The following is a guest post written by Cara Terreri, of Giving Birth with Confidence

Birth today in U.S. hospitals has become an over-managed, intensely medicalized event, even for women with healthy pregnancies. The truth is that birth is a natural and normal process for a woman’s body. When we subject an otherwise healthy birthing woman to practices and procedures that combat the body’s natural instincts, we increase the
possibility for health complications and a negative birth experience.

With knowledge, support and preparation, you can have a simple, safe and healthy hospital birth.

Learn About Birth

Start with the basics—educate yourself on the unadulterated process of birth. Steer clear of TV birth shows and instead, find out what a healthy birth looks like from information found on trusted, evidence-based sources.

Know Your Doctor and Hospital

Your care provider and place of birth will play a big role in your actual birth. Interview your care provider before you become pregnant or in the early days of pregnancy. Learn how he/she approaches birth and what typical practices are in the delivery room. Ask pointed questions about induction and c-section rates (this may take some gusto on your part, but you can do it!). And remember that it’s never too late to change your care provider, even at 38 weeks!

Just as important as knowing your care provider, is being familiar with your hospital. Research your hospital’s intervention and cesarean rates, customer feedback, and find out if it is a mother-friendly care provider—most of which can be found on the Internet. Be sure to attend the hospital maternity tour that is offered, and when you go, ask questions! See if you can meet with a labor and delivery nurse one-on-one after the tour to learn more about a typical birth experience.

Take a Childbirth Class

The right childbirth education class can help you sort through information, alleviate your fears, and make informed choices about your labor and birth. Some women balk at the time and cost involved in taking a childbirth class, but consider this: how much time and money do most women spend preparing for their wedding day? When seeking a childbirth class, avoid the standard hospital class that often teaches hospital protocol. Instead, look for instructors who are connected to a specific childbirth education program that resonates with your own feelings and philosophy.

Arrange for Birth Support

Birth is a physically and emotionally empowering and exhausting event. Even the strongest of women can benefit from support. Because labor and delivery nurses work hard caring for several women at a time, they most likely will
not be able to offer you uninterrupted, individualized support. Plan for solid support during your birth—designate your partner or spouse, a dear friend or mother, or a birth doula to support and advocate for you during labor and birth. Make sure that your birth support person knows your wishes for birth, is comfortable in their role and is able to provide continuous, positive emotional and physical support.

To find a Lamaze class in your area, check out the

Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator locator directory.

Cara Terreri is the site administrator for Giving Birth with Confidence, the Lamaze online community for expectant moms, and has worked with Lamaze for the last six years. Giving Birth with Confidence is written for and by real women and men and offers a meeting ground to share stories, find answers and provide support during pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding and parenting. In her free time (every last bit), she is mom to two active little boys and expecting her third in August. Through blogging and advocacy, Cara enjoys helping women discover their power and ability in birth.

I had a great experience with natural childbirth in a hospital the first time around and I’m hoping for a natural hospital birth this coming June. For those that have experienced childbirth, what are some positive experiences you’ve had with a natural hospital birth or things you’d like to do different next time around? If you have any questions about a natural hospital birth, feel free to leave them in the comments for Cara.