There is no ideal and perfect childbirth. There is no right or wrong childbirth. There is not one childbirth that is better than the other. There is ONLY the birth you imagine, the birth you work for and the birth that you have, no matter the outcome. Perfection is in the bundle of joy in your arms, not in how they arrived.
However, if you desire a natural labor and delivery, here are my tips to help prepare you! Read my own personal stories on the blog!
Have the mindset. You can't just approach birth with the attitude that you're going to "try" a natural birth. You have to approach it with the attitude that you "will" have a natural childbirth considering that there is no need for any medical interventions of course. Your mindset has to be that you WILL do it because you CAN do it. Your body was MADE to do it.
Be prepared. I always, always recommend reading some good books and taking classes at your local hospital. Also, make sure to find out what amenities you are provided at the facility in which you will give birth (tub, birth ball, stool, etc...) and maybe even take a tour. **I recommend any books by Ina May Gaskin as well as the Lamaze Guide to Birth.
Have a plan. Know what you want for your childbirth beforehand. Even if you don't actually hand over your plan to the doctor, it's good to have it written down (and with you) to remember what all you wanted.
Form a backbone. Know your rights and your research enough that you can say "No" to any intervention or task that you do not want!
Enter the Zone. When you go into labor, you can only survive if you really go into your own little world. Conversations around you, people around you and things happening around you need to become background noise. Don't feel like you have to entertain visitors or even speak to anyone. It's not really the ideal time to have a heart to heart with your partner about how your life is about to change. When you're in your zone, you're only focused on ONE thing.
Limit Visitors. Family and friends love to come in and wish a laboring mother their best if they have time (if it's a long labor). Don't feel you have to let anyone in and/or limit the amount of people and the length of time they come in. Have your partner or birth coach take care of all of this for you.
Have a birth coach. Whether it is your partner, your doula, your mother or your midwife, someone needs to help guide you and encourage you.
Don't be afraid of being rude. If you're partner or coach, or even your mother is doing something that isn't helping - you MUST let them know. Whether you simply put your hand up to signal that they are saying too much or whether your husband is massaging your leg and it's annoying you, don't be afraid of saying no or even sounding rude. They will understand!
Know that you will survive. Laboring for an extensive time is exhausting and well, extremely painful. You will begin to feel like it will NEVER end and that you literally can't handle one more contraction. You can, I promise!
Set small goals. Keep telling yourself you'll make it to just one more centimeter. Each centimeter is a new goal achieved and a step closer to being finished.
Sleep between contractions. This is hard to explain, but if you're exhausted enough you can do it. I recommend trying this tactic while sitting in a rocking chair. Rock consistently and your body will take power naps during the 1-2 minutes between contractions. The rocking also helps during contractions.
Remember each person is different. What worked for one person to ease labor pains may not work at all for you. For instance, I highly recommend walking nearly the whole time. I also recommend the birthing ball to ease pressure. However, this is just me (although most research shows movement helps ease pain).
Be proud no matter what. Even if you can't handle the pain eventually, be proud of your efforts, your training and your preparations. It likely taught you more than you know!
Wishing you the best and most beautiful childbirth that your heart desires.