Women have been using natural methods for labor pain since the beginning of time. Natural birth is what our bodies know and are built for. There were no other options other than unmedicated birth since the dawn of humanity.
If having a natural birth is in your birth plan, then this is the article for you. There are many benefits of natural birth. We have outlined 7 of the best benefits of natural birth.
#1: Recovery time after birth
Most women recover from the natural delivery process or natural birth much more quickly compared with those who have a c-section.
Vaginal birth takes time to recover from, as your body has spent nine months creating and supporting another human being. This requires a lot of energy and takes as a toll on your body, especially after prolonged labor.
You might have lost some blood and be quite tired after giving birth. Resting after your vaginal birth or natural birth is vital if you are to regain your energy; it also makes recovery after your birth so much easier.
Recovery after major abdominal surgery takes much longer. There is the obvious need for the healing of the wound after this major surgery, but also the invasiveness of the surgery needs to be considered.
This might include having a spinal anesthetic, a urinary catheter, pain medications, or even a general anesthetic (this usually happens in an emergency and you are not awake at the time of the birth).
- Caesarean Section or Vaginal Birth – What Difference Does It Make?
- Postnatal Depletion – What It Is And How To Recover
- Risks Of Natural Birth – What You Need To Know.
#2: Early breastfeeding and bonding
After a natural birth, babies are placed on their mother’s belly and can crawl to the breast and have immediate skin to skin contact. In their first minutes of life, newborns can use their natural instincts to find the breast and begin breastfeeding. This allows ideal bonding between mother and baby.
Babies born by c-section miss this opportunity for early breastfeeding, along with the beneficial bacteria they would gain by passing through the birth canal and from skin-to-skin contact. These bacteria help to prime their immune system and improve their future health.
Early breastfeeding benefits include:
- Promoting oxytocin to assist in the release of the placenta
- Reducing the risk of breast and ovarian cancer later in life
- Encouraging the uterus to shrink, decreasing the chances of postpartum hemorrhage.
- 7 Huge Benefits of An Undisturbed First Hour After Birth
- How Does A Baby Know How To Breastfeed?
- Breastfeeding | Benefits, Problems & Advice
- How Does Breastfeeding Work? An Explanation
- 9 Birth Interventions That Can Affect Breastfeeding.
#3: Reduced risk of medical interventions
Natural childbirth is exactly that; it is not meant to be managed. When we try to manage a process that is best left alone is when the trouble begins.
Most women are aware of The Cascade Of Intervention, especially if natural birth is on their mind. Once this intervention begins, it is very difficult to bring birth back to a normal situation.
If your birth plan is to have a natural birth, it is important to have minimal intervention in labor and birth. It helps if you choose a birth setting and a care provider that support you to cope with labor pain in natural ways, and to have a vaginal birth. A birth at home with private midwives or at a birth center are both great options.
There are many possible medical interventions, unfortunately, and they include:
- Induction of labor
- Vacuum extraction
- Continuous fetal monitoring
- Vaginal examinations
- Breaking waters
- Stretch and sweep
Some of the complications of these medical interventions might be:
- Blood clots
- Reactions to anesthesia and narcotics
- Amniotic fluid embolism
- Inflammation of the uterus
- Bladder damage
- Nerve damage
Remember, we are talking about natural birth. It will be a completely different situation when you have no other option other than a medical birth, in which all eventualities can be planned for.
Women need to be mobile in labor so they can change positions. It is vital to avoid attachments (medical devices) that inhibit freedom during labor. Women also need to be in an environment where they feel supported and safe.
You are less likely to have unnecessary medical interventions if you are having natural labor and less likely to have medical intervention if giving birth at home or at a birth center.
- Increase In Severe Birth Complications in US Hospitals
- C-Section Birth – What To Expect During a C-Section
#4: Minimizes the chances of trauma and PND
Unfortunately, PND (postnatal depression) is far too common these days. Especially at risk are First-time mothers, those with babies born via c-section, and those who have had any mental health or trauma concerns in the past.
Symptoms of PND include:
- Feeling severely irritable
- Not feeling as though you have bonded with your baby
- Loss of appetite
- Difficulty sleeping
- Not wanting to get out of bed at all.
PND is a serious situation for the mother and needs to be recognized and treated as soon as possible. For many women, treatment might include antidepressants, therapy (counseling) or hormone therapy.
Any trauma in your birth experience will increase your chances of having postnatal depression (PND). For most women, a vaginal birth is less traumatic than having a c-section.
It makes sense, then, if you choose to have a natural birth, you are less likely to have PND.
- Postnatal Depression – Unrealistic Expectations and Postnatal Depression
- Prevent Postnatal Depression – 8 Tips To Help Prevent PND
- Birth Trauma | What Is It And How Can I Get Support?
#5: Fewer complications in future
Generally, a natural birth will mean fewer complications if you have another natural childbirth in the future.
A c-section increases the risk of serious complications for your future subsequent pregnancies and birth experiences, regardless of whether your previous birth was a c-section or a vaginal birth.
Some of these complications include:
- Problems with the placenta either adhering to scar tissue (accreta) or releasing too early (abruption)
- A uterine rupture or tear from previous trauma
- Pelvic floor weakness
- Increased chances of a hysterectomy and endometriosis
- What Are The Long-Term Risks Of C-Sections?
- Is A Hysterectomy Necessary To Fix Endometriosis?
- Endometriosis Treatment – What Are My Treatment Options?
#6: Feeling empowered giving birth naturally
After an unmedicated natural birth, most women report they felt a sense of accomplishment afterwards.
Having a belief that you can achieve a drug-free natural birth naturally is vital to your success.
Giving birth the way you want will make you feel empowered.
You might be interested in reading 5 Reasons Why Women Love Giving Birth.
Keep in mind that birth can be unpredictable and think about what you would do if things changed direction, such as having a prolonged labor. Unmedicated birth can be your ideal birth preference, so make sure you choose birth education that equips you with ways to manage during labor.
#7: No pain medication in natural childbirth
The effects of pain medication are not good for baby or for you; sometimes, however, for medical reasons, pain medication can’t be avoided.
Pain medication such as epidural, narcotics, and nitrous oxide gas for pain relief can cause you to experience side effects, including nausea, vomiting, and low blood pressure.
If you are having an epidural for pain relief, you will need a catheter in the urethra, as you won’t be able to feel or use your bladder. This usually will be in place for 24 hours.
If you choose an unmedicated birth you need not be concerned with any of this; just enjoy your newborn after your natural birth.