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Thread: Natural Birth - Advice, please...

  1. #1

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    Default Natural Birth - Advice, please...

    Hi Ladies,

    After deciding I would like (and am perfectly capable of) a natural birth for our baby, I was surprised by DP's reaction. He gave me the impression he doesn't think I can do it! I find that irritating, as he seems to be very closed minded when it comes to childbirth. He said why should I go without pain relief if I'm in pain.

    Any ideas on how to better educate him on the huge positives of a natural birth without upsetting him? He seemed to think I've gone bananas or something.



    Advice would be appreciated. (I'm 7 wks on Saturday so we've got plenty of time..) Thanks in advance.

  2. #2

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    Hi forshelby, I'd keep an open mind about everything, and tell your dp the same thing, some men may not want to see their loved one in pain and he may just be thinking of himself and not being able to do much to comfort you if the birth goes pear shaped. If he thinks that you are going to just go with the flow (and have pain relief IF you need it) then that might be enough for him to relax too iykwim then you still have the power to have your natural birth. It may also be a good idea to go to a hypnobirthing or calm birthing course which are highly geared towards natural births, that way you can both release any fears and your DP can again relax a little more. You don't even need to tell him that the course is specifically for 'natural birthing' but instead language it in a way that they are just birthing or antenatal classes. goodluck

  3. #3

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    Congrats on your pregnancy
    Perhaps explain to him the risks of using pain relief, its effect on the baby and on the outcomes of the birth. For example how pethidine can cause breathing difficulties for the baby or how having an epidural increases the chances or instrumental delivery or c section. There are plenty of great articles on this site, or check out Dr Sarah Buckley's book 'Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering'. I think men (in my experience anyway ) respond better to cold hard facts, so arm yourself with lots of knowledge to show him why you want a natural birth. Look into independent birthing classes as well, they are a great way to prepare yourselves for a natural physiological birth.

    There are some articles here which might be of interest to you.
    Birth Articles - Give Birth With Confidence and Knowledge

    Good luck!

  4. #4

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    Yes, a private birth education course - hypno, calm, active, whatever appeals to you - could be great for the both of you. Involving your hubby and letting him learn about the process and why it's better for your baby as well if you can go natural might give him a different perspective on things.
    Hearing from others who've had natural births may also be reassuring for your hubby - he sounds afraid, and probably hasn't heard much besides horror stories and the wonders of epidurals.

  5. #5

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    Get the movie "The business of being born" and both of you watch it together

  6. #6

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    Default Natural Birth - Advice, please...

    Congratulations on your pregnancy!

    My DH was exactly the same, he couldn't understand why the whole population weren't having elective cesareans as it was easier and less painful in his opinion.

    Then we did the calmbirth course and he changed completely, he gained a clear understanding of my reasoning for wanting a natural birth and became fully supportive of my decision whatever it may be.

    I think it also made me a bit more open minded about accepting that whatever would be would be, which was just as well because I ended up with an emergency c/s.

  7. #7

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    I second all of the above. My DH was fairly ambivalent about the idea of natural birth until we watched The Business of Being Born, and after that he was absolutely convinced of reasons to go for the natural options. We also did an independent birth class.

    I'd also recommend reading Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering, which has some good, balanced information about all the interventions you might be faced with during labour and birth. Oh, and there's plenty of information on the BellyBelly website about this as well.

    Unfortunately your chances of having a natural birth will be impacted by your DH - if he can't handle seeing you in pain, he's likely to consent to you having interventions (like an epidural, for example) when you are at your most vulnerable. You might like to consider hiring a Doula to support both you and your DH through the labour and birth - someone who can be objective and support your wishes regardless of your DH's emotive response to seeing you in pain. Doula, doula, doula - she got me through!

    You NEED your DH to be behind you on this. His education is probably more important than yours when preparing for a natural birth!

    Oh, and my DH sometimes questioned my capacity to handle the pain, and the marathon of natural birth. Just so you know, the only exercise I did during pregnancy was some low-key swimming (read: floating). I managed 21 hours of labour with only natural pain relief and gas to get me through - so I'm testament that you CAN birth naturally no matter how "fit" you are. Your body is equipped to birth naturally!

    Good luck!

  8. #8

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    I've found a good analogy for people, especially men, who question the whole natural birth thing is to compare it to a marathon (I know this is done to death). If you were half way through a marathon, would he be cringing because you're in pain or would he be encouraging you and supporting you? If he was doing the marathon, would he want you to undermine him by injecting him with dangerous drugs, knocking his legs out from under him etc etc? Or would he want your support to the end?

    pp have given you some good sources for research. The main issues for him to understand is the effects different drugs can have on you and the baby. Rhea Dempsey's birth classes would be good for this. If he really can't support you, I recommend you having a doula. You need someone you can rely on to help you through. If he can't handle you being in pain, it becomes about what he can handle, not what you can handle.

    btw - hypnobirthing or hypnobabies are good ways to learn to get through a natural birth.

  9. #9

    Default Natural Birth - Advice, please...

    Quote Originally Posted by tashybabe View Post
    pp have given you some good sources for research. The main issues for him to understand is the effects different drugs can have on you and the baby. Rhea Dempsey's birth classes would be good for this. If he really can't support you, I recommend you having a doula. You need someone you can rely on to help you through. If he can't handle you being in pain, it becomes about what he can handle, not what you can handle.
    :yeahthat: Totally agree. Rhea's class is really good at teaching this lesson, but I think she only offers it in Melbourne. You need to know that your partner can handle labour and birth, because if he can't, then you might as well sign up for those interventions.

    And yes, the sports analogy is good -we don't offer pain killers to athletes whilst they're competing, we cheer them on. Your partner should be your cheerleader!

  10. #10

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    Wow, thank you all for your insightful replies!

    I think you've all made some really good points. Persephone in particular, I have already discussed with him hiring a doula. I told him we will need her to guide us BOTH, and explained that the doctors and nurses aren't going to hang around for hours on end watching me labour. He agreed that a doula would be a good idea. I definitely think her presence will help ensure my wishes (where possible) are honoured.

    I have also considered the possibility of him overriding my decision and saying "GIVE THIS WOMAN SOME DRUGS! NOW!" As a matter of fact, it's something I know he would do. Not because he would want to specifically ignore my wishes, but because it's about what he's comfortable with. We're both first timers at this, and I think he will struggle seeing me suffer. Tashybabe: I love the marathon analagy. I might put that to him when the time is right. He's definitely an alpha male. It will take some time for his perceptions to change.

    Cherished: I like your idea of putting it to him as more of a 'go with the flow' kind of plan. I did say to him that I am open to whatever possibilities arise. If I'm not coping, I will by all means accept pain relief or intervention, but only when neccesary. I think he's just grappling with the idea of me purposely turning down relief when I'm in pain. I don't think men understand why we would do that. Up until recently, I didn't understand why or how women had natural births!

    To those of you I didn't mention by name, thank-you, and I found all of your advice very helpful.

  11. #11

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    OMG - This was my DH! Right up until I was in labour and even during labour...."you know you can have an epi and it'll be better" was his words.
    I stuck to my guns and the whole time in my head kept telling myself I could do this and prove him wrong. I also had my mum there who kept reassuring him that I was going to be fine and that my body was made to do this.
    A few days later I thanked him for being "supportive" even though I knew in his mind i was doing the wrong thing. All through my labour I could hear him saying your doing great and even though he didn't like my decision, hearing those words coming out of his mouth (whether he meant it or not at the time) helped me keep going. Even now he'll say he didn't think I could do it but afterwards was proud of me for doing it.

    Stick to your guns, reassure him, have you got friends with kids who had natural births? Maybe get them to reassure him too??? Do the research and calm birth classes etc that might help too!
    Can you have a doula or someone else there also to support the both of you???
    HTH xx

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by **Sunshine** View Post
    OMG - This was my DH! Right up until I was in labour and even during labour...."you know you can have an epi and it'll be better" was his words.
    I stuck to my guns and the whole time in my head kept telling myself I could do this and prove him wrong. I also had my mum there who kept reassuring him that I was going to be fine and that my body was made to do this.
    A few days later I thanked him for being "supportive" even though I knew in his mind i was doing the wrong thing. All through my labour I could hear him saying your doing great and even though he didn't like my decision, hearing those words coming out of his mouth (whether he meant it or not at the time) helped me keep going. Even now he'll say he didn't think I could do it but afterwards was proud of me for doing it.

    Stick to your guns, reassure him, have you got friends with kids who had natural births? Maybe get them to reassure him too??? Do the research and calm birth classes etc that might help too!
    Can you have a doula or someone else there also to support the both of you???
    HTH xx
    Actually, I do have a close friend who has two kids, one birth with an epidural and forceps, the second natural. She's close to both of us, so perhaps she could offer some words of wisdom. I'm considering asking her to be at the birth for moral support. Great idea. I'll speak to her when I see her next.

  13. #13

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    Great advice everyone! Why not really shock him and tell him you want a homebirth

    Womens bodies are made to birth. Check out unassisted or homebirths on YouTube and see what real unhindered birth looks like. It's magic.

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