Preparing for Natural Childbirth -- First or Second Time

I looked at my second pregnancy as a "do over" for the surgical birth of my first. I truly wanted an unmedicated, natural Vaginal Birth after Cesarean, also known as VBAC. I didn't realized how much research I would put into my second pregnancy. Looking back on all the information I put together, learned, and came across, it would be foolish not to share with others. I think a lot of the efforts and education I put into my second child's pregnancy and birth has been very helpful in my journey to becoming a childbirth educator.

I worked my own experience into small steps all pregnant women, or women considering trying to conceive, should read before birth.
  1. Interview Providers - Most women I have come across usually choose the OB their sister used, or even a simple referral from their insurance provider. With my first pregnancy, that is exactly what I did. By the end of my pregnancy, and after my birth, I knew the provider choice was a mistake. Providers can make or break your experience. Choose wisely.
  2. Find a Chiropractor - Most women think, "What the heck do I need a Chiropractor for?" without knowing the ins and outs of how your pelvis works!  Not only can Chiropractic Care help with pain, and discomfort, but it can help prepare your pelvis for a successful vaginal birth!
  3. Take a Childbirth Education Class - New studies show women who take a childbirth education course not only are better prepared for class, but they are less likely to be subjected to routine or unnecessary interventions in the hospital. Skip the classes hospitals offer in one day, most teach you how to be a good patient in their facility, rather than anything about childbirth. Lamaze is a great course that is not too long, and provides great education, and positive thinking surrounding birth.
  4. Hire a Doula! - Several North American studies have shown many benefits to having a birth doula. From lowering your chance from a cesarean, to shorter labor times.  There was an amazing difference in my two birth experiences, one including a doula, and one without.
  5. Check Out Your Local Hospital Statistics - Some states such as New York and Massachusetts publish the maternity care statistics by hospital, which is also required by law in these states. Unfortunately for women in other areas of the country, these numbers may not be as easily accessible, but local health departments and The Birth Survey can help you with this.
  6. Do Your Reading! - There are so many great childbirth books that can help you to focus on your journey to a natural childbirth experience.  Some of my favorites, and the most popular books include :        
    • The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth - Henci Goer
    • Birthing From Within - Pam England
    • Gentle Birth Choices - Barbara Harper
    • Creating Your Birth Plan - Marsden Wagner
    • Ina May's Guide to Childbirth - Ina May Gaskin
    • The Official Lamaze Guide - Judith Lothian & Charlotte DeVries
    • The Birth Partner - Penny Simkin
    • Birth The Surprising History of How We are Born - Tina Cassidy
    • Check out the ICAN Recommended Reading List also!
    What are your favorite pregnancy and birth books? Leave a comment to let other moms know about your favorite reading resources.
  7. Go internet shopping!  I get that term from the lovely Feminist Breeder, the term was something her provider hit her with when she discussed her own research she had done regarding VBAC.  Go online, and do your reading, there is so much amazing information on the internet that can help you in the right direction for starting a journey to natural childbirth. Some of my favorite online resources include :What are your favorite websites for natural childbirth, or preparing for birth?
These are simple steps that can't all be done overnight, but they are basic steps in the right direction, many of which you can even start before getting pregnant.  The biggest key in having a successful and positive birth experience starts with education!

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