Natural birth refers to the process of labor and birth without medical interventions, such as pain medication. It’s a good option if you wish to be in control of your body as much as possible when having your baby.
Many women find natural childbirth to be an empowering and satisfying experience. At Dignity Health Southern California hospitals, we offer the support and preparation needed to make it memorable for you and your family.
To meet with an experienced pregnancy specialist about natural birth in Southern California, Find a Doctor or visit a Dignity Health location near you:
Why Choose Natural Childbirth?
Reasons for wanting a natural childbirth vary, but often include:
- Desire to fully experience labor and birth
- Belief in labor and birth as a natural experience
- Desire to avoid side effects of medication
- Belief that one intervention can lead to others and a desire to avoid this
In some instances, a woman’s labor may progress very quickly and not allow for any medication or other interventions.
What to Expect from Natural Delivery at Dignity Health Southern California Hospitals
Your birthing experience depends on how your labor progresses, the position of your baby, your pain tolerance, and your expectations and personal preferences. To help with pain relief during natural childbirth, your health care team may use distraction, water therapy, massage, controlled breathing, and relaxation techniques.
There are three main stages of labor. The first stage of labor is divided into three parts:
- Early labor — the time between contractions allows you to rest between them
- Active labor — the space between contractions is shorter and the contractions last longer
- Transition — your contractions are almost one right after the other
The second stage of labor is referred to as the pushing phase. If you haven’t had any pain medication, you’ll likely feel an irresistible desire to push and a burning sensation as your baby’s head stretches the opening of your vagina. This is often followed by relief when your baby’s head exits your body.
In the third stage of labor, contractions continue and last until your baby’s placenta is delivered. You’ll likely be completely focused on your newborn baby during this final stage.
Recovery from Natural Delivery
Your recovery period after natural birth depends on factors specific to you. It can take anywhere from a few hours to several weeks to regain your stamina and strength.
If the area between your vagina and anus (perineum) is torn while you are giving birth, you may feel sore for a period of time. Talk with your doctor about pain relief options and ways to improve your recovery.
Dignity Health offers guidance and support for all pregnancy and delivery methods, including natural birth, in Southern California.