The Natural Choice - Labor Naturally
Giving birth to a baby is a beautiful experience, no matter how you choose to do so. While many women use pain medication, there are many reasons not to use any medication during delivery. Here are a number of the arguments against using pain medication. These ideas should be discussed with your spouse, doula, doctor, midwife, and anyone else involved in the birth process. Should you decide not to use medication, you can certainly make your wishes known with a birthing plan. You can also, of course, change your mind if the pain becomes unmanageable.
Freedom of Movement
Giving birth hurts. No one will deny that. But, going through this process without pain medication is doable, and for many women it is the recommended birth plan. One of the reasons for natural birth is mobility. Women who labor naturally can walk around, go to the bathroom on their own, sit on a birthing ball, shower, and change positions. All of these things help the laboring woman to deal with her contractions and to make herself more comfortable during labor.
Sense of Control
While you can't control the intensity of your contractions, you can control the laboring process more when you select to labor naturally. Sometimes, women who take an epidural or other pain relief find that it doesn't work as they had hoped. Similarly, an epidural can slow down your labor, create more need for pitocin, and lead to more Caesarean sections. Natural childbirth cuts down on all of these risks and allows you to work through each contraction as it comes, naturally.
Safety for the Baby
Certainly, laboring naturally is safer and healthier for the baby. There are no drugs in the baby's system upon birth, creating a more alert and responsive baby. Similarly, research has shown that mothers who birth naturally have babies who were more interested in breastfeeding and have an easier time latching on and nursing after birth.
Many women who've experienced both natural and medicated births report that they have an easier time recovering from their natural births. As soon as the doctors allow, you can get up after the birth and shower when you don't have medication in your system. You are able to immediately get your body moving without any worries about waiting for the epidural to wear off or removing a catheter. A mom who has used medication is more likely to tear, hemorrhage, have postpartum infections and suffer complications after the birth.
After delivering five healthy boys, I strongly believe in the benefits of natural childbirth. Certainly, there are times when it's not possible to birth naturally, and there are situations where the pain is too intense to continue without relief. I experienced natural childbirth with my first four sons and felt an incredible sense of accomplishment and peace after their births. With my fifth birth, I decided that I was tired and that I wanted an epidural. After waiting for the epidural for two hours during labor, the anesthesiologist finally arrived. It took her four tries to put the epidural in the right place and the experience was incredibly painful and frustrating. Then, I delivered before the epidural actually took effect, rendering the entire process useless and unnecessary!
Every woman needs to evaluate her options and make an informed decision for herself. You certainly want to create the best birthing environment for yourself - for your mental and physical health and for that of your baby.