Why Choose a Natural Birth?
Many people wonder "Why would a person choose a natural birth?". Our response is always, "Why not?".
I stumbled upon a wonderful breakdown of birth and the importance of the natural cascade from The Journal of Perinatal Medicine on NCBI. They got a lot of their info from Lamaze.com.
" In the last month of pregnancy, the cervix softens and ripens like a piece of fruit. Contractions of the uterus become noticeable, and the baby settles into the pelvis. The contractions become stronger, the cervix stretches and opens, and the baby moves lower and rotates, eventually moving down the birth canal. With each contraction, pain sends a signal to the brain and oxytocin is released. With the release of oxytocin, the contractions increase in intensity. As the pain of contractions increases, more oxytocin is released and the contractions become harder."
Let us never underestimate the magic of our bodies. The involuntary ease of things that seem crazy difficult. Birth.
Why would a woman choose to feel the pain of birth? Well you must first understand the "Why a natural birth" decision in the first place. Why not just take a golf cart on the 5k run and see who's car makes it first? That'll be the winner. The preparation, the focus, the connection of all things mind, body and soul to make it happen. This is why people do difficult things, it's a necessary part of the goal.
"The pain of labor is what most women worry about. It is important to understand that the pain of the contractions in labor is valuable. It is an important way in which nature actually helps women find their own ways of facilitating birth. In a very real sense, the pain of each contraction becomes a guide for the laboring woman. The positions and activities she chooses in response to what she feels actually help labor progress by increasing the strength and efficiency of the contractions and encouraging the baby to settle in and move down the birth canal. When the pain is entirely removed, the feedback system is disrupted and labor is likely to slow down and become less efficient."
This includes fear in labor. If women have fear of birth it will disrupt the necessary communication of the body on labor day and in turn slow or prolong labor. Childbirth classes can help fight the fears of birth, doula's, and open communication with your provider as well. Getting comfortable with your team and feeling safe with them will only benefit you on labor day.
"A woman surrounded by family, friends, and health care providers who remind her of the power of labor and encourage her quietly and patiently is a woman who is not afraid. Her support team is totally present and comforts her as she does the hard work of labor. She eats and drinks and, even if labor lasts a long time, she has the energy she needs to persevere. She rests between contractions. No one looks at the clock. Everyone trusts the process of birth and believes that she has the strength and the wisdom to give birth." One of my final quotes from the article that I like really shows why the experience and reactions and feelings are good for not only mom, but baby too. "The woman moves in response to what she feels. Whether she gives birth in a hospital, birthing center, or at home, she is able to use a wide variety of comfort measures; for example, moving freely, listening to music, taking a shower or bath, and having her feet and hands massaged. She is able to create an environment that is just what she needs as she does the hard work of labor and birth. She pushes her baby down the birth canal, responding now to the pressure of contractions and the baby as he rotates through the pelvis and moves down the birth canal. She moves, changes position, and grunts, sometimes holding her breath—all in response to what she is feeling. In this way, she not only protects the muscles of the birth canal and perineum but also protects her baby as he is born. A great surge of adrenaline insures that the mother is alert, even if her labor has been long. She is totally focused on her baby, ready and eager to embrace him. Baby is eager and alert, too. The stimulation of his journey has primed him for the transition to life outside the womb."