Dr. Leslie Hansen-Lindner
Giving birth, whether it is your first or fifth baby, is one of the most memorable experiences a woman will have in her lifetime. Women remember the details of their deliveries like they happened yesterday! Growing babies and giving birth are one of the greatest miracles a woman can perform. It is a joy and an honor to be present at these miracles.
After being pregnant for nine months, preparing for the delivery can get a little stressful. The options, opinions and information can seem overwhelming! And, labors, just like babies, come in all shapes and sizes with unique personalities. But—do not fear—there are many things you can do to make your labor and delivery preparation as positive as it can be. A recent surge of interest in unmedicated or natural childbirth has helped spark a growing trend toward better preparation for pregnancy and delivery.
Discussions about an unmedicated versus medicated approach to birth bring about a wide range of opinions. Some women choose to give birth naturally because they love the challenge. Others find great satisfaction in working hard and “getting the job done.” Some women are eager to avoid discomfort and plan for early pain relief. Opinions can run strong and deep, and many people are passionate about their experiences. Birth stories about the deliveries of families and friends and stories on the internet can be very persuasive—but also can make it confusing about the ‘right’ or ‘best’ way to have your baby.
You may have your mind set that you do or do not want to use pain medication during your labor and delivery. It is important that you know all your options because when the time comes, you may find yourself thinking the opposite. Many women are surprised at the ease with which they navigate the labor journey. Others are surprised at the length and intensity. Keep an open mind and be ready for anything.
The desire to be successful with an unmedicated birth is appealing to more and more women. We see this as a positive trend! The best means to achieve this goal is thru education, preparation and cultivating a positive attitude.
First of all, learn as much as you can about the natural processes of birth. It helps to understand what your body will be going thru. Minimizing fears associated with labor are one of the most important ways to help prevent the use of medication. The less anxious you are, the more relaxed you can be and able to welcome the changes that happen to your body during labor and delivery. Also make sure you are flexible toward the unpredictable nature of labor. Stories of fast and easy deliveries may make you anxious as to why yours is moving much slower (or vice versa!). It is important to remember the wide range of what is normal.
You should also consider taking a formal childbirth class that specializes in a natural approach to labor at your local hospital. You may also find classes with independent childbirth educators or doulas (DONA.org). Your physician or nurse-midwife may have several favorite doulas that he/she have worked with—ask for a recommendation. Communicate with your provider about your worries, fears and wishes. This can help ease the stress that the unknowns of labor may bring. A birth plan can help you to communicate specific hopes to everyone involved with your special day.
When women are surrounded by supportive and caring people, they are less likely to need medical intervention. Make certain you have trust in your doctor or nurse-midwife. Ask questions when you need more information. Speak to them about your fears and concerns. If you can have someone else who is able to help you relax during labor, consider hiring a doula, or having your mother, sister, mother-in-law, or your best friend for help and support.
The best way to approach labor and childbirth is to have an open mind, be flexible and be ready for anything. Every birth is different, and babies often have a plan of their own, and they don’t always cooperate with your plans! The good news is, that even if you try to labor without medication, there really is no failure in the attempt. The end result is still the wonderful and joyous meeting of your baby and beginning your new life together as a family.
With four convenient offices servicing the Greater Charlotte Area, Charlotte Obstetric and Gynecologic Associates has provided the highest quality care for women in Charlotte for more than 50 years. Originating with a single physician, the practice has blossomed and matured, and now offers a variety of provider options with physicians, nurse practitioners, and certified nurse midwives. They feel that this approach best meets the needs and preferences of each of each patient.