You’re having a baby! Yay! It’s such a happy time in your life, one that’s filled with joy, anticipation, nausea, nerves, anxiety and flat-out fear. Wait a minute. Anxiety and fear? Women have been having babies – natural birth, no less – forever. Literally. Shouldn’t we know what we’re doing?
Nope. Pregnancy and childbirth are a big deal and it’s OK to have all of those feelings, even if this isn’t your first child. Having a baby is a daunting prospect. Not only are things changing – your body and your whole life, to mention two – you have many decisions to make. Some of those decisions are out of your hands. You’re not going to know when your water will break (unless your delivery is scheduled) and you won’t know exactly what your baby will look like, or weigh, despite modern technology’s best efforts. What you can do, however, is plan for the things that matter to you.
If a natural birth or a water birth are possibilities you’re considering, Certified Nurse Midwives from Premier Physician Network, Lifestages Center for Women deliver at Miami Valley Hospital South in Centerville to offer these options to moms in the Dayton area.
Is natural birth better for my baby? What about for me?
Natural birth can be gentler and has many benefits for moms and babies. Since you don’t need to stay in bed, you are free to labor in whatever position is most comfortable, often resulting in a shorter labor with less pushing. Allowing labor to progress naturally also results in fewer interventions like pitocin, continuous fetal monitoring, and epidurals. Babies are usually more alert, have fewer issues with their breathing, and tend to show more interest in breastfeeding when they are born without medication in their system. Premier Physician Network Certified Nurse Midwife Carla King tells us,
“Moms recover faster as they are up and moving and get an endorphin release, which are natural calming and pain relieving hormones that cause a euphoric feeling in response to pain. And most importantly, mothers feel empowered. Making it through the demands of labor and birth help women feel stronger and confident when handling other challenges.”
Can I have my regular OB/GYN if I want to have a natural birth? Or must I have a midwife?
According to Carla, “While midwives are very comfortable caring for women planning natural childbirth, some OBs also will attend natural births. It’s best to interview providers to find the best fit for you, and one who is supportive of your birth plans.”
It depends. You’ll need to discuss your preferences with your preferred provider far in advance of giving birth, preferably at the very beginning of your pregnancy. If you and your current OB don’t see eye-to-eye, you can search from the many providers at Lifestages Center for Women. You don’t want any added stress when the big day arrives, and you want to be sure things go according to plan. Or as much according to plan as is possible when pregnancy and childbirth are involved.
Do natural births take place in a hospital?
The answer is yes! Many women have low intervention, unmedicated births with the midwives of Premier Physician Network, who support the birth options women choose, in the state-of-the-art facilities at Miami Valley Hospital South. It may not be home, but the home-like setting – with comfy beds and peaceful surroundings – comes close. Plus, being in the hospital allows you and your baby to be closer to emergency services if they’re needed.
What comfort measures are available with a natural birth?
You have many options for relieving the discomfort of labor when having a natural birth. Your Premier Physician Network midwife will partner with you to create your personalized birth experience, including your preferences for comfort management.
Midwives are able to offer many different comfort measures to support you, including movement, massage, hydrotherapy, aromatherapy, relaxation breathing and meditation. They’re also very adaptable and adjust to whatever position is most comfortable for you. “You may give birth in bed if you choose, standing at the bedside, squatting on the floor, kneeling in the tub, or even sitting on the toilet!” said Premier Physician Network’s Carla King, CNM.
What water birth/water labor options are available to me?
Laboring in water at Miami Valley Hospital South is an option that many women find comforting. In fact, Premier Physician Network midwife Susan Kloth says, “Many women feel the water helps to relieve tension and discomfort during labor and birth.”
If you’re having a low risk pregnancy, you may be able to labor and possibly deliver in water with the CNMs from Premier Physician Network at Miami Valley Hospital South who are able to provide support for moms who want this option.
Laboring and delivering in water at Miami Valley Hospital South also has potential positive effects for both you and baby. Among these are increased maternal mobility, shorter labor, increased relaxation, less perineal trauma, a gentle birth for baby, and psychological benefits for the mother.
If choosing water birth at at Miami Valley Hospital South, it might also have some advantages when it comes to preventing tearing, but the research is still out on that. CNM Carla tells us,
“Some studies have shown that water birth may reduce minor tears, while other studies have not shown a difference in tearing between water births and land births. There is, however, research to show that water birth does reduce severe 3rd and 4th degree tearing.”
Do all providers attend water births?
Not necessarily. This goes back to discussing your plan with your preferred provider ahead of time. Some OB/GYNs will attend water births at Miami Valley Hospital South, while others will not. It’s best to discuss your plans and birth options with the provider that you see.