I am one of those mamas who wanted a completely unmedicated, natural pregnancy. I am not a sucker for punishment, but it was my desire to go about motherhood in that way. For my first, that was the plan and then…came the epidural. No shame! There is something very real about trauma around a birth plan that doesn’t go according to plan and coupled with severe postpartum anxiety after my first, I mourned that experience for quite some time.
When hubby and I got pregnant with our second, it was right around the time the pandemic began. I knew I didn’t want a lot of exposure when it came time to giving birth, so we opted to deliver unmedicated at the birthing center near our home. It was no easy feat! While hubby was a tremendous support (get you a man who knows how to soothe you during labor pains!) there are definitely some must-haves if you want to deliver naturally, vaginally, and unmedicated.
- Prenatal chiropractor. I started going to a prenatal chiropractor when I was pregnant with my first and struggling with a terrible pelvic pain where my pubic bones felt like they were coming apart (spoiler alert: they were!) Anyways, my pelvic pain never went away during my pregnancy (and came back with a roaring pitch when I got pregnant again) but finding a prenatal chiropractor was beneficial in terms of keeping lower back pain at bay and getting my body ready and aligned for labor. Getting chiropractic adjustments close to delivery also helps with ensuring the baby is in optimal position. In addition: it’s another way to empower yourself if you yearn to have a natural delivery.
- Labor and delivery doula. A lot of my friends who became pregnant after me asked about the difference between a midwife and a doula. Well, the difference is huge and I break it down in this way: a midwife (like a doctor) is focused solely on the baby and delivery. A doula is there primarily for you, a support to get you through labor pains, and a terrific person to manage whatever anxiety flares up between you and your partner. I had a doula during my first delivery and she essentially felt like my personal trainer. When it came time to push, I listened to her commands and two hours later (gulp!) there he was! Silliness aside: a doula is a lifesaver and a huge asset if you want to deliver naturally and unmedicated. Highly highly recommend!
- Prenatal yoga. With any form of exercise while pregnant, it’s imperative that you get clearance from your prenatal medical provider (for me that was the midwife practice I was seeing.) During my first pregnancy, I continued to lift weights and cross-train (though I scaled way back and was cautious about certain movements) but while pregnant during a pandemic, I mostly focused on prenatal yoga. There are numerous benefits to doing prenatal yoga: squatting is a popular yoga pose and super crucial for a healthy pregnancy and delivery, yoga is a great tool to stay calm since a lot of breath work is integrated into yoga, and yoga is another way to keep some of those pregnancy aches and pains (hello back pain!) at bay.
Have you had a natural, unmedicated delivery? If so, what were some of the tools you used? Drop in the comments below.