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Friday, June 10, 2011

Why I choose natural birth

Birth and babies are two things very close to my heart.

I think partly because I grew up knowing my parents believed in natural birth, I sort of always knew I wanted that.  My mom had eight babies naturally (6 of them at home) and that made a big impact on me.  It inspired me, and it gave me the confidence that I could do it too.  I am so thankful for the atypical perspective this gave me. 

The more I think about it, the more I realize that what we do really does affect our children and the choices they make as they grow up.  I don't want my daughters to be scared of birth, to think it is an illness, or to think that doctors always know better than they do.  I want them to know that God created their bodies to give birth to babies.  Most of the time interventions to this natural process of growing and birthing babies are unnecessary, and often they are detrimental to mom and/or baby.

The key to a successful natural birth is having someone who cares {personally} about you and having someone who you can trust.  A good support system is crucial.  A good midwife or doctor believes in you even when you don't.  When you're in the midst of pain that is clouding your judgement and you don't think you can do it anymore, a good care provider calmly encourages you and helps you to reach your goal of natural birth.  A doula is also a wonderful blessing.

Natural birth is best for baby.  God created the mother's body to release endorphins {in response to the pain} as she births her baby, which aids in the wonderful bonding of mom and baby.  {If you've birthed with drugs, you may be thinking that you bonded just fine, but having been on both sides with a completely natural vs. a not so natural birth, I can tell you there has been a big difference in the bonding levels.  It's like "fine bonding" vs. "wow bonding".}

It's amazing how beneficial it is for the baby to travel through the birth canal.  As the baby squeezes through the canal, the squeezing expels the amniotic fluid from the baby's lungs in preparation for the baby's first breath.  Having a c-section doesn't accomplish this. 

Natural birth eliminates your baby being born with drugs in their system.  Drugs in you and your baby can cause discomfort, affect bonding, etc. for both the mom and baby.  The drugs do cross the placenta and can even affect the baby's respiration.  Of course pain meds and epidurals are common and popular.  No doubt it works to ease pain, but is it best?  Why do we think it is normal and ok to pump such a pure and tiny baby with drugs if not absolutely necessary?

Pain is not always bad.  We have been taught to fear pain.  And that fear causes more pain.  Vicious cycle, huh?  The knowledge of how God created my body to birth a baby, and the knowledge that the pain is accomplishing this, really helps me to push through the pain.  Even to be thankful for it.  Admittedly that isn't always what I'm thinking during birth {although sometimes I do}, but afterwards I can look back and be thankful for it.  Experiencing this "labor of love" is a beautiful thing.

Although I say that pain can be beautiful as it accomplishes it's purpose, I also believe that birth doesn't always have to be as painful as it is.  The birthing class that I took when I was pregnant with my first child was a huge help in learning how to manage and deal with pain.  Learning to relax has an amazing effect on the pain, as well as knowing that I am surrounded by an amazing, supportive birth team.  Looking back at all three of my births, I can see a difference in the pain I experienced as directly related to the fear/anxiety/calmness I was feeling while in labor.  The two births that were overall much more painful, I believe were more painful because I was scared, anxious, and not surrounded by people that I felt I could trust.  It's amazing.

Also worth noting, is the fact that most doctors are trained for complications, not for normal birth.  Midwives, are in general, the opposite.  OB doctors are more specifically trained in handling high risk, abnormal, emergency situations, rather than low risk, normal situations.  That being said, if I am able to have a normal, natural birth, I would much rather have a midwife, but, if I needed a surgery I would rather have a doctor skilled in that area be the one to perform it.

Of course, all of this is just my two cents.  You can take it or leave it.  I am not a physician of any sort, I only hope to share my experiences and the things that I have learned.  Although I would love to see all women desire and attempt natural birth, I also don't believe in pushing anyone to it.  It has to be your decision and what you are comfortable with.

There is so much more that could be said, but I don't want to make this so long that no one will want to read it!  If you have a specific question {within reason, of course}, leave a comment or email me and I will do my best to answer.  :-)

You can also check out my thoughts on breastfeeding here.


Randall and Rachel Beita said...

An encouragement to me as I near the time for my little one to be born!!

Kelly said...

Thanks so much for this Sarah : ) I am going to work on ways to relax during labor to see if I can make it all the way naturally with our second. You made some great points. I feel like with my first I didn't know what to expect and was trying to fight the contractions/pain instead of working with them. Thanks for giving me a homework assignment for the next few months! Not to get too personal, but did you need stitches with any of yours and were they doable? My first baby was 8 lbs, 9 oz and I only gained 13 pounds that pregnancy. Thanks again for the post.

DebbieS. said...

So beautiful! My thoughts, exactly, but unfortunately, I've never made the time to write them down, thoroughly. I especially love the part about being surrounded by people who love you. Having attended nearly 100 births, I KNOW it is true. It is amazing to watch!! Haven't we been blessed with the most skilled, awesome caregiver around?! My prayer is that Rachel will experience this most glorius blessing.
Thanks so much for writing this. I love you!