Pregnancy. It’s a word that’s well, pregnant with possibilities. (Ha! See what we did there?) When you’re pregnant, you’re carrying around this entirely new little person (or persons) that no one has met yet. Amazing! Glorious! Terrifying!
Wait. Seriously. It’s terrifying. This new person that you are creating – inside your body from scratch – eventually needs to come out into the world. While that can happen in a variety of ways – from natural birth to medicated birth to everything in between – you certainly have some thoughts on how you would like it to go.
You won’t have control over everything related to the birth, of course. You’re not going to know when your water will break (unless your delivery is scheduled) and you won’t know exactly what your baby will look like, or weigh, despite modern technology’s best efforts. What you can do, however, is plan for the things that matter to you.
If a natural birth or a water birth are possibilities you’re considering, Certified Nurse Midwives from Premier Physician Network, Center for Women’s Health and Wellness deliver at Atrium Medical Center in Mason to offer these options to moms in the Cincinnati area.
Is natural birth better for my baby? What about for me?
According to Premier Physician Network Certified Nurse Midwife Charissa Newton, natural labor and birth can help support a more peaceful birth. Because you are not confined to bed, you can move more freely during labor and listen to your body. This increased awareness can help with comfort management and aid in labor progression. Babies are usually more alert and tend to show more interest in breastfeeding when they are born without medication in their system.
In addition, by moving into different positions during pushing, you can sometimes help shorten the pushing time. Following a natural birth, women are often able to be up and active sooner.
Can I have my regular OB/GYN if I want to have a natural birth? Or must I have a midwife?
Yes! All of these options are available. All of Atrium’s OB/GYNs are Board Certified and specialize in natural birth techniques. Our midwives and physicians collaborate for your optimal care – you may see solely midwives, or only physicians, or both!
If you and your current OB don’t see eye-to-eye, you can search from the many providers at the Center for Women’s Health and Wellness.
Can I have a natural birth in a hospital?
The answer is yes! Many women have unmedicated births with the midwives of Premier Physician Network, who support the birth options women choose to the safest extent possible at Atrium Medical Center. It may not be home, but the home-like setting – with comfy beds and peaceful surroundings – comes close. Plus, being in the hospital allows you and your baby to be closer to emergency services if they’re needed.
Charissa elaborates, “At Atrium, we also have blow up birthing tubs for our labor rooms and waterproof telemetry monitoring for free movement during labor and birth. Our team of providers, nurses, and staff are supportive of natural birth in both the birth center and labor and delivery.”
What comfort measures are available with a natural birth?
You have many options for relieving the discomfort of labor when having a natural birth. Your Premier Physician Network midwife will partner with you to create a reasonable birth experience, including your preferences for comfort management.
Midwives are able to offer many different comfort measures to support you, including movement, massage, hydrotherapy, aromatherapy, relaxation breathing and meditation. They’re also very adaptable and adjust to whatever position is most comfortable for you. Moving during labor is encouraged as long as labor is without any complications to you and your baby. You are encouraged to give birth in a position most comfortable to you.
What water birth/water labor options are available to me?
Laboring in water at Atrium Medical Center is an option that many women find comforting. In fact, CNM Charissa tells us, “Most commonly we use the tub in active labor, it is usually the most helpful during this stage. This would be towards the end of labor, but the time frame can vary for each woman.”
If you’re having a low risk pregnancy, you may be able stay in the tub throughout active labor and possibly give birth in the water with the CNMs from Premier Physician Network at Atrium Medical Center who are able to provide support for moms who want this option.
Laboring and delivering in water at Atrium Medical Center also has potential positive effects for both you and baby. Among these might be increased maternal mobility, shorter labor, increased relaxation, less perineal trauma, a gentle birth for baby, and psychological benefits for the mother.
Charissa tells us “At 24 hours postpartum, women who gave birth in the water reported a higher overall satisfaction and lower pain level than those who birthed on land. Women also report water birth as a more gentle arrival for baby.”
If choosing water birth at Atrium Medical Center, it might also have some advantages when it comes to preventing tearing, but the research is still out on that. CNM Charissa tells us,
“Studies show that birthing in the water can decrease episiotomies and the number of severe (3rd and 4th degree) perineal tears, though the number of mild labial tears may be increased.”
Do all providers attend water births?
Not necessarily. This goes back to discussing your plan with your preferred provider ahead of time. Some OB/GYNs will attend water births at Atrium Medical Center, while others will not. It’s best to discuss your plans and natural birth options with the provider that you see.