What are the advantages of natural childbirth?

Maybe this is where the adage 'pain is gain' comes from. Understanding the advantages of having a natural childbirth over techno-medical interventions.

The term Natural Childbirth was coined by obstetrician Grantly Dick-Read in his book Natural Childbirth published in the 1930s. Natural birth refers to childbirth without techno-medical interventions, particularly anesthesia or epidurals. Natural birth attempts to minimize use of anesthetic medications and surgical interventions like caesarean sections, episiotomies or forceps and ventouse deliveries.

A natural birth allows you to remain in control of your body as much as possible. Despite the pain and discomfort that natural birth involves, many women consider it to be an empowering and a deeply satisfying experience.

Here are a few pros of choosing to go the natural birth route:

  • Natural birth does not involve usage of invasive techniques and medications, so there is little potential of harm or side effects for you or the baby.
  • Studies suggest that skin-to-skin contact immediately after birth between you and your newborn baby has a strong positive impact. A study done by WHO found that immediate skin contact between the mother and the baby after birth improves the mother-baby interaction, reduces crying and helps in breastfeeding. The first two hours after birth help in creating a strong bond as the babies tend to be more alert in that period.
  • Natural birth ensures that you do not lose alertness at any point during the process which allows you to remain mobile, find a comfortable position and actively participate in the delivery process.
  • A natural delivery also allows your partner to be actively involved in the process and help you manage your pain and discomfort.
  • You can use a variety of non-invasive methods to ease the pain during a natural childbirth. Some of the techniques which are used to manage pain during a natural birth are water birth, self hypnosis, breathing exercises, massage, relaxation therapy, visualization, vocalization etc. While these techniques do not completely alleviate the pain, they are considered safer than using medications or anaesthetics.

Favoured birth positions for a natural child birth are squatting, hands and knees or suspension in water. These positions are believed to work better than lithotomy position (women lying on her back on the bed and her legs held up by stirrups) which, as per studies slows down the process of labour.

Preparing well for a natural child birth by taking antenatal classes, learning breathing techniques, practicing yoga positions to strengthen the pelvic muscles and maintaining a good general health go a long way in ensuring a successful delivery.