Natural Childbirth Techniques
There are a number of different techniques that can be used when trying to labor without the use of any medical interventions. The following techniques have been successfully used for many years in aiding natural birth. If you are a candidate for natural childbirth, take time to study the different techniques to determine which might work best for you and your partner.
The Alexander Technique
In learning how to deal with his own vocal problem, F. M. Alexander (1869-1955) developed a technique for sitting, standing and moving with safety, efficiency, and ease. Anyone, including a pregnant woman, can learn to release muscular tension to increase breathing capacity and restore the body’s original poise and proper posture.
As your body begins to experience lower back pain, balance and digestive problems, and shortness of breath, simple modifications in your movement can help alleviate these symptoms. When the time for delivery arrives, you will be able to breathe better, calm yourself, focus during the birth, help open the cervix during dilation and prepare for effective pushing as the baby comes.
The Bradley Method
Developed by Dr. Robert Bradley in the late 1940’s, this method helps women deliver naturally, with few or no drugs. Courses emphasize excellent nutrition and exercise, relaxation techniques to manage pain, and the effective involvement of the husband or partner as coach. You will also learn how to tune in to your body and the positions which will ease labor pains and prepare you for the stages of labor. You will learn how to avoid having a cesarean section, how to breastfeed, and how to discuss your birthing plans with your doctor.
For more information: www.bradleybirth.com and American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth 1-800-423-2397
In the 1940’s, Dr. Grantly Dick-Read pioneered the use of hypnosis during labor to bring a woman into a state of total relaxation where her body’s muscles can function according to the way they are designed. Women using this method report feeling lost in a daydream, relaxed, calm, aware and in control.
For more information: www.hypnobirthing.com
Dr. Ferdinand Lamaze developed this method beginning in Russia using “Psychoprofilaxis.” This method utilizes distraction during contractions to decrease the perception of pain and reduce discomfort. In Lamaze class, you and your partner will learn controlled deep breathing, massage, concentration and how to maintain control during labor.
For more information: www.lamaze.org
Giving birth in a warm tub of water can help a woman relax. The buoyancy also helps alleviate discomfort and pressure. Some believe that the water helps the baby enter the world with less light, sound and dramatic change. Water delivery is not recommended for women with high-risk pregnancies and in every case preparation should be made for delivery to occur out of the water if complications arise.
You may find the following books helpful.