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Many women may lean toward natural childbirth even prior to pregnancy. That said, having a natural childbirth requires research, planning, and plenty of moral support. Some women will plan on a natural childbirth, only to require an epidural or other pain management medications during birth, while others may shy away from a natural childbirth out of fear or a lack of information. There are many benefits to a natural childbirth (such as quicker laboring times, an easier recovery, and fewer complications while breastfeeding), but without a plan and agenda in place for pain management, the escalation of pain during labor can be enough to deter a woman from a planned natural childbirth.
Most childbirth labors progress through three phases: the early phase (which is the longest), the active phase (being the most exhausting), and transition (which is usually the most painful stage but also can be the quickest if done naturally). Each phase requires a plan. By understanding the emotional and physical demands of each phase, a woman can prepare herself by using a laboring tool (such as the Yoga Birth Method) that specifically sets out the steps for the pain control, hands-on support, and physical stamina needed throughout labor.
Unfortunately, not all labors are smooth and free of complication. Women can better prepare themselves for how to handle their birth experiences by learning that the choices they make can either create a spiral of medical interventions or ensure the natural birth they wish to experience. Most complications stem from medical interference too early in labor. For example, inducing labor when the baby is still high in the pelvis can cause fetal distress later in labor, or it can cause intense contractions before the cervix is ready to handle an induction. Either of these two situations can create a really painful experience; a mother generally will have to endure a longer labor (to hopefully get the baby to descend or to wait for the cervix to dilate and efface).
Such medical intervention can produce two unintended downfalls for those whose original intent was a natural childbirth: 1) a mother may become so frustrated and tired from exhaustion and pain that she begins to ask for an epidural to get through the wait, and 2) the medical staff will only wait so long for things to change before they start recommending a Caesarean.
Epidurals can be an effective way to eliminate pain during labor, but keep in mind that epidurals come with their own set of drawbacks (such as long-term backaches and migraines, a longer recovery time, and the potential loss of interest in immediate breast feeding by the newborn). Most importantly to note is that not all epidurals work. When an epidural is given too early, the labor is slowed and may create the need for other medical interventions like the drug Pitocin or delivery using forceps. Epidural medication works against the body's natural hormone oxytocin, which is what creates contractions in the first place—this is the main reason an epidural can impede a shorter labor time and cause a longer labor.
By finding an effective, natural way to work through the pain a woman can better her birth outcome and can make labor easier for her baby. The baby receives the brunt of the outcome of each unnecessary medical intervention; medications or other processes may make it difficult for the baby to maneuver their way through the birth canal (as they are programmed naturally to do).
The key to medical empowerment is knowledge and application. Most women take hospital-based childbirth classes only to learn what the hospital can or will do, but do not learn what they can turn down or what their options are in the event of a proposed intervention. They also will likely not learn what they can do to manage the escalating pain through the stages of labor. I truly find that most women become afraid of labor after these classes because they are just not given enough tools to manage birth and the labor process. By taking a birth class that teaches the what will happen and then the how to to manage it, women receive both education and tools for application.
The Yoga Birth Method has filled that educational gap by teaching women what to expect during labor as well as how they can manage each birthing stage with a very specific strategy of breathing, movement, and intention-based control. This allows women to take back their right to a natural birth. The Yoga Birth Method is a powerful and informative step-by-step for labor. My goal was to provide detailed steps of movement, breathing, and thinking throughout each stage of labor and to empower women with the ability to make wise choices while they experience childbirth. I want women to know every possible scenario that may arise, as well as what their options are and how ask for what they want from doctors and hospitals.
Sometimes medical interventions are necessary during the birth process. The Yoga Birth Method does include alternative options for couples to use and feel good about when natural methods didn't work for them.
The Yoga Birth Method empowers parents-to-be, giving them options to make decisions and have a safe and wonderful birth experience.
Dorothy Guerra (Toronto, Canada) is a registered prenatal yoga teacher and a registered birth coach (doula). She owns two yoga studios, teaches the Yoga Birth Method to couples, and trains instructors and hospital staff in ...