Having a natural birth


Having a natural birth

Some women choose to have a natural birth, which means going through labour and vaginal delivery without pain relief and minimal medical intervention.

For those that choose to have a natural birth, it can be an empowering experience. It’s a way to actively participate in all aspects of your labour and birth, with full control of your body and senses. It can be a unique bonding experience with your birthing partner, and it can help you develop coping techniques that you may find helpful beyond the delivery of your baby.

It’s your choice on how you want to experience your natural birth, and our maternity team here to help support you through the entire process.

To help you put together an informed birth plan that’s personalised to your pregnancy, you should consider the following. We also recommend attending one of our Active Birth classes.


Pain management

Labour pains are different from woman to woman and pregnancy to pregnancy. Even if you’ve already had a baby, this delivery could be very different. If you’re considering a natural birth, pain management will play an important role through your labour.

We recommend reviewing our information on pain relief even if you don’t plan on using it. It’s best to know what your options are, just in case you need them.

Our maternity experts will be happy to support and facilitate your choices, but it’s important to be open to interventions if necessary. The best way to manage your labour is to listen to the advice of your midwife and obstetrician for the sake of you and your baby.

Water birth

Warm water can be used to ease the pain of the first stage of labour. It can also be used to deliver your baby. This is known as a water birth.

This natural birth technique can make it easier to relax. Some women have reported that the natural buoyancy and weightlessness makes them feel more in control of their body. It also increases blood flow and relaxes your muscles, which can make it easier to cope with labour pains.

If you’re considering a water birth, you should discuss all of the pros and cons with your doctor ahead of time. Generally speaking, water births are only recommended for women who:

  • have a healthy, low-risk pregnancy
  • are at least 37 weeks along
  • are having one baby that is facing head down.

If you’re considering a water birth, here’s what you can expect:

  • You will be assisted into the tub to ensure the safety of you and your baby.
  • Your baby will be born completely underwater and brought to the surface immediately.
  • Your baby will be kept warm using skin-to-skin contact, drying your baby’s head with the rest of the body the under water.
  • You must leave the water for the delivery of the placenta unless you decide to have a natural third stage. Your baby’s umbilical cord will not be cut underwater.


Other pain management techniques

If a water birth isn’t right for you, there are other pain management techniques that can help you through your natural birth. The best approach to your labour is to do your research, prepare yourself and have a few techniques ready to use when you go into labour. Try a few things out and find out what works best for you.

Some common techniques include:

  • massage and heating pads
  • music therapy
  • aromatherapy
  • breathing techniques such as Lamaze
  • position changes and gentle rocking
  • walking and movement
  • visualisation.

While pain management techniques can help you minimise the pain, they won’t completely eliminate it. It’s not uncommon to plan a natural birth but ultimately decide you need some relief to cope with the pain, and that’s ok. There is no shame in asking for pain relief -- your comfort and safety is our number one priority.