Natural Childbirth

What are the benefits of a natural birth for the birthing woman and her baby?

To answer this question I will draw upon my own two birth experiences, and then Alice, a midwife, will say a few words. My first child was born in a hospital setting by means of forceps, after I received an epidural. My second child was born at home naturally in water.

With my second natural birth, I experienced no tearing or stitches, even though my baby was 9lb 11 ounces. I was able to walk around straight after the birth. I breastfed in the first half an hour, sitting up was easy. My mood was elated. My second child came to the world in peace. She floated in the warm water, watching my husband and I with her eyes wide open. We waited patiently for her placenta, all of us together. Not a single cry came from her lips, still floating in the warm water like the womb. We then tucked her up in bed with us and I breastfed. She stayed in that bed and birthing room in the first few weeks that followed (venturing around the house and garden, but into the world only on a rare occasion). She stayed peaceful, sleeping deeply and rarely crying. She remains confident, healthy and still has that inner peace that she was born with. The world is a very peaceful and happy place for her!

After my first forceps birth, my husband said he lost count of the stitches. I could not get out of bed to shower or clean up, as I could not move for a while. My husband took on the role of caring and welcoming my baby, as I was being stitched up. I could not sit down for two weeks – unless I had a doughnut cushion – neither could I walk easily. I did learn to breastfeed well lying down! I was not attached to my baby at first. I later admitted that I had post natal depression.

My first baby, after his forceps birth, required a great deal of tender loving care. He was anxious by nature, with frequent bouts of crying in the brightly lit room of the hospital. We took him home, tucked him in our bed and lay next to him with the lights dimmed. With no disturbances and our love he settled down. As a baby he required breastfeeding every one and half hours for comfort. He also liked to be held and rocked. He had a habit of rocking – arching his back over and over again – as if he was still birthing. He would move his cot across the room this way, pretty amazing as he could not roll, crawl or walk yet! He was (and still is at times) a very sensitive boy, frightened of loud noises, other people and the world in general!

He later required two eye operations for turned eyes, right on the mark left by the forceps. He was a clingy, sensitive baby; one that required time and sensitivity to slowly feel safe in the world. He enjoyed sucking his thumb and carry around his ‘silky’ to rub on his cheek. This bought him peace and pleasure! My son and I talk about his birth with love and humour. I say he refused to come out, because it was so nice in the womb. Adding that I was frightened and didn’t know exactly what to do (we had help with salad servers!) This has been written with his permission. He is ten now and growing into a magnificent man!

I must add that I am very grateful for my forceps birth. During my first birth, my baby and I were stuck (in fear not physically!). I felt the doctor who gave my epidural was an angel at the time! I love my children and talk to them both about their beautiful arrivals into the world. Different but both beautiful! My first son knows the doctor was an angel and that Daddy wrapped him up and took him to the window to say, “Welcome to the world special boy, I love you”. His stories are still magical, as all births are: a new life!

However when comparing the two objectively, the natural birth was the most empowering for myself, with an amazing recovery time. It seemed to create the most ideal environment for my baby to enter into this world, setting a mood for the first years of life and beyond.

What are the benefits of a natural birth – word’s of wisdom from a midwife!

Birthing is an innate experience, our bodies as women are designed to birth. For birth to take place naturally, the birthing woman has to learn to trust fully and surrender. When you surrender to a natural birth, there is an increasing trust to the process of life. Birth is a ‘right of passage’ that we do not often get to experience in our culture.

There should be minimal recovery time needed physically for a woman who experiences a natural birth. Although rest and being gentle on yourself is the way to go. A vaginal is designed to open and stretch and made to go back to shape! Babies are designed to go through this process. The mother and baby are designed to do this together; there needs to be a trust in the natural process of birth.  What can help the process of a natural birth, look to the next section, ‘Tips for Natural Childbirth’? 

The reality of birth

In print it looks easy; three stages to identify, remember to breathe and relax. In reality birth can be chaotic (just hold on and surrender), messy (with faeces and vomiting at times during the labour), wild (all inhibitions have to go), scary (what is happening to my body, am I splitting in two?) and shocking (why is my baby covered in white stuff, wrinkled and with an odd shaped head?) Birth can also be ecstatic.

The correct knowledge, understanding, support and a nurturing and positive environment can help the birthing woman to ride these choppy and scary waves to feel initiated and empowered as a women to birth naturally. Birth can then take place as a calm and liberating experience. The bottom line is that your body is designed to birth. This is the way humans have been born since the beginning of time. It is natural, so go with the flow… 

To plan a natural birth can be an ideal, but sometimes the best laid plans do not come to fruition. If intervention is deemed necessary, however your baby is born; birth is a life changing experience and an initiation into motherhood. All mothers and children are sacred!