Note: I will share my personal beliefs, these are not intended to criticize any mothers for their experience.
While I was pregnant, and even long before the chances were there, I always wanted to have an at-home water birth. And as every momma knows, a birth plan is a big deal when you are expecting! All of your pregnancy experience is culminated into one huge moment: BIRTH.
However, when I actually got pregnant, I was not in a good place financially so I had different options. I spent the first 5 months of my pregnancy under medical group care. Eventually, I made the transition to midwifery care, you can read about my natural birth story here (the link will go live next week, stay tuned).
That brings me to my first point!
Midwifery Care is Thorough
Let’s tackle this one first because many mothers are opting out of any professional care in what is called ‘Free Birth’ or ‘Unassisted Birth,’ they might also consider that Natural Birth. You can read more about the different birth styles at this link.
My doctor meetings at the medical group lasted about 5 minutes or LESS while I spent up to 45 minutes cycling through measurements and waiting. It was the typical, “charts look good, questions?” as the doctor was walking out the door. On the other hand, my appointments with the midwives were an entire hour long WITH the midwife.
Not only did the midwives do all the “science-y” stuff but they did the bonding stuff, too. That’s what made a huge difference, to me. I really felt cared about.
During the midwifery appointments, one of my midwives (there were two, here’s the story) would ask me several questions related to my physical and emotional state, my plans for the future birth and postpartum care. They would spend time getting to know me and we’d even share family stories before they would listen for baby’s heart rate using a fetal doppler and then tell me her position. Which leads to the next point…
Little to No Technological Intervention
For those mothers and families who generally go for a more green approach to life, natural birth is my first recommendation. I am the type of person who will look for teas and herbs to remedy a headache before I’ll even consider taking an Advil. That’s just how I am, you may be, too!
Midwives take the least invasive measures possible such as feeling the belly for baby’s position and limiting ultrasounds to pure necessity because of radiation concerns. They even give you a gestational diabetes test WITHOUT having you drink a sugar-loaded substance. I was tested without issue after eating a regular, wholesome breakfast. This was important to me because I maintained a healthy diet throughout my pregnancy and was not looking forward to consuming the weird cocktail just to be pricked multiple times during a crash.
Midwives also study how the body responds to birth and what simple natural methods can help with delivery. Such as working with gravity! No need to force a baby out that is already making its way down. My delivery lasted a long time and we tried every single position possible before even considering a trip to the hospital. Uh-unh, no hospital for me. Finally, I gave birth in a squat!
Occam’s Razor anyone?
The Female Body was Made to Give Birth
I am terrified of unnecessary, invasive trauma to the body such as forceps being used to pull babies out or vacuums to suck them out. I especially was terrified of having a cesarean section birth (looks so painful). After lots of researching, I learned these measures were pretty common in the medical model of birth care. A lot more common than necessary was also the use of Pitocin to speed up labor.
The reason was frequently given that doctors were low on time and wanted to rush the birth process so they could move onto the next assignment.
I feel these measures are contrary to the safety needs for healthy mothers and babies because they work against the body’s instinctive/natural processes in a way that redirects what the female body is doing.
Another common complaint was that hospitals or medical doctors often made laboring women uncomfortable which caused interruptions to or delays in labor. I played the scenario too many times in my head: uncomfortable environment causing my delayed labor causing forceful removal of my child…
I Wanted to Experience Birth in its Entirety
I knew from the beginning that God had given me a healthy pregnancy, a healthy child and a fit body for this experience. This was something I trusted and I trusted that my body would do what God designed it to do. In Genesis, we learn that the woman WILL have birth pains and that meant I had nothing to be fearful of (God says He’s given us a spirit not of fear).
Life experiences are beautiful when they are raw and that’s what I wanted from my birth. I wanted to get the entire package, I wanted to feel the changes in my body, I wanted to feel my child moving through me, I wanted to feel the pain that would make me a mother. This, again, is personal preference as I have a high tolerance for pain and tend to perceive pain as an opportunity for growth rather than something to avoid.
One of the things that was mentioned often in my research was that mothers sometimes felt pressured to follow doctor’s orders/suggestions for things like numbing with epidurals or speeding up labor with Pitocin. I didn’t want to be vulnerable and make a choice that was contrary to my beliefs.
Birth is the experience I wanted to know deeply with all the joy and pain that would make me a mother.
Flexible Options in the Birth Plan
What I loved at the midwifery was that I could choose whatever I wanted and there was flexibility in case things changed. Flexibility all the way up to the last days.
I could deliver at home, I could deliver at the birthing center and I could try delivery in water (both at home or the center). Without IVs and routine pricks. As opposed to the only option at my local hospital: bed birth.
The midwifery also permitted eating and drinking liquids other than water throughout labor contractions to maintain energy. This is a no-no in the medical model.
I am so thankful for that coconut water!!!
I was able to choose whether or not I wanted my baby to receive newborn medicines. Delayed clamping of the umbilical cord was part of their protocol and they saved my placenta for encapsulation (they do not do this at the hospital).
All of these things were selling points because I value being in control of my body, my child’s body and doing what feels the most healthy for us.
I hope you’ve gotten some insight behind my decision to choose a natural birth plan. Like I said, these are highly personal. If this helped you or you have anything to add, feel free to share or comment below!