We get lots of calls from expectant mothers with questions about how to have a normal delivery. Such questions are more frequent from first time mothers whose natural apprehension about labor pain, diet, exercise, prevailing cesarean operations and well-being of their babies, combined with lack of empathy and support from their current medical care givers and absence of a support system that used to exist in joint families drives them to worry all the time.
We tell them that birth is a natural, physiological process that their bodies are capable of performing and which nature has been perfecting for thousands of years. Except for some severe medical conditions, over 95% of women are capable of normal delivery, provided they are supported, encouraged, and given the right facts about good diet, exercise, labor, childbirth, etc. While there is no magic wand that will guarantee a 100% normal delivery outcome, there are definitely things that you can do to help yourself become an active participant in your baby’s birth and not be relegated to a “patient” in your hospital subject to IVs, drugs, and medical procedures.
These include the following:
1. Have a balanced diet for each stage of your pregnancy
2. Maintain an active lifestyle, with regular, brisk walking schedules
3. Drink lots of water (8 – 10 glasses a day)
4. Do gentle exercises that will make your body fit and flexible, especially the pelvic region, for the baby’s descent to become easy?
5. Keep yourself emotionally happy and stress free. Listen to good music, and try to be positive
6. Avoid “test syndrome” where some women are constantly testing themselves (e.g. ultrasound, blood tests, scans etc) and worrying themselves to death
7. Conduct your due diligence on the care providers you are going to select for your childbirth. Check if your midwife, doctor or hospital will support your wish for normal delivery? Check what their normal delivery rates are. After all, it is you who are the customer. Become an informed customer, who has done their research. Don’t you do due diligence when you buy a car?
8. Create a Birth Plan, which is a document that articulates your and your husband’s expectations of your hospital when you go there for giving birth. You might want to create the Birth Plan in advance and share it with your doctor who will be at birth, and work with her to arrive at a mutually acceptable plan.
9. Attend a childbirth class or prenatal class such as Lamaze in your city or neighborhood. If there is one thing that you can do for yourself to help you during your pregnancy and childbirth, it is this. Choose the right instructor who is certified to teach Lamaze classes, and discuss with her your fears, concerns or wishes. A good teacher will take the time to answer all your questions patiently, be available for you anytime, and be a reliable resource for all your queries. A good Lamaze teacher will make you knowledgeable and confident that normal delivery is not at all difficult and that you are capable of it.