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When you first find out that you are pregnant, your mind is instantly filled with tons of different decisions that need to be made. And one of the absolute biggest things you have to plan during your pregnancy is how you are going to give birth.
While it may sound silly to sit down and plan out your childbirth experience, it truly is one of the most important decisions you will make while you are pregnant.
And although many expecting moms choose to have an epidural (local anesthetic injected in space around spinal nerves in the lower back) during their labor, other moms decide to have unmedicated births without medical interventions.
Personally, when I first found out I was pregnant, I wanted to have a completely unmedicated vaginal birth. This was partly because I wanted to be able to move freely and avoid pain medications if at all possible. But even though having an unmedicated birth sounds like it will come naturally to an expecting mom, that’s not always the case.
If you are looking to have an unmedicated vaginal birth successfully the best way to start preparing is to start learning and preparing yourself while you are still pregnant.
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What is an Unmedicated Birth?
Unmedicated birth is when the mother gives birth vaginally without any medical intervention. This means no pain-relieving medications or procedures to speed up labor.
Along with not having medications, most moms are free to move as they please and are not made to stay in the hospital bed and are monitored intermittently rather than being hooked up to machines.
This page may contain affiliate links, however, I will never recommend anything that I do not believe in and use myself. You can read more about my disclosure policy here.
Benefits of Having an Unmedicated Birth
Did you know that having an unmedicated childbirth comes with a few really great benefits? In fact, these benefits are most often the reason that many moms choose to have an unmedicated birth.
Faster Recovery Time
Women who have an unmedicated vaginal birth often report that their recovery time is much quicker than moms who have delivered with medications and c-sections.
This is most likely due to the fact that these moms did not have any medications given to them and are able to get up and walk around shortly after giving birth.
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Labor Can Be Shorter
A shorter labor? Sign me up!
Epidurals and other pain-relieving methods can often interfere with a mother’s body progressing through labor and therefore slow down the contractions.
Many moms who have had an epidural or pain medications stated that they didn’t know when to push due to the numbing effect from the medications. Whereas an unmedicated birth allows the mother to feel the contractions and work with them to push her baby out.
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Initiating Breastfeeding Easier
Newborns that are born through an unmedicated birth are often more alert and interested in breastfeeding. This is because any pain medications that a mom received during labor are passed directly to her baby.
Wanna know more about breastfeeding? Check out this amazing course where you will learn everything about breastfeeding successfully.
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Unmedicated Childbirth is Empowering
Mothers who have given birth without any pain-relieving medications, often report feeling empowered by listening to their bodies. And since giving birth is just another natural part of being human moms gain a sense of accomplishment from conquering birth without any medication assisting.
Preparing for an Unmedicated Vaginal Birth
Are you preparing to give birth without pain medications?
The biggest tip that I’ve heard from moms who’ve had an unmedicated vaginal birth is to be prepared.
1. Create Your Birth Plan
Are you ready to start planning your labor and birth? If so, the Birth Smart Planner is perfect for you. With this planner, you can literally plan out and get ready for giving birth.
What’s included in the Birth Smart Planner?
- Planning space to prepare your home and build a birth toolbox
2. Know Why You Want an Unmedicated Birth
So why do you really want an unmedicated birth?
To keep yourself motivated, it’s best to figure out your reason for choosing an unmedicated birth in the first place. This will be very helpful when you are in labor as well because you can keep reminding yourself of why you made the decision to have an unmedicated birth.
There are tons of different reasons that moms may want to have an unmedicated vaginal birth. Here are the most common ones:
- avoid medications
- baby is more alert
- babies cope better
- shorter recovery
- lower chance of c-section
- better connection with mom and dad
3. Chiropractic Care During Pregnancy
Can I see a chiropractor while I am pregnant?
Chiropractic care is usually safe if done by a chiropractor that has prenatal experience. Many moms who have received chiropractic care during their pregnancy have even said that it helps manage pain in the hips, back, and other joints.
Visiting a chiropractor can also help balance your pelvis which provides more room for your growing baby.
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4. Pick a Doctor that Supports Unmedicated Birth
Have you chosen the right doctor for you?
Every single OBGYN is different and has very different opinions as far as childbirth. This is the reason why you shouldn’t just settle for any old doctor that you find.
If you have decided to have an unmedicated vaginal birth, you should check with your doctor to make sure that they understand your birth plan and are supportive.
And if you decide that you want to have a home birth start interviewing midwives to see who you feel can support you with your labor and birth experience best.
5. Consider a Doula
First of all, what is a doula?
A doula is professionally trained in helping expecting mothers throughout their labor and delivery. Most doulas provide emotional, physical and also educational support to the mother while she is laboring.
Many moms who have a doula to help her during labor feel much more confident and supported than those without a doula.
6. Prepare Physically
Why do I need to prepare physically for an unmedicated birth?
Giving birth without having any medications can be very exhausting. Between keeping yourself moving and just handling all of the contractions, being physically prepared for your birth can make a huge difference.
To keep yourself physically fit and ready for giving birth, you can do some prenatal exercises that are perfectly safe for pregnant women and also really beneficial for your pregnant body.
7. Prepare Mentally
Although it may not seem important to prepare yourself mentally for having an unmedicated vaginal birth, it really can be very crucial to your success. In fact, many moms who’ve had an unmedicated birth say that they wish they were more mentally prepared to handle everything that comes along with labor.
The worst thing you can do is listen to horror stories about labor and get more nervous or even scared of giving birth. Just try to remember that women have been giving birth to babies since the beginning of time and up until a century ago, they gave birth without any pain-relieving medications.
So if they could do it then you definitely can.
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8. Practice Relaxation Techniques
Another way to start preparing for your unmedicated vaginal birth is by practicing your relaxation techniques.
Since you will be having contractions every few minutes, you’ll need to find a way to relax your body to allow the contractions to get your body ready to give birth. Many expecting moms like to practice slow and relaxing breathing to help them get through each contraction.
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9. Stay Positive
Try your best to stay positive about giving birth.
It’s really hard to keep yourself from giving up and being afraid that your birth plan will not work out. However, just because other moms have had epidurals or c-section births doesn’t mean you will also.
Every birth circumstance is different and if you prepare yourself you will feel much more confident.
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10. Remember that All Birth is Beautiful
Someone recently reminded me that all birth is beautiful and natural. And I really needed to hear that.
So even if your birth experience is not the perfect one of your dreams, it is still beautiful because you brought a little human into the world. So take closure in that.
11. Take a Childbirth Class
Is this your first birth? Or even your second or third?
Taking a childbirth class is super important for learning what to expect and also how to manage your labor and birth experience. The best one I have found so far is the Birth It Up! The Natural Series course.
Another reason that I LOVE this Birth It Up course is that it is the most affordable birthing course I have seen. It is also taught by Liesel Teen. She is a labor and delivery nurse and a mom.
It’s so helpful and walks you through everything you ever wanted to know about having an unmedicated birth.
And to make it even better, you can get 10% off of the course now by clicking through my link or the image below and using my code VERYANXIOUSMOMMY.
12. Prepare Your Partner
Will your husband be with you during your unmedicated birth?
If so, it’s very important to get him prepared for the experience as well. Since giving birth without medication takes time and patience, your partner will need to learn how he can best support you during your labor.
The best way to prepare your partner for your upcoming labor and delivery is to take a birthing class for couples. And that’s just what The Online Prenatal Class for Couples is for.
13. Best Books to Prepare for an Unmedicated Childbirth
Would you rather read about how to have a successful unmedicated vaginal birth?
If so, give these books a try.
Managing Pain During Unmedicated Labor
How can I prepare my body for normal delivery?
1. Spend Early Labor at Home
Most first time expecting moms don’t know what exactly to expect when they go into labor. This is one reason that they may go to the hospital thinking that their water broke when they really just peed on themselves.
But even when your labor really does start, hospitals will not admit you until your labor has started moving along and your contractions are closer together.
So the best way that many moms have been able to be comfortable during the beginning of their labor is to let it play out at home. And then once the labor gets more intense and the mother is dilated enough, she can get admitted and seen by her doctor.
Just Breathe! If you’ve been practicing your relaxation techniques, you might be taking slow deep breaths to help you get through your contractions. Many moms practice breathing through contractions and find that it helps them to get through the pain.
3. Get into the Bathtub
You know how taking a warm bath helps with your period cramps? The same goes for contractions.
When an expecting mom in labor gets into a tub of warm water her body releases the hormone oxytocin. And once the oxytocin is released her body will release endorphins that help with the painful contractions.
Getting a massage is very relaxing. And for an expecting mom who’s experiencing painful contractions, getting a massage can help a ton with pain, relaxation, and even emotions.
So talk with your partner about some things he can do to help you while you are in labor like giving you a massage where you feel pain.
5. Birthing Ball
What is a birthing ball?
A birth ball is just basically an exercise ball that you can sit on. Many expecting moms use a birthing ball during their labor to help with:
- bringing the baby’s head on the cervix
- getting in a better position
- taking the pressure off of painful parts of the body
Visualizing sounds a bit silly when you first hear it but many moms who’ve had an unmedicated birth swear by it. Expecting moms use visualization to help them relax and concentrate on one thing while they get through painful contractions.
And even though it is a rather simple technique, it really has helped expecting moms to stay focused and manage their pain.
Rest? Are you crazy, I’m in labor?
Now getting some rest during an unmedicated labor may sound impossible, but it is really helpful for when your labor progresses and it’s time to start pushing. So do your best not to get all worked up and try to take it as easy as possible.
- 11 Methods for Natural Pain Relief During Labor – Elaine Timms – MomBlogLife
How to Have an Unmedicated Home Birth
So you want to have a home birth?
Many expecting moms have started having planned home births and it really is a very relaxing experience. But there are a few different ways that you have to prepare to have a birth at home.
First of all, you have to choose a certified professional midwife. Midwives are trained to be prepared for anything that could happen during a home birth as well. And most midwives also come with their own supplies that are needed for your home birth.
The second thing you need to do is check with your health insurance to make sure that they will cover the cost of your midwife and anything else needed for you to have a home birth.
Now many expecting moms that choose to have a home birth often want to do a water birth.
A water birth is when the mother spends part of her labor and delivery or both in a birth pool or a bathtub. Water births have become very popular due to the natural effects of the warm water easing painful contractions.
What do I need for a water birth?
Some expecting parents decide to use a birthing pool or a bathtub depending on their preferences. Many midwives also provide a birthing pool with their supplies for expecting moms.
And if your midwife doesn’t offer a birthing pool, you can rent one or buy one.
Unmedicated Vaginal Birth After a C-Section
I had a c-section for my last birth. Can I have an unmedicated vaginal birth this time?
Yes. Well, at least most of the time. Many moms who have had only one previous c-section and have no medical problems and are not high risk can have an unmedicated vaginal birth.
The best thing to do is talk it over with your OBGYN and see if you are safe to go ahead and try for a vaginal birth this time around.
I had two unmediated VBACs (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean) and did very little to prepare, as in, maybe I thought about how mentally I’d get through it and that’s it. I let my body handle the rest. – Melissa Griffeth
- How to Prepare for a Scheduled C-Section
- 11 Secrets You Need to Know About Having a C-Section
- What to Pack in Your Hospital Bag for a C-Section Delivery
- 9 Postpartum Essentials for a Quick C-Section Recovery
Unmedicated Birth Stories from Real Moms
Now that you have all of the facts to get you prepared for your unmedicated vaginal birth, here are a few birth stories from real moms who’ve had one.
“Bring sugary hard candy. Sounds silly but it was those jolly ranchers that I brought with me that gave me the energy to push. I wasn’t able to eat before I got to my birthing center and couldn’t keep food down while I was there so the lack of energy made it hard to push. The candy helped a lot!” – Monica BoatwrightDavidson
“For several months beforehand, I listened to Hypnobabies and learned how to mentally handle the physical pain. It was a wonderful experience and my labor was very quick and easy. The biggest thing you need is to prepare your mind. Once your mind accepts that you will be going unmedicated, you will be able to do it. Also, breathing through the contractions and relaxing. I danced and sang through a lot of my contractions and just had a great time! Pushing is the best because the pain goes away entirely” – Cassandra Barksdale
I’ve had 2 vaginal, unmedicated births. The fear of birth can be one of the hardest parts. If you reduce the fear you can reduce the pain and discomfort. Which helps the whole process of birthing go much smoother. I talk about how to get over the fear in this post: Conquer Your Fear of Giving Birth – Stormy Stevenson from PregnantMamaBabyLife
“Prepare your mindset. You 100% can do this. Think of the pain as being helpful instead of scary. Visualize the contractions opening up your cervix. Realize that pain won’t kill you. Use distraction techniques during early labor. Walk, eat, watch movies, dance, clean, chat with friends, etc. Anything you want that distracts you. Stay home as long as possible. It’s far more comfortable and going too soon opens up all kinds of possibilities for unnecessary interventions. When things get intense towards the end I recommend a peanut ball and relaxing, breathing, or meditating through contractions. I moan and vocalize. If I have a high pitch I have someone remind me to keep it low or blow the pain away. Try birthing on your hands and knees or laying on your side. Avoid your back if at all possible. Do hip opening exercises and stretches. Bounce on a ball. Sway your hips. Keep moving.” – Annalyn Barney from Figure It Out Mom
“Mine was….dare I say easy? I have a high pain tolerance, didn’t have any risk, and didn’t need medication. It only got worse when I reached a 9, but by then it was just because I was tired (I had 24-hour labor). However, one thing that saved me was that I did perineal massages during my pregnancy. Come to find out, my child had a HUGE head, and doing those massages actually kept me from getting an episiotomy. I did still tear (of course) and had to have an extra stitch, but I swear by those to everyone. My advice would be to get in tune with your body if you haven’t already and advocate for yourself. I had many nurses try to push a c-section or epidural on me, but I had a plan in place and knew I was capable of doing it all vaginally and unmedicated. If something would have gone wrong, that would have been a different story, but I didn’t like being told a million times that an epidural made things “easier”. Thankfully, I had a great doctor who was willing to follow my lead and let me figure things out on my own, as long as it didn’t put my health or my daughter’s health in danger. Whether you’re a young mom, new mom, or mom who is having a vaginal birth for the first time (after a c-section) YOU know your body best.” – Sené Suazo
“Breathing exercises are critical to making it through. I refrained from screaming, yelling, crying or even moaning because it would mess up my breathing pattern and the pain would worsen. With my son (second born) I went regularly to the chiropractor and I believed that really helped lessen the labor time. I had him in just 2 contractions, 3 pushes after only 4 hours of labor (compared to 10+ hours with my firstborn). After having my son, I didn’t even take Motrin or Tylenol the days after labor. I really felt amazing!” – Stacy Guimarães
“Be open to changing your plan and keep the main goal in mind, that you’re bringing a sweet little bundle of joy into the world, one way or another. Prepare beforehand for the pain, because it is crazy (I will do this if I ever have another, just in case)” – Melissa Warren from WorkingMamaBear
“Avila is my second baby and I want to start this post off by saying natural birth is possible! This is my natural birth story. My first labor was a 41 week, 25-hour induction with Pitocin, epidural- the whole shebang. Everything that I did differently with this pregnancy and delivery is for another detailed post (scroll to the bottom of the post for resources). But, my first and second labors could not be any more different. So, for my mamas (like me) who thought that a natural labor and delivery aren’t possible for them- there is HOPE!” Here is my – My Natural Birth Story – Haley Barry from LetsMama
I had my second unmedicated. For my first, I did a hypnobirthing class. For both, I practiced affirmations! Tips: having a doula and those affirmations helped so much.” – April Robert
“I am a Homebirth mom of 6 (all unmedicated births at home) and a Childbirth Educator here! They were all slightly different, hard work but JOYFUL! Prepare! Birth is a marathon. No one would run a marathon without training.” – Colleen Mason from MakingMasons
“I’ve had 3 natural births and my biggest piece of advice is having a support person such a doula who is experienced with natural births. My first was a hospital birth and our family friend who is a chiro was there, I wouldn’t have been able to do it naturally without her. My other two were home births with midwives and a doula,” – Maja McAllister
“I just had my son with no medication. I decided I was going unmedicated the moment I found out about my little bean. What really helped was having a doula who I trusted and who cared about my health and feelings throughout the whole process. The best tips I have for pain relief is walking around, BREATHING techniques were a lifesaver, and having my husband and doula massage my back and sides through the contractions my labor lasted 12 hours and 45 minutes with a total of 5 minutes pushing vs my medicated 15-hour labor with 30 minutes of pushing. I loved it and that’s how the rest of my children will be born” – Shenequa Davis
“I had mine with no meds. The one thing I kept hanging on to is that our bodies are made to give birth. So, while meds are a great resource, ultimately my body knows what to do and can handle it. The second thing was someone told me that when I reached a point where I didn’t think I could go on, then that meant the end was near. That was definitely true for me. I just kept trying to hang on and when I didn’t think I could keep going, they told me I could start pushing! Lastly, definitely having your spouse on board was also helpful. My husband was super supportive and encouraging, so it made it easier to keep pushing through to accomplish what I wanted. I hope that helps!“ – Anna Nwa
It’s Time for a Giveaway!
Okay everyone loves to get something for free, so I talked with Chemeeka Sparks who is the author of The 10 Things YOU CAN DO for an Easier Labor. This is such an amazing book all about making your unmedicated labor easier.
And in this book Chemeeka addresses some of the most common pitfalls along the way through pregnancy, labor, and birth such as:
- Address questions pertaining to your decision to use or not to have use of an epidural
- Avoid falling into the old trap that, “if it happened to them, it will happen to me”
- Speak & believe positive affirmations about your birth (before it happens!)
- How to effectively involve your spouse/birth partner
So now let’s talk about how you can snag a copy of this book for free. To enter the giveaway simply log in through Facebook or use your email to enter the giveaway. All you have to do is follow my Facebook page and that’s it.
The giveaway ends on December 1, 2019. Once I have chosen a winner, the book will be sent out by the author. It’s really that easy.