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Obstetrics

Natural Birth

Natural birth is a method of delivering a baby without relying on medication and other medical interventions.

When the baby is ready to come out, your cervix (opening of the womb) thins out and begins to widen (dilate) to about 10 cm. Contractions help the baby to move down the birth canal. This is described as intense pain and pressure that increases during the course of the delivery, and is generally feared by many women.

To aid in a pain-free delivery, many turn to a regional anaesthesia called epidural to block the pain. Apart from this, many others opt for caesarean section surgery, where the baby is surgically removed (under anaesthesia) through a large incision made on the abdomen. Here, you would not have to push at all. However, pain medications may be associated with certain side effects such as nausea and drop in your blood pressure, while surgery may lead to potential complications such as excessive bleeding, infection, longer recovery and breathing problems in your child.

On the contrary, some women opt for a natural birth, and avoid pain relievers to numb labour pains and choose a normal vaginal delivery. Medical interventions such as epistomy (surgical incision made between the vagina and anus to facilitate child birth) or foetal monitoring are also avoided. Labour pains are important indicators, as each contraction acts as a guide for the progression of labour and encourages the movement of your baby down the birth canal. Without pain, labour is more likely to slow down and become less effective. As labour proceeds and pain increases, the body produces endorphins, natural pain killers, which will help you continue with the birthing process.

Techniques to control labour pains

A child can be delivered naturally at a hospital setting or birth centre (non-hospital setting). Hydrotherapy, relaxation techniques, massages, and cold and warm compresses may be used to comfort you and manage labour pains. High-risk pregnancies are advised to deliver in a hospital setting, where there is easy access to all medical care needed in case of an emergency.

Many different techniques have been successfully followed for many years to aid in natural labour without using medical interventions. These include:

  • Alexander technique: The technique teaches you how to release muscular tension, regain your body’s original posture and poise, and increase your breathing capacity. Simple changes in your movement can help combat discomfort during labour, and help you relax, breathe better, open the cervix and effectively push your baby during labour
  • Bradley method: You are encouraged to have excellent nutrition and practice regular exercises. You will also be taught relaxation techniques to combat pain, how to tune into your body, and positions that will prepare you for each stage of labour and help reduce pain. This technique encourages the active involvement of your husband or partner in assisting you
  • Hypnosis: Through hypnosis, you can be brought into a state of total relaxation and allow your muscles to carry out normal functions in promoting natural birth. This method can put you into a feeling of daydreaming, yet make you completely aware and in control of the birthing process
  • Lamaze: This technique involves the use of distraction to reduce discomfort and decrease the perception of labour pain. You are taught massage and breathing techniques
  • Water delivery: You can deliver your baby in a tub with warm water. The buoyancy of water helps lessen the discomfort and pressure, and promotes relaxation. It also gives your baby an aqueous environment similar to your womb. However, this method is not advisable if you have a high-risk pregnancy

After delivery
You may feel exhausted after delivery, experience cramping in the uterus (especially during breastfeeding), and experience pain and discomfort in your vaginal area.

Labour pains are often considered as the most painful experience in life. However, it may vary from one woman to another. First pregnancies are more likely to be associated with pains that are more severe than the subsequent ones.

For more information on natural child birth, please contact Dr. Nazek al Salman at 050-573-6619.

Other methods that you could adopt to combat labour pains include yoga, meditation, changing position (such as walking around, rocking or leaning on birthing balls), sitting in a Jacuzzi, and listening to soothing music.

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