Natural childbirth is a method of labor and delivery that
generally eliminates medication during the birth of a child. Generally,
pre-planning and techniques are incorporated so that pain coping
strategies can be used to alleviate pre-birth anxiety, as well as
handle pain during the birth process when it comes time to deliver the
Theory of Childbirth
The method of natural childbirth is based upon a lessening of
medical intervention while the mother practices techniques such as
relaxation and breathing to control pain and ease the delivery process.
The natural childbirth is considered the more safe method for the baby,
since drug side effects are eliminated and attention is paid to the
manner and atmosphere in which the baby is welcomed into the world. The
natural childbirth method is considered the more relaxed and focused
type of delivery.
Absence of Anesthetics
The natural childbirth method is generally characterized by special
breathing and relaxing exercises in lieu of medication. Usually, no
drugs are provided as pain relief or to aid the birth.
The Doula and Midwife
The term "doula" was derived from an ancient Greek word that means
"woman's servant." The doula can be an important part of a natural
childbirth plan as the labor coach. Before, during and after the birth
of a baby, the doula provides continuous emotional, informational and
physical support. While a doula does not replace a physician, mid-wife
or other medical professional, she provides non-medical support that is
essential to the mother before, during and after the labor and delivery
of a child.
The doula assists in gathering and relaying information to the expectant mother to help make key decisions before, during and after birth. Also, a doula can assist with significantly reducing labor time, cesarean births, interventions and pain medications needed. The doula, however, does not replace the mother's partner or husband. The doula can often also provide relief and emotional support for a partner or spouse who may have a great deal of stress to deal with during labor and delivery of the child.
The Bradley method prepares a mother for natural childbirth by
providing education. exercises and nutrition along with techniques of
breathing and relaxation, also taught to the father, spouse or partner.
The standard Bradley series includes small classes with individual
attention, over 12 weeks. Attendees are provided with a home study
workbook to make the process easier to study and undertstand.
The Lamaze method prepares a mother for the natural childbirth
process through outside and home classes. The practice includes a coach
and the study of childbirth physiology and relaxation, breathing and
concentration techniques. The Lamaze method promotes natural, safe and
healthy pregnancy and childbirth, as well as early parenting
The Leboyer method tries to minimize newborn trauma by having the
delivery in a quiet, dimly lit room. The baby's head is not pulled
during birth. The immediate bonding for mother and child is encouraged.
The Read method is based upon the premise that childbirth is a natural, normal process and that pain is primarily psychological. The method relies upon education and breathing exercises.