I’ve had natural childbirth twice. The 1st time went very well, but the 2nd time I had down to an art, which I would like to share. Several points haven’t been mentioned in any website, book or other media that I have found. I have a plethora of nurses in my family who provided info, so this advice is from reputable sources, although as with any advice pertaining to your health, always check with your doctor. I’ll give it in stages.
1. Sitting on an exercise ball during your last trimester can add up to an additional 1cm spread on your pelvis BEFORE giving birth, speeding things along. Sitting on one, leaning forward, automatically uses gravity to force the baby’s heaviest part (head) down and the second (back) to come forward. If you do this regularly, the baby will become accustomed to this position and will eventually engage, or seat, in the proper position for birth. This means that the head becomes caught within the pelvis ensuring no breach birth (BAD if doing natural). This is also the perfect position for giving birth. as it uses the baby’s weight and your contractions to the most benefit in effacement and dilation. This position can be achieved by simply leaning forward in the shower or tub, or spreading your knees on the seat and leaning over a chair back. Most women who sit on a ball regularly the last trimester efface earlier.
2. As mentioned by others, the ability to relax is paramount. If you can’t relax, your body goes into “fight or flight” and views it as being not an ideal time to give birth and shuts down the process. Practicing relaxation during the last trimester is necessary. Choose soothing music and listen to it every night as you practice relaxing, including deep breathing, which is necessary to keep the baby oxygenated during birth, while falling asleep. This will condition your body to relax when it hears that music and to keep your breathing more under control.
3. Plan. A good support system of two people (in case someone has to pee at some point) is vital. Your job is to give birth. Their job is to ensure that your wishes are followed (advocate), that you have what you need when you need it, and to keep all distractions away. In natural childbirth, your coach doesn’t just sit around, but is actively involved in the process. You MUST be able to focus on the birth. Supply a birth plan to the hospital and ensure that your OB understands and supports your wishes.