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Preparing for a Natural Labor & Delivery

on December 14, 2012 by Jami Balmet 15 comments

Natural Pregnancy is the topic of discussion this month! Last week I shared 10 steps you can take toward a natural pregnancy and birth. I am preparing to have twin boys any day now and this topic has been on my mind lately. A lot!

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I have my hospital bag packed, my birth plan written out, the car seats are installed, we took a Bradley birthing class and now we are eagerly awaiting that trip to the hospital that will result in bringing home two sweet bundles. But our journey to this place of peace took a while.

When we first found out I was pregnant, we were so excited! But quickly the realization that I knew nothing about labor and deliver, let alone how to do it naturally, started to sink in! So I have spent the last 8 months busy studying on natural labor and delivery. And while I havn’t actually delivered yet, I am at so much more peace knowing what to expect {or what to expect to the best of my abilities}.

And now that I have been in the hospital 4 times over the last month in premature labor, I know that all my preparing was well worth it! So if you are preparing for a natural labor and delivery for the first time, I encourage you to…Study, study, study! I hope you find these resources helpful!

Preparing for a Natural Labor and Delivery

Start with a Healthy Pregnancy

One of the best ways you can prepare for a natural labor and delivery is by having a healthy and natural pregnancy. When you eat right, exercise, take care of your body and limit your intake of chemicals then you are much more likely to have a smooth and natural birth.

Know What to Expect

Okay, you can’t really know what to expect but you can read as much as possible on what to expect. You can educate yourself on standard IV practices, fetal monitoring, hospital policies, shots, and vaccines given out routinely. Knowing what to expect beforehand can help you make informed decisions with time to think instead of emotional responses in the moment.

Learn from other women, find out what you should bring with you to the hospital, take a tour of the hospital to see what the labor and delivery rooms look like, and learn hospital policies on things like vaccines given at birth.

Take a Birthing Class

This is my biggest piece of advice. We took a 10 week Bradley class and nothing has prepared me for birth more than this class! We went through a work book and read two other books during the course of the class. Our leaders have been to dozens of births and were really able to answer all of our questions!

They brought up things we would never have thought to talk about, such as postpartum bleeding, tearing, ways that the husband can help in the delivery room, nursing and so much more! We went from pregnancy through childbirth all the way to what to do after birth. We covered normal low risk births and also how to have the most natural C section and emergency situation you can. I highly recommend you take a Bradley Birthing class or at least read the bookYou can find local classes on their website. 

 Decide on Medication and Procedures

There is a LOT to think about and study when it comes to the medication and procedures that may or may not happen during labor and delivery. Studying (and taking the Bradly class)  will help you feel more prepared and knowledgeable about the process.

Do you have an opinion and plan of action on the following things? No? Then get to studying! Don’t just leave things in the hands of the hospital…they don’t always do the best thing  for youDo you really know the risks and benefits of the following?

  • IV’s 24/7
  • Fetal Monitoring 24/7
  • The use of Pitocin
  • Artificially rupturing membranes {breaking the water}
  • Epidurals and other pain medications
  • Natural ways to relieve pain
  • Circumcision {if you are having a baby boy}
  • Vaccines and shots given to your newborn
  • Shots that they will offer you after birth {flu & pertussis}
  • And more! There are so any decisions to make at the hospital…it can become overwhelming!

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Plan What Type of Birth You Want

We briefly covered this in 10 Steps Towards a Natural Pregnancy & Birth, but it is very important to consider! When I first began researching this I had no idea that there was such a difference between having your baby at a hospital or a birthing center. And obvisouly a home birth seems different but I was really clueless to all the different pros and cons of each. Because of length of time to the birthing center, insurance,  being a scared first time mom, and being high risk because of twins, we ended up deciding on a hospital birth for out twins.

I already know that next time I will be at a birthing center or at home. However, this is a unique decision that each family must make for themselves – there is no one size fits all birthing option. I just encourage you to do research on all three before making a decision. I always said I would never have a home birth and here I am considering it!!

Hop down to point #8 in my article from last week to read different peoples decisions and experiences with hospital births, birthing centers, and home births.

Read Other Women’s Birth Stories

A great way to prepare is to read and listen to other women’s birthing stories! Yes, some will try and tell you what you should do. But just remember, no two births are the same. No two women are the same. Just because your mother, sister, or friend had a certain experience during labor doesn’t mean yours will be anything like it!

But it is great to read stories of those who had hospital births, birthing center births, and home births and really helps you to prepare your mind for what labor is like if this is your first baby. Here are some great birth stories:

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Of course not everything goes exactly how we plan them. I am planning on a drug free natural labor and delivery. But especially because I’m having twins, one baby is still breech, and there are more risks I could very well end up with a C Section and lots of drugs. Do you know what my response is to that? God is on control. 

I can’t control my labor and delivery. I can’t pick the time and exactly how everything will develop. But I can spend time researching and I will walk {or roll} into that hospital knowledgeable about the medication, procedures, and things that could happen during labor and delivery. I think I would be a lot more nervous about birth right now if I wasn’t so informed. I feel that I have done everything in my power to prepare and now the rest is in God’s timing and control. What a wonderful feeling!

So I want to know: What did YOU do to prepare for labor and delivery? What books did you read? Did you take any classes? Share below! 

This post is part of my Natural Pregnancy & Beyond Series. Catch up on all the posts in this series:

  1. Introduction
  2. Young, In Love, and Pregnant: Our Journey To Parenthood
  3. Our Maternity Photo Shoot
  4. 7 Reasons We Are Starting a Family Young
  5. My Dream of Becoming a Stay at Home Mom: How We Made it a Reality
  6. Crowning Him in Worship: Reflections on Redeeming Childbirth
  7. 10 Steps Towards a Natural Pregnancy & Birth
  8. How Pregnancy Can Lead to Healthy Choices
  9. Discovering the Benefits of Breastfeeding
  10. Preparing for a Natural Labor & Delivery

Get instant free access to my Finding Joy in Your Home video course.

  • Do you want to discover more joy, peace, & tranquility within your home?
  • Do you feel overwhelmed and like your house is out of control?
  • Join my free course and learn the essential habits for Christian homemakers
  1. Jami Leigh, you have been on my mind, and I’ve been wondering how you’re doing! I am so happy that it’s almost time for your baby boys to come! That is wonderful!! I recently shared our birth story. I was planning a water birth in the hospital. It was a wonderful experience, even though not exactly how I planned, and our baby girl is perfect!! 🙂 Praying for you!!

    • Hi Brenda,

      Thanks 🙂 I’ve been doing pretty good! I’m measuring over 40 weeks (and I’m only 35) so I’ve been very uncomfortable lately but the boys are growing big and healthy and that’s all that matters!! 😀 I actually just read your birth story the other day, thanks for the encouragement 🙂

  2. Good for you for preparing! I recently blogged about this (http://www.thekoalabearwriter.com/2012/10/a-birth-education.html) as I also spent a lot of time reading and preparing for birth (before both my first and second daughters), but I’ve talked to other women who don’t. Books I’d recommend include anything by Ina May Gaskin and Sheila Kitzinger. We also read the Bradley book and enjoyed it. Check out Henci Goer’s The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth. Do read birth stories, but as you say, EVERY birth is different. My first labour and birth were different even from my second labour and birth. So it’s nice to have an idea about what to expect, but expect the unexpected!!! 🙂 And best to you in your labour and delivery. I hope you are able to have both your boys naturally.

    • Cool, I will check out your post as well 🙂 Thank you for the suggestions. I am happy to read everything and anything to get prepared!! Although I’m running out of time now to read much more haha.

  3. Hello Jami Leigh,
    I’ve been thinking a lot about you lately. I’ve had to be on bed rest for the last 9 weeks with our eighth baby, and I know you’ve had the same because of your twins. We’ve finally made it to 37 weeks so we’re safe for a home birth now. I pray that everything will go okay for you and your boys. I’m looking forward to hearing of their arrival. All of my births have been very different starting with my first being a very unplanned c-section. The best part of birth no matter how it went is when they lay that baby in your arms. It makes every moment of pain and discomfort so worth it. And you’re right, preparing yourself as much as possible beforehand is very important. Because I had done that with my first I have no regrets about the c-section. I knew we had done everything we possibly could and there was no other way this baby would make it into the world safely.

    • Hi Jennifer,

      Oh wow! I’ve been on bed rest for about 4 1/2 weeks (and can finally start to get up and move around some more). 9 weeks must be hard! I am getting so antsy and ready to be able to walk around a store or the block again haha!! Yay! Praise the Lord that you made it to 37 weeks, how wonderful! And that you can do it at home still 🙂 Thank you for the encouragement! I know that no matter how they arrive, the important thing will be that they are HERE and that we finally get to meet them 🙂

  4. Hello Jami Leigh,
    I am visiting from Deep Roots at Home. As a labor/delivery nurse I applaud the preparation that have accomplished and share here. It is so valuable to be educated on interventions. When you are admitted at the hospital I encourage you to share your birth plan simply with the staff. Let them know what is important to you. Perhaps your husband can keep a couple printed copies for reference–my prayer is that you will have good communication both ways. The staff needs to understand your desire and you need to hear their advice.

    I have been a homebirth nurse and a hospital labor/delivery nurse. It is valuable to have supportive people around you.

    • Thank you Carol!! It’s great to get the perspective of a Nurse 🙂 I went into premature labor a few times about 6 weeks ago and got to meet a lot of the labor and delivery nurses and they were all so fantastic! I am thankful to have a team like that at the small hospital we will be giving birth at 🙂 Thank you, we will share our birth plan and also make sure to do it respectfully! 🙂

  5. Hi Jami!

    Congratulations on your pregnancy and the excitement of a two for one expectancy! I love to hear other young mom’s getting educated on childbirth, and I think you’re doing great gathering information. I was the same way, but had a single birth that brought less questions I suppose. I wrote my birth story and shared it earlier this year, and I thought it might be helpful. I shared about the struggle we had to see eye to eye with hospital staff and the difficulty we had saying no to pitocin. I’m sure you’ve read a lot of them, so by no means feel like you need to read mine! Only if it seems helpful! http://lamponastand.com/2012/09/05/our-natural-childbirthing-experience/

    • Thank you Tyanne! We are so beyond excited and blessed that the Lord is giving us TWO boys right off the bat!! I am so thankful that I spent these last 8 months really studying and getting prepared. I know that there will still be unexpected things to come up in labor but it has calmed my nerves now to at least feel prepared as I can! 🙂 And thank you! I will go check out the post right now!!

  6. This is an excellent article and I’m encouraged that there is a lot of very good content here to give direction to your parents -to-be! I would like to feature this on the ‘EOA’ link-up tomorrow, Jamie! Thank you for consistent sharing on the link-up. you are a blessing to many!

  7. I gave birth to my twin girls naturally, almost three years ago now, and one of them was even footling breech. Everything went really well. I pray God blesses you in your birth also…and in the days following.

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