Natural Childbirth Resources

Having one baby does not make you an expert in having babies. That being said, here are some resources that I think contributed to my positive birth experience.


Ina May's Guide to Childbirth
Natural Hospital Birth:  The Best of Both Worlds

Philadelphia Resources:

Doula services  - Debbie Mangel - Having a doula was one of the best decisions that I made about my birth experience. Debbie was there for me and Shawn throughout the entire pregnancy, and was especially supportive during the birth.

Childbirth, newborn care, and lactation classes - Blossoming Bellies

My Birth Plan

I found it useful to read other women's birth plans as I drafted my own.  I jokingly called it my manifesto as a rejection of the mentality that the plan goes out the window once labor kicks in.  It was important for me to remember that I could have what I wanted as long as the baby and I were safe.  

Everything in my plan was honored.  Because Viv entered the world with her little fist by her head, I had a minor tear that did not require any stitches.  

The only thing that I would add to my plan in retrospect would be for postpartum recovery.  The hospital allowed several outside vendors to come to the room to sell their wares (a home nursing service; a professional photographer).  These people did not identify themselves as unaffiliated with the hospital and only in later researching did we realize that was true of the nursing service.  If you do not want these kinds of intrusive visits while you recover at the hospital, I would suggest adding them to your plan.  

In any event, here's the manifesto:

Thank you for being a part of our support team during this magical time for us.  We look forward to sharing the experience of our natural birth with you.   Here are some of the things that are very important to us as we bring our baby into this world:

Labor and Birth

  • If possible, I would like to use the birthing suite.
  • I would like informed consent for all interventions and procedures.  
  • I would like a nurse who is supportive of natural labor.
  • If possible, I’d like to have a midwife present at our birth.
  • I’d like to be able to take my time to labor for as long as necessary.  
  • I would like my birth experience to be free of medication, especially those used to induce labor, unless medically necessary.  Please don’t offer pain medication, unless I request it specifically.
  • It is important to me to be able to move freely throughout the labor process.  For this reason, I would like to avoid any kind of IV and would prefer and drink as I like.  
  • I would like to be able to move freely, and prefer the use of an intermittent handheld fetal monitor to an internal monitor.  
  • I would prefer not to have an episiotomy.  

Newborn Care
  • I would like the baby immediately placed on my abdomen after birth.
  • I would like to delay cord clamping until the cord has stopped pulsing.
  • Our baby will be exclusively breastfed.  Please do not give her any bottles or pacifiers.  

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