Natural Childbirth - Unassisted Childbirth, Water Birth and More
The trend today in childbirth is toward expectant mothers educating themselves about labor and learning more about natural childbirth. For many years the surge in technology and science put men in charge of women's issues, including birthing babies. What women today are figuring out and returning to is the concept that being pregnant and having babies is a normal function for the female species, and as long as there are no extenuating circumstances, it doesn't require the intervention of men, machinery and medicine.
Natural childbirth is giving birth without the aid of anesthetic or interventions such as episiotomy. A natural birth allows a woman to go through the entire birthing process using techniques such as Lamaze, relaxation, even hypnosis, to remain relaxed and involved with the birth. Lamaze breathing techniques have been used for many years as a means of helping with natural childbirth, and it is a great way to have the birth partner or coach involved as well. There are many natural childbirth photos and natural childbirth stories that are both inspiring and intimate, helping women see the beauty of giving birth naturally.
Birthing Centers and Water Births
Many hospitals today offer birthing centers, a place within the hospital that is set apart specifically to serve women who have developed a birth plan for natural birth. The setting is homelike, warm, and inviting and usually is reminiscent of giving birth at home. Friends and family can be present and there are midwives and nurse-practitioners to assist in the births as opposed to obstetricians and sterile labor rooms. If the birth plan is for a water birth, centers are generally well-equipped to handle it. If not, then it is possible to rent a birthing tub and have the baby at home with a nurse-practitioner or midwife in attendance. Water births are becoming more popular as a way to have a baby without the stress of a "dry" delivery. Water is buoyant and makes laboring and delivery easier.
Unassisted Childbirth - A Woman Doing It Her Way
Some expectant mothers are also investigating the concept of unassisted childbirth, where the mother has a water birth at home without the aid of a midwife. The belief behind unassisted childbirth is that giving birth is inherently safe and relatively painless under healthy conditions. Where there is stress, where the mother is not healthy, or where there is interference either physically or psychologically, then an unassisted birth is not only difficult, it can be dangerous. In most cases, though, drugs, machinery, and medical personnel are not necessary. When giving birth unassisted, a woman is allowed to depend upon her own intellect and intuition. When birth is managed or controlled by outside forces, then fear complicates the delivery. By removing the fear factor and understanding the natural progression of birth, a woman can give birth without pain or tearing, and the baby is born relaxed and fine. It is possible to see unassisted natural childbirth videos, where the baby is born without any obvious pain to the mother and without the aid of other people.
Is There a Plan B?
A birth plan that integrates a natural birth or a water birth requires finding a birthing center that is user friendly in these regards, or a determination to have the baby at home. The question is always, should you have a plan "B"? That depends entirely upon the mental and emotional state of the mother and her partner. By using a birthing center, there is obviously the support of a medical staff in the event of something unplanned. Having a baby at home, with trained support present also provides a safety net and many women are opting for this method of birthing their babies. Unassisted childbirth does not have the medical support the other methods have, unless the couple makes provision for it in their birth plan.
Whatever method is decided upon, natural childbirth without interventions allows a woman to experience her own power in doing what is a natural function for her body to perform - birthing her baby.