Natural Recs?

During my last labor, I had a natural delivery because I had to wait on lab results before getting the epidural. It stalled me long enough and out boy #3 came!

The process was a bit harried and crazy, but I loved it. LOVED it.
And I want to do it again.
I am in week 32 of pregnancy and know we are a little late to sign up for Bradley classes. Are there any books you all would recommend to help prepare us a bit better for a natural delivery undertaking?? I can remember “blowing out the candle” and wondering what the heck I was really doing. Your input would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!!
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  • Alexis

    OK, I've had 1 natural and 2 almost natural and one really not natural. The book that I used to prepare for one of my "almost natural" was found this book very helpful in getting me "reved up" for a natural birth and for the babymoon afterwards. There is a definite New Age feel to the book and she does some pretty frufru "drawing through your fears" stuff but for some reason I still really found it helpful. So have lots of friends who have read it. The only other book that I've read all the way through was is also helpful in building confidence that you "know what you are into". Hope that helps! Good luck with all of it!

  • Kat

    I never really did Bradley classes, but I read through some of their materials before my first child. The best book I found, though, was The Birth Book, by Dr. Sears. I pretty much memorized it, and it helped a lot. Good luck!

  • Jen

    Penny Simkin's book Pregnancy, Childbirth & the Newborn is the best natural childbirth reference book I know of. I have done 3 natural births and I take it with me to the hospital to refer to each time! Also, be sure to keep your eyes open for a natural childbirth class that is offered by a doula or other alternative to the more structured hopsital & bradley classes. When our first was about 32 weeks along we learned that we were expected to have a normal delivery (originally, they thought I had a placenta previa & would have a c-section) and I scrambled to find a class because I wanted to delivery naturally. We found a wife of my husband's co-worker (a doula) who tailored a class to fit the time left in our pregnancy. It was great!!

  • Lady of the Lakes

    We read "Husband coached childbirth" for our bradley class and the book on it's own was helpful. I also read the Birth Book by Dr. Sears.

  • Heather

    The Birth Book by Dr. Sears is a great recommendation, as are the books associated with Bradley–Husband Coached Childbirth & Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way by Susan McCutcheon (I think that's her last name).Also, Active Birth by Janet Balaskas has lots of sketches and details about good physical positions to use during birth. Basically, the more upright you can be during the pushing stage, the better! Good luck!

  • Michael and Kristine

    Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way and Husband Coached Childbirth are awesome. I had an epidural with my first but just had my second (9lbs 3oz!) without one and it was an INCREDIBLE experience. The biggest piece of advice is to RELAX during contractions – to let your body be so relaxed that your are allowing your body to do what it needs to do. Plus it really does act as effective pain management. Good luck and all our prayers!

  • Olivia D

    We took Bradley Classes with our first and ended up with a medicated birth that was not fun. So we have had our last two at home, unmedicated and they have been wonderful…baby #4 will be born in November at home as well! I always read Ina May Gaskins Book on Natural Childbirth a couple months before. I skip the chapters on the technical "why medication is bad" and just read the birth stories, they are really inspiring and motivating and empowering.The Bradley Birth book is good to have, it's basically what they teach in the classes, and I think practicing the techniques does help so that during the real thing you sort of start doing it automatically. (the "it" is just breathing and focusing, but really crucial IMO) I think once you've done it once it gets way easier because you know how best to handle it for you… I'm excited for you, you are so close!

  • Anonymous

    Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way by Susan Mccutcheon and The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth by Henci Goer. Read natural birth stories too!

  • Allison K

    "Ina May's Guide to Childbirth" by Ina May Gaskin, who is a genius. And "Your Best Birth" by Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein.

  • Melinda

    I found the Susan McCutcheon "Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way" extremely helpful, especially the information about the emotional signposts of labor and on relaxing through contractions. Beware, the pictures are graphic and you might not want to leave it in reach of little hands. After reading we concluded that the secret to a pain-free natural birth is that your husband wear nothing but hotpants during the delivery!

  • Neverland Mommy

    I've had one c-section, followed by two naturals. I use a combination of Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way by Susan McCutcheon and HypnoBirthing the Mongan Method. Hypnobirthing has some weird stuff, but I used the pick and choose method. (The blowing your stomach up like a balloon during breathing was amazing, and I got that from the hypnobirthing book.) We also use a doula. I am not sure I need one with our next delivery, but my husband assures me he needs one… so I guess we will have a doula as well. 🙂 Good Luck!

  • Elizabeth

    I was stuck on bedrest until late in pregnancy, but our local Bradley teacher let us hop into the class anyways. She also gave us a few private lessons to catch up. If Bradley is what appeals to you it's worth asking.

  • helen

    I would recommend "Birth Skills" by Juju Sundin (and Sarah Murdoch). Juju is a physio, and the book was recommended to me by my sister-in-law who only read it when about to deliver baby #5 and wished she'd read it earlier! A friend of mine, a physio (oh, I think you might call them Physical Therapists in the US?) who works in hospitals with women post birth (and has seen it all!) agrees that Juju Sundin is a great help for women. She helps prepare you physically and mentally.She advises using mantras when in labour, such as "I am strong" etc. Well, I replaced them with "Jesus, help!". Worked!!!

  • MJDMom

    I can't add anything to the books, but what I will say is that if you want to do a natural birth, get your husband on board about it. You will hit a point when you think, "I can't do this anymore." It is one of the natural signposts of labor, and your husband, being a good man, isn't going to want to see you in pain and that's when most women end up getting an epidural when they didn't want one.

  • Kate E.

    Agree with the above comments. Getting your husband on board is crucial. For my 2 natural births I actually said "I can't do this anymore"…baby number 2 was born about 5 minutes after I said that 🙂 Or as my midwives replied (both times) "That means you are about to do it". I would highly recommend getting a doula if you are not seeing midwives since they will provide support through your whole labor and if you find the right person can really help support your husband as he supports you! Good luck & remember if you did it once you can do it again 🙂

  • Elizabeth M

    I don't really have book suggestions either. We did Bradley classes. My first delivery ended up fully interventional and emergency C-section (after getting to 9 cm).My husband thought I was overdoing a bit, but we redid the classes for #2 because I'd labored, but not pushed!Then I did all natural and if we'd been blessed with another child I would have done it the same (if possible).What helped me most was literally taking each contraction as it came. Don't think about "getting through labor," just get through this ONE contraction. And you can. Then you find what helps you through the next one. Walk (if it helps), find a position or place for your husband to give counter-pressure on your back (if it helps). But one of the things that helped me most was a hot shower! I think I spent about an hour in my hospital room's shower, letting the water wash over me and help relax me. I'd take others' suggestions and see if there is a way to take a class or lesson from someone just to help reinforce some of the techniques — if you can.God bless!

  • Anonymous

    I've only gone through labor once with baby #1 and am about 18 weeks pregnant with baby #2. With baby #1 we went with a midwife (connected to an OB practice). My biggest piece of advice is get as MUCH sleep as possible in early labor.With baby #1 I had a complicated labor – I was in active labor off and on for nearly four days with little to no progression. We found out later after an unexpected c-section that my son (who was 9lbs, 90zs – I'm only 5' 2"-shoulders were not positioned correctly…I forget the technical term for it). I was unable to sleep for three nights due to the contractions – I refused the midwive's offer of ambien and I wish I hadn't! By the time my water broke at 1am on the fourth day and the contractions finally became fairly consistent I was so sleep deprived I could barely stay awake between contractions. I begged for an epidural less for the pain than the fact that I just wanted to sleep. The midwife actually agreed for fear I would not be able to push.We're hoping baby #2 will not only be VBAC, but also natural. I'm sure things with go much faster with your baby #4, but regardless, if you can, get as much sleep as possible!

  • Anonymous

    My first was with an epidural. My 2nd was natural because there wasn't time for an epidural. I had the same reaction as you–that was great! I felt so good following the delivery, much better than the recovery following an epidural. With #3, the doctor wanted to know if I wanted an epidural. I said, "No thank you" and had another wonderful natural delivery. Same with #4 even though my labor was much more prolonged than with my first three.I didn't read a book or take any classes. I just did what I knew I could do. You've done it once, you can do it again.

  • Dianna@KennedyAdventures

    I don't have any book suggestions — I had the Bradley book, but it bored me to tears. I had a non medicated birth 'accidentally' with my #2 daughter (showed up at the hospital crowning), then was determined to have a non medicated birth with my twins. (and I did!)My advice is to stay at home as long as you possibly can — this helped me, as I was able to lie down, walk, shower, eat, etc, without being bothered by the hospital staff. Of course, I make my husband a little nervous with that!

  • Anonymous

    I believe the "Bradley" book the last commenter referred to is Husband-Coached Childbirth by Dr. Robert Bradley himself and not Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way by Susan McCutcheon.

  • Sara

    I used Hypnobirthing and loved it. It kept me very calm and relaxed which really helped with my awful back labor. Can't wait to do it again! The book isn't long either so it is an easy read.

  • rj

    my favorite book about the birthing process was actually "the big book of birth" by erica lyons. it's not one i've commonly seen used, but it was very balanced in tone & practical suggestions & expectations for labor. maybe you can find it in your library? also, i appreciated peggy simkin's wisdom & you can find a bunch of her work accessible online as well. go, b-mama!!

  • B-Mama

    Thank you all so much–I knew I could count on you for sage advise and wisdom, not to mention wonderful encouragement! Now I'm just waiting on a bunch of hold orders at our local library… I'll let you know how the reading goes. Future post! Many blessings!!

  • Jennifer Frey

    I firmly believe that the best preparation for childbirth is prayer. I have had two completely natural births, and I can say that the trick is mind over matter, and to trust in God that this suffering is for a purpose (the way that all suffering is). It is hard to pray while in labor, of course, and this is when others can be praying for you. But if you trust in God that you can handle the pain, then you will be able to handle it!!Having said that, natural birth is not for everyone. It is really painful, and at times (for me anyway) scary. I think either you see the value in this sort of experience, you see it as a cross to bear in witness to Christ, or you don't. This has to be a decision you make well before you go into labor, and certainly before you enter a hospital, which is designed against natural birth. At any rate, good luck!! You will be fine either way.