Monday, April 7, 2014

Top 10 Reasons Women Want a Natural Childbirth

I've been teaching natural childbirth classes since 2003 and have encountered all kinds of reasons people find themselves wanting a natural birth:

1. Because they have a friend/sister who did it.  This is why I had a natural birth. My friend, Alisa, did it and darn it, if she could do it, so could I!

This lady is the reason I had a natural birth!

2. They are afraid of the epidural.  I've had several people in class over the years that are just plain scared of the needle in their back. They are more afraid of that than they are the "pain" of natural childbirth. I've always been fascinated by this one. Occasionally, they can't have an epidural because of medical reasons so that's what lands them in my class.

3. They've had a bad experience with an epidural previously.  Every now-and-then someone has had a bad epidural where it didn't work right and they want to avoid not being prepared again. Often, these women feel like they didn't even have an epidural even when technically they did.

4. They've had a bad recovery when they had an epidural with another baby. This can coincide with #3, but sometimes their epidural worked fine but afterwards they were numb for hours. Or they had the spinal headache and couldn't care for their newborn or other children. It happens more often that you realize.

5. They've had a c-section and want to avoid another one. Inductions and interventions can often lead to c-sections. If a mom wants a VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean), her best odds are having a natural birth and not forcing the labor along.

6. They believe their body was created to do this. These are not in any particular order, although I'm leaving #1 where it is because it's quite common and it was my reason for wanting a natural birth. #6 is probably the second most common reason I hear women say they want a natural birth. They believe in the process and their bodies.

7. Their mom did it, so can they. I love it when women have the support and encouragement of their mothers. I hope I instill that in my daughters.

8. They want to breastfeed.  Sometimes I've had women in class that have said their reason for wanting a natural birth is because they want to breastfeed and they believe that the birth can affect how well breastfeeding works. This is true. That's not to say that women who have epidurals and/or c-sections can't breastfeed, but it is more likely to be less complicated without medications/interventions, etc. involved. Even though they may or may not say so, I think this one is somewhat equated with #6.

9. They want to challenge themselves. You know these people - they want to be on Survivor or the Amazing Race. Yes, people do actually want to have a natural childbirth to face their fears or challenge themselves. They are so fun to have in class. They are sponges and actually DO the homework. Love these couples!

10. They saw a water birth on Baby Story.  There's at least one in every class. They saw a water birth or homebirth on TV and thought it was pretty cool. Or maybe they wanted to be able to say "I did that." Whatever it is, we'll take positive media representation of natural birth wherever we can get it!

Notice: Evidence is not on this list. I am working on a post about this so I'm not going to dwell on it here. It's not to say that it doesn't play a role in choosing to have a natural birth, but honestly, I've never had someone say that "evidence" is the reason they want a natural birth. It's is almost always an emotional decision, not a factual one. We'll circle back to this later.

As a side note, occasionally it the dad who is excited about natural birth. I have to tell you, this rarely works out well. Every time I've encountered these couples in class, the moms have had an epidural or a c-section. I love that dads get excited about natural birth, but ultimately, mom needs to also be excited for her own reasons.

If you want an AMAZING birth -- for whatever reasons -- sign up for a Birth Boot Camp class today, either with an instructor or online.


Unknown said...

I may be the exception, but I went in with a heart condition and I was trying to mitigate the risk, so evidence was the reason for my initial choice. Later came the emotional reasons.

Jennifer Valencia said...

I'm looking forward to your "evidence" blog post on the subject. I feel that fear of an epidural in part can be evidence, if they've done research and understand the risks of an epidural. Breastfeeding or vbacing might also be considered evidence, but I'm sure that'll all be touched on in the related post!!
Thanks for your work
-- <3 this fellow doula