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Strategies and resources for the delivery you want

Last Modified: March 11, 2024

Women & Children

natural childbirth

This post was written by Allison Thorpe, MSN, MBA, CNM, certified nurse midwife, PPG – OB/GYN.

It's never too early to start thinking about your preferences for childbirth. The more time you have to consider the options that matter to you, the better you can research and get the resources and care team that best suits your vision for your pregnancy journey and delivery day.

Before getting pregnant

Prior to your pregnancy, I encourage patients to envision what they want their birth to look like. This can help you choose a provider and a delivery location that meets your needs.

If you are considering an unmedicated birth, a midwife is a great asset, as they can offer support throughout the labor and delivery process. There are also additional resources available at some facilities that can be very helpful with an unmedicated birth. For instance, at Parkview Hospital Randallia, our Midwifery program now provides water births for patients who qualify. We will also be offering nitrous oxide as an additional pain management option in the near future.

Preparing for an unmedicated birth

There are many things you can do to help prepare for an unmedicated birth.

Staying physically active – Staying active during your pregnancy is so helpful. This includes any activity deemed safe by your care team, including walking, swimming, prenatal yoga or any activity you feel comfortable participating in. If you have concerns, speak to your care team.

Education and support – There are so many resources available to support expecting mothers. Think about what you need to achieve your goals and consider taking advantage of the assistance of a doula or prenatal classes, which can cover relaxation and breathing techniques. This is also a great way to involve your birthing partner.

Breathing techniques – Practicing relaxation using breathing techniques can be very helpful to prepare for labor. A great way to practice breathing and other relaxation techniques is to hold an ice cube in your hand tightly. This will be uncomfortable. Your partner can talk you through different methods of breathing (or guided imagery) to see what helps you deal with the discomfort.

Different breathing techniques include:

  • Slow deep belly breathing – Breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth deeply and evenly.
  • Light accelerated breathing – Taking quick short breaths in and out through your mouth during the peak of the contraction.
  • Transitional breathing (hee-hee-hoo) – Taking a series of light slow shallow breaths followed by a long slow breath.

Guided imagery – For some women, thinking of being at their favorite place or somewhere very relaxing can take their mind off of the discomfort. Pick a place that is relaxing for you and while holding the ice cube tightly in your hand with your eyes closed, have your partner talk to you about that place. For example, "Hear the soft ripples of the clear blue water running up on the soft white sand."

Keep a positive mindset – Throughout the process, know what you would like for your birth but be open to suggestions and changes based on your health and the health of your baby. Trust your care team and always remember the ultimate goal is a happy, healthy mom and baby.

Learn more about Parkview’s obstetricians, Family Birthing Centers and Certified Nurse Midwife Program or connect with our team of nurse navigators to get connected to the resources you need to support your pregnancy and postpartum journey.

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