LiveWell Louisiana

To Each Her Own Alternative Birthing Methods

Though childbirth with the help of pain medications has long been considered the gold standard, nowadays more and more women are considering a wider range of options for childbirth.
October 21st, 2013 by: Jennifer Hughes

"Women have used the Internet to share their birthing experiences," said Jill Serpas, a registered nurse and clinical nurse educator at Touro Infirmary. “This has expanded knowledge of the different childbirth methods.” Serpas welcomes this change, as it signals that patients are taking an active role in their prenatal care.


What are the alternatives?
Nurse Serpas outlines the five most common:

Five Alternative Birthing Methods

  1. THE BRADLEY METHOD: Natural labor techniques that focus on relaxation and self-awareness, with the father or a loved one acting as a supportive coach throughout the birth
  2. HYDROTHERAPY: Laboring and possibly even delivering while immersed in water, which can ease pressure on the spine, allowing the pelvis to open
  3. HYPNOTHERAPY: Self-hypnosis techniques designed to keep moms focused on the fact that childbirth is simple and natural and to relax and let their bodies do what is needed
  4. ACUPUNCTURE: Purported to encourage the onset of contractions by releasing an energetic blockage that may delay labor
  5. LAMAZE: Confidence-boosting methods for coping with pain, which include focused breathing, movement and massage change. Every delivery is different, and there is no way to know ahead of time what will happen.

What is a Birth Plan?
A blueprint of how a woman would like her child’s birth to be handled in the hospital, the birth plan informs the obstetrician, nurses and hospital staff of preferences such as:

  • Who will attend the birth
  • What props the mother will bring to the hospital, such as music or a birthing ball
  • What sorts of medical intervention should be performed if needed
  • Which pain relief techniques should be used
  • Whether the partner should be present in the case of a cesarean section
  • Who will cut the baby’s umbilical cord
  • Whether the mother plans to breastfeed exclusively
  • Whether the baby should remain in the mother’s hospital room for standard procedures such as a hearing test, rather than be taken to the nursery

For Comprehensive Resources for Labor and Delivery
The Family Birthing Center at Touro Infirmary offers amenities for many different kinds of childbirth. To speak with Jill Serpas or any of the center’s experienced labor and delivery nurses, call (504) 897-8260 or visit