Just wanted to say that I agree with my midwife who says "The baby knows how to get in and it knows how to come out too!". The midwives were really cool, but it bugged me that they were trying so hard to pressure me into this vitamin k shot. They backed down when I said no to the other shots they wanted to give though, to their credit. It's real easy to decide something in your own world - it's another thing to try to interface with a brainwashed society and have to explain why you haven't immunized your childred over and over again. It's so much a part of the consciuosness here in the US to have your kids immunized. I mean, people treat you like you're negligent if you don't allow the doc's to inject your child with poison.
You're right bluandyelo, there is so much fear about such a Natural process in our society, and apparently in other countries too. I was instilled with this fear a little with my first child, and I succumed to pressure to have medications I didn't want.
With my most recent baby, I had an assisted water birth at a birth center, but I just about did everything myself, including helping to "catch" my baby - what an amazing experience! No drugs, just some EFT (emotional freedom technique) to help subside the natural fear that comes up during labor. I wanted a home-birth, but the idea of a jacuzzi tub was very appealing to me, plus, they got to clean up the mess ;). My husband was very nervous about the idea of home-birth too. I think the midwife assisted births in this country started in the Amish communities, right MH? From what I read, they're really brave when it comes to labor & birth.
I didn't really exercise much exept for walking and pilates to strengthen pelvic muscles. I was too tight/toned with my first baby, and it made labor VERY difficult. I wouldn't suggest to anyone that they exercise strenuously or try to preserve tight muscles for fear of "losing shape" that some women have.
I think it's best just to try to be peaceful and not stress your body or emotions and that is the healthiest thing (besides eating well - which I'm learning that I didn't do correctly).