If you're expecting and your due date is nearing, you are excited to meet your bundle of joy, but you're nervous about the whole process. Childbirth, after all, is a crucial medical situation – all births have a 50-50 chance of going smoothly.
On hindsight, however, our ancestors gave birth naturally without any modern medical aid. Global statistics also prove that a lot more childbirths go without a hitch, so that should be a source of comfort. And many advocates of natural birth will tell you that modern medical interventions should only be given to those who need it.
It's your fear that hinders you from having a successful natural birth, says doula Betty Lugay-San Luis of Birthing is Blessing at the "Smart Parenting Baby Shower," which we co-presented with Belo Baby, at Crown Plaza Galleria. But careful preparation that includes childbirth classes should help conquer that fear.
Doula Betty, who gave birth to her five kids without any medical intervention, points out that it’s not about learning everything but choosing the right helpful information. She cautions that too much research can bring more fear rather than confidence because you end up with conflicting data.
Aside from the physiological preparations, such as eating right and having the right amount of exercise, Doula Betty revealed three secrets for a successful natural birth, unmedicated and unassisted but not necessarily a water or home birth.
First: Trust your body. Be confident of its strength. "A woman’s body has the innate capacity and wisdom to give birth," Doula Betty stressed. "Kumbaga sa system ng body natin, meron tayong respiratory, excretory, and even reproductive, which is built-in and God-given. That means, kaya nating manganak. Bawat isa sa inyo, kayang-kaya ninyong manganak," she said, speaking to pregnant moms at the event.
It’s also why Doula Betty encourages moms to let childbirth run its course as long as there is no serious medical emergency. "Dahil [birth is physiological], as much as possible, dapat undisturbed yung birth [process]. Hayaan lang natin na mangyari yung course of labor,” she said. That said, inexperience is not a valid excuse not to have the right mindset.
Second: Know how your body works. While your body knows what to do, you have to understand how it works when it’s time to welcome your newborn. Hormones wreak havoc in our emotions during pregnancy, but did you know that they can help you give birth naturally? Here are the three hormones that are at work during childbirth: Oxytocin "Oxytocin is the hormone of love, the reason why the baby is there in the womb, “said Doula Betty. "It is the same hormone that will help you give birth to your baby. Oxytocin is also the most powerful contraction-causing hormone. Kumbaga, yang hilab na 'yan, dadating 'yan when needed, and the right amount of contraction will help you birth the baby," she explained.
Cortisol It is the stress hormone -- you don't need it childbirth, but it often plays a part nonetheless: It’s the reason why moms feel scared. "If you have a lot of stress hormones, it can inhibit the birth, and it can even stop the labor," Doula Betty explained, adding that it’s one of the reasons why doctors use drugs to help progress labor. "Hindi natin talaga actually kailangan yun if we know how we can release oxytocin," she added. Endorphins These are the hormones that can help ease the pain of labor. It’s the body’s natural pain killers. "Kumbaga sa epidural, lumalabas talaga siya sa course of labor na hindi medicated," the mom of five illustrated, "as long as we are confident and we have the right support team.”
Third: Focus on your goal. During childbirth, your goal is to keep the hormones oxytocin and endorphins flowing and keep the stress hormone at bay. "As much as possible, we approach our labor with a lot of confidence and kung pwede sana no fear," Doula Betty stresses. While fear can be present, understandably and especially for first-time moms, it should not overpower your confidence, your mindset that you can do it – you can give birth naturally.
"If we approach birth with a lot of fear, magte-tense up yung ating muscles, the muscles all over our body tenses up and it creates more pain. The more fearful we are, the harder it is to manage, the harder it is to go through the process," Doula Betty said. "But if we are confident that our body knows how to give birth, fear can be replaced with calm and confidence,” she assures moms-to-be.
For inquiries about Doula Betty's birthing classes, visit Birthing is a Blessing's Facebook, call (0916)520.5787, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.