unmedicated birth - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 56 Old 12-10-2001, 07:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hello, All!

I am a mother of 2 and am pregnant with number 3. With the previous births I had the epidural, and both experiences were terrible. I found the epidural process and placement more stressful than the delivery!

I am hell-bent on doing this one drug free. I've been studying books, particularly on the Bradley Method, because Lamaze just didn't work for me. I couldn't stay on top of the contractions to use the techniques I'd learned.

If you have an unmedicated birth experience to share, please do so. Any advice or techniques that worked for you?

I am also interested in hearing about unpleasant epidural experiences, to compare my own with.

Thanks for your help and support!
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#2 of 56 Old 12-10-2001, 11:17 PM
 
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Good for you for considering an unmedicated birth. Many of the women here at this site have done it and were happy with the results & experience. I hope that will be your experience also!

My suggestion would be to:

1) look into other places to give birth than a hospital - use a birth center or homebirth with a midwife.

2) consider hiring an experienced doula. Doulas greatly assist the mom with relaxation and feeling safe. They can also give Dad/Partner a break, so that mom is never alone. There are many women here who have used the services of a doula and would be glad to give you pointers - questions to ask and things to look for in a good doula who will help you have the birth you want.

And congratulations on your new pregnancy!

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#3 of 56 Old 12-10-2001, 11:35 PM
 
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I wrote a response on this topic to a post called "natural laboring" over in the alternative and complementary medicine forum about how I used acupuncture, shiatsu, magnet therapy, moxabustion, herbs, aromatherapy, massage, and a birthing tub (underwater birth)...
I've also heard hypnosis can be very helpful for relaxation and pain management.
As well as homeopathy.
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#4 of 56 Old 12-11-2001, 10:31 AM
 
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1. Take the Bradley Method Classes with your partner. It gives such an incredible education on how your body works, stresses nutrition, preparation, and the involvement of your husband/birthpartner. These classes were the most important factor that prepared my husband and I for an unmedicated birth. For me personally, concrete knowledge (without a lot of froofy frills) is the best way to deal with fears.
2. Consider reading "Birthing From Within" to help you deal with previous births. I think I'm the only one here who didn't like that book, but it did have good ideas on how to work through fears and previous trauma.
3. A doula sounds like a good idea, but I didn't have one.
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#5 of 56 Old 12-11-2001, 01:20 PM
 
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I second LeafyLady - that's exactly the path we took (Bradley & BFW). I LOVED our Bradley class/method - all the prenatal care and reassurance that this is what our bodies are meant to do was wonderful. The fear of the pain is worse than the pain. Bradley helps to focus inward whereas Lamaze tries to emphasize distraction. Actually, I just got really pissed at each contraction - sort of a "bring it on" attitude that was really empowering. Anyway...the best advice I got while pregnant & exploring ideologies was take what you like and leave the rest.

good luck!
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#6 of 56 Old 12-11-2001, 01:45 PM
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WARNING: mine is probably not the best approach but I successfully birthed a 9 1/2 lb baby girl with NO MEDS of any sort and NO TEARING.

I JUST DID IT! I feel like the birth process is natural, that it's not going to kill us, that we can handle what our body gives us. I feel like doing all these classes, reading all these books, learning all these techniques, etc. just adds to the stress.

Be confident that the pain will not kill you. You are strong, you can handle it.

My midwife (one asssigned to me by my clinic -all hospitals in France have midwives - and whom I did not meet until I arrived for the birth) commented to my dh how incredibly calm I was. I think that's the key.

Have dh or partner there for you (even if he's looking at the wall the whole time like mine did ). Have him/her (whatever) rub your neck, or stroke your arm (mine stroked the inside of my forearm and that just did it for me...but he kept stopping!! and I had to coax him back into doing it again...in the end I wanted to scream at him to keep doing it! )

Once I started to push, the pain was GONE. I mean it felt SOOO GOOD to push. I don't know if this is a common experience, but I wish I would have known.

One thing I will do next time is learn how to push properly, and not with my face! I ended up with popped blood vessels all over my face for 2 weeks. Not a pretty sight.

I guess you probably won't want to do it my way, but I just wanted you to know that it's not as hard as you think and that it's an absolutely empowering, beautiful experience.
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#7 of 56 Old 12-11-2001, 02:05 PM
 
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Everyone has such good responses, but it all sounds too easy, right?!?
I have to agree that the best thing you can do is plan a homebirth. If you aren't in the hospital, drugs aren't an option. You have to be really sure you need medical help to make the decision to transfer to a hospital.
I had two midwives present at the birth, and of course my husband. We also took the Bradley classes. It was nice that my husband was so well-informed, and spending so much time together learning about birth and talking through our expectations helped us to work well together when my labor started. I was alone with him through all of active labor, and when he recognized I was in transition he went and got the midwives who were napping in the living room. There was one point during transition, when I was crawling on the floor feeling sick, that I wondered what it would like to be in the hospital with an epidural. Through all of the pain and nausea, it was absolutely clear to me that being in the hospital wouldn't have been right for me. And I loved pushing, too. It felt incredible, I have never had so much strength and purpose!
I think Parismaman is right, if you are the kind of person who gets bogged down with reading and too much knowledge, just trust yourself and your body to do what it is made to do. I am a gatherer of information at heart, so I now have a pretty extensive library on homebirth. But, it is definately not the right way for everyone. Enjoy your pregnancy, and I hope you find the best way for yourself.
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#8 of 56 Old 12-11-2001, 04:43 PM
 
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I would like to second (or third) some of the replies here already.
Bradley classes have an excellent record for informed, natural birthing "students." They are long and require dedication, but they also teach you many very important things, and having an informed partner makes labor much easier on mom.
Planning a homebirth is a great way to have a natural birth because drugs arent an option, so you dont have to worry about people asking you if you want them.
Write a birth plan that lists some comfort measures and make sure your partner is well versed in comfort measures.
Also, hire a doula. Doulas are well versed in comfort measures and are a relaxing, experienced person who will be with you through the end of labor. Your partner will be able to take breaks without leaving you alone and will be more relaxed when they are not responsible for you alone. Remember that your partners only experience with birth is probably the same one you had, and he may not know what was bad about it.
I am a doula, and know all the comfort measures and am completely comfortable with birth, but in May when we go into labor, I am calling 2 doulas to be with me and my hubbie!
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#9 of 56 Old 12-11-2001, 05:06 PM
 
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I agree with so much of what has been posted, that I'm not sure if I can add anything new. I took the Bradley class, read Birthing from Within and hired a doula. All of those were key to my drug free labor and delivery.
The Bradley classes helped me understand my body and emotions. The techniques for pain management were irreplaceable. It also taught me how to be an advocate for myself in a hospital environment.
Birthing from Within helped to prepare me emotionally for whatever was ahead, even if it didn't go exactly as I planned.
My doula helped from the minute I was in labor. She talked to dh and I over the phone and met us at the hospital. She helped make sure that my birth plan was followed.
One of my fears was that if I really needed an intervention, I wouldn't know it. I was afraid that then in labor I would either refuse something necessary or cave to something unneccessary because of that fear. Having a doula alleviated that fear because I trusted for her to advocate for me to have a drug-free birth but knew that she had been to enough births (I think I was 95) that if something really freaky was happening, she could say, the docs are right this time.
I never considered drugs, even when a moronic resident tried to convince me that I needed them.
You can do it! Know yourself, and what you personally need to prepare and then go for it.
Keep us posted and keep asking questions.
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#10 of 56 Old 12-11-2001, 06:27 PM
 
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I was kinda worried with my ds about...well, everything I guess. No matter how much preparation and learning, you still know that you have never been through anything like a birth before. I think it is especially sad for women, like you, davesadoll, who have had disappointing experiences with previous births.
What I learned:
My body can do it.
Pushing Is Incredible. Parismaman is right, the rush of strength, the power, the amazement that my body was doing all that, and that I was going to finally meet my child all combined to make one of the most satisfying experiences I have ever had. I have never talked to anyone with an epidural who loved pushing--never. I think that alone is enough for me to gain strength in my next labor.
I did not have a Doula, but I learned that my husband is the most incredible man. He was great at figuring out how close I needed him, and he delt so well with the hospital staff. He asked the first nurse to leave because she kept insisting I needed an epidural. I wanted to push before I was fully dialated. I also had a great Dr. (GP) who's standard line was, "Whatever you want--it's your baby, not mine" and, regarding "hospital policies" he said, "They only know what I tell them"
Oh, I also learned that my body would tell me what I wanted. During pg I thought that the idea of water sounded just wonderful. I headed into water at about 6cm and was screaming to get out 2 minutes later. It just was not right for me.
I will have a Homebirth next time. I will have a midwife. I would have liked to last time but, ah, insurance:mad:
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#11 of 56 Old 12-11-2001, 08:35 PM
 
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What made a big difference for me:

-I labored alone for as long as possible, in a place that made me feel comfortable and secure.
-I did not time contractions or have my dilation checked, in other words, I tried my best to ignore the labor and just go on with everyday life. This helped by diverting my attention elsewhere. It's like the cut that doesn't hurt til you look at it, you know?
-Privacy was key. One reason waterbirth was good for me was because it forced the midwife to give me some space, and covered my nakedness. I didn't feel as exposed and self-conscious.
-I did not attempt to be "in control" of the labor or my reaction to the pain.
-No one but me touched my vagina.
-The room was quiet, dark, and no one spoke unless I spoke to them first.
-I vocalized loudly when I felt the need to.
-I labored and/or birthed in hot water.
-I spent most of all of my labor upright, changed positions frequently, and kept active, even dancing.
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#12 of 56 Old 12-11-2001, 10:18 PM
 
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I have not had my baby yet, and am essentially in the same boat as you. I did have something to add, though. I wouldn't recommend taking childbirth classes that are sponsored through the hospital. I did that, and they spent almost all of the time talking about meds! We hardly had any time to practice any of the techniques. Now, if they can't get you to get it down when you're thinking rationally, it'll be a challenge to remember what to do in labor! Just a thought.
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#13 of 56 Old 12-11-2001, 11:30 PM
 
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I agree about hospital classes. In my case she talked about avoiding meds but we barely practiced any techniques. When I have my next baby, I'm going to do Hypnobirthing. I've read some very good things about it. I haven't read about anyone who it didn't work with.

www.birthlove.com has a lot of stories of unmedicated birth.
www.freebirth.com also has them.
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#14 of 56 Old 12-12-2001, 07:21 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks to all of you who responded to my "I want to try an unmedicated birth" posting.

I have enjoyed reading your advice and stories, and I feel more empowered than ever. This is so wonderful! I feel like I've just found out I have all these sisters I didn't know about....

Let me ask you this, in hiring a Doula, what is her main focus? I think I would be almost afraid to hire a Doula, for fear that I would have to have the epidural and feel like I disappointed her or something.

I was intent on not having the meds last time, and succumbed to them because I just couldn't get on top of th contractions. I disappointed myself, would itnot be more stressful to worry about disappointing someone else?

Crazy, I know.

Your thoughts?
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#15 of 56 Old 12-12-2001, 11:27 AM
 
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Hi

I am new to this board, I am Chiara from breastfeeding.com

I had a really quick intense labour. What I found helped was to spray cold water on my tummy. Sounds wierd but it really did ease the pain.

Good Luck for the birth
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#16 of 56 Old 12-12-2001, 01:41 PM
 
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But, I'm a hospital phobe and the thought of getting a needle in my spine was worse than the thought of giving birth w/o drugs. So...I stayed home w/4 midwives and 2 apprentices. (They took turns sleeping.) And, gave birth in a portable hot tub (w/changeable liner) after 12 hours of labor. Never even had a tylenol during or after. Sure, it hurt, but it was a delirious kind of hurt. I was so wrapped up in the moment that I didn't have time to debate the pros/cons of drugs. It wasn't an option so just get through it. What was WONDERFUL was once I entered the tub at 7hours, my dh poured hot water over my tummy for each cx. Also, having the freedom to MOVE wherever and whenever I wanted was incredible. I spent the first 7 hours at the foot of my bed kneeling on a pile of pillows in the dark listening to Dido. LOL

So, no, you don't need it. But, just be prepared just in case, I guess.

Think of how you're benefitting your baby by doing it naturally.
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#17 of 56 Old 12-12-2001, 01:42 PM
 
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PS: One of the apprentices was a doula. She was the best thing that ever happened to my pregnancy. We met her at our Bradley class.
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#18 of 56 Old 12-12-2001, 01:53 PM
 
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davesadoll,
I think if you have several doulas in your area, you should interview them and choose to work with one whom you trust. Tell her exactly what you just told us, that you don't want to feel unduly pressured, that you are worried you will try to please her and ignore your own needs. The most important thing is that you are open about ALL of your fears to her, your husband, and whoever else is attending your birth. You CAN have a drug-free birth, don't you worry. You are built for exactly that, your body and mind can handle it.
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#19 of 56 Old 12-12-2001, 02:35 PM
 
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I am probably a good person to answer your questions, Davesadaoll. A doula's main focus is YOU. IF you hire one, her job is to educate you on your options, help you focus on what you want, and to help you follow your birth plan once you are in labor.
I will have to generalize alot here, because some doulas really are into getting their clients to try, and hang on through, a natural birth. Some doulas are really against interventions of any type, just like some docs and medwives will hook you up to any intervention even against all reason. Make sure when you are interveiwing doulas that you find someone you beleive that will support you.
I am all for natural birth, but I know that some people cannot handly the intensity of it and need medications to have a good experience. Thats ok. Its their decision, and their birth. I make sure that they are educated on all their options, and my clients decide what they want out of the birth, and what we will do to get it. If that means waiting out two contractions after she asks for meds to see if she still wants them, or if she wants to try every comfort measure we can think of first, or if she wants them as soon as she asks, its my job to help her get what she wants.
The point of hiring a doula is for her to assist you. While you are in labor, you cant be worried that you may disappoint her, or offend her. Thats why you should carefully interveiw as many as it takes to find someone you are comfortable with. Ask questions about how she would feel if you took meds, and how she would support you if you asked for them. Ask about her experience and her personal experiences. Also ask for references and names of other doulas in the area.
Try www.DONA.com, ww.CAPPA.com, or www. doulanetwork.com. If you don't find doulas in your area, I can give you a list of other places to look.
Sorry this was so long, but I hope it is helpful.
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#20 of 56 Old 12-12-2001, 11:01 PM
 
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My Bradley class changed my life, no doubt about it. When I started labor my husband knew more about what happens during childbirth than many women who have given birth. I felt confident that if I forgot what I knew he would help me, and he did. I had a great birth at home, no meds at all. (My joke to people who asked in the weeks surrounding the birth was, "I was at home, if I wanted drugs my selection was limited to what my husband could score down at the waterfront..")

And a big amen to all the ladies about pushing! Pushing ROCKS!

So, find a Bradley class in your area and start as soon as you can, because a lot of the value of the class is in preparing your body, with nutrition and exercise, to have a healthy birth.
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#21 of 56 Old 12-13-2001, 12:17 AM
 
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davesadoll,
I just have to second the advice to interview the doula. Being a first time mom, I had been unsure of how I would handle labor, so I was really concerned that my doula was not judgemental of women who use drugs in birht. I was able to find a doula that was very open and supportive. She attended my son's birht and it was drug free and pressure free. I just did it my way.
Modesto doula gave the website for DONA (Doulas of North America). The site has sample interview questions for doulas. I found them useful.
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#22 of 56 Old 12-14-2001, 06:34 PM
 
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here's my birthstory of Noah- a no-pain-meds birth. I liked it MUCH better than my other 2- one epidural and one spinal.

http://www.circumcisionquotes.com/noahsbirth.html
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#23 of 56 Old 12-14-2001, 06:59 PM
 
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Hi Davesadoll,
Just wanted to encourage you- your body is made for birth! I just gave birth (unmedicated in a birthing center) 4 weeks ago and it was by far the best experience of my life. Yes, it hurts like hell, but it is so rewarding! Definetly read Birthing From Within and find a great midwife and doula. (My midwife served as both). Just keep telling yourself, "I can do this". And you'll probably think the contractions hurt so much that you should get an epidural, (I did at one point) but just hang in there, YOU CAN DO IT! What helped me was moving around a lot, kicking my legs, and opening my mouth very wide and saying, "open, open, open"- I was talking to my cervix.
You are going to do great!
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#24 of 56 Old 12-14-2001, 09:05 PM
 
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I don't know if anyone mention Hypnobirthing. I didn't have time to read all the responses. Hypnobirthing is a good method to implement during an unmedicated birth. You can find an instructor online at www.hypnobirthing.com. Check out the website there is alot of good info there, too.
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#25 of 56 Old 12-17-2001, 12:52 AM
 
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This will be my first unmedicated birth.

I am having this one at a birthing center. . .no choice but to go without meds. I also had a nasty fall off a horse, and with the back injuries an epidural would probably NOT be in my best interests, and might not even be given (thats what I keep TELLING myself so I dont chicken out).

I am just going to try to be brave, remembering that the other births I survived the times without meds, it was just the induction that HURT LIKE HELL and since I wasnt getting induced, I could deal with this.

I would LOVE to have a doula, but they are very expensive! Since they are not covered (I think they are about a grand here), I just cannot swing it. Same with lactation consultants. I wound up not being able to nurse my son because they are not covered, and I just dont have the $150 an hour to do that. Stupid insurance companies!

So I am just putting my faith in myself, my husband, my friend (if she can make it) and my midwife. It WILL end, the pain is not forever. . .I learned to walk after the horse accident again, I can learn to birth without meds!

And then we BOTH can come back here with a triumphant heart warming story!
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#26 of 56 Old 12-17-2001, 02:53 AM
 
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I'll put my vote in for only allowing people to be with you that are advocates of natural childbirth. If that means being at a birth center, at home or going unassisted. Having a water option really worked for me, too. And lastly, reading about natural childbirth helped me. Wishing you the best!
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#27 of 56 Old 12-17-2001, 04:32 PM
 
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It's really nice to know that we are not alone in our desires for a natural chilbirth. I decided to have a natural childbirth after a very difficult labor and delivery with my dd 3 yrs ago (I was induced with pitocin, got an epidural, etc.). Whenever I mention to family or friends that I am having my son naturally, they think I am crazy, and it sometimes makes you question your own desires.

My husband and I have just hired a doula (after interviewing a few in our area) and are really looking forward to this. We don't have time to take the Bradley course, but our doula just got through taking it a couple of months ago and she said she would be more than happy to go through the info with us. She is also a certified massage therapist, so that may come in handy too

I can't wait for this experience, and I am sure that the Doula will make the experience even better, while keeping me on track with what I want
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#28 of 56 Old 12-18-2001, 07:05 PM
 
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What worked for me was having lots of support - I had three friends, my partner, my mama and three midwives! I know that lots of women want privacy but being surrounded by people who supported my home birth choice helped to keep me focussed. It also allowed for the midwives to stand back and let me take control. My partner didn't leave my side - I really needed constant touching (rubbing my back, my feet)ad that helped too.

Trust in your body - I have tried to explain to so many women who have had medicated births about how I reached a level of awareness of my body and a surge of strength that I can not compare to anything - and they think I'm crazy, However I never felt overwhelmed with the pain, in fact it's the only time I think in my life that I had complete faith in my body and my surroundings!

Also, lots and lots of yoga beforehand helped. I practiced visualizations with my partner guiding me!

Good Luck!
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#29 of 56 Old 12-19-2001, 08:09 AM
 
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As above, homebirth and /or doula, read Birthing From Within, and read Childbirth Without Fear. This second book is very old, though it's been updated, and nobody seems to read it anymore but I found it to be excellent. He describes a fear-tension-pain cycle and describes specifically how fear inhibits a natural labour. I feel much more confidant in my body after reading it.
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#30 of 56 Old 12-25-2001, 11:59 PM
 
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Just wanted to add that rest helps soooo much. I was so excited about labor beginning that I didn't rest while I had a chance. 25 hours later, Isaiah was born and though I loved every minute, I wish I had rested more in early labor instead of taking like 50 walks around the block to get labor going faster.

If you can get a birth tub, that may help. Also, remember your body can do it! Just think about all the hard work it's doing now while your baby is being nourished and protected by yours. Isn't it great???

About epidurals, I don't have any experience personally but a good friend of mine had a hospital birth a year ago and has constant back pain. Someone else stated that having a needle stuck in their spinal area is scarier than any pain in labor! I agree!

Congrats on your preg. and let us all know how it goes! You CAN do it naturally and without intervention!

Lisa ~ Homeschooling mama to 9yo ds and 7yo dd both born at home and expecting #3 in November!
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