birth,  Pregnancy,  Pregnancy & Birth

{SERIES} “My Birth”Karen’s Natural birth

Welcome to the third installment of “My  birth” series!


Today Karen is sharing her beautiful birth story with us. May her journey empower and encourage you all!

What was your birth plan:

My Birth Plan was to have a natural as possible labor and delivery. I opted to use different positions to labor in and the option of a water birth.  I am not anti pain relief, but knew I didn’t want to have a epidural , so opted for gas and other pain relief options available. I also stipulated I wanted to delay the cord clamping and to have baby placed on my chest immediately after birth for skin to skin contact.

Tell us your story:

When did labour start?

I had a rather long labour. Being a first pregnancy , I wasn’t so sure if I was in labour or if I had that tummy bug going around. I woke up on Monday morning  7th March feeling terrible and lethargic, period like cramps and a sore back. I called my midwife and she said that it sounded like early labor. If I started contractions I should call them. Next morning I was still feeling the same, so my husband took me to the midwifes offices, they confirmed I was in labor but only 1 cm dilated and the contractions were still very far apart. This carried on until the morning of the 9th  March  (baby was born on 9th march at 8:45 pm), I was starting to get used to the contractions and they were slowly getting closer together. My midwife came to see me at home ,as I was worried about the baby. She came and checked babies heart beat and me. Baby was fine and I was fine physically.

Describe the sensations that you experienced physically, emotionally and mentally during the different stages from your first sign of labor through the birth process and after.

During the first signs of labor, I wasn’t sure if I was in labor or had a tummy bug. I had a sore back, period like cramps and the immense need for the loo, even though I didn’t need it. My initial stages of labor was long almost 3 days , this was the worst part of labor , as I wasn’t sure I I really was in labor. I went from hardly any contractions to full blown active labor in 2 hours. Emotionally I was fine , but I think I was physicking myself out by using a app on my phone to time my contractions. Looking back I wouldn’t have used it , it kept making me second guess myself. I found it weird how I intuitively knew which position to lie in , to relive the pain .

Did you have a birth partner/ doula/ midwife or gynae assisting you?

I had a midwife and my husband was  my birth partner. My midwife Glyniss from Birth options was amazing through out the whole process and made me feel empowered enough hat I can actually do this and helped me work through the pain. I cant praise my husband enough for his role of holding my hand throughout my labour and making sure everything I wanted to happen during the birth did happened.

How long were you in labor for?

Active labor? Only 1 hour.

What did you find helpful for pain? Any techniques?

Warm bath was the best. But when I got to the hospital it was too late for any pain relief as baby was on its way, born in under 40 minutes at the hospital from when I arrived to her placed on my chest.

Were there any medical interventions needed:

No medical interventions, except a stretch and sweep by the midwife on the morning of  8th March.

What type of birth did you have hospital birth (private/government/MOU) planned / emergency C-section/ natural unmedicated, natural medicated/induction/ home birth planned/ unplanned/ VBAC/ water birth etc.?

I had a natural, unmedicated birth at Vincent Pallotti Hospital in Cape Town.

How did your birth plan change or did it remain the same?

The core plan stayed the same. Natural birth with as little intervention as possible. The plan changed a lot by the way of pain relief options and how long I thought I would be in labor at the hospital. I skipped a stage of labor, going straight from  1/2cm dilated at 4pm to fully dilated at 8pm and my husband rushing me to hospital. When I arrived there, they didn’t even bother checking us in at reception they rushed me in a wheel chair straight into a labor room.

Was it a positive experience for you? How would you do things differently if you fell pregnant again?

My pregnancy was a rather smooth one , no major health concerns except low iron. I would recommend using a midwife to any woman who wanted a natural birth. The Midwifes at Birth Options, really listened to me about what birth I wanted and answered all my questions and set me at ease. I wouldn’t change a single thing about my  pregnancy or birth.  The birth of my daughter was a strangely empowering experience , to see what my body could do and what I am capable of doing.

Thank you Karen for sharing your beautiful birth story with us it has empowered, encouraged, uplifted and motivated us!

If you would like to be part of this new exciting my birth series or share your expert advice please email us at

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