Most mothers stick to the conventional approach of giving birth in hospitals in Singapore. But there is growing popularity among mothers to conceive naturally as a way to regain childbirth control. The desire to give birth in a natural way, in the absence of medication and interventions, also stems from better understanding about our body’s design to cope with labour intuitively.
Benefits of natural childbirth
Natural childbirth is a way of giving birth by letting nature runs it course. This process allows the mother to take charge of her labour and delivery process, mostly by trusting her natural instincts to do what she needs to do and when.
This movement is becoming popular as more mothers want to take childbirth in their own hands, instead of passing on this control to obsteticians. Having said that, natural childbirths are not always without complications. And when such complications do occur, mothers are given the necessary intervention to facilitate a smooth and safe delivery.
One of the benefits of natural childbirth is a shorter labour time. When epidurals or other pain-relieving medications are used in labour, it slows down delivery as they interfere with the body’s physiological changes. According to an author, doctor and public advocate of natural childbirth Odent, women’s labour has increased by 150 minutes from the 1960s. It is supposedly the consequence when women losing their ability to give birth naturally.
Interventions administered in hospitals can have ill side effects on mothers and babies. On the contrary, natural childbirth has no side effects. Mothers can also expect a faster recovery time. Many mothers also claim to have a newfound respect for their bodies after conceiving through natural childbirth. They gain a strong sense of empowerment from conceiving on their own terms and a profound sense of accomplishment afterwards.
Natural childbirth options in Singapore
In Singapore, natural childbirths are normally guided by a midwife or doula, and accompanied or “coached” by her partner. This process can be conducted in the comfort of one’s home, but also in hospitals in recent years.
Under NUH’s Emma Care for instance, obstetricians even work together with midwives and nurses to provide mothers nursing care before, during and after labour. Hospitals like NUH and Thomas Medical Centre even have facilities for mother to conceive through water births.
To prepare herself for such a delivery, a mother has to first understand the birthing process in terms of physiological changes that occur, so that she can allow her body’s wisdom to take over during delivery.
She has to learn breathing techniques and visualisation exercises for better pain management. There is also the need to learn about positioning and movement during labour to cope with pain before giving the final push. For example, a mother will learn labouring positions to open her pelvis to allow gravity to bring the baby down.
In natural childbirths, an important component is labour support from a partner, doula, or both. Emotional reassurance can alleviate anxiety and stress to help mothers cope better with the rigours of labour.
Some popular natural childbirth methods include The Bradley Method and Lamaze., Both methods emphasise on relaxation, breathing techniques and emotional support from the father during childbirth.
Navigating the various methods and available resources is something mums-to-be must be prepared to do when considering a natural childbirth. And most mums who have had a natural childbirth admit to not wanting to experience childbirth any other way.