Since our founding in 2008, Kopa Birth® has helped to prepare well over 1,000 couples for natural childbirth in hospital. As a mom, I’ve also personally experienced 4 natural hospital births. Here are 5 valuable keys I’ve learned over the years to help couples have the best chances for a natural birth in a hospital setting:
Natural Childbirth in Hospital Key #1: Remember that the hospital staff is NOT your enemy!
From the amazing birth experiences of many, many women, I can assure you that the hospital can be a supportive environment for natural childbirth. Trust that the hospital staff wants to see you succeed! A negative view of hospitals, nurses, and doctors will ultimately sabotage your confidence. I’ve learned that couples who invest the time to build a relationship of trust with their doctor or midwife are much more likely to have a positive birth experience. Your monthly or bi-weekly prenatal visits are the ideal time to communicate with your provider and share your preferences for a low-intervention, natural birth.
Natural Childbirth in Hospital Key #2: Come to the hospital prepared with labor coping tools.
While giving birth is empowering and joyful, most women also agree that it’s painful. There are times when you might want to give up on your goal of a natural birth. Those feelings can be more challenging to overcome in a hospital setting where there is always the option of pain medication like epidurals and IV narcotics. So, take a good natural childbirth class and prepare yourself with coping tools! I’ve learned that couples who are armed with practical tools like relaxation, breathing, and positioning are better able to manage the intensity of contractions with calm and confidence.
Natural Childbirth in Hospital Key #3: Expect to provide your own labor support team.
Due to the busy nature of the hospital setting, your doctor or midwife will likely only check in with you periodically during labor. The nurse will come in more regularly, but her primary responsibility is to monitor you and baby for safety. I’ve learned that non-medicinal labor support and comfort measures for mom will primarily come from your partner. Consider inviting an experienced birth doula or supportive family and friends to supplement your labor support team as needed.
Natural Childbirth in Hospital Key #4: Understand hospital-based labor interventions.
Hospital policies and interventions are in place with a goal to ensure safe birth outcomes. Yet, not all interventions may promote your plans for a natural birth. IVs, fetal monitoring, inductions, and rupturing membranes are common interventions that may be offered to you. Take time beforehand to study the evidence-based pros and cons of the most common hospital interventions. I’ve learned that this type of preparation will enable you to make your own best, most-informed choices during labor.
Natural Childbirth in Hospital Key #5: Learn how to advocate in a way that fosters unity.
Giving birth in a hospital may at times require you to advocate for your preferences. Learn how how to do so in a way that fosters unity with your nurse, midwife, or doctor. Familiarize yourself with basic birth medical lingo (dilation, effacement, fetal station, etc.). Speak in terms of risk, benefit, and potential alternatives. I’ve also learned that you can avoid a lot of in-the-moment discussions by preparing a realistic Birth Plan (Birth Preference) beforehand. For suggestions, refer to How to Write a Birth Plan (That Doctors & Nurses Will Love!): The 5 Keys to Success.
Many women have found that natural childbirth in a hospital can be a safe, empowering, and joyful experience! Use these tips to help set yourself up for success, and then prepare to enjoy the birth of your baby!
Kopa Birth’s online birthing classes allow you to prepare for a natural hospital birth from the comfort of your own home, 24/7. Enroll today in our free online childbirth class and start preparing for your natural birth!