Natural birth isn't just for British royalty

Heather Thomas with her son Wyatt and Pat Burrell. / Lisa Edge

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WPDE) - Kate is a part of the British royal family, but there's one thing she shares with other women in the UK. When she gave birth to a baby boy Monday, she had him naturally.

"By and large women in the UK generally are having their babies unmedicated. There's a much much larger awareness of doing all things natural in most other countries," explained Pat Burrell, a Registered Nurse and doula. A doula is a woman who provides holistic support throughout a woman's pregnancy and birth.

When it came time for the birth of her second son Wyatt, Heather Thomas opted for a natural birth. She didn't receive an epidural, and her labor was not induced.

Contrary to what you may be thinking, Thomas described it as an enjoyable experience.

"I just kind of felt like a superhero. I felt like I had just been given this power to do this, and I did it, and that's what the human body was meant to do for women," she said proudly. "He was pink, he was flush. He looked like the epitome of healthy when you think of healthy babies."

When Thomas had her oldest son, she opted to take pain medicines, but it didn't go as easily as she was told it would.

"I was in labor for 16 hours, but the epidural didn't take. Then when it finally did kick in, I couldn't feel anything, and he was stuck. I knew enough that I didn't want them to force him to come out. 'Cause I knew that wasn't the bodies natural thing," she explained. "He was blue when he was born, and I was delirious. I pushed for three hours straight, and it was to the point that when they finally put him on my chest, I couldn't enjoy it the way I wanted. I don't even remember."

The second time around, Thomas took classes with Burrell through a grant provided to the March of Dimes. Several years ago Burrell opened Beach Baby's Doula Services and has assisted in dozens of births.

"Doing things naturally generally works out to be easier on the body because the body is doing it the way it was designed to do it, and we find that our moms are able to do a very very good job that way," Burrell added. "There are women who have trouble, there are babies who need help and there are lots of wonderful obstetricians, neonatologists, perinatologists. Perfect people out there to take care of them, but for the most part a lot of women are perfectly fine. Their bodies are good, they can do this."

Burrell said with the Duchess of Cambridge choosing natural birth, it's opening up a much needed dialogue about its benefits.

"My thought is to provide you with as much information so that you have the best possible chance of doing things the way you really want to," said Burrell. "We need to let them know that it's not just in England. It's not just the Duchess that can have all things natural, but we've had at least 150 natural births in Horry County in the last six years with Beach Baby's."

"I've had both sides of it. I was able to compare and contrast, and the benefits much, much outweigh the cons of it," added Thomas.

If you'd like to learn more about Burrell's service you can go to her website or call (843) 213-1393.