Natural childbirth: how to prepare and what are the advantages?

One of the delivery options that a woman can have is natural. This choice can be made for different reasons and, if there is no clinical need for cesarean section, it is a decision of the pregnant woman.

Because it is a birth that has the principle of giving up medical interventions as much as possible, it is often an option discarded by women who fear pain and possible complications.

However, there are some benefits in choosing natural childbirth and many pregnant women argue that it is a more humanized way of facing this unique experience.

In addition, natural childbirth is centered on women. Your time is respected, as are your choices regarding procedures that are often dispensable, such as dilation inducers to make delivery faster.

Brazil, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), is the world champion in terms of number of cesarean sections performed. For WHO, the ideal percentage would be 15%, but the average in the country, according to data from the Ministry of Health, is 52.2%.

It is a high rate for health professionals, considering that vaginal delivery (natural or normal) has more benefits for pregnant women in the postpartum period.

Check in the text below how a natural birth occurs and the difference between the other types. Good reading!


What is a natural birth?

Natural childbirth is a type of vaginal birth (just like normal birth) done with little or no medical intervention. By the pregnant woman’s choice, the baby’s birth is done without the use of anesthetic medications, dilation inducers or other instruments to assist in delivery. That is, it is dependent only on the maternal effort.

This type of delivery can be performed at the hospital, but many pregnant women choose to perform it at home, a more comfortable environment in this unique moment.

The woman, during labor, can stay in the position that she feels most comfortable, being able to perform the squatting, sitting or lying down.

However, although it is not done with interference from the obstetrician and with the use of medications, hormones and anesthetics, the presence of the doctor at the place of delivery is essential to prevent complications for the mother and baby.

The presence of the obstetrician, even if not performing the procedures commonly performed, is important so that he can monitor the baby’s heartbeat.

It is also necessary if complications occur that put the life of the mother and baby at risk.

The decision to perform a natural birth must be made by the pregnant woman, but the support of family members and partners is essential. The help and support of a doula can also help to ensure that everything goes as smoothly as possible.

Throughout the nine months of pregnancy , the woman must follow the care according to the protocol.

Examinations and obstetric follow-up should be done regardless of the choice of delivery. Care with food and use of medications, if necessary, as well.

To find out if natural childbirth is really an option, it is necessary to talk in advance with the doctor and seek to clarify any doubts that may arise.

Not all women will be able to have a normal delivery, as in cases of a risky pregnancy, depending on the position of the baby or in the case of a premature delivery , for example.

Read more: Doula: recovering the meaning of humanized childbirth

Are natural childbirth and normal childbirth the same thing?

It is not . Despite being used synonymously by many people, normal and natural births have some differences. Both deliveries are vaginal, but the natural one is one without any medical intervention (anesthesia, substances that stimulate contractions, painkillers, etc.). In normal birth, these interventions are possible.

How does natural childbirth occur?

During natural childbirth, there is the monitoring of an obstetrician, a nurse or a midwife, but there is no interference from these professionals.

They should not perform medical procedures or administer medications to pregnant women when there is no risk of complications for them or their babies, either before, during or after delivery.

Professionals must be present on site (at the pregnant woman’s home or at the hospital) to monitor the delivery, monitor the baby’s heartbeat and to intervene in cases of complications.

They must also be present for safety reasons in cases where the mother gives up on going ahead with natural childbirth, which can happen.

It is important for the woman to know that during natural childbirth there is no application of anesthesia or inducing vaginal dilation. Episiotomy, a cut made in the perineum region, is also not performed.

Therefore, it is not possible to estimate how long a natural birth lasts. The woman can take many hours in labor (up to 15 hours), as her time and that of the baby are respected.

For birth, the position is a woman’s decision. It is possible that it is performed with her lying down, sitting or squatting. Some women may also choose to deliver in the water, in a bathtub or pool.

Read more: How is a normal childbirth? Really hurts? Walkthrough and video

How to prepare for natural childbirth?

When deciding for natural childbirth, the woman will have a long way ahead of preparations. The first is to talk to the doctor and clarify any doubts regarding what can or cannot be done.

Other important choices and tips for preparing for natural childbirth include:

  • Choose a suitable environment. The house or hospital must have a structure to carry out a safe natural birth;
  • Research and talk to other women who have had a natural birth;
  • Know what eventualities may occur and prepare yourself psychologically;
  • Know relaxation and breathing techniques to help relieve pain and anxiety during labor;
  • Talk to the partner and family and include them in all processes;
  • Search preparatory courses;
  • Know the work of doulas and see if it is an option to help with childbirth.

Read more: Exercises for pregnant women (pre-delivery): swimming, breathing and more

Are natural childbirth and humanized childbirth the same thing?

Not necessarily. With natural childbirth, many women seek to have a humanized delivery, which is done with practices and procedures that make it more human, less medicalized or hospitalized.

On this side, natural childbirth tends to be more humanized. That is, the woman and the baby are treated in the most welcoming and humane way possible.

There is a lot of talk about humanized childbirth today, because this type of welcoming is often rare at the time of such a special and delicate moment in the woman’s life.

It is also due to the fact that the woman often receives an exaggerated amount of medication, stimulants or undergo invasive surgical procedures designed only to accelerate the birth of the child.

However, this does not mean that a cesarean section and a normal delivery (which requires the use of some procedures and surgical interventions) cannot be humanized as well.

Humanized delivery is also unrelated to the place of birth. At home or in hospitals, what makes it humanized is caring for the mother and respect for her wishes.

Benefits of natural childbirth

It is no wonder that many women have natural childbirth as an option. In addition to being a birth experience without medical intervention, it represents some benefits for the postpartum period as well, both for the pregnant woman and the baby.

For baby

For the baby, there is the benefit of a healthier, more peaceful birth and a lower risk of infections and diseases.

In addition, after a natural birth, breast milk tends to fall faster, as there is no interference from anesthetics. Thus, the baby can be breastfeeding almost immediately after birth, which favors the bond between the mother and the baby.

For a pregnant woman

The recovery of the pregnant woman after a natural delivery is faster when compared to normal delivery or cesarean section.

The time of natural childbirth can vary widely, but the risk of infections, pain in the postpartum period and the need for anesthetics after birth are much less. Having a natural birth makes future births easier.

With cesarean section, despite being faster, the woman generally has a much slower recovery, presents stronger pain and has a greater chance of infections.

In addition to being a type of childbirth that promotes physical benefits, natural childbirth also interferes with a woman’s self – esteem .

Many women report feeling a deep sense of strength and accomplishment during and after giving birth.

Because it is possible to breastfeed the baby right after birth, there is still this immediate contact with the baby.

Other reported benefits include:

  • Autonomy and lucidity throughout the delivery;
  • Freedom to move around and find the best position;
  • Active participation to push / pull the baby at the time of birth;
  • Company of the partner (a) during the whole process, which can help in the control of pain with massages;
  • Encouraging breathing, visualization and self-hypnosis exercises to help deal with pain and anxiety before, during and after childbirth.

In addition to these benefits, there is no application of epidural anesthesia, dilating hormones, urinary catheters, use of forceps or vacuum extraction.


One of the main disadvantages of natural childbirth for pregnant women is pain. Therefore, when making this choice, the woman must be aware that she will feel all the pain and discomfort caused by the contractions, the dilation and the birth of the baby.

Although there are natural techniques for controlling pain and anxiety (which can make it more intense), it is not the same effect as anesthesia.

Therefore, for women who are more sensitive or who are not comfortable or safe, they may prefer the use of anesthesia for vaginal delivery.

In addition, natural childbirth usually takes longer, which can leave the pregnant woman with great fatigue and discomfort, which helps to make pain an even bigger problem.

Having a natural birth is an option for pregnant women who do not wish to undergo surgical procedures and interventions, seeking a more humanized delivery and a faster recovery.

To do this, you need to be well informed about the risks, talk to the obstetrician and prepare for the moment.

Continue accessing the Healthy Minute to find out about health and pregnancy !