*This post was updated and republished on 26 Aug 2016. See the new version here.
Some women still have the mindset of the age-old stigma that you cannot have a natural birth in the hospital. This is completely FALSE. Both of my births were in hospitals and I was able to achieve that goal successfully with very little friction against my desires.
Some also believe that you have to have a doula or a midwife accompany you. This is also not true. You can have a natural birth in the hospital working directly with your doctor and the accompanying staff.
Many hospitals do not have to be a natural birthing center in order to conform to your desires. Standard procedures are much more relaxed than they were in our mothers’ and grandmothers’ day. You simply need to express your desires upfront with your doctor.
Working with your Doctor
Hopefully, your doctor is the type to be very personable and open to questions from you. You should ALWAYS ask ANY questions you have about standard procedures and what he is open to doing with you. Most are quite accommodating and will be very easy to work with about your desires.
Once your third trimester comes around, it’s a good time to start discussing your options and desires. Start developing your birth plan and have your doctor go through it with you. (I have sample birth plans here.) Occasionally your doctor may have a personal method or technique that he prefers to do with you that he may present as well.
For example, I was discussing with my first doctor that I wanted my baby put on my chest, skin to skin, immediately once he was born. My doctor was perfectly fine with this. But he did mention one thing that he preferred to do that I hadn’t thought of. He said that he will often keep the baby at the same level as a patient’s uterus once it’s expelled from the womb so that the blood flow could equalize in pressure between mother and child. I was grateful for his mention of this because I was perfectly fine with it as well.
If you find your doctor pushes back on the many things you want to do or makes you uncomfortable about your OWN decisions–get a new doctor. You don’t want this experience to be any more stressful than it can be. It is perfectly fine to find the right doctor for your natural birth.
Working with the Staff
If you have copies of your birth plan there with you at the hospital, let your nurses know and encourage them to read it. I’ve even read stories about couples who had goodies for the staff right next to the birth plan copies so that the staff was more willing and light-hearted about the natural birth taking place as well.
Tell your nurse directly what you wish and what will make you comfortable. If she is pushy or seems ignorant against your wishes–get a new nurse. This is just fine too. DON’T be afraid to ask. Your nurse will likely have the most impact upon your experience at the hospital because you will see her the most and talk with her the most.
The Best of BOTH Worlds
Many mothers choose to have their natural baby birth in their home or a birthing center. This is perfectly fine and I support anyone’s personal decisions about where to have their child. But I STRONGLY recommend having your baby born in a hospital. You CAN have a completely natural baby birth in the hospital. Plus, if anything happens to go wrong or there is an emergency, you are exactly where you want to be.
I am NOT opposed to having an emergency c-section when the life of a mother or baby can be spared by doing so. Any other medical procedures that can take place because of increased stress upon a mother and baby, these can be life saving and decrease the likelihood of lifelong defects or hindrances that may occur if the mother and child are not in the right place at the right time.
I believe modern medicine and methods are blessings for us in this day and ARE appropriate when the time is necessary. But I also believe that God will give us all the capabilities and strength we need to carry out this divine task.
Having a natural baby birth in the hospital is the best of both worlds. There is a wonderful book about this very topic that I encourage you to read in order to help make your own decision about where you want your child to be born.
Has anyone ever given birth naturally in the hospital, besides me?