5 Tips For A (Mostly) Unmedicated Birth

Alright, I can’t say that I’ve had unmedicated births because with both I took paracetamol as well as gas & air in the final stages. However, those did blow all to help with the pain so I hardly feel like they count. Ha! Today though, I am going to share with you 5 tips for a (mostly) unmedicated birth. I am absolutely not an expert, but these are drawn from my own personal experience.

These tips are not fool-proof “you will not need medication” but I believe the can help you to avoid it, and make labour more bearable regardless.

I also need to disclose that I am not anti-medicine AT ALL! I absolutely believe that it has its place. My mother had to have c-sections with all four of us kids, and I’m so grateful that that option was available, or none of us would be here today.

For me, I wanted to try and avoid medication only because I knew that one often leads to another, and things can escalate.

In reality, these tips will help all labouring mamas. They are not specific to just an unmedicated birth, but labour in general. They are what really helped me, and I’m hoping they’ll help you too!

5 Tips For A (Mostly) Unmedicated Birth

Gain Knowledge

I know there are many who do this, but I think there are equally as many who are afraid of what childbirth might bring, and therefore kind of ignore it. I get it.

However, there’s a lot to be said for the power of knowledge. If you want to try for an unmedicated birth, then it’s important to understand what can be helpful in achieving one. I guess I’m kind of preaching to the converted here though because you’re reading this post…

Regardless, do some research, but then lay off.

Too much knowledge can be equally as stressful as too little.

Understand what can help with achieving an unmedicated labour, but also value the fact that the body does what the body does. You can prepare all you want for labour, but some things are just out of your hands and that’s OK.

Don’t just research natural childbirth, but research the actual labour process. I know that it helped me to know what to expect and took away much of the fear.

Move!

Seriously! One of the BEST things that you can do during your labour, is to move. That is…until you can’t anymore, but by that point, your baby is probably crowning.

Go for a walk, bounce on an exercise ball, whatever! Just get moving! πŸ™‚

Gravity is your best friend, especially during early labour. Get up, and move. If you get tired, then use an exercise ball to sit on. I used one like this both during my pregnancy and for both of my labours:

I was able to sit and bounce in between contractions and also lean over it with my knees on the floor. Both helped to get my babies into the ideal position for birth.

Just a word of warning. Absolutely stay mobile for as long as possible, but also be careful not to overdo it. Use common sense and don’t exhaust yourself before the ‘race‘ has even begun.

Labour really is a marathon, not a sprint.

Labour At Home

I’m gonna stick my hand up here and say that I happily and willingly delivered both of my babies at a hospital. I’m not anti-hospital, but I’m also not anti-home birth. Why I suggest labouring at home is because there’s more room to move and be comfy. With my first, I put off going to the hospital as long as possible. It was only 2mins away from our home, so I wasn’t worried about getting there in time.

We only left for the hospital when I felt like I was beginning to lose control a bit. By the time I got to the hospital I only had time for a bit of gas & air before my son made his appearance.

With my daughter we left a bit earlier, but only because my son came very quickly and there was a very real possibility that my second labour could (and did!) progress a lot faster.

When you’re labouring at home, you only have so many medications available to you. Once you arrive at the hospital, there are quite a few more options. Give yourself a chance to see how far you can go in the comfort of your home, and then if you feel like you’re not coping well, go ahead and make your way to the hospital. πŸ™‚

Count Breaths, Not Contractions

This was a gem of advice that I got from Elle (The Lindquists). Instead of looking ahead and thinking about all the contractions you still have to go through, count how many breaths it takes to get through one contraction. This SAVED me! It honestly helps so much. Time went fast when I was doing this and it was easier to keep a positive mindset.

One other piece of advice is to focus on relaxing your body when you’re going through a contraction. This is easier said than done (I KNOW!), but it really does help. You’ll be amazed how tight and sore your upper body is after labour because you were tensing it up so much. An easy way to help relax your body is to make sure your fists aren’t clenched. It’s amazing how tense you get when your fists are clenched. Keep them relaxed and it will help keep the rest of you relaxed too.

When you feel like you’re dying and can’t do it anymore, take heart, because you’re probably closing in on the finish line!

Have A Water Birth And/Or Labour In ‘Your’ Comfortable Position

This tip is more for during your active labour and transition stage when your mobility becomes somewhat limited. With my first, I never got time to get into the birthing pool, but my second labour and delivery took place in the water. With both births, however, I was in ‘my’ comfortable position. For me, that was on my knees with my torso supported. The first time around I had the head of the bed lifted so I could lean over that, and with my second I was leaning over the side of the pool. This position gave me support so I could rest, but also allowed gravity to do its work.

Let’s be real here for a second though. When I say your ‘comfortable position’, what I really mean is the position that is bearable for you because, in all honesty, most positions were utterly UN-bearable for me to be in.

Find what works for you. πŸ™‚

Do Your Best, But Give Yourself Grace

These tips are based on my personal experience, and what helped me.

Please remember that I’m not you.

Our bodies are all wired so differently, and ultimately a positive birth experience outweighs an unmedicated one any day. I remember giving birth feeling like an outer-body experience. I couldn’t believe that I had brought another person into the world. Mama, please note that no matter how your baby ends up making their entrance, you are a superstar. You’ve given so much to get your precious child here and you are a wonderful mother because of it.

Feel free to leave any questions you might have in the comments below. Thank you for reading, friends.

Until next time!

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5 Tips For A (Mostly) Unmedicated Birth

Hi! I'm Christine...a stay-at-home mum to two tiny humans. My constant focus is having my home run as smoothly as possible. Keeping two kids alive, and maintaining my sanity is also a priority. Most Saturday nights, you can find me hunkered down watching Grey's Anatomy, and hopefully nibbling on some chocolate. :)

  • Samantha Stout

    1 out of 3 of my births was unmedicated, these are really great tips. The one that really helped me with my 3rd baby was taking a pregnancy class that was geared towards unmedicated and natural labor and delivery, I learned so much more than I ever had with my previous two pregnancies.

    • Christine Keys

      It’s amazing how empowering knowledge can be. πŸ™‚ I think we’re pretty lucky here in New Zealand because our service is midwife based and generally geared towards more natural options.

  • McKennah Bybee

    Very interest, thanks for sharing! I’ll have to remember this when I have babies.

    • Christine Keys

      No worries! πŸ™‚

  • Erin Nicole

    Those were great tips! My oldest I wanted to have naturally but ended up having a medicated birth and I’m glad I did because I labored at the hospital for 14 hours and he was faced the wrong way so my contractions were in my back. My second son I had an unmedicated birth because we didn’t have time to think about anything else. He was here fast. haha. I’m pregnant with my third and open to whatever I feel in the moment.

    • Christine Keys

      I’ve always been open to whatever for my kids as well. I didn’t really care that much about whether medication was involved or not, so long as my babies were born healthy. πŸ™‚

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