact exercise, and a special tea made the difference for me!

Drink Red Raspberry Leaf Tea

  • Red raspberry leaves (RRL) are a powerful herb for women’s health. RRL improves PMS symptoms, strengthens uterine walls, decreases labor time and reduces the need for medical interventions. (Source)
  • How? The fragarine compound in RRL has been found to tone and tighten muscles in the pelvic area, specifically your uterus. RRL helps your body to have more productive contractions and can decrease bleeding after birth. (Studies A and B)
  • As you read in my birth story above, I had a very short labor (20 minutes of active pushing) and I believe that my intake of RRL tea helped tremendously. I used Mommypotamus’s recipe for a prenatal herbal tea that features red raspberry leaves.

Eat Dates

Studies have shown that eating 6 dates per day for the last 4 weeks of pregnancy (starting at 36 weeks) can:

  • reduce the need for medical induction
  • decrease afterbirth bleeding
  • soften the cervix
  • can possibly shorten labor

My midwife was amazed at my rapid progress through early labor when I was checked at my routine prenatal appointment the morning of delivery.

Read more about the science behind eating dates at Evidence Based Birth and Mama Natural‘s blog.

Get Frequent Chiropractic Care

It’s as simple as this, a properly aligned body can do miraculous things. You need your body to be in good working shape for an event like birth!

Read more about chiropractic care during pregnancy in my post, “8 Tips To Relieve Pain in Pregnancy.”

Stay Active

Try to get movement in daily. Find what feels best for you. Exercise, especially towards the end of pregnancy, becomes challenging and tiring. Some forms of exercise might feel downright impossible! I had trouble walking because of debilitating SPD but I did at least some intentional movement every day. Here are some gentle exercise ideas that work really well for pregnant mamas:

  • MommaStrong: daily gentle low-impact exercise designed for moms. MommaStrong has been the most life-changing exercise that I have ever found. I love it because it is sustainable- even while pregnant, and even with a newborn! I wrote more about MommaStrong in my post, “8 Tips to Relieve Pain in Pregnancy.”
  • Prenatal yoga
  • Swimming

Favorite Free Videos For Prenatal Movement

  • For stretching: this video is my favorite. I did this video almost daily during my pregnancy!
  • Exercising and stretching with an exercise ball: I used this video alongside the stretching video referenced previously. If I was experiencing more hip pain on a particular day, then I would do exercise with the ball.
  • Mama Natural has a great video, 7 Easy Exercises for An Optimal Pregnancy & Labor, that is a great guide to easy exercises that you can implement throughout the day to prepare your body for labor.

If you are able to walk, do it!

Walking is a very gentle exercise that is easy for most pregnant women. The best thing about walking is that it is one of the best ways to naturally prep your body for labor.

Here are some reasons that you should be walking to prepare your body for labor.

  • It is a total body exercise. Walking is great for your heart and overall body muscle toning.
  • Walking lowers the risk of pre-eclampsia. Basically, walking helps maintain a steady weight, maintaining a healthy weight lowers cholesterol, leading to lower blood pressure and ultimately lowering your risk. (Source)
  • It will release endorphins – nature’s feel-good chemical. Walking can help balance mood and release stress.
  • Walking tones the hip muscles and allows for better flexibility which can lead to a faster and easier labor!

Walking will reduce the chances of developing morning sickness, fatigue, cramps, constipation, varicose veins and being sleeplessness especially at nights. Exercising on a regular basis induces sleep and walking every day will help burn off excess energy, therefore promoting sound sleep.

Rebecca Malachi, MomJunction.com

Fuel Your Body With Proper Nutrition

Pregnancy, labor and delivery is like a triathlon because it is a back-to-back sequence of 3 different types of physical exertion. I imagine that you wouldn’t find an athlete that is training for a triathlon eating like some pregnant women do. (You can’t see me but I am shaking my head.) If you’re wanting to prepare for a natural birth, then eat in a way that nourishes your body.

Fuel your body appropriately for the occasion. Your body is working hard to make a baby so give it the food it needs to thrive. Get your healthy on, girl!

  • Your body needs carbohydrates, fats, and protein in EVERY meal or snack.
  • Leftover chicken nuggets, 3 grapes and the crust off of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich from your child’s plate is NOT a balanced meal.
  • A single serve Greek yogurt is NOT a sustaining snack. You need more protein!
  • Eating an apple for a snack seems healthy but it is NOT enough to be a snack on its own.
  • Let me say it louder for the people in the back- EVERY MEAL OR SNACK NEEDS PROTEIN!

My Favorite Pregnancy Meals and Snacks

Snacks:

Meals:

  • Grilled cheese on sprouted toast, carrots with ranch, grapes and strawberry milk
  • Southwestern chicken salad with blackened chicken, rice/beans, avocado, corn, lettuce, tomato… YUM!
  • Mega Meatballs with green beans and cauliflower rice

And countless recipes from the Trim Healthy Mama Cookbook and their newest cookbook Trim Healthy Table.

A Simple Way To Eat Well

Trim Healthy Mama (THM) is an eating plan that is focused on balance. It is primarily shared on the basis of weight loss but it is an excellent way of eating for pregnant and nursing mamas.

God gave us so many things to eat! The two sisters who wrote the plan realized that most diets are doing it wrong by cutting out this and that. God gave us food to enjoy it and He celebrates fine dining. Grains, fats, meat- He gave all of it to us to delight in.

Trim Healthy Mama has changed thousands of women’s lives through a sustainable way of eating for the whole family- including mine. I have found food freedom through THM! My blood sugar is finally under control and I understand why I should eat healthier things. I am more in tune with what my body needs because of the THM way of eating.

Basics of Trim Healthy Mama

  • For weight loss: separate fats and carbs in each meal/snack. Anchor your meal with protein!
  • For pregnant/nursing mamas: combine fats and carbs in each meal/snack. Anchor your meal with protein!
  • Avoid sugar, what good is it doing you anyways? Enjoy sweet treats that are sweetened with stevia.
  • Avoid white (processed) foods, white bread and flour only spike your blood sugar then leave you with a sugar crash later.
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