Tips From The Community

1. One must trust your provider but you need to trust yourself more. You need to believe that your body was created to do this and you need to be able to be empowered enough to listen to your instincts. Midwives and doulas are fabulous women, yet, each woman’s body is different and each baby and birth are different. Your child was put into YOUR body. YOUR body has the innate knowledge to move or not move in ways during labor to produce a safe and peaceful birth. Allow yourself to trust that your creator made you the way you are made for your babies to come the way and when they do. When I finally realized that, the difference between my first 2 births and my second 2 births was astounding.
Rachel Brutus Magarity -postpartum doula and parenting educator – USA


2. Childbirth is one of the most important events in a woman’s life. Her experience has the potential to bring her great fulfillment or to cause lifelong wounds. The most important part of that birth plan is the chosen care provider and place of birth. Those two things can make or break the rest, so please choose wisely.
Kristin Johnson Schuchmann – USA


3. I gave birth at the hospital but was still required by both my midwife and doula to have a birth plan. I was consulted about everything on it, and we made changes together as we saw fit. I did not end up with the birth I had originally planned, but it was still healing and amazing because even though plans changed, I alone made the decision to change them.
Alie Miller Dos Santos – USA


4. I had my daughter with an epidural once I got to 8.5 cm. I’m due soon and I am having a homebirth with a midwife and going all natural. The Business of Being Born is what motivated my husband and I to make the switch. I switched from my OB to my midwife around 26 weeks this pregnancy. Definitely read Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth. It’s AMAZING!
Brooke Chandler – USA


5. In the UK everyone uses a midwife unless there is a medical need for a doctor. They are highly skilled and understand ‘normal’ birth which is fantastic.
Amy Burgess- UK


6. I got to see Ina May speak and chat with her at 30 weeks pregnant! Her advice for labor was “sing, dance, kiss, giggle” and oh, “you’ll live through it” and to take inspiration from other mammals. Such an inspiring, captivating woman!
Tara Schultz Hales – USA


7. I 100% believe that babies won’t come if the mother isn’t at peace. Process your feelings. Speak your fears and hopes to your baby. Try to relax. Your body will not go into labor if you are tense and stressed. Both my kids came when I was most relaxed. The first came after I had decided to stop worrying about the baby’s arrival and when I enjoyed a huge meal, and the second came a few hours after I let all stress go and after I gave myself a self-love session. A watched pot won’t boil. It’s not about having the “perfect” birth but rather being respected and heard! There are no guarantees in life and especially not in birth. What a perfect birth means to me is vastly different to another. What many of us advocate is being informed, knowing when to stand up for yourself and remembering that the mother matters just as much as the healthy baby that was born to them.
Vanessa NP – USA


8. Hire a provider (midwife or OB) with whom you can have an honest, open conversation about your wants and needs. Ask about their rate of intervention, induction, and cesarean rate. Ask them how they feel about doulas and birth plans. Follow your intuition on how they respond. Talk to other women. Reach out to your local ICAN chapter. We need to talk about these things. For example if woman after woman says, “That OB forced me into an epidural or Pitocin or induction or cesarean or whatever,” however that OB tells you he/she supports natural birth or tries to avoid interventions, you’ll know that the OB is giving you lip service. I also wish that more women knew that they can a) Decline consent at any point (even if they previously gave consent) and b) Fire their provider at any point including during labor. That goes for nurses too. If you go into the hospital and the nurse assigned to you dumps on your plan to have a natural birth or your plan to move around in labor or anything else, ask for a different nurse. Your doctor wants to break your water to speed things along? Do not consent if you don’t want to. It can be hard to stand up for oneself in labor. I have had one preventable cesarean that proves that. The best we can do is encourage each other and share this knowledge.
Stacy Finnell – USA


9. I had a Doctor with my first that ended in unnecessary C section, and a midwife with my second that was a homebirth. Midwives are just as much if not more trained for normal birth. They know how to deal with emergencies and they know how to care for you and baby. They are not trained for surgery (only real training difference between an OB and a midwife). If you have a low risk pregnancy, then a midwife should be just fine. I loooooooved my midwife team and my second birth was amazing!! First birth was traumatizing. Go with your gut, interview different professionals and see for yourself. Know this though: true medical emergencies during pregnancy/birth almost always have warning signs way before they become serious. A good midwife, because she’s paying more attention to you, asking more questions, and checking in on you more, will catch those signs before they become emergent. You hear about life threatening emergencies that happen at the hospital and people are quick to say “thank god she was at the hospital!” when in reality it was being at the hospital and all of the interventions that made the situation what it was. Of course there ARE real emergencies but they’re rare and most midwives know how to deal with that.
Emily Marlar – USA


10. At my last doctor’s appointment, I had protein in my urine and my blood pressure was slightly elevated (not enough to be alarming but higher than it had been for my entire pregnancy). My urine was also an oddly orange color, which I told my doctor about and she dismissed as dehydration. The nurse told me about the protein in the urine and the blood pressure and encouraged me to talk to the doctor about it. When I asked my doctor, she just shrugged it off. It was my first pregnancy and I didn’t want to be one of “those annoying patients” so I went with her word that things were ok. In hindsight I wish I had advocated for myself more. I was in the midst of developing HELLP Syndrome, and by the time I went to the hospital (a few days later) I was in critical condition. You know your body and you know when something feels off. If it doesn’t seem quite right, get it checked out and ask questions. If you need to, get a 2nd opinion. I don’t think one must ever look back and regret going to the hospital and it ending up being fine, but I can tell you that there is regret when you ignore the warning signs and let the doctor brush off your concerns.
Rachel Smith – USA


11. Being aware of your options is powerful and learning what your body is capable of can make your confidence soar. Some women can go unprepared and still wing it (and some end up with interventions). If you are not that kind of person, you would greatly benefit from birthing classes and arming yourself with information. Ensure you have good support including a supportive partner/family member and a good doula is critical. Then, truly be open to how your unique birthing experience will evolve and you won’t have to regret anything. You CAN train your mind to focus on being positive. I trusted in nature, prepared myself and I was quite fearless. I welcomed every day knowing our baby will come at the right time and I did a lot of visualizations. So I had that empowering great water birth experience I wanted on our daughter’s due date and she latched right away too. ALL that I had visualized manifested but the only thing I did not think to visualize was eliminating during labor and birthing my placenta. So, I was unable to eliminate any of the liquid I consumed for the whole 15 hours. So make sure you are eliminating before consuming a lot of liquid (a full bladder can crowd the pelvis area, prolonging labor). Find out in advance if a catheter is an option. My placenta did not release easily either, which is pretty uncommon. There is power in thoughts so be wary of any fears too (fear releases certain hormones that are counterproductive during labor). I have a low pain threshold, yet, not once did drugs cross my mind because among other factors the water made the biggest difference physically. It is best to labor in the water only when the pain seems unbearable – being in water long can relax your muscles, thus slowing progress.
Sangitha P Lorenz – USA


12. I ended up asking for an epidural as I was exhausted after a night of pure back labor. With the epidural I was able to relax and gather my strength for the grand arrival. It was nice not to feel pain but it was almost too much goodness as I could not feel anything. So I asked them to decrease the titration dose to be able feel the contractions some so I could work in sync with them. It worked well not being in agony but at the same time feeling enough to know when it was time to push.
Tatiania Sonnenberg – USA


13. My first was with pitocin and no medications. It was awful! For my second, I used hypnobirthing and did no Pitocin and no medications. I would have 10 more babies if I weren’t already hitting mid 30’s!
Angie ‘Frenzel’ Johnson- USA


14. First and foremost, accept your fears. By letting us know is the first step to disarming them. Fear is nasty because when you suppress it, it grows and grows and grows!!!! Fear decreases blood to the uterus and actually stalls progress in birthing. So you want to deal with it now (like you’re doing) and be brave to accept it, voice it, let it out. Then, study up on natural birth. Have you seen natural birth videos that are calm and beautiful and amazing???? Watch other women, do what you want to do. Your fears will be replaced with other women’s experience. That’s the first step. See that it is possible. There is no greater joy and empowerment that comes from natural birth. It is a high and feeling of power that I wish all women could feel. You literally feel like it’s possible to DO ANYTHING!!!! That’s an amazing feeling! We need to ask ourselves these questions: Is it going to hurt? Yes. Is it doable? Yes. Is it worth is? Yes. Are you capable? Yes. It’s normal to be nervous. Think about the jitters that someone has before a marathon. This. Is. Like. A. Marathon!!! And you were born to do it!!!!
Dr. Shamanie Thompson Haneca – Chiropractor- USA


15. My advice would be to make your birth plan sweet and short. Use one page bullet points. My birth plan was a generic one from off line and it was 3 pages long. Well my daughter came so fast (two hours after getting there; I was already a seven getting there) the nurse told me that they didn’t have time to read it and asked me what the most important things were.
Destiny Elmo – USA


16. I read hypnobabies and took zero classes. I had my little guy completely natural and it was amazing. You can completely do this!!
Contributor – USA


17. I have had two natural hospital births so far and both of them were great. My mother, who was a DONA certified doula for many years, was present for both of them. Each birth went very well, I really don’t have any complaints! Having good support is essential.
Contributor – USA


18. I had a successful, medication free hospital birth with a doula. I couldn’t have done it without her. Most important thing is to go over your birth plan with your doctor or midwife before hand– a big detail being intermittent monitoring. I did the majority of my labor in the shower, which was awesome. But even though this was “the plan” the nurses were reluctant to give me a saline lock and had immediately wanted to hook me up to an IV.
Stephanie Michaele- USA


19. I’ve had 3 experiences. The first time I was induced, I had every intervention, labored for 17 hours, pushed for an hour and felt like death afterwards and for about a month after that. The second time, I went into labor naturally but they still gave me pitocin. I didn’t have pain meds and contractions were definitely rough. I labored for only 5 hours though and she was out in one push. Five weeks before my last birth I read a hypnobirthing book and ended up birthing my baby at home because he came so fast!! I believe it was from how calm and relaxed I tried to keep my body. It was the most amazing experience I ever had and it was painful but NOTHING like the two before!! I didn’t even have to push for my last one.
Erika Nicole Badillo – USA


20. I had a very successful, beautiful, empowering natural birth in a hospital with continuous monitoring due to my baby’s heart condition. Don’t be afraid to advocate for yourself and ask people (nurses, doctors, anyone) to leave the room if they are inhibiting or negatively affecting your birth IN ANY WAY. It is your body and your birth! You can create a calm, peaceful birthing environment in a hospital setting. Ask for the lights to be dimmed or play your own music…whatever you need to feel comfortable and relaxed! Your body is incredible and strong and you can absolutely do this!
Sarah Elizabeth Thomas – USA


21. If you needed to go to the hospital, midwives have a plan to transfer in case of emergency. Home birth or birth center birth is the safest. I’m having my 3rd at a birth center; my first 2 were at a hospital and I was bullied into an epidural and they took my babies both times for HOURS. I hemorrhaged the first time because of epidural and baby was ready to come and they didn’t check me for hours. NEVER EVER again.
Christina Leigh Regensburg – USA


22. I have an amazing supportive OB and a Certified Nurse Midwife…there are places that work together as a team for your requests, although very far and few, but you just have to put in the work to find them.
Contributor – USA


23. I wish I had switched to a midwife when I was thinking about it. I had the natural delivery I wanted but it would have been more relaxed and less stressful if I had a midwife and not a doctor. My doctor wanted to do every intervention even though I clearly had a birth plan and kept declining things. Hubby had to keep advocating for me and it just added to the stress of my birth when I didn’t need that. Next baby will be at home with a midwife that’s for sure.
Contributor – USA


24. Go with a midwife!!! Seriously, that was my best birth ever out of the three. You don’t have to worry about protocols, they do what you want to do. I denied everything, no vax, no vitamin shot, delayed cord clamping, and the water birth was great. I took a nap with him and then went home to sleep in my own bed that night. It was so peaceful and wonderful. Whatever you do, avoid induction. The contractions are so hard and fast, they are almost unbearable. I was able to endure more with natural birth because your body gives you enough of a break between. Seriously, I couldn’t give more praises about birthing at a midwife birthing center.
Kelli Gravelle – USA


25. It’s definitely smart to research your provider. Some doctors have a method of birthing they prefer and push each patient to follow for their convenience. I was so glad I had my mum’s insight when I picked my doctor and hospital for my son’s birth. We had a great hospital birth but I know how easily it can go wrong if you choose the wrong provider/ hospital.
Marissa Lynette Berube – USA


26. Google fetal ejection reflex I haven’t had to push out any of my naturals – they just don’t allow coached pushing and let your body do what it was designed to do.
Jenn Nyveldt – USA


27. For my first birth it was really hard to pee, especially towards the end (or transition) I was so tense, and I held it for too long as my uterus kept contracting bigger and stronger, not allowing me to pee…for my second birth, after my birth at home classes’ affirmations, I remembered to pee all of the time, whenever I felt like it…and had no problem. I was uninhibited. Anytime I had an urge to bear down or got “grunty” or just had an intense feeling, I was also much more relaxed and comfortable allowing myself to, prepared for having to. I think my first I was embarrassed about releasing my bodily functions…some things, during labor, just need reminding too. A Doula is really good for this! You also don’t need to push! Just relax. Your body does it for you, and anyone that thinks they need to tell you to push should leave the room. Research the fetal ejection reflex, it is what happens when mother is unhindered….you can breathe your baby out… :). I’m not sure why you need an I.V, unless you have some medical problem. Have magnesium calcium (you can buy magnesium drink mix from the health store) to help you relax.
Coral J. Douglas – USA


28. My first birth was the exact opposite of my natural water birth. But with my second, I still didn’t read anything, I didn’t have any birth affirmations like I thought I would, I didn’t practice breathing nor did I take any labor classes… I just went for it. And it was incredible. My body knew what to do, the natural birthing process and my most primal instincts just TOOK OVER. So amazing and empowering.
Lexa Larson – USA


29. My aunt is a labor and delivery nurse and literally told me that when an OB sees a woman with a birth plan he tells the nurses to C section her.
Contributor – USA


30. Hospital policy or not, they can’t force you to do anything you don’t want. You’re in control of your own body. I dealt with this twice at two different hospitals. As long as you and your midwife/OB are on the same page then there’s not much a nurse can do!
Sara Victor – USA


31. Don’t get too caught up with a birth plan because I had the same all natural plan, plus a doula, plus a midwife and ended up having everything the opposite of my birth plan. So be prepared also to go with the flow when things don’t go according to plan. I did avoid a C-section so I still call my birth a success but had so many interventions because my daughter was “stuck” and I pushed for 5+ hours. Contractions without pitocin are nowhere near as bad as contractions with pitocin. I experienced both. Pitocin is the worst.
Ashley York – USA


32. Be relaxed and understand that some things can go totally different. I planned a homebirth but instead was induced at the hospital. I wish I had made a written plan so I didn’t have to worry about telling the doctors my plans. Maybe then the doctor would not have done an episiotomy without my permission. Don’t get so set, but lay at the basics in case you are out of it or they make choices for you without your approval.
Nichole Rutledge – USA


33. I had an amazing doctor! She asked if she could do the perineal massage to avoid tearing and I said yes and barely tore. She let me go all natural. No wires, monitors… nothing. It was amazing. She asked how I wanted to push and labor… sent me home twice to keep doing labor on my own. It was so awesome!
Alicia Nadine Girard – USA


34. I can understand why some people hire doulas who can help enforce the birth plan. They act as a buffer between pushy medical staff and a vulnerable mother, offering support when it is needed. That may be something to look into.
Larissa B – USA


35. It’s great to have your OWN birth plan and not go off of the hospital’s. My birth plan wasn’t my hospital’s normal plan. It’s your birth and they can’t force you to do anything. They can try, and my hospital did. I stood my ground as best as I could. Things I didn’t want happened, but I know more now so for the next birth I will be more educated.
Tina Maletta – USA


36. Although my birth plan didn’t go as planned, it still did! The end goal or plan was really to welcome a beautiful healthy baby into this world and that’s EXACTLY what happened.
Contributor – USA


37. I’d trust a midwife to assess various birthing situations and have natural remedies for them more than an OB. My midwife helped my baby to turn OP during labor, she was great at assessing a cervical lip and had more natural ways to deal with the ups and downs of labor than I personally feel an OB would have. If I was under the care of an OB, I would have been “diagnosed” as failure to progress and had a C-section. But my body was just taking time to deliver my baby. There was never any danger. It just took 30 hours. I’m SO glad I wasn’t in a hospital for my son’s birth.
Contributor – USA


38. I highly recommend a good birthing class like those midwiferies offer– very informative and empowering! You are not too late to take one and feel more prepared.
Julie Holland Yoder- USA


39. I’ve only had two homebirths so I have no experience with doctors or hospitals, but if I had to do it all over again I would choose midwives again. Midwives are highly professional, they have to be, even more than doctors I think. They carry oxygen and an array of medicines and are trained in neonatal resuscitation, and have very strict protocols about when they need to transfer care to a hospital. So as long as you are low risk and everything is fine and uncomplicated, I’d say go for a midwife!
Contributor – USA


40. My doctor blew me off so I fired him and switched doctors at 33 weeks. Best thing I ever did. Don’t put up with a doctor that doesn’t treat you with the respect you deserve.
Brooke Davis Kelly – AL, USA


41. I worked at a hospital as a secretary when I was pregnant with my first. I could have had my baby there for free and chose to deliver elsewhere. The nurses and doctors there regularly ridiculed moms that wanted a natural birth. I knew I couldn’t trust them and wouldn’t feel comfortable. I had random respiratory therapists telling me they wanted to hold one of my legs in labor (it was a woman) and my boss stated that she couldn’t wait to see my baby be born. Neither asked if I wanted that. They didn’t care. I ended up having a successful natural med free birth at another hospital. Now I’m pregnant again and having a home birth. Looking back I wish I had had a home birth last time. This pregnancy has been 100% less stressful and I feel so much more confident in my choice.
Contributor – USA


42. I didn’t prepare at all. I was so worried I wouldn’t be able to do it. I read a very small bit of Ina May’s book, but I had some problems about halfway through my pregnancy and they didn’t think I would have a good result, so I kind of shut myself down and wouldn’t let myself think of making it to full term. By the time I got close to delivery I was nervous since I had done so little to prepare. Honestly though, I didn’t need to prepare. I let my body take over. I kept reminding myself to just let go during labor and breath the way I needed to get through. Same for pushing. I just let my body take control. It was such an amazing experience that I never dreamed I was capable of.
Rachel Lackey Walker – USA


43. I knew some woman who said they were going to do all natural and just “wing it” without research and ended up getting every intervention a doctor recommended and of course ended in C-sections. Having a doula should be very helpful because they are there to support you, should help you make choices, and understand what those choices are. I read a few books, a ton of internet articles, and gave birth in a natural friendly hospital that supported all my choices! As long as you go in knowing what you want and have the support to back that up, you will be good to go!
Contributor – USA


44. You can do it. I just had an all-natural VBAC (vaginal birth after C-section). I didn’t do any classes or read any books. I went in with my mind made up and did it. It was so intense but so worth it.
Tiffany Hankins – USA


45. I’ve had friends give birth to every “C-section” reason…breech, “big baby,” diabetic, etc. Honestly, my son “got stuck”(another reason) and I refused a C-section. He came out perfectly fine in the right position (squat). We are not meant to lie in a bed to give birth-we are meant to move around in labor; drink, eat, walk, shower-whatever you want to do. No two bodies are the same-doctors don’t always realize that and want to do what’s convenient for them (and it may not be the best choice for you or baby).
Jordan Thiering – USA


46. For laboring positions – go with the flow… I don’t mean that to be taken lightly. When I was in labor, and depending on how baby was positioned, I wound up in the oddest configurations, but they were what worked for me and that baby. Squatting positions help move things along, but if used with a fast labor it can sometimes make you tear more, lying flat usually is bad, but for my last birth it was the only way I felt comfortable (laying on my left side) my second birth I was kneeling on the delivery bed on hands and knees with a birth ball for support… it really comes down to what your body wants – just keep moving in the early stages, and it will help you figure out what works for you.
Contributor – USA


47. With oils – I ended up using them for one labor but not the other – rubbing clary sage on my tummy, and peppermint on my hips felt lovely… but be careful to wash off before transition hits because the smells/oils are too much for a newborn … by that same token if there is a scent you want, use cotton balls which you can put in a plastic ziplock bag, and don’t diffuse. Lavender is a popular relaxing scent but it made me feel sick to my stomach – but ylang ylang smelled like heaven… again, what works for you.
Contributor – USA


48. During labor, I put clary sage on part of my ear, and above my inner ankles. I was in early labor for 11 hours, and once we applied oils, I completely transitioned into active labor and had delivered my baby less than an hour later. I didn’t even make it to the birthing center, it went so fast that we delivered at home!
Ryan Jones – USA


49. Lots of healthy babies actually do go past 42 weeks for good reasons if we let them. However, certain risks do go up a little at that point. You have to weigh the risks yourself, since induction has very significant risks too. The main thing is to pay attention to your body, your baby, and your intuition. If you feel that a scan, non-stress test, etc. is necessary to check on baby, go with your gut. Every situation is different.
Deborah Fugitt – USA


50. During my home birth my bag was bulging and I was stuck with just a lip of cervix. My midwife called the chiropractor to adjust me. The chiropractor did two more small adjustments about 45 minutes later, the midwife ruptured my water (per my request) and I got back in the water. Within 2 hours my baby was born. The chiropractic adjustment alleviated so much of my hip discomfort, which is why my midwife called her in the first place.
Samantha – USA


51. I’ve had both. One epidural, two natural…I would never have an epidural again. No C-sections here so I couldn’t tell you about that but did have my tubes tied after my last and that was worse than all three labor pains put together. With the epidural, you’re confined to the bed and it really sucks. Also, my midwife at the time pulled the epidural off way early “so I could feel myself pushing” talk about 0 to 100 pain levels. It is so much easier (I think) to ease your way into the pain. I embraced every minute of it and they can give you something to help take the edge off and stay completely safe! Good luck whichever you choose. And remember a birth plan never had to be followed. You might change your mind last minute based on what’s best for you!
Amanda Arroyo – USA


52. Weeks before I delivered my twins, my platelets (help blood coagulate) went so low that I couldn’t have an epidural placed for fear of bleeding in the spine, etc. A sweet doula suggested I start taking yellow dock everyday. I had my levels checked every 24 hours and thanks to that they went up with every check! I did hemorrhage but was able thankfully to have it controlled and not need a blood transfusion.
Contributor – USA


53. 1st= twins; 6lbs 5ozs & 5lbs 12ozs. Epidural, vaginal, 3° tear. 2nd = single, no epidural, vaginal, 1-2° tear and 9lbs 6ozs!!!! I was so scared of a shoulder getting stuck and it wasn’t a problem at all! And the no epidural was awesome, so much better for recovery.
Contributor – USA



54. The hardest thing is disconnecting your mind and letting your body do what it is made to do! You just have to let go and trust in it to get the job done and work with it. You can do it momma!! Don’t tell yourself you can’t, because you 100% can.
Courtney Rush – USA


55. My nurse friend that works in labor & delivery said those doing it natural tend to progress much faster than those that get an epidural. Jessica Flack – USA


56. I was stuck at 5.5 cm for over 2 weeks and having contractions for hours making absolutely no progress. I got the epidural and went from 5.5 cm to her being born in 40 minutes. I just really needed to relax after what I had gone through the night before (long story).
Contributor – USA


57. Both of my labors were 8 hours. I got an epidural with my first. I was clenching during contractions though. My doula didn’t show up until I had been in labor at the hospital for hours. She showed up just as the anesthesiologist was showing up. I dilated faster once I got the epidural. With my second though I had two Doulas and utilized so many natural pain relief techniques. I enjoyed that birth so much more.
Emma Chaves – USA


Breech Babies

58. I had two natural births and I fell on my tummy for my third and the next day my third baby went breech. I was disappointed and scared and even went to a OBGYN who specializes in breech deliveries. I tried everything natural to turn him but he wouldn’t budge. Even though I had two natural births and my logical mind said “Natural delivery!!!,” my mama gut instinct said do a C-section. The OBGYN said because of my history of long labors it wasn’t the best idea to do breech delivery but more than that, he said in 30 years of practice he came to respect and honor a mother’s intuition. So this natural birthing chiropractic mother gave in to a C-section and I had a healthy baby. It sucked. I didn’t like it. But it was the right thing for me to do.
Dr. Shamanie Thompson Haneca – Chiropractor- USA


59. People don’t realize breech babies can be delivered safely, even at home with the assistance of a knowledgeable and experienced midwife. I gave birth to my first baby frank breech, last year at home! He was surprise breech. We think he flipped during labor. We had no idea he was breech until I was already pushing and my midwife saw him coming butt first. I was in shock and didn’t think vaginal birth was an option and immediately asked to be transferred. Thankfully, my amazing midwife didn’t even bat an eye, she was totally calm and confident and assured me he could be delivered safely. Sure enough, he came, 8lbs, without a single complication. It was amazing.
Melissa Martinez Carneiro – USA


60. My breech baby turned at 37wks +4 thanks to a chiropractor! I was induced with my first, labored for 15.5 hours, then they broke my water and after four pushes he was out in less than five mins. For my second, I was not induced, I labored for seven hours then they broke my water, then three pushes and she was out in less than four minutes. I wouldn’t get induced ever again. It was much more painful for me. Your body knows what to do and you should trust in that. Do what you feel is right for you but remember, all women and labors are different ♡♡.
Stephanie Johnson – USA


61. Recently my baby turned transverse breech. I had been planning on delivering at a birth center, so this has really been stressful for me as a transverse breech baby cannot be delivered vaginally. I was referred me to a local midwife who has a great track record of flipping babies and she was only going to do some of the spinning babies techniques and myofascial work to help my ligaments & pelvis release to create more space for baby to move. She told me midway through my appointment that she WAS NOT going to move my baby at that appointment. However, at the end of my one hour appointment she started palpating and my baby was pretty open to moving. It took her about 20 minutes to flip him. She checked his heart rate intermittently throughout and then, once he turned, she listened for a solid 5 minutes. I went to the birth center afterward for a quick ultrasound and they confirmed that he is head down! It definitely hurt. I had to breathe through it and tell myself it was worth it for the baby. It wasn’t painful enough to make her stop or swear I’d never do it again. I’d do it again in a heartbeat! I really think it was less painful than an ECV (External Cephalic Version) would’ve been, since she made sure to take her time loosening everything up first. For some reason, I doubt a version would’ve worked…things were SO tight when she started!

Contributor – USA


62. A drop of peppermint essential oil on your tummy where the baby’s head is makes the baby turn away from the area where the peppermint oil was applied. I know some midwives who have done this to turn breech babies. The mom I personally knew who did it was desperate and had success with it.
Contributor – USA


63. I was breech at 39+ with my first. My husband is a chiropractor and did the Webster method (not just an adjustment) – completely noninvasive, didn’t hurt me or baby and she flipped because she was head down and was good to go when my midwife checked me 36 hours later. Find a chiropractor that knows how to do the Webster method.
Daphne Holmes – USA


64. I had the ECV (External Cephalic Version) done and I was obviously a little nervous and scared of the procedure. It actually ended up not being that bad and was successful at 39weeks. I just focused on my breathing and stayed as relaxed as possible. They said I was a “great candidate ” as I had lot of fluid & the placenta is in the back which gave me 60% success rate!!! So happy it worked and baby stayed head down.
Kasey Ann – USA


65. I had ECV (External Cephalic Version) done with my third daughter and it wasn’t bad at all in my opinion. They give you a drip with some pain meds in it and then about 1/2 hour later they come back, put a bunch of jelly on your belly and start pushing and pulling. they got my daughter to successfully turn with very little effort. I was probably 37 or 38 weeks at the time.
Contributor – USA


66. I am 38 weeks. At 36 weeks my baby was posterior so I started doing inversions 1/day and spent some time every day on hands and knees doing exercises or rocking on the ball in that position. Baby had shifted by next visit!
Contributor – USA


67. My baby flipped at 37 wks using spinning babies…I swear by it! I also spent a lot of time in the pool…a lot of hand stand!
Contributor – USA


68. Try a cold ice pack at top of belly and a warm towel at the bottom. Babies don’t like the cold and sometimes can flip. Our Bradley instructor suggested this and I’ve heard from a few that tried it and it worked!
Lindsey Beard – USA


Pain Management

69. It is so important to voice your fears beforehand. This is because your fears can hold you back during labor. We remind our birthing mammas during contractions that every contraction ends, your body gives you a rest right after and you are one step closer. You will never have to have that one contraction again. Take the time to rest, be silent and just relax (as much as possible) between contractions.
Sydney Blair – Registered nurse – USA


70. Anxiety, intrusions and fear cause tension, which equals pain. We have been taught that birth is painful. The more you think about the waves as sensations, the more you do away with the programming, then you can feel it for what it really is. So ride the waves, don’t fight them…moan into them! For pain relief, love will give you the opposite effect. So being loved and kissed by your partner, loving and friendly energy in the room, dark room…all these things help release oxytocin, our natural pain relief. Birth is a primal thing, and like other animals, you need to be able to go into your den and reach your primal self… making an O throat, keeping your jaw relaxed and making “Om” sound is natural pain relief….it sends vibration down to open your O (cervix). When you have an O relaxed throat and mouth, your cervix will relax too. The biting and tension is holding it in…so don’t be afraid to make loud, deep moaning animalistic sounds, as this actually helps bring your baby down. For me, turning that “Ow” into a loud “Wow” REALLY helped. All of this really helped me, I hope it helps you! I chose to make my environment very intimate and cozy, candle light, nice music and I loved it.
Coral J. Douglas – USA


71. I agree with doing some form of fear clearing. I heard this somewhere: “Everything we want is on the other side of fear“. My midwife said to take the idea of “pain” and turn it on its back, instead of looking at contractions as only sensations of stretching and pulling to birth your baby. Pain is produced in our mind and if we truly focus on birth being natural, normal, safe, etc. and take it one contraction at a time (not anticipating and worrying about the next) using slow deep breaths (in through the nose and out through the mouth), it’s totally possible! It’s great if you got a doula to remind you of all this but remember that your true birth partner is your baby; the baby is actively working with you and can’t wait to meet you! So listen to your body. Change positions frequently, relax completely between contractions, relax and go limp during contractions, drink water between contractions, go the bathroom once an hour, and if your body tells you to make noise, do so but keep it low pitched with relaxed jaw and face (no tension). Relaxed face = relaxed bottom.
Mia Vrotsos – USA


72. I’d recommend some form of fear clearing. Fear is probably the biggest barrier to a natural birth. It needs to be cleared from your subconscious mind. You could probably find a generic fear clearing audio track online. Or, every morning while looking in the mirror you can say a few great affirmations to yourself: “birth is normal, natural and safe for me and my baby”. That one’s from Hypnobabies.
Contributor – USA


73. After 24 hours of labor, including back labor, I finally learned that I had to work WITH my body during each contraction instead of fighting the pain and freaking out that it hurt. Once I figured that out, the next 6 hours of labor were so easy compared to the first 24 (and that includes transition and pushing).
Contributor – USA


74. My go-to phrase was “pain with a purpose” and visualizing a beach, waves with fresh breeze.
Aisha Denny – USA


75. I often wonder the same when small things hurt me (I’ve already given birth once completely med free). It’s just a different type of pain that your body is designed to endure. Don’t doubt yourself! Your body naturally medicates itself with endorphins. I slept through my last 2-3 hours of labor. It’s crazy and I can’t explain it but I literally only “woke” to breathe through a contraction and then passed back out. The best advice I can give is to just submit to the pain! Your body is amazing.
Felicia Gabriella Echols – USA


76. During the birth of my second child it really helped me to think of the contractions as “pain with a purpose.” Low noises are best to make during contractions (Ina May explains more about why low noises are better during labor in her book). They both help bring baby into this world. There is nothing you need to do but ride the wave. Your body will do what it needs to do. When I pushed out my first baby (8.9) I did tear. When I pushed out my second baby (9.15) I didn’t tear at all.
Emma Chaves – USA


77. You really don’t have a sense of time in active labor. Five minutes and an hour feel much the same. You experience the contraction, recover, prepare for the next and experience it again. It flows. I was so focused on that, I had to be reminded to sip water and pee.
Alex Bee – USA


78. Deep breaths and laboring in the water were my pain relief. It’s still very rough but the difference is like day and night and I have a low pain threshold. Dim lights, do away with any annoyance around you allow your primitive side to take over.
Sangitha P Lorenz – USA


79. Focus on your breathing, that was so important for me. If I wasn’t focusing on my breathing and letting out low pitched moans in a rhythmic pattern, I would start to panic. YOU CAN DO THIS.
Contributor – USA


80. Breathe slowly. Count eight seconds and inhale through your nose. Eight seconds and exhale through your mouth. Repeat. I would count in my head to help me stay focused. Also I loved the affirmation, “inhale peace, exhale tension.” I kept telling myself that as I inhaled and exhaled during contractions. Rest between contractions and make sure to eat and drink well as you are in early labor.
Contributor – USA


81. Find your zone and just breathe. I went back to my yoga breathing and focusing during labor, it helped me so much.
Contributor – USA


82. I chanted “Om” in a deep voice with my husband during each contraction. A long sock filled with rice and warmed in the microwave worked wonders for my back labor.
Contributor – USA


83. Every time I started to think “I can’t do this…” I would change the way I was thinking and remind myself “I AM doing this!” You are strong! Just take it one contraction at a time. I went naturally and I’m SO thankful that I did.
Contributor – USA


84. After 24 hours of labor including back labor, I finally learned that I had to work WITH my body during each contraction instead of fighting the pain and freaking out that it hurt. Once I figured that out, the next 6 hours of labor were so easy compared to the first 24 (and that includes transition and pushing). Embrace the entire experience, work with your body and don’t be afraid of any pain.
Contributor – USA


85. Pain with a purpose is different. Your body will do it on its own – you either go with it or fight it.


86. I didn’t even think about the passage of time. With each contraction I just focused on staying relaxed, telling my body “yes, bring the baby down” and repeating to myself that now I’m one contraction closer to meeting my baby. Between contractions I rested. Honestly I was SO relaxed that I felt almost drugged, I was even saying things that didn’t make sense lol. Anyway, I had no concept of time and it seemed like it was no time from my water breaking to when baby was here, in fact it was 18 hours.
Contributor – USA


Labor Induced Naturally

87. If you are past your due date, get a chiropractic adjustment by a Webster technique certified chiropractor and prenatal massage with sacral release. If you have a baby who is breech, chiropractors have a very high ratio of getting them to turn. Go to a Webster technique certified chiropractor. Get a prenatal massage with sacral release. I had regular adjustments throughout my pregnancy and it helped so much. Chiropractor turned my breech baby at 36 weeks. I went into active labor in my chiropractor’s office right after I had an adjustment, I was getting a massage and had to get up to go to the hospital because my contractions quickly got painful after the sacral release and were less than 2 minutes apart. My son was 9lb 14oz at 41w4d and was delivered naturally less than a half hour after getting to the hospital!
Kathryn Dunham-Parker – USA


88. Chiropractic adjustment. Acupuncture. Clary sage on labor points. Massage. Pumping. Tons of walking and stairs. Ask midwife if she has a peanut ball. I was at 3 centimeters in the hospital to be induced the next morning but a membrane sweep really got me going. I went into labor naturally after doing all these things and didn’t need to be induced.
Lynsey Lester Hourtienne – USA


89. I had chiropractic adjustments throughout both my pregnancies, and I had very quick labors. I highly recommend a chiropractor to help ease your pain and keep you in alignment! I had an adjustment the day before I went into labor!
Contributor – USA


91. Chiropractic care is definitely something you should explore. I work for a chiropractor and we have used acupuncture and chiropractic adjustments to induce labor without the need of pharmaceuticals. Typically after delivery we will adjust the baby.
Contributor – USA


92. The night before my water broke I put on headphones and listened to upbeat music for 45 minutes and bounced hard with rocking my hips in between. When I got up off the ball after that my mother-in-law commented on how much I had dropped and it kind of freaked her out hahaha. My water broke the next morning.
Lexi – USA


93. We were 5 days past 40 weeks, I rubbed one drop of clary sage on each ankle at bed time and within 3 hours I was in active labor. Please use all essential oils with caution! Talk to a doula or other professional before use.
Andrea Cisar – USA


94. Dim lights and alone time for mother and partner. If a woman doesn’t feel safe, her body won’t progress to the next level which is transition and complete surrender. Ask if you are ready to meet your baby? This can help open you up.
Astrid Grove – USA


Inducing By AROM

(Artificial Rupture Of Membranes – Breaking Water – AROM/PROM/pPROM)

95. If you have to decide between a medical induction and a membrane sweep, I’d go with the sweep. But do realize that you are NOT required to get any form of induction. Your body belongs to you. Do what feels right in your gut.
Katie Di Loreto – Birth Doula and Lactation Counselor – USA


96. I’m going to go against the grain here. As a doula, I know of a few instances of women whose labor progressed quickly after water breaking only that far in progression. Also, I know of a few people who wouldn’t progress further until the water was broke. So, I’d say if she is safely at 7-8+, go ahead and gently break her bag.

Kylie Renee Steiner – Doula- USA


97. You can decline anything. You don’t have to have an NST (non-stress test) and you don’t have to be induced. I personally have mostly read that stripping is stressful and makes everything more painful. Your baby releases a hormone to start labor when her lungs are fully developed– there is no way that anyone can exactly anticipate or predict or expedite that process. I would try to rest and take baths and take EPO (Evening Primrose Oil). I would walk as much as you can but not to the point of pain, and maybe try acupuncture as an induction method.
Jessica McNally O’Shea


98. Why not wait for baby? I feel like all this induction is just for the doctor’s convenience. I was induced with my first and they broke my water manually which was the worst experience ever. I ended up with a C-section.
Dawn Brec – USA


99. I was stuck at 6cm for hours and whatever I did to get my daughter to engage into my cervix and break my water just wouldn’t work so I had my midwife break my water for me. My daughter was born an hour later. I would try everything else first before allowing them to break my water.
Rissa MacRoberts – USA


100. My water was broken at 8cm and my contractions were two minutes apart. Started pushing after about two more contractions and baby was out five mins later! I guess it’s just completely different for everyone!
Kelsey Lyall


101. I had my water broken with all three of mine and no problems or anything. With that being said… do a nipple stimulation before breaking the water. I got “stuck” at a 6cm for about 5 hours and did nipple stimulation for about 10 minutes and things really picked up and I progressed.
Contributor – USA


102. I got stuck at an 8cm and the midwife breaking my waters was a Godsend – I was pushing in 20 minutes.
Contributor – USA


103. My sister in law’s water was broken “accidentally” during an examination. She fully dilated but my niece never dropped into the birth canal so the doctors did a C-section. I believe there are safer ways to induce labor that don’t increase the risk of C-section as much. Depending on the hospital some places get a lot pushier about C-section if your water is already broken.
Contributor – USA


104. I had PROM (Prelabor Rupture of Membranes) with my first. I would not attempt an induction by breaking water alone.
Contributor – USA


Induction With Pitocin

105. With my fourth I focused on the contractions and told my body to relax, by far the easiest I have had! Even my doctor commented on how quiet I was. I wish I had done that with my other three! I was put on Pitocin with my first because I was 19 and didn’t know any better. I. Wanted. to. Die!! It was so bad! I have had three more since and only had IV pain meds and they were tolerable. I will NEVER let them use Pitocin on me unless it’s a desperate situation!
Brittney Tillman – USA


106. My first I had pitocin and no pain meds. Thought I was going to die but it was only seven hours of that. My second, I had a midwife so they let me go until 42 weeks. 33 hours of that I thought it would be a little easier. Turns out it was pretty much just as bad. However, the experience with a midwife and doula was 100% better than a horrible doctor. Although my hubs and my mom said I was worse with the Pitocin. Both times I thought I would die. Lol.
Contributor – USA


107. Water broke at 38+3 weeks but no contractions at all. Tried everything to get labor started with no luck. Ended up starting pitocin at 12:30 pm, delivered baby vaginally with no epidural at 10:42 pm. I was very happy with it! The pitocin was not near as bad as I had imagined it would be in my head. Contractions were totally manageable.
Contributor – USA


108. I had pitocin with my first and it was HORRIBLE!! I caved and had to have an epidural. With my second, I didn’t have pitocin and was able to have him naturally with no meds at all! Don’t get me wrong, it hurt!! But, it was NO where near the pain as the first time!!
Lorraine Weber Gilmore – USA


109. Pitocin is the devil. I tried without meds and they kept upping the dose. I was ok until the third dosage increase and I started crying uncontrollably. The fourth, I consented to the epidural (which was actually good because my body would finally relax and he was born less than an hour after the epidural was in place).
I was 100% fine before the Pitocin.

Contributor – USA


110. My back labor was 10 times worse than induction for me personally. It felt like my pelvis was going to shatter and I couldn’t concentrate on anything else like I did with the induction. It was terrible, I cried like a baby.
Contributor – USA


111. My sister says that the devil is scared of pitocin.
Amanda Arroyo – USA


112. Yes, much easier natural birth and labor than my induction. I could not move much during my induction with pitocin, due to being hooked to IVs, the constant monitoring, etc. and I gave in to an epidural. With my natural birth, I made sure to stay home as long as possible and basically walked in pushing, fully dilated.
Contributor – USA


113. My second birth was an induction with pitocin and was the most intense out of my 1st and 3rd births which were both unmedicated. I feel like pitocin is 10x worse than what actual transition is like.
Cassandra Marie – USA


114. I call pitocin the devil because I was literally almost begging for death, I think they ended up giving me too much because it started affecting my son’s heart rate during pushing.
Emma AD – USA


115. My first was induction. It sucked. Had cervedil in for 12hrs and then got pitocin. Pitocin is horrible! No idea what dosage I was started off on and ended on but after 19hrs of labor I caved into epidural within the first hour of Pitocin so yes, vaginal but not what I wanted. With my last baby I was in early labor for days so agreed to use cervedil to push me into active and it worked I was at 4cm when started. The doctor decided to put me on a low dosage of pitocin when I was seven centimeters and never went past three of pitocin. She said they usually start people off on a 20 or so! All natural birth was much easier to get through. I was never even checked after just being at nine within three contractions her head was out. I would never go in with a high dosage of pitocin. You have other options just remember that. 16hour labor.
Contributor – USA


116. As a labor nurse, I’ll tell you from experience, you’re far more likely to end up C sectioned with an induction. Especially if you’re not favorable to the idea.
Contributor – USA


117. After 18 hours I was induced with misoprostol since I refused Pitocin. He was OP, so I had back labor but still managed to go med-free. He was born after 1.5 hours of pushing, was 8.8 lbs. and I didn’t even tear!
Contributor – USA


118. For my first I was induced at 41 weeks. Only in easy labor for a couple hours and ended in c section due to fetal distress!
Karissa Garst – USA


119. I was induced with my first, led to landslide of interventions and a subsequent C section. This was followed by two more C sections. Then finally I had natural VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean).
Sarah Holzerland – USA


For Prodromal Labor Pain

What it is

120. I don’t find it frustrating, it’s not a false labor, it’s just practice. I embrace it as we should. I use it to meditate and breath relax and practice getting into the right state of mine. It’s good for us and it helped keep me centered as I know my body is working and doing what it is supposed to.
Amy McNally – Canada


121. Patience, baths and a TENS device (which was a sanity saver, allowing me to sleep) were what got me through it. And they do something I believe – the longer I had then, the faster my active labor was.
Jenn Nyveldt – USA


122. I’m so glad I was able to take comfort in the fact that I was dilating and effacing. Not that it meant much, but just going through all that for weeks, some progress made it mentally bearable.
Contributor – USA


123. Ask your midwife about cohosh. It needs to be used with caution.
Contributor – USA


Severe Anemia (for natural and C section)

124. My midwife had me take alfalfa and nettle to increase my platelets and vitamin k.
Marlo Planas – USA


125. I had severe anemia at one time in my life. I was able to overcome it and one of the most helpful things I did was to drink 3 bottles daily of RAW coconut water.
Contributor – USA


126. Cook EVERYTHING you put in your mouth in a cast iron skillet. Also, consider a Bloodless C-Section. They do them for HIV+/AIDS patients. If your current OB doesn’t know how to do it, seek one that does. The process is much longer because they cut and cauterize at the same time but may be an option for you.
Contributor – USA


127. Hemaplex is an iron supplement that you can get at health food store or online. It’s fairly cheap too. It raised my iron drastically within a month. I’ve tried many iron supplements and this one works amazing and no stomach issues from it. Pair it with a good Vitamin C supplement and cut back on dairy. Also try some chlorophyll. If you aren’t against meat, grass fed bison is high in iron as well.
Contributor – USA


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