Giving Birth Naturally: Techniques to Use

There are a number of different techniques that can be used when you choose to birth without using any medical interventions. The following is list of techniques that have been used for many years in aiding with natural birth. Take time to study the different techniques and examine which would work best with you and your partners personalities, beliefs and preferences.

The Alexander Technique

F. M. Alexander (1869-1955) developed this technique for sitting, standing and moving with safety, efficiency, and ease after solving his vocal trouble. Not only pregnant women, but all people can learn to release muscular tension, increase breathing capacity and restore the body's original poise and proper posture. As your body changes, lower back pain, balance, digestive problems, shortness of breath can be helped through simple modifications in your movement. When it is time to deliver you will be able to breathe, and calm your system, focus during the birth, help open the cervix during dilation and prepare for effective pushing as the baby comes.

For more information:
• The American Society for the Alexander Technique
• A Guide to the Alexander Technique

The Bradley Method

Developed by Dr. Robert Bradley in the late 1940's, this method helps women deliver naturally, with little or no drugs. Courses emphasize excellent nutrition and exercise; relaxation techniques to manage pain; and involves husband or partner as an effective coach. You will also learn how to: tune in to your body and positions which will ease labor pains; prepare for the stages of labor; avoid cesarean sections; breastfeeding; and how to discuss your birthing plans with your doctor.

For more information:
• The Bradley Method
• American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth 1-800-423-2397

Hypnosis

In the 1940's, Dr. Grantly Dick-Read researched the use of hypnosis during labor to bring the women into total relaxation in which the body's muscles can work the way they are made to, eliminating pain and fear from the birthing experience. The students come to class and learn with their partner how to do self-hypnosis with scripts and tapes and then practice at home, so that when they give birth they can be in hypnosis during each contraction and feel absolutely comfortable.

For more information:
• Hypnobabies.Calm
• Hypnosis for Childbirth forum

Lamaze

Dr. Ferdinand Lamaze developed this method beginning in Russia using "Psychoprofilaxis". You will learn how to use distraction during contractions to decrease the perception of pain and relieve discomfort. In class, you and your partner will learn controlled deep breathing, massage, concentration and how to have control over your body during labor.

For more information:
• Lamaze International

Water Delivery

Giving birth in a warm tub of water helps a woman relax and the buoyancy helps elevate discomfort and pressure. Some say the water helps the baby enter the world with less light, sound and the dramatic change from womb to world. Water delivery is not recommended for women with at-risk pregnancies and you must be prepared to deliver out of the water if complications arise.

For more information:
• Waterbirth International

Questions about birthing techniques? Ask on the Childbirth Resources Board.

Reprinted with permission from American Pregnancy Association