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15 steps to having an unmedicated birth

Having an unmedicated birth, also known as a natural childbirth, is a personal decision that requires careful preparation and planning. As experienced doulas, we have seen what it takes to accomplish a goal like this.

Here are some steps and tips that we've seen put to the test to help you achieve an unmedicated birth experience:

1. Educate Yourself: Knowledge is key. Take childbirth education classes, read books, watch documentaries, and attend workshops that focus on natural childbirth techniques and coping strategies.

2. Choose a Supportive Care Provider: Find a healthcare provider, such as a midwife or obstetrician, who is supportive of your desire for an unmedicated birth. Discuss your preferences and create a birth plan that outlines your wishes. If a midwife is seeming too medical and policy based, many are choosing Traditional Birth Attendants and moving out of the birth system.

3. Plan for your birth with scenario management: Clearly outline your preferences for labor and delivery in a birth plan. Include details about pain management techniques, movement during labor, positions for laboring and pushing, and any other preferences you have.

4. Practice Relaxation Techniques: Learn and practice relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, visualization, and progressive muscle relaxation. These can help you manage pain and stay calm during labor.

5. Stay Active: Regular exercise and staying active during pregnancy can help you build physical strength and endurance, which can be beneficial during labor. Walking, prenatal yoga, and swimming are great options. New recommendations for exercise in pregnancy suggest it is beneficial to start anything new, and that exercise reduces birth complications by up to 50%

6. Hydration and Nutrition: Maintain a balanced and nutritious diet to ensure you have the energy and stamina needed during labor. Staying hydrated is also important. We like Lily Nichols for any nutrition advice.

7. Hire a Doula: A doula is a trained birth companion who provides emotional and physical support during labor. Having a doula can help you navigate the challenges of labor and provide comfort.

8. Practice Labor Positions: Experiment with different labor positions such as walking, swaying, squatting, and rocking. Changing positions can help manage pain and encourage the baby's descent.

9. Use Hydrotherapy: Warm water can be soothing and relaxing during labor. Consider using a birthing pool or taking warm showers to help ease discomfort.

10. Focus on Breathing: Breathing techniques can help you stay in control and manage pain. Slow, deep breathing can provide a sense of calm and reduce tension. This is something that works more effectively the more you practice it.

11. Consider Aromatherapy and Massage: Aromatherapy with essential oils and gentle massage can promote relaxation and comfort during labor.

12. Positive Affirmations: Create and recite positive affirmations that empower you and keep you focused on your goal of an unmedicated birth.

13. Supportive Environment: Create a calm and supportive birth environment. Dim lights, play soothing music, and surround yourself with people who encourage and respect your choices.

14. Be Open to Change: Labor can be unpredictable, and it's important to stay open to the possibility that your birth plan may need adjustments. Flexibility is key to a positive birth experience.

15. Practice Mindfulness and Gratitude: Stay present and focused on each moment. Mindfulness techniques can help you manage stress and stay centered during labor. Gratitude can keep you excited and joyful in the process.

Remember that every birth experience is unique, and there's no right or wrong way to approach childbirth. The most important thing is to feel empowered and supported in your choices.

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