Pregnant women today have more freedom when it comes to their birth options. They can decide whether to give birth in a hospital, a birthing center or at home. Birthing plans can be created to guide practitioners on the patient’s preferences during labor and delivery. Despite all the medical advances designed to make labor and delivery quick or painless, vaginal birth is widely preferred since it poses the least risk during and after delivery.

Natural childbirth is increasingly gaining popularity along with the rise of healthy lifestyle choices. It is when healthy women spontaneously give birth to their baby without external intervention, particularly medical. There are many ways by which vaginal birth is assisted by modern medicine. Some of these include induction, episiotomy, epidural and the use of forceps.

While its purpose is to help a laboring mother cope with the process, medical intervention during birth has its downsides. For example, episiotomies may take longer to heal than natural tears since natural tears tend to be less severe than a cut made on purpose. Epidurals numb the lower half of the body for a painless delivery, as a result, pushing becomes harder to manage and more exhausting. Apart from that, the infant may also be affected by the drugs given to the mother. Labor induction may bring about intense contractions that might be too hard to handle, causing an increased intake of pain-relieving drugs.

By avoiding routine obstetrical practices, there’s an increased likelihood of mothers having a better birthing experience, easy recovery and infants not being exposed to drugs. Advocates of natural childbirth believe that a woman can give birth by instinct, and any artificial interruption can damage her and the baby’s body. Nevertheless, if an expectant mother or her baby is in life-threatening distress, medical intervention should not be ruled out.

Sure, going back to basics will involve pain. It is the main reason why some choose not to go back in that direction. Fortunately, methods have been developed to manage, if not overcome it. Two of the most popular natural childbirth methods are Lamaze and Bradley. Both methods have been developed by doctors and are completely institutionalized. Birthing classes are offered for the two techniques and they cover pre- and post-delivery preparation, labor coach training, as well as infant care. Classes last at least 12 hours for Lamaze and 12 weeks for the Bradley method.

Choosing a childbirth option is a matter of personal preference and health condition. Education is crucial in order to have a safe delivery. It is important to discuss your birthing plan with your doctor or midwife to know which one will work best for you.