How to Have Natural Childbirth in the Hospital {}

How to Have Natural Childbirth in the Hospital

Though I am a huge advocate of homebirth with a trained midwife (having just had my second successful homebirth), I also know that it is not for everybody. I was delighted when Emily offered to write a guest post presenting another angle on natural births and how to have a beautiful birth experience in the hospital. I would love to hear from others in the comments who have also had a positive hospital childbirth experience!


I think it is so important to prepare for your birth, especially if you are going to give birth in a place that does not put a high value on natural birth. Here are seven of the ways I found that helped me achieve the birthing experience I wanted while in the hospital.

Guest Post by Emily

When I became pregnant with our first child in 2007, I knew right from the start that I wanted to have a natural birth. Mostly, I wanted to avoid having a c-section for any reason other than absolute medical necessity. I knew that too many interventions could lead down the path to a c-section, and I knew I was willing to deal with the pain of labor to prevent going down that path. I also knew that it would not be easy for me to have a natural birth, and not just because of the labor. Unfortunately, in today’s society it seems that there are many obstacles in the way of a mother that desires to give birth naturally, and the most powerful one is the place where the majority of women give birth, the hospital.

Hospitals don’t expect women to give birth naturally. They don’t expect that you understand or are prepared for your labor and birth. They don’t expect you to be able to manage your contractions. They expect that you will be in pain, be overwhelmed, and want interventions and medication and that is what they are set up to provide. They don’t expect that you would actually desire to have a natural birth experience.

I think it is so important to prepare for your birth, especially if you are going to give birth in a place that does not put a high value on natural birth. Here are seven of the ways I found that helped me achieve the birthing experience I wanted while in the hospital.

1. Do your own research. Read, read, read as much as you can about natural birth. You are the final decision maker for your birth experience and how you want your birth to be, not the nurses, the hospital staff, or even your doctor. Research and knowledge will help you to make good decisions and overcome the fear and unknown of labor. (A great place to start is with Unbound Birth, an ebook that offers many great suggestions on how to have natural birth in the hospital.)

2. Take a good birthing class. This is one that I didn’t take my own advice on, my husband and I just went to the class that the hospital offered. If I had to do my first birth over again I would take a class that was more focused on natural birth, like the Bradley Method. This will help you feel prepared and supported in your decision.

3. Make it a family affair. It is so important to know that your husband is on board, and understands and supports your desire to have a natural birth. Your husband will probably be your most important birth coach. Encourage your husband to go to childbirth classes with you and also to read books on natural labor. It is so helpful if your husband understands the process of labor, what you will be going through, and how to comfort and encourage you.

4. Get support in addition to your husband. The best decision I made with my first birth was to use a doula. The support of my husband and my doula helped me to feel confident in my ability to birth naturally and allowed me to achieve the birth experience I wanted. Not feeling supported in your decision can make it harder to resist giving in to interventions and medication when the going gets tough. So whether it’s your sister, your mom, your best friend, or your doula, have someone with you that supports you 100%.

5. Talk with other moms who have had natural births, especially those that have given birth naturally in a hospital. This was one of the most encouraging things I did before my daughter was born. It really helped me to believe that I could do it. It also wouldn’t hurt to talk to moms who didn’t have great birth experiences. All births that end with healthy babies and moms are good birth stories, but it may help to learn from those who had births that didn’t go exactly as the mother had hoped.

6. Write out your birth plan. Go over it with your doctor or midwife ahead of time and take it with you to the hospital to give to the nurses. You might be surprised that your nurses may really want to help you achieve your goal of natural birth. I was so fortunate to have great nurses for both of my births who were supportive and encouraging because they read my birth plan and knew the type of birth I wanted.

7. Once you are in labor, stay home as long as possible! Laboring at home is much, much more relaxing than laboring at the hospital. And when you’re relaxed you will probably progress faster and easier (although that’s not a given). Plus, as long as you are at home you won’t have the option of medications and interventions so you will learn to manage the contractions without them and know that you are able to do it. That way you won’t be as easily tempted by the meds once you get to the hospital.

For those of you who don’t have the option of having a homebirth, or just don’t feel comfortable with it, but still desire to give birth naturally, I’m here to encourage you that it is possible to have a natural birth in the hospital – I know, I have done it twice now! In planning and preparing for natural childbirth I learned, and experienced, that it is not just about avoiding a c-section, but is about the joy and strength that comes from the amazing experience of working with your body to give birth to your baby. Believe in yourself and trust your body! You really can give birth naturally – it is what your body was made and designed to do!

For more information on natural childbirth, these are books I found helpful: The Official Lamaze Guide: Giving Birth with Confidence
by Judith Lothian and Charlotte DeVries; The Birth Book: Everything You Need to Know to Have a Safe and Satisfying Birth (Sears Parenting Library) by William and Martha Sears; Homebirth in the Hospital: Integrating Natural Childbirth with Modern Medicine
by Stacey Kerr M.D.; and Empowered Pregnancy by Theodore Peck.

Have you had a natural hospital birth? What things did you find helpful in your experience?

Disclosure: This post includes affiliate links.

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  1. I was supposed to have my first son at a birthing center with a midwife, but had to transfer eventually to the local hospital. One of the midwives came along with us.

    I ended up having a completely natural birth there, and the doctor and nurses were so surprised that I could handle it – they were not used to assisting someone who hadn’t had an epidural or didn’t want one.

    I was disappointed that I didn’t get to deliver at the birthing center, but thankful for a healthy baby and the chance to deliver naturally.


  2. I had 4 natural births at 2 different hospital with 4 different midwives (I loved them all!!) My midwives all stood up for me and gave me the best chance I could have with each one. I also found that there were certain nurses who were excited to be a part of natural childbirth or to at least see it done and that would be encouraging. No one ever even offered me any meds. And when I was exhausted and ready to give up on the fourth one (after having gone in way too early) my midwife kept me on track. A good midwife is key!

  3. I’ve had three beautiful, natural births at the Birth Care Center next door to the hospital… assisted by regular nurses and our family doctor.

    We took the Bradley Method classes. My hubby was my coach.

    Natural birth is incredibly empowering. Pain scares me much less than medication…

    I found that having an “on board” doctor and nurses who are willing to follow the birth plan is so important.

  4. As a nurse that worked in L & D for seven years–and a natural childbirth teacher–I would definitely agree with everything in this post!! Especially the part about staying home as long as possible!

    I would add: PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE find a doctor (or midwife) that is supportive of your natural childbirth goals!!! I cannot count the number of times I would have a patient come in with a natural childbirth plan (which was always exciting for me!), and then with a sinking heart notice they had chosen a very “old-fashioned” doc who believed in women delivering flat on their back with an epidural and episiotomy. Your nurse usually DOES want to be your advocate, but it can be difficult if you haven’t communicated with your doctor! Be sure to go over your expectations early in your pregnancy before it’s too late to change your doc!

    Also, think about WHERE you want to deliver your baby. I’m all for home birth and birthing centers. However, if you decide to deliver in the hospital, realize that not all hospitals are alike. If you live in an area with more than one hospital, it may help to talk to your circle of mom friends and try to find out which one is more friendly to natural childbirth. I remember being shocked when I went to a nearby hospital (not the one I worked at) and noticing on a number of occasions just how QUIET it was there–when they had 10 or so women in labor! When I asked a nurse there about it, she told me that they had an 75% epidural rate! At our hospital, the halls usually rang with someone’s grunts and groans and “labor noise”, and our epidural rate was probably closer to 30-40%!

    There are so many other things I could add, but those are the two that come to mind. BTW, if you DO have an epidural (and I’ve had one after a LONG and completely exhausting labor–they can be helpful at times), be sure to ask for it to be turned off prior to pushing!! An epidural wears off slowly, so you will still have some pain control, but it will help you to feel a lot more–which is helpful in pushing.

    Now proud to be a stay-at-home mommmy to 3 littles,


  5. @Phebe

    Thanks for the great comments! I definitely agree with both of your additional tips! I actually had the one about choosing where you give birth, if you have an option of different hospitals, but then decided that my post was getting a little long, so I let that one go. 🙂

    I definitely agree with choosing your doctor or midwife wisely. I had a good doctor with my first birth, but decided I could have had an even better experience so I switched to a nurse midwife for my second pregnancy and am so glad that I did. My second delivery was a little more difficult than my first had been. If I hadn’t had a great midwife, I’m not sure I would have had the support to finish it out with some kind of intervention.

  6. I had a “natural” c-section. By that I mean it was an emergency C-section, no time to numb me, no time to knock me out. My baby’s heart had stopped and he lost 2/3 of his blood due to vasa previa. He is a miracle and a completely healthy boy because of doctors,thousands of prayers, an extreme miracle, and of course God. C-sections are painful to recover from, not to mention the jagged hurried scar, but had I not been in the hospital (being induced for being overdue), he wouldn’t be here. I think a homebirth would be excellent, but please have back-up plans.

  7. I had my son in a hospital and did it all natural. The staff was VERY supportive and very accommodating to a natural birth. They provided labor balls, private bathroom with whirlpool tub/shower, wireless monitoring, etc. I was in labor for 41 hours from my first real contraction. I labored in the hospital for 25 hours. I was in transition for around 5 hours. We took Bradley classes from a couple from our church and I read LOTS and LOTS of birth stories (of all kinds) before I ever went in to labor, so I knew a lot of different ways labor can happen. My husband coached me most of the time, however our good friend (who was also our Bradley teacher) came and helped coach me! Because of the length of my labor my husband was very tired and needed some sleep! It was such a blessing that she was able to come and help us out in that way! I don’t know what would have happened if she hadn’t been there! I know it wouldn’t have been the wonderful experience that it was if she hadn’t offered to come. We plan on having more kids if the Lord blesses us with them and doing natural childbirth in a hospital. I don’t do homebirths because we live 40 minutes from the hospitals–its just too far for my ease of mind if something were to go wrong. Again, my hospital is VERY pro-family and encourages rooming in and have no problem with you following baby everywhere if they need to do tests, etc.

  8. Thank you for these great ideas! When I had my daughter I lived in a very rural area where literally NO other women wanted a natural childbirth. My doctors were a Christian husband and wife team with whom I had explained my desires ahead of time. Yet I still had to consistently argue with them and the nurses, that I didn’t want an epidural and I didn’t want to be induced. I had to labor for a long time in the hospital since we lived 1 1/2 hours from the nearest one, and I finally realized that the doctor wanted to induce me so they wouldn’t have to come back in the middle of the night. They delivered my daughter at 1:02 am, but the doctors wife whispered in my ear that this was the way it was supposed to be done. Next time I’ll be more proactive ahead of time. Thanks for your tips.

  9. I had a natural birth with my first baby in a hospital. I originally planned on delivering at a local birth center, which closed unexpectedly shortly before my due date. I chose to continue care with my midwives from the birth center, who would continue to do deliveries at the hospital down the street. Lots of friends encouraged me to bypass that older, less cushy hospital and give birth at the new, fancy hospital in town, but I knew that that hospital did not have a great reputation for encouraging natural birth.

    I was so glad I did that in the end. The food wasn’t as good, the rooms were smaller, etc. but I had a nurse and a midwife who supported my plans for a natural birth. I was allowed to labor in one of the tubs that were in all of the delivery rooms. I was allowed to refuse the IV and continuous fetal monitoring. I was congratulated for staying home for so long (until 6 cm, 10 hours), and I was never once offered an epidural after telling my nurse I wasn’t interested upon my arrival.

    Also, throughout both of my pregnancies (I had a planned homebirth for the second), I had people constantly telling me that I was crazy for my plans. They told me I wouldn’t be able to handle the pain, as well as all of the things that can go wrong during a homebirth. I had to choose to tune out all of that negativity and believe that my body and mind were capable of handling what God made my body to do. I had done my research, and I knew that it would be painful, that things could go wrong, and I felt at peace with whatever might happen along the way. I just didn’t need to listen to that information from everyone I met! Our society has convinced women that our bodies don’t work, that we can’t handle the pain, and that normal birth is dangerous and death for both mom and baby is likely. We need to counter that information with successful, natural birth stories and encouragement for women who are trying to achieve such a thing, wherever they may choose to give birth!

  10. I have had 8 births in a hospital (all vaginal) and only one epidural (I hated it).

    The #1 thing I would tell people is to BE NOT AFRAID. Don’t be afraid to say no. Don’t be afraid to say “wait”. Don’t be afraid to totally and completely ignore stupid instructions from medical staff (like push now when you don’t feel the urge). If you don’t know what’s going on, stop the staff member and ask.

    Make friends with your labor nurse. She’ll be your best advocate if she’s on your side.

    Another thing I’ve found is that if you can find a family practice physician that delivers babies, rather than an OB/GYN, they tend to be less with the interventions. And, that doc can also be your baby’s doctor.

    I had a bad experience with medical staff with my 2nd baby – or at least not as good as it could have been- because I didn’t have the confidence to say no. Also my labor nurse was very condescending. If I could do it over, I would totally request a different labor nurse. (You can do that, too!)

  11. I had a natural birth in a hospital a little over a year ago, a VBAC to boot 🙂 It was the most amazing, empowering, incredible thing I’ve ever done. To get the birth I knew I had to have, it meant switch dr’s (to a midwife practice) at 30 weeks and having to drive a little over an hour for visits, but way better than the alternative.

    I could ramble on for days, but I have a little one waking 😀

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts!!

  12. Thanks so much for this post! I am currently expecting #3, and mainly because I’m a ‘high risk’ patient, will be giving birth in a hospital. I never thought to check out all the local hospitals; what a great idea!

    The tip about laboring at home is another good one. With my last baby, I was dilated to 8.5 by the time I got to the hospital. They were lucky to get everything set up for me to have him, let alone offer me any drugs! 🙂 He was born literally 20 minutes after we got there.

  13. I’ve had two natural births at a hospital. During my second labor, one of my nurses said that they usually had no more than one natural birth a week (of 100+ a week). She actually requested that a student be allowed to observe the birth as he had not ever seen a natural birth and thought that the only way to have a baby was with an epidural.

    I agree with all of the tips in this post. Realize that some things at the hospital are out of your control, but there is a lot you can do to help your cause- communication is key. I ended up with the same doctor (NOT mine) for both deliveries as I had the first on a weekend and the second when my doc was on vacation. She is very “old-fashioned” and wanted to do things her way. There were several things she did (including an episiotomy without consent with the first, and breaking my water without consent on the second) that absolutely infuriated me. If you have a plan, don’t assume that the doc knows/reads it or even has a clue what “natural” means. Speak up or have someone as an advocate to do it for you! As my doc suggested later- don’t uncross your legs until you have fully made your wishes known to whoever is attending your birth!

    Even though I wouldn’t call my experiences perfect, I will likely have all my babies at the hospital. The nurses were great and supportive, and they are the ones taking care of you 95% of the time anyway. I have also found that when you’ve had one natural birth, they take you more seriously. I guess they figure that if you’ve done it once, you can do it again. And you CAN do it!

  14. I have two girls that I delivered naturally, and we almost got to the hospital too late with our oldest because I was feeling so confident and handling the contractions fairly well! We were fortunate to be able to take a Bradley Method class (“Husband-coached childbirth”) which both my husband and I attended. I highly recommend it, but also realize it isn’t feasible financially or (as it is a large time commitment) time-wise for everyone. Because of that, I even MORE highly recommend “Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way” by Susan McCutcheon. I read a LOT of books while pregnant with our first, and this book had information that no other books had that was extremely helpful to us…we were even consulting it while I was in labor with our first!

    So that’s my biggest piece of advice: “”Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way” by Susan McCutcheon.

  15. I’m glad you posted this! I’m gearing up for a natural hospital birth in about 5 weeks, and I love reading success stories! I want to give birth in a birthing center, but I had a cesarean last time (in July 2007), and by law in my state, birthing centers do not take VBAC patients. And there are no homebirth midwives in the area who take VBAC patients either. So I’m going with an in-hospital birthing center, with a midwife, doula, and a supportive husband.
    The problem with number 3 is that not all husbands just jump right on board because you want them to. My husband was reluctant to get involved. He hates reading, so I couldn’t just hand him a book and tell him to read it. I tried explaining some of it, but he didn’t really get it. What finally got him on board was when he walked in while I was watching Pregnant in America (AMAZING film!!!). He liked it better than other birth documentaries he had walked in on, because he could more easily relate to it. It was after the film was over that he asked questions and told me he wanted to be involved!
    But although having a supportive husband means a lot to a woman desiring a natural birth, if there’s just no way to make him be supportive, you have got to make do without him. Still have him there, but if he doesn’t want to be an active participant, you can’t make him. This is where I recommend getting a support person (a doula, sister, mom, aunt, or even a friend) who will kind of “take the place” of the husband. You need all the support you can get!

  16. I had a wonderful and “natural” hospital birth. I found that our doctor was wonderfully supportive of our plan and even though the nurse who pretty much gave all the credit to a high pain tolerance, instead of just a mom’s desire to do the best for her baby, was very supportive and helped a lot with our plan to go without any drugs or anything. I did have a very fast labor, only 3 hours, but I found that it was a wonderful experience and would do it that way again! My husband would never let me have a home birth, but he was super supportive of going without any drugs, especially when I told him how it could affect the baby!

  17. I’ve had 4 natural births at 3 different hospitals with 3 different doctors. I have gone the family doctor route each time, and would say all my experiences have been good. I gave my doctor a written birth plan for my first child, I felt awkward about it, but it did get my wishes communicated. I didn’t even have to have an IV that time.

    After moving, I had a different doctor, but was too lazy to give her a birth plan–I don’t remember getting the IV that time, but I had one, and they didn’t ask me first. In the heat of the action, I do think staff assumes things, so that’s why discussing it prior with the doctor seemed to help more. Then too, you can find out if your doctor is strongly opposed to a certain way you want something. I would also say be flexible, choose your battles, and yes, having a supportive coach (my hubby) is key! I could go on, but this is getting long already. 🙂

  18. Both of our sons were born in hospitals without the use of epidurals or other drugs, although I prefer to call it “prepared” childbirth instead of “natural” childbirth. The first son’s birth was not ideal by any means but we were prepared, having taken classes, done a lot of reading, and talked to other couples. Since I tend to allergic reactions, I was determined not to use drugs of any kind. We were very determined, but the hospital was very difficult. It was a military hospital and the only option we had at the time. To say they were somewhat “barbaric” might be putting it mildly. We were able to stand firm on no drugs, no epidural, and no fetal monitor. (Actually the monitor probably would have been pushed on us more if they had had more than two in the hospital — this was almost 35 years ago.) We weren’t, however, able to buck the hospital protocol entirely. Upon admission to the hospital, the mandatory enema was given to me with much protest on my part. Back labor increased tremendously after that. They also would not allow me to leave the bed so anything that might have aided labor, such as walking, etc., was not an option. (There is NOTHING like having a contraction while sitting on a cold bedpan!) The one positive in this hospital was that they had a couple of British midwives visiting and one was on duty during my labor. She came in as I started transition so stayed with me until I delivered. The worst thing was that they would not allow me to hold my baby after delivery but immediately whisked him away to the nursery, because it was their procedure not because there was anything wrong. Oh, I did beg them to unstrap my hands and let me touch him before they took him away. (Yes, you read that right. I said they were barbaric…) They made me promise not to ‘contaminate their sterile field’ and then did let me touch him before taking him away. (And they didn’t bring him back until early the next morning, nearly 15 hours later, in spite of my protests.) I was also not able to convince them to skip the episiotomy.
    Our second baby was born also while my husband was in the Navy, same duty station. However, we learned of a way to get around the military protocol but still be covered for the birth. (We had to pay for my food only.) Our birthing coach (different one this time) told us that the military had to pay for any procedure that was deemed necessary by a doctor but not provided by the military hospital. She said that the small Catholic hospital nearby did a practiced Leboyer birth method, so I went to the OB recommended to us who practiced there. The experience was so much better — still no drugs, but NO enema, no monitor, no confinement, no bedpan! The delivery was still in a separate delivery room but the room was comfortable instead of freezing cold, I did not have my hands strapped or my feet in stirrups, and I was able to hold and nurse my baby immediately after birth.
    With both experiences, we had to stand firm. As much as possible, we were able to still have a good experience both times, but by far, the more amenable Catholic hospital was closer to my desires.
    We would have chosen a homebirth had we been blessed with more children. (I would have tried harder to persuade my husband for a homebirth with the second baby, had the other hospital option not been available, but he felt this was a better choice at the time.)
    I know that without having been prepared ahead of time with good childbirth preparation classes and coach, much reading on my part to know what to expect, and support from my husband, it would have been difficult to stand firm in the face of the medical staff who did not understand why I did not want my water broken nor aided by drugs or other interference. I’m not opposed to intervention IF it’s needed — and in fact was upset that our daughter-in- law who had a high risk pregnancy was allowed to labor to the point of exhaustion and risk to the baby before they did an emergency C-section. But I am opposed to medical staff that view birth as if it was a disease or who do things routinely simply for the convenience of the hospital staff. If, after becoming educated about childbirth, the mother chooses an epidural, at least the WOMAN has made that choice with knowledge and understanding instead of having mainstream medicine just make the choice for her.
    I have talked with many women over the years and the birth experience is such a tender one for most. The common thing among all these women is that no matter how old she is, her birth experiences are firmly embedded in her mind. Women who have chosen to birth “naturally” but without being prepared beforehand usually have had a much harder time during their birthing experience than need be. And many have regrets that they were not given more choices during the amazing and precious experience of giving birth.

  19. I’ve had three home births and one hospital. I admire woman who can carry through with a natural birth in a hospital. I really felt I was just up against way too much and not an advocate for anything in the midst of my pain. As soon as they offered me Demerol- I regretfully couldn’t say no in the midst of the pain. We are so fortunate in British Columbia that both midwives and homebirths are fully covered by medical for everyone (Thank you Cdn healthcare system!) There was a good article last week in the Victoria Times Colonist about the safety of homebirths. It was followed by an article about Victoria and the Island having the highest caesarian rate in Canada-30% of all births. They are predicting that rate could easily climb to 50% in the future. But not if mother’s are informed….

  20. Thanks so much for sharing this post! I recently stumbled across the documentary “The Business of Being Born” and it really opened my eyes to a lot of the issues surrounding home birth/natural birth vs. the typical hospital birth. It changed my thinking about a lot of things. Reading this post just continued to get me thinking about ideas I was already tossing around. I don’t have children yet, but I am hoping that if my husband and I are blessed in this way I will be able to find a hospital that will cooperate on a natural birth. Thanks again!

  21. I thought a home birth sounded like a lovely option for some. But the birth of my third child (son) changed all that. I believe in modern medicine and that is enlightened minds (by God) that are there to help in case of a crisis. My son was born with the cord around his neck and with every push he was having his blood sucked into the placenta and was born grey and not breathing. Thankfully we were at the hospital and trained professionals who knew what do and had all the equipment right there, saved his life (along with many prayers from his parents). No one plans on having problems but that’s just it…complications can arrive to anyone at anytime and it would be an awful shame to have put your baby at a greater risk. I believe that doctors and hospitals and technology are a benefit from the enlightenment from God and we should benefit from his grace and knowledge and understanding of the complexities of life and birth and medicine. Faith and science/progess go hand in hand and while it would be great if everyone could have the perfect at home safe birth , it doesn’t always work out that way and for the saftey of your baby being at the hospital instead of having to call 911 or wait for help is a safer option to start out with.

  22. Praise the Lord that in 1977 I had my first child in the hospital a la natural~ Then the same in 1980~ Woo hoo the Lord is awesome then 19 years later I had 3 births at home again a la natural~ It was again awesome~ I am 50 now and look forward to doing it again when the Lord blesses us with that opportunity~ Trusting in Him is a must afterall He created our bodies for all this wonderful stuff~
    Thanks to all for sharing~ Many Blessings~

  23. Thanks for this post. I really wanted a home birth this time, but my husband was not on board. It is great to hear from others who desire a natural birth and have done it in a hospital setting.

  24. Wow, all the stories are amazing. To add to what some have already said, there is a study just recently out that says home birth is just as safe as hospital births, with much less intervention. I was born at home with the cord around my neck. I have another girlfriend who has had all home births, with the last having the cord wrapped twice. They do the same thing as at the hospital, they take it off and if necessary supply oxygen. I have had two natural births, one at home and one at the hospital. Give me home every time. Granted the OB that I talked to before the hosptial said that the goal of their hospital was to have as few c-sections as possible and that made me feel much better about the whole thing. But there is no replacing my bed, my surroundings and my soaker tub! 🙂

    1. So true!! Most homebirth midwives are far slower to cut the cord, leading to babies being far more oxygenated than if the cord was cut, and all are trained in infant resucitation– using room air, oxygen, or even mom’s gentle breath in baby’s face. They also ALL carry pitocin (to stop hemmorages), so the likelihood of a mom bleeding out before getting to a hospital is very slim indeed.

  25. I want to thank you for this post. Often I read about the “evil” hospital births. All three of my children were born in the hospital and I praise God that they were. All three were natural births with my midwife (she has “caught” all three!).

    Maybe my hospital is rare, but all the doctors, nurses and midwives encourage natural births and will not offer meds or painkillers, although they will give you something if it is asked for. Also, they provide a really lovely enviroment. Not a typical sterile hospital enviroment at all.

    Had I had homebirths, my first child would likely have died. The cord was wrapped several times around her neck and she was not breathing. She needed to be on oxegen and had that happened at home, I’m not sure that it would have happened. Our second would have been fine, although he was a posterior birth with his elbow up by his head as well…..NOT very pleasant, and due to his very fast arrival and position, I did tear a LOT! That I’m sure could have been taken care of at home.

    With my third child, I have no doubts I would have died myself after delivery. Again, due to such a fast delivery, (my pushing with her was less than 2 minutes), I hemmoraged and even in the hospital it was quite serious. At home, without the surgeon able to come in, and medications to stop the bleeding and whatever other medical procedures needed, I would have bleed to death before the parimedices could have come.

    So I do thank God for hospitals and modern medical advances. And thank you for posting that not all hospital births are bad experiences.

    You CAN still have a lovely, natural birthing experience in a hospital. Pray about it. Choose your midwife and hospital wisely.

  26. oh my….PLEASE ignore all the spelling mistakes! (blushing face here!) I typed quickly and didn’t check anything before submitting.

  27. I had both my girls in the hospital and both were natural births. With my first, I went with a general physician, who, while supportive, was a little weary of letting me go naturally. However, I had lots of support from my husband and my mom (who, is a mom of 6 – all naturally – and a labor and delivery nurse), so it wasn’t an issue. The second time I went with a midwife and the experience was even better. For me, with my first, telling my doctor from day one that my birth plan was to be natural was a huge help. There was no second guessing, it was what is was.

  28. Thank you for sharing! This is an awesome topic and I am SOOO glad to see it here. The reason why is that normally in “natural living” type of circles you only find support for homebirths. And I find that sad for two reasons, one is that some women simply do not want it, and the other reason is that it is sometimes impossible for whatever reason. It has always made me a bit sad to see only one side of the issue presented as the good way and hospital births as “horrible” or “wrong” etc. That said, I hope to someday have a homebirth, but unless things change I will not be able to.

    For me, I wanted a homebirth with #1 but wasn’t able to do to distance to the hospital (the midwives I was with did not allow it in the middle of winter where I lived in case something went wrong). I ended up having a midwife hospital birth (no doctors or nurses were ever in my room during labour and birth) and it was great for many reasons. The only regret is that in the end, I did not do it naturally. I panicked, and ended up taking something. Even with the support of the midwives and my husband helping me not to. It was horrible, since I felt exhausted and drugged, and it didn’t even take away the pain at all. It just made me feel spaced out. 🙁

    The second time around I was not fortunate to have a midwife. Its always spoken about that if you want a natural birth, to find a midwife, or a hospital that is more supportive towards natural births or a birth centre etc. and that is true…but its not aimed for women in certain places like rural towns outside of the USA! I had no choices really. There aren’t even birth classes around here other than the hospital one. There is no such thing as birth centres in Canada. There is a huge doctor shortage where I live so you can’t “choose” a doctor. There are no midwives for hours in all directions! So….there goes the idea of choice!

    I read a lot (highly recommend “the birth partner” by Penny Simikin for husbands/support people and “the birth book” by William Sears for Moms/Dads. I prayed a lot…and was thankful to get given (no choices here!) a doctor who was willing to work with me even though it took a lot of talking to help him understand where I was coming from (and me him). More than one occasion I was frustrated and cried when I was done appointments. But in the end it worked out and I trusted him and felt he was on my side. I was also thankful that he was available when I went into labour (if he wasn’t, I would get whoever was on call). I also did a birth plan and gave it to him and the nurses. It was actually sort of neat, in the end, to feel like I was “paving the way” for other women in my community who might want to do things similarly, since the nurses don’t often see it (especially for fairly long labours like mine was) and I got the impression it was all new to my doctor. They had never even had a doula at the hospital before.

    And I did it! I had a succesful completely natural birth for my second baby(which was actually a bit longer and harder due to back labour because of my baby’s hand being by her face.) The euphoria afterwards and the feeling of energy (completely oppostite of feeling drugged and spaced out) was SO worth it. It was amazing and I will never forget that.

    I WAS able to find a doula, who graciously (it was a total God thing, there is no way to explain it) was willing to drive several hours in the snow to get here. There aren’t exactly lots of doulas around here. There are none, actually! It did cost a lot, but it was worth it. I am not sure I could have made it otherwise as she pressed on my knee, and my husband pressed on my back, for about 9 hours during contractions. That helped a lot. Knowing about the natural ways to relieve pain (like counter pressure etc) is a MUST to birthing but especially to have your husband and support person know about. As it turns out the nurses weren’t around much as someone else was having an induction and needed more care than me. Don’t rely on them being there to help even if they are supportive of your ideas.

    For me, I went to the hospital a bit earlier than maybe I “should” have but I did it with the idea of being checked and then going home if I wanted to, and I told them that when I got there. The nurses were more than happy to go along with it. But I realized that was risky (being told no, although I would have just left anyways) I ended up staying because the shower was really helping me (baths don’t tend to help me during labour) and my shower’s hot water had ran out at home.

    Sorry this is so long. The post just really excited me. Thank you for sharing this.

  29. I had a horrible hospital birth experience with my first. The doctor insisted that I be induced, I was given an epidural, my IV was put in by a student who took 8 tries to find a vein (and I have huge veins- I could have done it better myself with my teeth, in labor, blindfolded…). Because of the epidural the nurse wouldn’t let me eat (so she wouldn’t have to clean up if I puked) so by the time I had to push I had not eaten for over 10 hours and was weak and dizzy- and after the birth I puked anyway from being so stinking hungry! The staff “topped off” my epidural about 15 minutes before pushing so I couldn’t feel “the urge to push” and couldn’t even hold up my legs! I was told when to push and after twenty minutes the doctor announced that the baby’s heart rate was dropping and needed to be vaccumed out. Even With the epidural it hurt so much, and my poor baby came out with a cone head and refused to nurse for two days because his head hurt too much for me to hold him up to my breast. It took a good two weeks for the epidural to completely be out of my system.
    So, naturally I decided for my second baby I wanted it to be natural. I still wanted to be in the hospital, but this time I wasn’t going to be told what was best for me and my baby. Of course, I knew that things can happen that are beyond my control, but as long as no one was in danger I would give birth drug-free, no being induced, no vaccum or forceps. And that’s how my second came. When the contractions became painful, I used relaxation and visualisation techniques that I had been practicing. I knew and had firmly decided ahead of time that I would not be using pain relief and I think that made all the difference. I was prepared and I was not expecting any relief- until the baby was out.
    She came in 3 hours from my first contraction, and with only 4 pushes. There were zero problems because we didn’t induce labor- we waited for when the baby was ready to come on her own. I recovered in a day and felt great, and the baby, too.

    God created women with this amazing body that is designed for making babies, and then to deliver the baby to this world. His design is perfect and works if we let it.

    1. I am going to be a first time mom in october and I am so glad I started doing my research as soon as I found out about mine and my husbands little surprise ( due to a previous miscarriage from a car wreck we didn’t think I could concieve). When I read stories like yours with your first I feel confidence in knowing that its my body, my baby, and my decision even if I have to get mean about it in the end I will have the birth I want because I have educated myself and am firmly set on going natural. Every one thinks I am crazy for doing all this research but then again every one I know has gone the traditional hospital way ( being induced w/o it being needed, having and epidural, laying in bed for hours, being told when to push, ect), and thinks I am crazy for wanting to go natural. Thanks so much for sharing your story I was so worried something like that would happen to me but through research I am confident that unless something goes wrong that I will have the knowledge and strength to have a great natural birth.

  30. “You are the final decision maker for your birth experience”

    I have read horror stories about doctors who obtained court orders to force women into having C-sections against their will – to the point of physically and chemically restraining them for the procedure. I’m sure these situations are extremely rare, but it is one of many factors affecting my decision to homebirth.

  31. I have had three hospital births, three healthy baby boys (praise Jesus!). My first was a natural labor, and my l&d nurse was an older Christian gal who was so beautifully supportive. It became apparent, however, that no matter what position I was in, my baby was not descending. They finally advised me gently to have an epidural after 1 1/2 hrs ineffective pushing, and after another 30 mins ineffective pushing and baby’s heart rate descending, we consented to an emergency c-section. She even had to pull and tug him out that way, he was SO stuck! My husband was with me the whole time, and after delivery he held him and we returned to the room and I nursed him immediately. We truly felt God’s peace that He knew how this birth would happen and that we would need a c-section for our safety.

    I was determined to have a VBAC for my second and only 2 hospitals in the area were qualified to do them with a NICU unit, so I changed hospitals and went with the hospital nurse-midwives. What an empowering feeling it was to successfully give birth naturally! The whole labor was relaxing up till transition of course, but what a precious reward! Four months ago I had a second VBAC with our third son, a very relaxed and joyful labor. For someone like me who’s experience the frightening need for medical technology, I am thankful that doctors have the knowledge and skill to intervene when necessary. I am so saddened, however, at the flagrant disregard many have to the desires and abilities of women who desire to give birth naturally. It’s too bad that there are so many systems and protocol that are followed without regard for the individual needs and wishes of the patient. That is not true health care. It’s checking off a list on a set of regulations that must be followed before the day is done.

    My tips: 1. Birth where you feel most comfortable. For me, because of the risks of VBAC’s and having had a scare with my first, I’m most comfortable in a hospital setting where I wouldn’t have to transfer if there were a problem. 2. Make sure you have a doctor, midwife, and even nurse that you like. You can always ask for a different nurse, as I wish I’d done this third time around. 3. Worship the Lord in whatever setting you’re in. As I heard someone else say once, if the Creator thought of growing a baby inside a woman’s body, He must have designed her body to get the baby out! Confidence in God’s sovereignty, goodness and love for you and your baby is what will carry you through labor and delivery. Think of the Scriptures that say how labor and the joy of seeing your little one is a picture of the anticipation, anguish and then joy we will experience when Jesus returns. Any setting can become a sanctuary for the heart that is turned in worship towards the Savior.

  32. “God created women with this amazing body that is designed for making babies, and then to deliver the baby to this world. His design is perfect and works if we let it.” from Kate

    This is what my husband kept telling me any time I wavered on going naturaly. My initial decision for a natural experience was purely selfish- I HATE needles and couldn’t stand the idea of one in my back. He was quite fearful of unnecessary drugs/procedures that could have adverse results.

    I whole heartedly agree to stay home as long as possible. My labor started at 4 am and we stayed home until 3 pm. My contractions were irregular, ranging from less than two minutes to eight minues apart. Being my first one, I couldn’t tell if it was time. At by 2:30, there was a definite change and I knew it was time to go.

    DH and I both firmly agree that had we gone in sooner, it is likely I would have been encouraged to take something since the contractions were all over the place and probably would’ve been considered stalled.

    Whether home, birthing center, or hospital birth, I would say trust your knowledge of yourself. I know that when I hurt, I move through the pain. At home, I was able to move with the contractions and they, honestly, weren’t that bad. They weren’t horrible until I couldn’t move through them. Matter of fact, on the car ride down, I firmly told my husband that I was getting the epi because they were so bad and I was afraid pushing would take forever. He didn’t argue but luckily, I was too far along when we arrived.

    The poor nurse was trying to work me up (seriously, arrived and was fully dialated within an hour and Magdalen was born within 2 hours and 20 minutes after arriving). I kept popping out of bed to crouch on the floor and lean over my bed. When she discovered I was fully dialated, she told me I had to stay in bed. That’s when they were really bad, just like they were in the car.

    Overall, I’m really pleased with my birth experience. The only thing I would’ve changed is my pushing position. I think next time, I’ll request the squat bar as the standard way I did it was awkward.

    Holy novel. I guess I had a lot to say on this! 🙂

  33. I have had three hospital births and this last one was au-natural. The key I found is to attempt to find a OB-GYN or a midwife that sees birth and pregnancy as a normal part of life not a medical condition.

    My first birth was induction at 40 weeks 5 days for high BP and it ended in an emergency c-section. My little boys heart rate kept dropping and dropping. The aftercare I received at that hospital was unacceptable, so I switched providers after that.

    My second birth was a VBAC at a different hospital. My labor was augmented with pitocin and they were not too careful with it and gave me rolling contraction. Along with 4 broken veins, and a botched epidural after I was confined to my bed because I was a vbac. I nearly died from the effects of the epidural after my beautiful baby girl was born

    This past time when I was pregnant I searched high and low for a Mid-Wife that practiced at a hospital that believed in natural birth. I found them, and they were the key to my birth. I read tons of books also “Birthing From Within”, “Husband Coached Childbirth” and “Christian childbirth” each book was invaluable to me at different parts of childbirth. Bradley was great all the way to hard hard labor and transition. Birthing from within was great during transition, and Christian Childbirth helped me through the pushing phase. Also key is being very specific in what you don’t want to happen. Examples I told them last time they broke 4 of my veins, this time they got it on the first try. Last time they hyper-stimulated me with pitocin I made sure I told them that, they were very careful this time and turned the pitocin down as soon as my body took over (had to have it water had been broken by themselves for 12 hours and cont had stopped). But my midwives were absolutely key to me having the type of birth I wanted.

    Sorry to be so verbose, but I wanted to share a story of a person who had things go wrong twice before and still get the birth she wanted the third time in a hospital setting for saftey.

  34. I am very thankful to have come across all these birth stories. (sorry mine is long)

    First born: My labor (99.999% outside of the hospital) was 100% satisfying & I wouldn’t change anything about it. My delivery (hospital) was not satisfying & I am determined to have more control this time around.

    My first was born in ’07 at a hospital about 40 mins away. I knew I wanted to labor at home as long as possible. My labor was similar to Amber’s above…completely manageable, but not consistent frequency. I had read a very raw photo inspired 1970s book on the Bradley method that helped me imagine my cervix opening with each contraction. I knew the contractions had purpose & they are good. I never felt like I was going to die (which I expected to feel like); I used my “yoga ball”, took walks, laid in bed, etc. My family was home but I stayed secluded. I even ate, showered & shaved before my husband demanded we go in “just in case”.

    As soon as I sat down to put my shoes on to leave for the hospital my water broke & things got very serious. I transitioned from the toilet at home (something about hard labor makes you have to go no. 2 for those of you first timers who didn’t know that could happen…) to the hospital & my contractions went from sporadic to 1.5 mins apart & hard. I remember thinking…if I get to the hospital & they say I am only 4 cm.s dilated I am going to have to get an epidural or something.

    I was 9 cms & the nurses freaked b/c I had some blood. It seemed I had the entire nursing staff in my room, but somehow I had a new(?) nurse that kept missing my vein (how the heck do you miss a vein in a prego lady?! Our veins are HUGE). My OB refused to come in (it was around 10pm) so the on-call OB had to drive in from his ranch way outside of town. The nurses told me not to push even though I was fully dilated & felt like I needed to. I didn’t know what to expect & I was not prepared for delivery. I think I had my eyes closed the whole time even.

    On call OB finally showed, instantly cut an episiotomy (without asking), I was put on my back somewhat lifted & told to push, then OB vacuumed my boy out b/c his heart rate had dropped a little. I had my son in less than 45 mins & it took longer to sew up my episiotomy and 4th degree laceration I had. That was the MOST painful part of the whole birthing process for me (that & recovery from the episiotomy & 4th degree lac. took me 2 weeks to even move w/o pain). (granted he was 9# 7oz & had a bbbiiiggg head). God was still in this though…the OB nurses said the on call OB is who they all use & he is the best. If my OB had come in he would have been too lazy & wanted to c-section me. So praise God he helped spare me from major, unnecessary surgery.

    Birth 2 will happen in Feb @ the same hospital & w/ the OB who delivered my first. This time around I will be more educated on delivery, have a birth plan, discuss in depth my delivery expectations w/ my OB & the nursing staff. I may not avoid an episiotomy or lacerations due to baby’s size, but I am determined to at least try & not allow my delivery to be rushed. Also am praying for a smaller baby & God to help me deliver all natural. I guess ultimately what really matters is mother is healthy & baby is healthy…we heal from everything else.

    1. Not pushing when your body is telling you to is really really hard on you and baby! Next time if you start pushing when you feel the need, you probably will 1. avoid heart-rate drops in baby bc he won’t be trapped in one place too long and 2. naturally stretch your perinium out, lessening the trauma there greatly!

  35. Thanks for this great article. I have had twelve hospital births. My fourth was a medically-necessary cesarean, and the others have all been vaginal births (8 of those being after my c-section!). Eight of my births have been completely unmedicated, and I wish that all eleven of my vaginal births had been unmedicated, because those are the BEST, and healthiest, birth experiences, unless medical intervention is necessary. I am currently a birth instructor, planning to get additional training soon with Brio Birth in the DFW area. I really have little to add to this great article, but I would highlight these points:
    1. Be prepared. I don’t know of a better way to prepare than to take Brio classes. “Prepared childbirth classes” at the hospital just let you know your options for pain management; they do not prepare you for birth. Research and learn all you can about natural birth.
    2. Find a team that you can trust — hospital, OB or midwife, support personnel In addition to having your husband as coach, you may also want to consider having a doula present, or a friend who has given birth naturally. Be willing to change providers mid-pregnancy if you are not comfortable with your care providers. You need to be able to have a good relationship of mutual trust with your birthing team.
    3. Labor at home as long as possible. One of the things you will learn in a Brio class is signs of labor — what is normal, and what may not be. Learning to identify these signs can help you to be comfortable at home, and not worried that you ought to be in the hospital too soon. I am not recommending staying home in a dangerous situation, but for a normal labor, which often can last many hours. When you go to the hospital, you are on their clock, and it can become more difficult to birth naturally if you go too soon.
    4. Understand the climate in hospitals today. The Business of Being Born is a good documentary to see what really happens in hospitals today. I don’t think you have to come to their same conclusion that you have to birth in a home or birthing center, but it points to the need to be educated in natural birth if you desire a natural birth in a hospital.
    5. Know that your body was designed to give birth. There are so many amazing, amazing things that come into play during pregnancy and birth. Medical intervention often short-circuits these God-designed pathways of hormonal and physiological changes that come together to allow a woman to give birth. I am grateful for medical intervention, but only when it is necessary!

    Natural birth in hospitals can be done!! I hope to be part of turning the tide back to natural births, in both in-hospital and out-of-hospital settings.

    1. @momoftwelve,

      momoftwelve: Please contact me! I am supposed to deliver in Dallas in about 6 weeks. I JUST decided to go natural, it’s my 4th (had 3 epidurals), and at this point, looks like I’m going to the hospital. I’m scared…because I believe there are at least a dozen obstacles at the hospital to natural childbirth 🙁

      Thank you for all of these stories! They’ve been a GREAT help.

  36. I switched from an OB to a midwife 20 weeks into my pregnancy. As my journey continued, I realized we shared different goals and that there was a chance I wouldn’t get my favorite doctor out of the 5 in the practice. Some people don’t care about that but I did. She also didn’t like my questions, I guess I was learning too much. Unfortunately Illinois is not very homebirth friendly (and it would have cost me many thousands of dollars) and my husband was adamant I was in a hospital. So we compromised. I found a wonderful midwife who shared my beliefs and answered my questions. My husband and I took the bradley class, and actually hired the teacher as our doula (best money spent!). We went into it with a written birth plan for no epidural and barely any contraction checks during labor. I stayed at home until I needed to go and we ended up with the shortest labor of the 9 women that were in the labor and delivery unit! I labored for 5 hours at the hospital, had a beautiful, natural labor and no one bothered me! And a lot of that was because I stuck to what I wanted. And I was actually grateful to be in the hospital…nothing was needed, but it was a reassurance that I didn’t know I would need until the big deal.

  37. I had two natural births in the hospital, so I definitely know it can be done!

    I definitely credit my natural births in a large part to taking independent childbirth classes. I am so excited that there is a new class style being offered through Brio Birth ( that has great updated curricula to aid expectant parents. I definitely encourage expectant parents to look for these classes in their area!

  38. I’m so glad to read this! My first birth was in the hospital and it was so fast that I don’t know if I could have even gotten an advil by the time I gave birth if I had asked for it when I got there. My last birth was at home with a midwife and it was perfect for me. I love to see stories like this where women have been able to create the spiritual experience and sacred experience of a home birth in a hospital or birthing center.

    I work as a doula in Portland, and one of my core values is helping women create the birth they envision. I’m going to bookmark your post to share with my clients.

  39. Thank you for writing this. I’ve been on the fence about whether to stay with my current midwives (who deliver at a hospital) or go for a home birth or freestanding birth center. This helped validate that the hospital birth with midwives may be the best option for us as it will be the least expensive (and we need to save where we can!) but still be safe and a great experience.

    I have three girls; all born in hospitals. The first two were intended to be natural births but I didn’t do the research and I couldn’t hack it. I cannot emphasize it enough – DO THE RESEARCH and get the support! Women who say, “I want to TRY natural and IF it doesn’t happen I’ll ________” really frighten me because they desire the natural birth but aren’t doing the homework. I’m fine supporting a woman in whatever birth she chooses (elected cesarean, induction, etc.) so long as SHE is happy with that decision and knows the risks and benefits.

    Anyway my third daughter I switched to midwives at 37 weeks because I was starting to see the light and starting to see that natural birth was what I truly wanted and needed. It was going to be best for baby and for me. My midwives deliver at the hospital. I had an amazing natural birth in the hospital. The only people ending up in the room were my husband, mom-in-law, midwife and myself. With my other births I had a TEAM of people just standing around watching my crotch; it was just so medical, so rehearsed and so impersonal.

    This post makes me feel like maybe I shouldn’t fix what isn’t broken and stay with the group that I trust.

  40. I just read Julie’s comment above and our situations are very similar. My husband and I compromised on going to a hospital with midwives as well (third pregnancy). He wanted the safety net of the hospital and NICU (he hadn’t done as much research on home birth and natural birth as I had and thought I was being fanatical or had gone crazy at this point; I was literally losing sleep over my OB and his desire to induce or section me for NO medical reason). And I got the midwives that I desperately needed. He ended up being in total awe and amazed by the natural birth. He didn’t realize that that was how birth was meant to be for a low-risk woman. He is DEFINITELY on board with natural birth but he still needs the reassurance of the hospital. And that’s fine with me.

  41. I have had 4 hospital births with a Dr. Just because you are in a hospital doesn’t mean you have to have meds… they offered and you can say yes or no. I went natural for the first and finally after hours of not progressing I took them up on the offer (never was it forced on me) to have an epidural. Within 30 mins I was pushing that baby out. Best decision ever for that labor.
    My last son I was induced and found that the contractions of being induced (for me) were way more regular and a ton less painful. It was the easiest labor I had… only painful at the very end and even then very tolerable. I think alot of pro natural people really harp on Drs and hospitals and over generalize. I had wonderful, safe experiences with them all… over a span of the last 10 yrs. And after each one a nurse laid my baby on my chest immediately and urged me to nurse immediately. They treated me wonderfully and took good care of us as a family.

  42. I have had 7 natural births in the hospital in that I didn’t have pain medication and they were vaginal. I did have some interventions such as IV’s or hep lock, external heart rate monitoring, and a few times I had AROM in the last hour or two before the birth.

    Most helpful, good birth class the first birth, reading, staying home as long as possible, and having my husband with me for the births. Also, I am a walker, so I avoid the bed for as long as possible. I am a talker, so I cope by talking between contractions up until maybe the last 30 minutes (or even less). If I am in the bed, I must move. I shift my bottom or shake my legs. I pray during contractions, and think of them like hills a runner might conquer. Each hill has a peak and then levels out, and I breathe like a runner in my nose and out my mouth during contractions to stay calm and not hyper ventilate. I find transition to be a time I need to be reminded to drop my shoulders and not clench. I shower. Hate the tub, hate the birth ball, and hate an IV in the hand in a bad position so I cannot turn or move. Hate being on my back, hate being on my left side and in that bed. I know what I like and what I don’t like, and being told what to do I don’t like. Being asked if I want to try something I do like. I also seem to like being left alone at some point, which is hard in the last stages in the hospital.

  43. I, too, support homebirth as a great option (for more women than use it), but I also believe that hospitals should be safe places for natural birth, too. Just because a woman is in a hospital she shouldn’t have to forfeit the right to listen to her body! As a doula, I witness lots of women give birth naturally, beautifully in hospitals. It IS possible! The women who succeed exude confidence and win over even skeptical staff. I think of it as a gift that she gives to the staff. I tried to put all I’ve learned into the book “Natural Hospital Birth: The Best of Both Worlds.” I hope to inspire more women to have natural hospital births because I believe that the more we have, the more people get exposed to the magic of natural birth. It’s an inspiring circle.

  44. I just saw this post (I know I’m a bit late coming), and whole-heartedly agree with all of it. I have had three natural births in the hospital with a doula and felt so strongly about educating women about their options that I became a childbirth educator and wrote an eBook on the subject! It’s so important that women are educated. So many don’t realize that you can have a natural birth in the hospital, and it’s not surprise… doctors never tell them that they have that option. So I’m doing my best to get the word out with my book, Unbound Birth: How to Have a Natural Birth in the Hospital. It’s a quick and easy read, kind of like talking with a friend over coffee, and women seem to love it… I’m so excited about it!

    I’m wondering if we have met at Relevant at some point? Did you go to that conference in the last two years?


  45. Me again! I just realized that you had a session at Relevant that I sat in on… no wonder your name sounded familiar. I don’t think we actually met though. 🙂

  46. This is a very encouraging post. I’m planning a hospital VBA2C in a few weeks and this was very helpful to me. Thanks

  47. Just stumbled upon your great post! I have had 5 natural births and I just LOVE anything that will support a positive natural childbirth. I work, as a doula, with a lot of moms who are having a natural birth in the hospital. I will refer them to your article for good encouragement. Thanks for the great tips!

  48. So many women here have talked about how their husbands weren’t totally on board with an out-of-hospital birth, and so they compromised. If your husband is not “on board” tell him it’s what you want and that when he delivers a baby then he may choose where to do so. Gain confidence in your decisions, trust your intuition, and invite your husband to support you.

  49. My baby was born via natural birth in a hospital. I had to brainwash my doctor months in advance so she’d believe that I was serious about not having any interventions. The labor and birth went very, very well. I stayed home as long as possible, even after my water broke, which I know you’re supposedly not supposed to do. Since I was very explicit on my intentions to give birth naturally, (verbally, in birth plan, and in my file) they did not mention drugs to me at all as per my wishes. The one bad thing that happened was when the doctor was stitching up my tears she forgot to take out a piece of gauze. I didn’t know this, and started to wonder why I was not feeling better after two weeks of being unable to stand for more than 5 minutes at a time due to a painful heaviness I felt. They were finally able to see me three weeks after giving birth, not believing that there was really something wrong with me. The doctor minimized her dreadful mistake, so I will not be going to her for the next baby. I’m trying to talk my husband into shelling out $5000 to go to a birthing center instead. And maybe having baby #3 at home. 🙂

  50. Emily,
    How refreshing to read a post by a mighty woman of God!!

    This is my 3rd pregnancy & I’m drawn to trying for a natural birth. I had great deliveries with the 1st two, but my boys are 13 & 10, so it’s been a while. You’re advice was great & inspiring. I’m glad I came across your post.

    “Be blessed to be a blessing!”

    ~Muingo aka Mo

  51. I had a mostly natural birth in hospital with my son, but I had to argue with the nurses every step of the way. One even tried to sneak me Tylenol 3’s by not telling me what she was giving me! After he was born they did eveything they could to take him from me as fast as possible, and looked at me like I was crazy for wanting to b. feed right away. I think my mistake was not having written copies of my birth plan available. We are preparing for #2 now, and I am going to a hospital again as we can’t afford home birth. This time I will have extra people along for support, and multiple detailed copies of the plan. We are also trying a different hospital.

  52. As an OB nurse, I love that you are sharing this! I think as labor nurses and even physicians we do value natural childbirth. Obviously, in hospitals there are always variable which can change any situation, but we ALL love a good natural delivery. And many of us believe low-risk births can happen at home- and therefore you can avoid an interventions we may need to do out of our own policies based on best medical practice. What we tend to see are mothers who would like to labor and deliver naturally with little to no intervention, yet they have zero education or practice on what labor looks like/feels like/ how they can cope and move through the process. Again, I applaud you for this post! It is necessary to have those who would like to deliver naturally have all the tools they can get 🙂

  53. Interesting article. You must not live in New York. We don’t have the option of “Natural births” in the hospitals here.. I did some research into the vitamin K shot. It’s considered a “vaccine” in the medical world and contains metals. The antibiotic eye save is also forced upon babies here. If you want to opt out of the shot and the eye save, think again. You will have to be prepared to fight it in court before you even enter the hospital. A lawyer said it would cost about $2,500, three years ago. If you don’t have a court order, the hospital may very well consider you a neglectful parent(believe me, they will) , place a call to child protective services and you leave without your baby. In New York, your baby is State property while in the hospital. This is the same in other states as well. I’m glad you had two natural births, but I would caution you in recmmending it to others without encouraging them to check their state laws, as based on the knowlege of differing state laws,it could end in complete disaster. I’m writing sincerely. Please forgive me if this comes across harsh. I also had two natural births (water births). One was at home; the other outside of NY state. Between the two, a home birth was so much better.

  54. I had 2 wonderful natural births in a hospital just outside of Houston. I wouldn’t trade it for the world! We did Bradley method and i’m so glad we did!

    1. Hello Sarah,

      I am in the Houston, my husband and I are going to try to get pregnant soon and I wanted to know if you could give me the names of the hospitals. I really do not want to be pressued into medical intervention but at the same time would feel better at a hospital then at home.



  55. Thanks for this post I know it’s old but I found it by googling preparing for natural childbirth. I had my first in April 2012 with epidural cause of bad back labor, it was terrible wearing off. I am now due in August seeing a midwife at a hospital trying to prepare for natural. If you have any more tips that you can share please email me

  56. My second child was almost intevention free. I had every intevention short of forcepts and vacuum with my oldest and i regeted it. With my youngest i was determined to go as natural as possible. I didnt have much of a choice in avoiding birthing at a hospital i have pretty bad asthma and my husband was uncomfortable with homebirthing because of that. And i was due in my worst allergy season. My ob and i desided at my 40 week check up that if i didnt go into labor over the weekend I was going to be admitted on monday. The weekend came and my asthma got bad my lung doctor said when my husband called her that if i didnt have the baby in the next few day she was admitting me. When we got there Monday morning I alowed one of only 2 inteventions I would have they gave me somthing to ripen my cervix. I took a nap and then my doula arrived. I refused the iv and only allowed intermittent monitering. I spent the morning and afternoon walking and doing light yoga and doing squats. I had family visit while my husband snuck me some bread and other snacks. My contactions were mild but I was progressing I was 2cm at check-in at lunch I was 5cm. My ob came in around 7pm and I had stalled at 7cm. He said my options were go home (not an option my outside of the hospitals clean air I wasn’t getting enough for me and the baby.) Pitocin again not an option. So that lest me with my second intevention I allowed him to break my water. Oh my gosh wow! That was all that was needed. I hit transition almost immediately. I am so glad to have had my husband and dolua. My husband kept changing my music to suit my mood ever 2minutes and hold my hand while my doula provided counter pressure on my back while I made very loud low moans. I requested the nurse to come and check me she came in huffing that it was too soon and i was fine. I told her to just check In the 1.5 hours from the water being broken I was at 10cm with a lip. Even thouht I was resisting the urge to push I found he scrambling very funny. IMy ob was allready up making his rounds so I didn’t have to wate for him. I made the annoying nurse help me getting into a squat I didn’t want to deliver on my back again I was already having back labor. My husband and doula supported me because dumbo nurse couldn’t find the squat bar. And I said I wanted to push dumbo said no you still have a lip. My wonderful ob said do what your body tells you. So after 2hours of hard labor and .5 hours pushing my little boy was born. I ened up with a 2nd degree tear and needed pitosin injection to stop the bleeding my ob said because I shot my son out to quick. Love men with a sence of humor. I was up walking 2hours later and only needed tylenol for the pain. This was so polar opposite of my 1st labor that if I were to have another child I would shoot for completely unmedicated.

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