When I decided to have a natural birth it was a huge decision not least because I had my daughter in Ibiza which at the time was known for its antiquated delivery rooms and old school procedure. It was an intense experience and I am so grateful that I took the time to learn as much as I could about birth beforehand.   Now as I consider a second child I am looking at my options so decided to question Instagram Sensation Mummy Labour Nurse to get some expert advice.

Hi Liesel, welcome to No Mum Is An Island. I am a great believer that no mum (or dad) should have to do everything herself, we can’t possibly know it all, and we need all the support we can get, there is a wealth of information out there to help us upgrade our parenting experience, to make our lives easier and this website is a hub for just that!  I myself had a very challenging first birth experience, in Ibiza when I could not speak Spanish and I feel very lucky to have still managed a drug free birth but the process did not feel entirely natural due to the hospital environment. I would love to ask you some questions that will support parents to have a go at a natural birth. 

You are a huge advocate of Natural Birth, why do you think women educating themselves about the birth process is so important to have a successful natural delivery? 

Hey! So it really boils down to the numbers. I have seen TONS of moms come through triage wanting to have natural births (I just consider that to be without an epidural), and the ones who have taken birth classes, or read up on natural birth, are the ones who are GENERALLY more successful in doing so. That’s not to say you can’t do it without labor education, though. of course, I have moms who come in without a lick of knowledge about how to tackle birth, and they rock it! I’m just talking about the trends, and the success rate veritably tends towards the women who have studied up!

With that said, natural birth can be scary (birth in general can be scary), those who educate themselves on what to expect usually rid themselves of a LOT of that fear and anxiety surrounding birth. Sure, you still get butterflies in your stomach, but instead of saying “I’M SCARED” in your head, you’re saying “I’M READY, LET’S DO THIS!”

What advice can you give to dads who want to be present and supportive during a natural birth?

I’d say about the same! Do the same education that your partner is! I actually wish I had educated my husband more on what to expect. I felt fully prepared, but I totally neglected him in terms of education, because I thought I would be fine as long as I knew everything, ha! Nope, wrong! My best advice is for dads/partners to learn the same techniques that you do in preparing for birth, and learn mantras to say when those contractions get strong!

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What about siblings, at the birth what are your feelings on this for home births? 

I generally think this is ok, because birth is a wonderful thing to witness, and many families feel they want siblings involved, and many siblings WANT to be involved. I would only caution that sometimes seeing mommy in pain can be terrifying for children, so use your best judgment. If you are a screamer and you might scare your kiddos, it may be better to have them stay out! But if you can educate them about how birth is painful, and “mommy might scream” etc, and you have a good feeling that they will be ok, and it’s important for them to be there, then I’d say it’s alright.

Lots of people worry about pain when having a natural delivery. What advice can you give for coping through natural birth pain? 

Yes, that’s the biggest worry I’d say! So, I’ll say educate yourself is #1 of course, the more techniques you can learn to cope with the pain of contractions, the better. Like I’ve said, this should also ease your anxiety surrounding the pain too. It’s really just a big mental game more than anything! One big tip I like to teach to manage the pain is to really focus on one contraction at a time. Many women get too focused on the fact that they have so many more to go, but the reality is that you really just need to focus on the here and now! If you start to think “Ahh I am only 5 cm and I probably have hours left”, it will drive you crazy. Instead of that mentality, think “I’m only focusing on getting through THIS contraction, not the prior, not the next, get through THIS one!”. 

Natural delivery is not always possible what support can you give to mothers that really wish they could have a natural birth. 

It’s not, of course! Sometimes emergencies arise, or sometimes the pain of labor takes over and you simply change your mind and decide an epidural is the way to go. The best advice I have is to not beat yourself up at all over it, if that wasn’t in your plan. A healthy mom, healthy baby, and a healthy mind are all equally important when it comes to birth. If you are feeling guilt regarding your birth experience, bring it up! The worst thing you can do is harbor guilt in your new time as a mom. Counseling goes a long way and I’m a firm believer in talking to one if you truly are harboring any guilt from your birth! 

Your fun, easy approach makes uncomfortable conversations easy. Your Play-doh anatomy lessons are amazing.  What questions you are asked most in private? 

Thanks!! I get a TON of “how to induce labor” questions and a TON of “milk supply” questions. Another popular one is “where do you take your pictures?”, and the answer to that one is at my parent’s house, ha! My dad was a professional photographer in the 90’s, and he has a little set up for me at their house! He’s taught me almost everything I know about photography so far! (And I’m certainly not an expert!)

On your Instagram Mommy Labor Nurse you get so many questions about feeding babies! This is obviously a big concern for many mothers. Do you have any guidelines to support mothers breastfeeding for the first time? 

Do an equal amount of education about breastfeeding, as you do labor! I’m all about education (as you can tell!), and as much labor education as I preach, it’s equally as important to educate yourself about breastfeeding if you plan to do so! Definitely don’t try to just wing it!

There is a huge wave of older mothers, I am 41 now and am considering a second child, do you have any specific advice for women giving birth at a traditionally later age? 

There is a huge wave! We see a lot of older moms nowadays than ever before. My best advice is to recognize that everything about birth might be a little bit more difficult the older you get. This doesn’t mean it’s not possible, of course, but getting pregnant might take longer, or staying pregnant may be more difficult. Additionally, birth and recovery may be more difficult if you are quite a bit older than you were the first time! This means it’s EVEN MORE important to spend time caring for yourself during your pregnancy! Nourish your body with the right foods, and get plenty of exercise to stay healthy during your pregnancy!

If there was one piece of advice you could share with expectant mothers what would that be? 

Educate yourself!  Oh, and enjoy it! You are only pregnant for a short time in your life. This is the only time in your life you get to feel your baby’s movements on the inside, and have that special first bond with your babies, before seeing their faces. It’s a very special, short time, enjoy it as much as you can!

You read much more about pregnancy, labour and beyond at www.mommylabornurse.com and follow on Instagram 

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