Are you planning a natural birth in a hospital?
Planning and making sure that the facility where you will give birth honers your birth plan may feel like a daunting task. I remember that feeling all too well when I was pregnant with my first child. In retrospect, there are a few things that I wish I knew going into the planning and prepping process to make the whole thing easier.
From the moment my husband and I decided it was time to start a family, I knew I wanted a natural birth. It felt much like a rite of passage to me and I wanted to experience in a very specific way. I didn’t expect a fantasy, but I very much wanted my wishes to be respected, even if they couldn’t be fully carried out.
There are so many benefits with a low intervention birth, and the number of mamas looking for more natural and gentle birth options is on the rise. Both mama and baby need an encouraging and supportive atmosphere to promote faster and more natural healing.
Tips for planning a natural hospital birth
Find a birth facility that supports and empowers women to create their ultimate birth experience.
This post is in partnership with Providence California and Mission Hospital who supports women in having a safe, empowering birth experience by offering a full continuum of birthing options, including natural birth.
The Birth Center at Mission Hospital is a great example of a facility that is centered around a woman’s desire for the best possible birthing experience. They are an in-hospital birth center that has private Midwifery Suites with queen size beds, spacious laboring tubs and are staffed by midwives and nurses who have been educated on physiologic birth. Best of all is that Mission Hospital accepts almost all insurances so anyone in the Orange County area that is looking for low intervention and more natural birth options can check them out.
With in-hospital birth centers like the one at Mission Hospital, families can birth in a comfortable home-like environment, and have the peace of mind that they are still being supported by the advanced services of a specialty hospital.
Once you’ve chosen a birth facility then schedule a maternity hospital tour. Here’s a post with a list of questions to ask about natural birth options.
Consider using a childbirth doula
A doula is a professional who is trained and extremely knowledgeable in childbirth. They provide emotional, physical, and educational support to a mother who is in labor. Their important role in the birth experience is to help women make informed decisions for a safe birth. This tradition of nurturing mothers during this time has been passed on through the centuries. It is now carried on by doulas in support of a mother who is expecting, experiencing labor or has recently given birth.
Examples of ways a doula can help during childbirth are:
- assist mothers with walking during labor
- breathing techniques
- positioning assistance
- specific massage techniques
- verbal reassurance
- spouse or partner guidance.
The Birth Center at Mission Hospital welcomes doulas working both with OB/GYN doctors as well as midwives. You can hire a certified doula through DONA International.
Give birth at a Certified Baby-friendly Hospital
In 1991 the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative was launched by the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children’s Fund. It is a global program to encourage the broad-scale implementation of the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding and the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes.
The BFHI assists hospitals in giving mothers the information, confidence, and skills necessary to successfully initiate and continue breastfeeding their babies and gives special recognition to hospitals that have done so. In cases where patients have a medical indication or have made an informed decision to use formula, the safe preparation and feeding of formula is provided to mothers.
Mission Hospital is a member of this global program that encourages and recognizes hospitals that offer an optimum level of care for lactation.
A large part of the natural birth experience is feeling comfortable during and after. When giving birth in a facility, you will want to pack things that are useful and comforting. You may want to ask the hospital what is available for you during labor so you won’t need to bring EVERYTHING. For example, The Birth Center at Mission Hospital offers spa-like amenities including massage, aromatherapy, LED candles as well as soundbars in all of the suites. So you may be able to leave the essential oils at home. For a list of questions to ask when taking a hospital tour, click here.
Here’s what you might consider packing:
- Shampoo and conditioner
- Body soap/wash
- Tooth Brush and Paste
- Face wash/homemade face wipes
- Face moisturizer
- Body lotion
- Hair ties/bobby pins
- Nipple balm
- Comfy slip-on shoes
- Cardigan, robe, or another go-over thing
- Tanks/or nursing tanks and/or nursing bra
- Reusable nursing pads
- Leggings, yoga pants
- Pj’s that are nursing friendly
- Water bottle
- Bulk snacks for me and birth partner
- Pen/ paper
- Chargers for phone, laptop, camera, etc.
- Laptop, camera, etc
- Coming home outfit for you and baby
- Makeup if you desire
- A few PJs for baby and or hand mittens/socks, etc.
- Haakaa breast pump
- Magnesium oil
- AfterEase tincture
- Arnica gel and tablets
- Birth plan
- Insurance forms and I.D.s
- Nursing pillow
- Glasses/contact supplies
- Anything other family members may need
- Car seat
- Crystals. essential oils, or anything you need to relax if the facility does not provide it
- Birth ball/stool, rebozo, heated rice sock, etc if not provided.
I also have a few tips for lowering your waste while giving birth at a hospital in my Zero Waste Pregnancy post here.
Have a Plan
If you are looking for a birth facility that honors and respects your birth plan, then you need to actually create that plan.
Envision what your ultimate birth experience is and write that out in a journal. Now, what would be the steps to making that happen? Need a little help? There’s a copy of my Natural Hospital Birth Plan below.
Now, if you have read my Gentle C-section Birth Story, then you know that things don’t always go according to plan so I’ve included my Gentle C-section Birth Plan too.
Get the Printable Natural Birth Plan + Gentle C-section Plan