A “normal” delivery is one in which no surgical procedure is involved. It is a vaginal birth, whether it’s assisted or induced. A “normal” delivery stimulates lactation and is better for both the mother and the child. However, there is no shame in needing a caesarian section to deliver a baby if the circumstances call for it. The most important thing is for both mother and baby to be safe and healthy through labor and delivery.
What Can I Do Ensure That I Have a Normal Delivery?
Statistically, about 33% of women have a c-section instead of a “normal” delivery. If having a vaginal birth is important to you, you can increase your chance with these tips.
1. Reduce Stress
The March of Dimes reports that maternal stress is associated with preterm birth and low birthweight. Managing your stress throughout your pregnancy can help you stay healthy and have a better outcome during labor and childbirth. Try to avoid negative situations that make you uncomfortable, and keep company with people who are friendly and kind. You may also consider meditation or yoga to remain calm and positive. You may not be able to avoid stress entirely, but you can make sure that you deal with it in a positive manner instead of suppressing it.
Giving birth requires that you be at your best. Eating healthy during pregnancy should be a priority.
- Choose to eat a healthy diet of fruits, vegetables, grains, lean meats and dairy.
- You want foods that are high in antioxidants and vitamins. Eat a rainbow of colors, especially dark green leafy vegetables, kale, spinach and broccoli. Blueberries, papaya and citrus add lovely color to your plate.
- Include foods that are high in iron, tofu, broccoli, spinach and beef.
- Reduce your overall sugar intake.
- Avoid foods recommended by your doctor. Organ meats, some seafood and street food are often recommended to avoid during pregnancy.
- In addition to eating well, take prenatal vitamins to make sure your body is getting extra nutrients required by your body and for the developing baby.
3. Exercise Regularly
Exercise is important to your overall health, but throughout pregnancy, exercise offers even more benefits. First, it increases your stamina, letting you stay strong during labor and childbirth. Exercise keeps your muscles supple to let you bear the pain of labor. Strong thigh and pelvic muscles assist during labor and birthing, too. Moving during pregnancy also helps get the baby into the right position. You don’t have to run a marathon. Do things you enjoy. Dance, take a walk around the lake, play golf, just check with your healthcare provider about any limitations to make sure you stay safe.
4.Educate Yourself About Childbirth
Knowledge is power, so you should continue to research. Read books that tell you what to expect throughout labor and birthing, take a childbirth class, talk to other women who you trust to get input on their experience. However, try to avoid horror stories about childbirth. You will also want to talk to your doctor about your concerns instead of letting them fester. If you start to get overwhelmed, it could mean you have too much information. Slow down and process what you learn before consuming more.
5. Get Enough Sleep
Millions of Americans don’t get enough sleep. When you’re pregnant, it can be even more difficult to get enough sleep to keep your body from feeling fatigued. According to SleepFoundation.org, women often have sleep disorders that are made worse by their pregnancy. Find ways to cope with sleep issues to make sure your body gets enough rest.
- Lying on your left side with a pillow between your knees and another under your abdomen can take pressure off your lower back.
- If you do have to get up at night to use the bathroom, try to do as little as possible to arouse your mind and body. Use a nightlight instead of turning on the light. Don’t check your phone.
- Eat smaller meals throughout the day and avoid spicy foods in the evening to prevent heartburn.
- If you can’t sleep, get up and do something relaxing instead of trying to force it. Reading a book, crocheting or taking a warm bath may help you unwind.
- Unplug from your phone about an hour before bed. Electronics can be stimulating, which make it harder to go to sleep
6. Build a Support System.
Your partner and you should be on the same page about having a “normal” birthing. Choose people to be with you in labor who support your decision about a “normal” childbirth. You may want to hire a doula, a person who advocates for you during childbirth. Your doula can also help you remain calm during labor.
7. Talk to Your Healthcare Team
Make sure that your provider knows that you would prefer to have a “normal” delivery. When you and your doctor are on the same page, it’s more likely that you can work together to find the solutions that fit your needs. Talk to your doctor about their views on “normal” birthing, and check their rates of “normal” birthing to c-sections.
8. Stay Hydrated
Water is important to your baby’s development, so it’s important to be drinking enough water throughout your pregnancy and labor. The American Pregnancy Association recommends 8 to 12 glasses of water each day. You may also want to limit your caffeine intake, because caffeine acts like a diuretic, causing you to urinate more often. Try to avoid strenuous exercise and overheating, because those things can cause you to lose more water through sweat. If you are sweating a lot, drink more water.
Preparing for Your Delivery
Your pregnancy should be a time of wonder and awe as you await the birthing of your bundle of joy. Taking care of yourself through your pregnancy will help you during labor and delivery, no matter which route you take. It will also help you post-delivery as your body recovers from the stress of carrying an extra body. Follow your doctor’s directions and do everything you can do to maintain your health.
North Texas Medical Center has state-of-the-art inpatient facilities for labor and delivery for both mother and baby. Contact us for more information.