Aiming for a drug-free vaginal birth? Here are tips that may help you deliver naturally…

Most expectant mums prefer delivering naturally but a vaginal birth may not be impossible for some women as no one has complete control during labour.

For instance, you may need to have a C-section because of medical conditions like pre-eclampsia, placenta problems, the position of the foetus, and the failure to dilate.

Of course, whatever way your child enters the world, the most important thing is that both mother and child are safe and healthy.

While there is no formula or method to guarantee that you’ll have a vaginal birth, you can do certain things to increase your chances.

1. Choose your hospital and doctor wisely

The right environment and doctor is crucial for you to feel safe and comfortable when it’s time to give birth. You’ll want to find a hospital that helps you feel calm and confident about delivering your baby. Most maternity hospitals in Singapore hold hospital visits and tours, so you can suss out which one makes you feel most comfortable.

A good doctor can boost your morale, dispel your birthing fears and help you, feel positive about your birth.

Do some research, so that you pick the right gynaecologist. A good doctor can boost your morale, dispel your birthing fears and help you feel positive about your birth. Some doctors are more into natural births, while others have a higher percentage of C-section births. If you don’t have a good feeling about your doctor, don’t hesitate to switch to one who is more in tune with your birth plan.

2. Know your pain relief options

You may have plans to go as drug free as possible, but it’ll be useful to find out about the various pain-relief methods, just in case you decide you need them. This way, you’ll feel more in control about your birth.

Katherine Tan, mum to Denise, 3, was aiming to go drug free, but decided to go with Entonox, or laughing gas. “I can proudly say I went as drug-free as I could, but the laughing gas helped to calm me down and control my breathing.”

And just in case, find out what other pain-relief options are available, including epidurals and pethidine and at which stage of labour you may have them.

3. Go for a prenatal class

A good antenatal, or prenatal class will give you get an idea of what labour and delivery will be like. You will learn how your body will work during a natural birth, be advised on pain-relief options and learn the best foods to eat for a healthy pregnancy.

During the class, take note of the birthing positions ― some positions, like leaning on a wall or the bed, or going on all fours, can move your baby into the ideal position for a natural birth.

You’ll also learn breathing techniques ― these can soothe the labour pain and provide proper and sufficient oxygen supply for your baby during the delivery.

Here are some prenatal class options in Singapore:
* Thomson Medical Childbirth Education Course
* KKH Antenatal Programme
* Beloved Bumps



4. Prepare your body

Pregnancy and delivery is an immensely physically challenging task, and you would need to prepare your body leading up to your baby’s birth. Going for a natural birth means you need tons of stamina, so keep your body in the best shape possible, by going for walks around the neighbourhood and doing prenatal exercises. Exercising regularly can also help you avoid excessive weight gain, “otherwise the foetus may be bigger and naturally more difficult to push out,” says obstetrician and gynaecologist Dr Christopher Chong.

He also suggests stretching the perineum ― do this after week 34. “These can prevent excessive tears at the perineum during delivery,” he explains. To do a perineum stretch, you can put some vitamin E or vegetable oil on your fingers and thumbs and around your vagina. Then, place both your thumbs inside your vagina and press them firmly against the side and towards your perineum. Massage in a U-shaped motion for 1 to 3 minutes.

And don’t forget your Kegels. Strengthening your pelvic-floor muscles can help in combating the stress of labour pain, as well as help ease your baby out.

Refrain from hearing horror birth stories, from well-meaning relatives and friends.

5. Get your husband involved

Your man has in important role to play, so get him to do his homework and read up on what delivery entails. Talk to each other about the fears and expectations you have about labour, and what your ideal birth plan is.

Tell him how you would like him to support you ― for instance, by giving you a back rub, walking around with you in the delivery ward, or putting on some soothing tunes. “Your husband will be great comfort and support during labour ― and can remind you that you should you forget labour-associated stuff,” Dr Chong adds.

Refrain from hearing horror birth stories, from well-meaning relatives and friends.

6. Stay positive

Refrain from listening to horror birth stories from well-meaning relatives and friends. These negative stories can adversely affect your confidence and belief that you’ll be able to birth your baby naturally.

Says mum of two Shereen Hon, “I heard of a story where the mum apparently pushed too hard, tore her vagina very badly. Of course, this affected me in terms of being able to trust my own body, and I hesitated to push hard during the labour.”

7. Get mentally prepared

I’s also be a good idea to be prepared to let go of preconceived ideas of what your baby’s birth would be like. Just because your mum and your sister had easy births doesn’t mean that you will, too. Dr Chong says, “Be prepared mentally that you may even end up in a C-section. There have been women who became depressed after ending up with a C-section because they weren’t mentally prepared.” Ultimately, your aim is to have a safe birth, with a healthy baby in your arms.

Photos: iStock

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