Natural Childbirth

What Is Natural Childbirth?

A natural childbirth refers to a vaginal delivery where no medications are used. In this type of delivery, the mother will use relaxation and breathing techniques, massage or even meditation to manage the pain. However, some women will still choose to have other medical assistance, such as fetal heart monitoring, during labor. 

Benefits of Natural Childbirth

Often women will choose natural childbirth because they want to feel more in control over their delivery. Many women will use the contractions as a guide to their labor. Additionally, pushing may be easier because you won’t lose sensation.

Natural childbirth also allows you to move around more, which may help with pain. Many women will walk around the hospital, take a shower or use a birthing ball. 

An alternative delivery position such as squatting, kneeling or leaning against something can also be used as it may be more comfortable.

What to Expect During Natural Childbirth 

Yes, you will feel pain. Some women feel pain that resembles menstrual cramps, some feel more of a pressure-like pain and others will feel strong waves of pain similar to intestinal cramping. But rest assured, our expert team is here to help you feel as comfortable as possible. If the pain gets to be too much, you can always ask for an epidural.

How Long Will It Take?

There is no set timeline for giving birth. The baby may come in a few hours or it may take all day. We will make sure to observe any changes that occur during the labor process to ensure you and your baby are safe at every step.  

Risks of Natural Childbirth

In general, natural childbirth is a safe option. If complications do arise it’s important you listen to your doctor and remain open to accepting medical intervention if needed.

Tools and Techniques for Natural Childbirth

At Banner Health we offer several different methods and tools to support natural childbirth, including:

  • Hydrotherapy (laboring in water)
  • Use of a birthing ball or peanut ball
  • Aromatherapy
  • Music
  • Massage
  • Fetal positioning techniques

Additionally, fetal monitoring can be done using doppler ultrasound or wireless monitors, which still allow you to move around the room.

Banner Health also offers classes to help you prepare for childbirth. View our classes here.

Recovery After Natural Childbirth

Recovery time will vary from woman to woman. It may take six to eight weeks or even longer to feel fully recovered. If you experience any perineal tearing expect recovery to take a little longer.

You will experience postpartum bleeding called lochia, which is like a heavy period and can last for up to six weeks. Learn more about postpartum bleeding here.

Doing kegel exercises as soon as you’re able after delivery can help your vagina get back into shape and can assist in any postpartum urinary incontinence. 

Exercise After a Natural Childbirth

Go slow at first. Walking and stretching are great starting out and then slowly work your way up to more strenuous activity over a few weeks. Be sure to consult with your doctor about what the best amount of time would be based on your unique health needs.

Sex After a Natural Childbirth  

Most doctors recommend waiting at least four to six weeks after giving birth to have sex. Talk to your doctor if you have any questions or concerns.

Giving birth is a special and personal experience. Talk to the experts at Banner Health to create a birth plan that’s right for you and your family.