As an expectant mom, there are a lot of decisions you’ll need to make for your baby and yourself. Making a birth plan is important for both of you, and one important aspect to consider is whether or not you want to have a natural delivery.
It’s a very personal decision, but there are some things you need to know if you’re considering a natural birth:
You’ll be more in control and alert. A natural birth may be best if you want to be active throughout labor and delivery, stay in control of your body as much as possible, and have minimal routine interventions. You will also feel all the pain and discomfort that goes along with labor and delivery.
Less risk and shorter recovery. A natural vaginal delivery usually has fewer complications for mom than cesarean birth. With a vaginal birth, there is no abdominal incision so none of the risks associated with surgery, and the anesthesia risks are lower. The hospital stay is often shorter, and recovery at home is usually faster after a vaginal birth.
Relaxation techniques are often helpful. Many find breathing exercises, visualization and other relaxation techniques you learn when preparing for natural birth helpful during labor, delivery and the early days with a newborn.
If you previously had a C-section, a natural vaginal birth is still possible. Many women who have had cesarean births can deliver vaginally (referred to as a VBAC or vaginal birth after cesarean) if no risk factors are present. In fact, 60 to 80 percent of these women go on to have successful vaginal deliveries.
Openly discuss your wishes and goals. Talk with your doctor about your birth plan, and discuss your goals for your labor and delivery so you can work together.
It may not go according to plan. Remember that no matter how well-prepared, healthy or confident you are, you may have to throw your natural birth plan out the window. Medical interventions may be absolutely necessary or labor may be longer or more painful than you expected. Ultimately, the health of mom and baby is the most important thing.
The key to a successful natural birth is preparation, support and communication with your doctor prior to delivery day. Your physician should be happy to answer any questions you may have about childbirth to help make it one of the best experiences of your life.
By Nathan Ross, MD
Dr. Nathan Ross is an OB/GYN with Brookwood Baptist Women’s Medical Center.
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