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  • Writer's pictureErin White

How to Prep for a Natural Birth

I am super excited to talk about this subject as it’s something that I spent a lot of time researching and reading about throughout my pregnancy. If you haven’t had a chance to check out our birth story, please check it out here! One of the goals of this blog is to help women feel empowered and encouraged during whatever stage of life they’re in. We all go through trials and triumphs and its so important to feel empowered no matter what life throws at you! Being an expecting mama is different for everyone and the journey to meeting your baby is a unique and amazing experience.

Having an unmedicated birth was something I was shooting for throughout my pregnancy with the understanding that an epidural/medication was also a great option! I know this is not (and doesn’t have to be) everyone’s goal, but I wanted to write this post for women that are hoping for an unmedicated delivery.

Things to do/keep in mind when preparing for a natural birth:

  • It’s 99% mental. Almost all of birth whether natural or medicated takes mental preparation and toughness. Giving birth is hard, no matter what method you chose! It’s literally the equivalent of running a marathon (if not more). You must mentally prepare yourself for what’s to come. I did this by reading lots of articles about labor/delivery, the stages of labor and what those entail, and what happens to your body throughout labor. You also have to be ALL in with wanting to go all natural, you can’t be wishy washy. I struggled with this a little on the day of but with the support from Zach and the nursing staff they encouraged me to continue the all-natural route.

  • There is some physical preparation needed (more below). There is no doubt in my mind that exercising throughout pregnancy helped me be able to give birth without medication. I was insanely sore after birth, like literally every muscle in my body ached like I had just done the hardest marathon workout of my life (which hello, I did). I was lucky enough to continue my workout regimen (which I will address in a later blog post) every single day of my pregnancy. I know this isn’t possible for all people, but it’s so important to exercise any way you can during pregnancy. Some of the go-to moves to prep your body for birth (whether all natural or not) are squats, lunges, sumo squats, diaphragmatic breathing, pelvic tilts, and stretching. I made an effort to stretch every night before bed. I did happy baby stretches, piriformis stretches, hamstring stretches, thoracic mobility moves, cat/camel, and a deep squat hold.

  • Learn to breath. This was one thing I didn’t do enough of in hindsight. When I was in the thick of the worst contractions and I had the urge to push but wasn’t supposed to yet breathing was the key to getting through them. I used long, slow, deep breaths to get through the contractions and distract myself from pushing. There were several bigger ones that I did scream/grunt through them, but the long, slow, deep breaths were the most effective for me. Try finding some youtube videos if you’re confused on what kind of breathing techniques are out there.

  • Move your body into a different position. It’s recommended that you move into a different position every 15-20 minutes throughout labor. I was able to walk around, squat, bounce on a therapy ball, and lay side lying on a peanut ball which helped make each contraction less painful.

  • It’s okay (and normal) to be scared. I was completely terrified several times during labor especially when I was getting closer to not having the out of an epidural. I even voiced those fears to Zach and the nurse several times during my labor. Thankfully everyone was on my side and knew I could achieve my goal of an unmedicated delivery. They were all so upbeat and gave me constant words of encouragement which helped me tremendously!

  • It’s going to be hard. The hardest part of the whole day was the last stage of labor and trying not to push before I hit 10 cm. As I mentioned in my birth story, I started having insane urges to push when I was at like 8/9 cm and I was instructed not to push but instead breath because I wasn’t ready for that yet. This was SO hard, but with support from Zach and the nurses I was able to work through it. Then during the actual delivery/pushing part it was so hard for me to keep my energy levels up to finish the 3 surge of pushing. I was so winded by that point that it would get hard for me to keep pushing for the 10 second surge. The very last push (which I didn’t know was the last one until it was over) felt very crazy. I would describe it as a LOT of pressure then a strong sensation that I had to go to the bathroom haha for me it wasn’t super *painful* as much as it felt so odd. I think I didn’t feel the pain of it necessarily because I was so focused on pushing as hard as I could, I couldn’t focus on the pain. I also kept telling myself that whatever contraction I was currently in wasn’t even the worst of it. My motto was “this isn’t the worst of them, keep going”. Then towards the end my OB instructed me to push through the pain because that’s how Jett was going to come out. I had to push past the feeling of pressure and pelvic pain in order to meet my son, so I knew what I had to do and that was push my heart out!

  • Do your research. I read and took several courses on how to have an unmedicated birth (which I will share here). All of the tips/tricks that I learned helped me not only mentally prepare but they also helped prepare me physically.

    • The book I read was Hypnobirthing: A Natural Approach To A Safe, Easier, More Comfortable Birthing (CD is not included)

    • The course I took was Mommy Labor Nurse – Natural Birth Class

    • Physical preparation I did included:

      • Perineal massage (instructions found via google or in the course/book I read). I started this at 34 weeks and I recruited Zach for assistance as it was rather difficult to do myself. We did this every night for 5-10 minutes and it made a HUGE difference and I truly think this is how I was able to walk away with only 2 stitches.

      • Working out every day. I continued my normal workout routine all throughout pregnancy which absolutely prepped my body for all things labor and delivery. If you need suggestions on what to do work out wise, please contact me and let’s chat! At 37 weeks I started doing 50 squats and lunges in addition to my workout.

  • Eating 4-5 dates a day. This was something I had read in my book and decided to give it a try. So starting at 34/35 weeks I would eat 4-5 dates daily. They say that this helps soften/ripen the cervix, I’ll never know if that’s true but I don’t mind dates and they help with digestion!

  • Therapy ball bounce/circles. At 37 weeks I started sitting, bouncing, and doing pelvic circles on a therapy ball every day several times a day. This is supposed to help open up the cervix and get baby into the right position for labor.

  • Make your room/space as relaxing as possible. I bought a small diffuser and put lavender essential oils in it. I also froze wash cloths soaked in lavender and water which was a lifesaver for me during delivery. I was so hot and the cold of the washcloth plus the smell of lavender really helped me. I also packed our stroller fan and had it on the bed for when I got hot. I wore the hospital gown the whole day because I didn’t want to ruin my personal clothes, but if you’d feel more comfortable in your own gown then do it! I also was able to do a portable monitoring system instead of being hooked up to the monitors all day which made it easier for me to move freely around the room, so if this is an option for you ask about it!

There is definitely prep work that is needed if your goal is an unmedicated birth, but it’s 100% possible for anyone! My OB was initially uncertain of my abilities to even have a vaginal delivery just based on Jett’s growth and my small frame, but he was still very encouraging of my goals of a natural labor. He made the comment that my prep work absolutely helped with my success and minimal tearing!

If you have any specific questions please don’t hesitate to reach out to me!



Hi, thanks for stopping by!

I am a wife to my amazing husband Zach and a momma to an angel baby and now a beautiful baby boy. I am an anxiety warrior, a follower of Christ, and a devoted wife, mother, daughter, friend, and sister.

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