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28 Responses to Five Ways to Prepare for Natural Birth in a Hospital

  1. AJ  

    Thanks for sharing this! It definitely has some good advice. I too had a “perfect” natural birth in the hospital and work with families as a Birth Doula to help them have the same wonderful experience!

  2. Kat

    Great suggestions! I think it’s great you point out that you can set the mood, so to speak in the delivery room; many women don’t know or don’t feel comfortable having their wishes heard because they think they aren’t supposed to ask for things their way. Another thing I found out about from my doula was that our hospital has stuff like birthing balls and bars and mirrors..but the nurses/doctors hardly every offer them, so if someone didn’t know they would never ask!

    • Melissa K.  

      Great point about asking for things like birthing balls – so glad you mentioned that! Our hospital had a birthing ball and a squat bar, which really (pleasantly) surprised me.

      • Bonnie Greene

        The birthing ball was the best thing for me for two births….great article. Definitely se the mood for yourself and ask questions.

  3. Alica  

    This is a great post. I carried through with each of these important steps and was able to labour and give birth naturally in a hospital. The nurse assigned to me was very accomodating and encouraging and my husband was my biggest cheerleader. I found the biggest things for me was my knowledge and support.

  4. Crystal - Prenatal Coach  

    Great post! I’m going to share it with my readers as I’m sure many of them are wanting to have a natural birth in a hospital and this is a great article 🙂

    I do think a doula is a valuable addition to the birth team for many couples (especially for first-time moms wanting natural birth in a hospital) but I completely respect your decision not to have one because it didn’t feel right for you. Good for you for tuning in and determining what YOUR needs were!

    I’m so glad to hear that you had a great experience with Hypnobabies. I’m training to become an instructor in March and I can’t wait!!

  5. kate

    great post! I had a natural delivery at a hospital too (I <3 homebirth, but for reasons I too decided to have hospital birth instead). Actually 2 of them with my two sons – both went splendid! my husband and I had the same doula for both deliveries and we couldn't have asked for a better experience anywhere – your points are right on target!

  6. Amy  

    “Natural birth may not belong in hospitals, but the two can coexist peacefully with mindful
    preparation.”

    I appreciate that you talk about preparation as it is certainly key in having the birth experience you’re looking for. 🙂

    I have had 2 births in the hospital and 2 at home. Each one was unique and beautiful. I liked giving birth at home so I didn’t interrupt the transformation going to an unfamiliar place, but I also liked the feeling of safety I had when I chose hospital birth.

    It really is up to us to make a choice about what we feel is appropriate at any given time.

    Thank you for sharing.

  7. Momma Jorje

    My most recent natural birth in a hospital went well, but I wouldn’t call it perfect. I was irritated that the nurses called my birth plan a failure plan (or something to that effect). I have heard from several OB Floor nurses that they dislike birthing plans, but my doctor had encouraged me to have it and was familiar with it.

    I am over 35 so my next birth will also likely be in a hospital, but… hopefully I’ll have an even closer to perfect natural birth at a hospital than I did with my last 2! 🙂

  8. 6512 and growing

    Melissa,
    Thank you for this. I had my daughter in the hospital with a doula (my son was a preemie, so he was most definitely born in the hospital), and it was a beautiful, natural birth. I felt totally comfortable with my big naked body contracting and dancing around that hospital room.
    I can see how a home birth might have been more intimate, but I felt supported and safe and free to birth my way, and I cherish both of my births as some of the most transformative experiences of my life.

  9. Kate Wicker @ Momopoly  

    I’ve had three amazing natural birth experiences in a hospital – including my first, which was deemed a high risk pregnancy where they really wanted to hook me up to pitocin, but we fought and trusted our instincts and they respected our wishes. My last two births were even better. I spent most of my time laboring at home and then quickly popped the babies out at the hospital. I held, nursed, and cuddled with my babies before anything else was done (measuring, etc.). I also spent only one night in the hospital with my last. I share all of this because it can be done. I didn’t even have a doula – just an awesome, informed husband and and a really great midwife. Trust yourself and stand up for your right to a non-medicated, low intervention birth!

  10. Mama Mo @ Attached at the Nip

    I so needed to read this. Thank you.

    I prepared for a natural birth in the hospital, but ended up fighting pre-term labor for 10 weeks before having a very unwanted c-section. I’m still trying to work through the birth trauma and the NICU experience afterwards.

    It is so good to read about women who have done this! I will bookmark it for when the time comes to prepare for my next birth!

  11. Janine  

    I feel like a doula can be a must! I had a very fast labor (Under 7 hours from no contractions whatsoever to baby in my arms, for my first baby) and opted for an epidural despite really wanting a natural birth. I am not positive I could have made it through without meds but I wish someone had suggested a ball or birth tub, both things I had specified wanting but didn’t occur to me in my laboring state. I was happy with my hospital birth but do feel some regret wondering what could have been different with different support.

  12. Libby Hunt  

    Thanks for such great advice! My first birth was medicated, but an overall great experience, but I am hoping I can hold out for a natural birth this time. Thanks for the vote of confidence!

  13. Emily Sue Hartman

    I know this was written awhile ago, but I was just curious as to which military hospital you gave birth in. I realize my chances are probably slim to none of giving birth in that hospital, but I was just curious. I really want to do natural child birth but dread military hospitals from experiences so far. I have many of the same ideas you had but am afraid my wishes won’t be listened to. I’m going to be in a different state during each trimester because 1st, We’re stationed out here in HI, 2nd my husband re-enlisted and has Recon training for 3 months. During those 3 months I’ll be going back to MT (still have to get my Tricare figured) then 3rd when my husband is done with training we will PCS in a new location, either NC or CA….Sigh, so much to think about

    • Melissa  

      Hi Emily,
      It sounds you really do have a lot to think about, and a whole lot of transition to deal with during your pregnancy! I’m wishing you an easy, uncomplicated move and the same in the planning and preparations for your birth. I always admire women who can handle a PCS pregnant!

      I birthed at US Naval Hospital Guam myself, but I have heard from a few moms with positive military hospital experiences. Just remember it’s *your* birth, and you get to make the decisions! 🙂 A doula may a great thing to have as well!

  14. katy

    I love this! Try reading Natural Hospital Birth by Gabriel http://www.amazon.com/Natural-Hospital-Birth-Best-Worlds/dp/1558327185/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1321234080&sr=8-1, if you’re interested in knowing more about this. It is so lovely and thorough. Such a great guide. I also recommend a doula to support you and advocate for you when you need it. Its great to have a birth professional in the room, someone who has been working with you and is on YOUR side. 🙂

  15. Sarita

    Thank you for this. It was wonderful to finally hear from someone in my shoes. Choosing a prepared childbirth and having to do it in a military hospital. I’m active duty myself. Child number 3, first natural birth. Due Valentines day 2013.

    • Melissa  

      Sarah, I’m so glad this post was useful for you. I have great admiration for active duty women who balance mothering and a military commitment. I just want to send some peace your way, and wishes for a beautiful birth. What an exciting time!

  16. Brianna

    Thanks for sharing! I’m 37 weeks with my second daughter and will be having her in a military hospital as well. I’m preparing for a natural birth and trying to educate myself as much as possible.

  17. Christy

    Im a first time mom to be, 35 weeks pregnant. I am also delivering at a military hospital. It really seems they put you in a sort of “conveyor belt”. I haven’t discussed a birth plan. Like you said, I don’t know who will be there so I don’t know who to discuss it with. Your post is very helpful. Where do you find info on things like not cutting the umbilical cord and no bath? I know I want those things, but don’t know why or what other things to consider.

  18. Ursula Ciller  

    I can definitely relate to doing the research and going prepared. I also refused IV (one of the more experienced midwives even said she was glad I didn’t take them – much to my surprise). I actually delayed going to hospital because, on the phone, one of the nurses said she would have a doctor ‘lecture’ me about this decision – but then when I went (when the contractions were every 2 minutes) they didn’t pester me about this. Bathing is not standard in my local rural Australian maternity ward so no drama there 🙂

  19. Julie

    Thank you so much for sharing! I’m 3 months away from having my third baby (my second VBAC!) in a military hospital and absolutely terrified about it! I’ve been able to choose the hospital/ OB with the previous two, but not at this base. You give me hope!

  20. shiloh

    Thanks for writing this down in a public place where people can find it! I had my first child at home and it was just the way I wanted it. I had my second child at a hospital due to having to move 2 weeks before she was due and I didn’t know a thing about a hospital birth, and because of that, it was not at all how I wanted it to be. I have since educated myself and hope that more women take the time to know they have choices and rights at a hospital. As a doula, I attended my friend’s natural childbirth at a military hospital and it was pretty much exactly what her whole team wanted. Thanks for helping to raise awareness.