Preparing for an unmedicated birth
I’ve shared pregnancy updates on my Instagram page with this current pregnancy. Chase and I have felt good about using midwives and birthing at a birthing center. We had lots of questions at our initial consultation back when I was just 10 weeks. We felt they had birthed enough babies and knew what to do in an emergency. We are only 2-3 miles away from them and only 2-3 miles from our hospital.
I have learned SO much more than I ever did with the OB I used with my pregnancy with Kason. Instead of medications and OTC meds, they’ve suggested supplements to help with a few ailments I’ve encountered (constipation and sleep being the big ones).
At our 30 week appointment we found that our little boy is transverse/breach. Spinningbabies.com has some great suggestions for transverse/breach babies. There were 2 exercises I found helpful: Forward Leaning Inversion and Breech Tilt. After each time I did them I went by feel (from baby) and where I heard the heartbeat on our doppler. He has since flipped.
When pregnant with Kason I took a hypnobirthing class. It included positive birthing affirmations, and guided meditations. I listened to the birthing affirmations in the shower, and meditated for about 30 minutes every day from week 25- 40 weeks. I labored with back labor and without medication for 33 hours with Kason. I ended up getting an epidural because I was exhausted and knew I still needed dilate fully, then push.
Reflecting on Kason’s birth, I wasn’t getting in different positions to get Kason in the correct position and was bed restricted once I got an epidural.
So preparing for this birth, I looked into the causes of back labor, and it’s either I have a short torso or he was in the wrong position. With posterior babies (baby is facing your belly, instead of your back), I found that you can have; back labor, labor can start and stop, longer early labor, longer active labor, more likely to tear, and more likely to need a vacuum or forceps. Everything I listed, (there are more than that) I experienced with Kason.
So with all that, I’m happy to have different help that really knows what to do.
Why am I doing this? and why should you maybe consider it?
Before anything else, please go check out the documentary called “The Business of Being Born” with Ricky Lake. It opened my eyes to the fact that hospitals are businesses, they are there to make money.
My mom had my younger brother and sister at home without medication. So I’ve grown up with that knowledge that women are strong, they can do a lot of hard things, and that women are made to handle giving birth.
While Pitocin speeds up contractions, epidurals slow them down, and epidurals make baby lethargic once delivered. Which can make getting started with breastfeeding difficult. Still possible but difficult.
A big factor in my why is that my experience with my OB and time at the hospital was not ideal. I’ll give you some things that happened to me throughout my pregnancy and birth.
- There was no education given to me about the changes in my body and I was just supposed to “know”.
- I didn’t know if I was supposed to come in fasting or not for my glucose test.
- He checked my cervix without my consent after performing a group B strep test.
- There was no talk of baby positioning, or making sure that Kason was in the correct position (head down, facing your back).
- Said I had to be induced at 41 weeks.
- Didn’t tell me when I should go to the hospital (5-1-1 rule).
- Once Kason was born he had trouble breathing. The doctors weren’t going to let me hold him. I insisted and said I had just spent over 40 hours in labor with him and gone through 7+ years of infertility…I just want to see what he looks like.
- The hospital didn’t encourage breast feeding within the first 2 hours.
- The nurses didn’t show me how to use a breast pump or even hand expression. They didn’t help get me started, they assumed that I knew what to do, and I finally ended up having to ask them.
- I ended up having to be my own advocate.
Those are my reasonings on WHY I’m choosing to have an unmedicated birth at a birthing center.
So here is what I’m currently doing to prepare for labor:
- Listening to birthing affirmations every day (or at least 5 times a week) – there’s a lot of power in listening to positive affirmations to help change your mindset (birth and with infertility).
- Listening to guided meditations everyday while finding comfortable positions to be in.
- Listening to other meditations/music (headspace app, calming ocean music) to help me practice the breathing that I’ll be doing during contractions and rest. During labor contractions, breathing “8 counts in and 8 counts out” while relaxing my face, jaw, neck and hands. During rest, breathing “4 count in 8 counts out”.
- Forward Leaning Inversions daily to help give more room in my uterus.
- Sitting with my hips higher than my knees. Helping with back labor and rotating my pelvis.
- Reading books on birth and breastfeeding. The two that I’ve really enjoyed are both authored by Ina May Gaskin, “Guide to Childbirth” and “Guide to Breastfeeding“.
- The Miles Circuit (also here) to help before or during labor, while also learning other comfortable positions.
While I am preparing for an unmedicated birth, I know labor is going to be hard. I remember it being hard, almost like running a super long marathon/ultra, and I’m only going to expect it to be just as hard. But, like with preparing to run a marathon, I have to prepare my mind and body for birth.
If you are wanting to give this a try I highly encourage you to PREPARE, and PRACTICE during your pregnancy (especially during the 3rd trimester). Like with anything (running, learning something new, etc) it takes work and lots of practice.
Here are some great resources that have helped me this pregnancy:
- Hypnobirthing with LauraLyn Curtis– she has the audio tracks that you can buy and use without having to take the class, if you aren’t local.
- Hypnobabies – I tried to listen to these, but it just wasn’t for me.
- The positive birth company – I heard good things from a YouTuber.
- This 10 minute meditation by Bridget Teyler
- Headspace app – the whole app is great (what I’ve been able to access for free). He’s also got a pregnancy meditation (for up to 20 minutes) that I tried out and thought it was great.
- Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin was by far the best book I read. She gives so many good pointers and ideas through labor, as well as a ton of positive birth stories.
- The Birth Partner by Penny Simkin has been a great help for me relaying tips to Chase.
- These videos: Coping without medication, Breathing techniques for easier labor