Most people use the term natural birth to refer to the process of going through labor and birth without the use of pain medication or other medical interventions. Reasons a woman may choose natural childbirth include:
- A belief in labor and birth as a natural experience
- The desire to avoid side effects of medication
- An interest in the full experience of labor and birth
- The desire to avoid medical intervention during birth
Sometimes, a woman will have a natural birth because her labor progresses so quickly there is no time to perform any interventions or administer pain medication.
At Dignity Health, we believe you should experience childbirth in a way that meets your individual wants and needs. If you would like to learn more about options for natural birth in Arizona, schedule a tour at one of our birthing centers, or register for birthing classes near you by calling (877) 728-5414.
What to Expect During Natural Birth
Every labor and birth is different. Among other things, your experience will depend on:
- The progress of your labor and birth
- Your baby’s position
- Your pain tolerance
- Your expectations
Labor is typically divided into three stages. The first stage of labor is further divided into three phases: early labor, active labor, and transition.
- In early labor, your contractions will be far enough apart you can easily rest between them. You may feel nauseous, anxious, or excited.
- During active labor, your contractions will increase in intensity and frequency. They will last longer and become closer together. It may be hard to relax between contractions.
- As you approach transition, your contractions may feel as if they are one on top of the other. Often, women will doubt their ability to continue natrual birth during transition. Transition is the shortest stage of labor and means birth is near.
The second stage of labor is the pushing phase. Women who have experienced natural birth often describe an irresistible desire to push and a strong burning sensation as the baby’s head stretches the vaginal opening. You’ll feel some relief when the baby’s head exits your body. The rest of the baby’s body soon follows.
The third stage of labor lasts from the baby’s birth until the delivery of the placenta. Contractions continue during this time, however you will likely be preoccupied with your newborn baby.
At Dignity Health, your health care team will support you at every stage of labor and delivery. Pain relief options commonly used during natural childbirth include massage, water therapy, controlled breathing, distraction, and relaxation techniques.
Recovery After Natural Birth
Recovery after birth is highly individual. Some women feel great within hours of giving birth, while others take weeks to regain their strength and stamina. You may also feel soreness for a few weeks following birth. Your health care provider will discuss postpartum pain relief and recovery with you.
Dignity Health provides birthing options to meet your specific needs, including natural birth in Arizona.