10 tips for a natural birth

Learn how you can prepare for a natural birth and taking your new baby home once he or she is born.

Ten tips for a natural childbirth

How you choose to deliver your baby is a very personal decision. Everyone delivers a baby differently; no two experiences are exactly the same. If natural childbirth is your goal -- and many people believe the risks of pain-relieving drugs are just not worth it for mother and child -- here are some ways to help make it happen:

1. Work with a doula or a midwife. Your doula will be your advocate and support system at a very intense time.

2. Take prenatal yoga classes. They will help you build physical strength and develop pain-management techniques. The yoga also will help you understand that your body was built for giving birth.

3. Practice Kegels during yoga and other times of the day. That will help you gain awareness about your body.

4. Write a birth plan. It will help your doctor and medical staff understand your wishes and needs. Many good templates are available online.

5. Tour the hospital and understand all of the pain medications that you will be offered. Discuss all of these options with your doula and your partner before you arrive at the hospital.

6. Take a childbirth class. It will help you visualize labour and gain confidence.

7. Get a prenatal massage. It will help keep your body loose and your spirits high!

8. Use aromatherapy oils. Organic essential oils, such as lavender, rose, and ylang-ylang, can be very calming. Energizing oils include grapefruit, spearmint and orange. Consult with your doctor about which essential oils are safe for pregnancy. Keeping a small fabric pouch with a nice range of essential oils allows you to mix and match scents based on your needs. Be sure to buy organic essential oils. These can be used during massage and even during labour to relax you.

9. Discuss labour with your mother. It's common for experiences to be similar.

10. Remember that every contraction will be followed by a rest period, during which natural endorphins will counterbalance the work of the contraction.

One of the benefits of natural childbirth is the experience of sensations that could never be felt at any other time. You and your partner can be totally involved and totally bonded with your baby in a unique way. Some claim labour is even shorter without the use of pain-relieving or labor-inducing drugs.

No matter what path you choose for your labour, embark on this journey with confidence and faith that your own path to a healthy labour is the right one.

Page 1 of 2 -- Learn how to care for your newborn baby with expert advice on page 2

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