I wanted to make a post about why I want to have a natural birth verses going straight for an Epidural or scheduled C-Section. I think it is a shame that when a women tells someone they want to go natural, people look at them like they are out of their minds and that its completely absurd. First off, we are women. Our bodies were designed to give birth! It knows what to do, and when! Before surrendering to interventions, I want to encourage women to give their bodies the benefit of the doubt, and entertain the thought of at least trying natural. It is so empowering, and to me, part of the pregnancy experience. Now I have never experienced labor, and can not predict how things will go. The most I can do is TRY and see how it ends up. The thing that is most important to me is attempting to do it without medications. I do have faith in my midwife being highly trained and experienced in natural vaginal births, my body and mind, that I can accomplish it as long as I keep faith.
Most midwifery births are in a birthing center, which can be apart of a hospital or not (pictured above) that is designed to feel homey with beds and tubs instead of a sterile, scary hospital room. Having this environment will increase your chances of needing interventions, as it helps you relax. Just to be clear, I do not judge any mother for choosing to have an epidural or C-Section. If that’s what you want, then I fully support it. But I just wanted to give women the option to make their own decision based on what is important to them, instead of going with what is the norm now a days and what their doctor recommends (If you are high risk then yes, an MD is the best way to go).
Here are some reasons and benefits on why I want to have a natural birth:
Epidurals, Pitocin and IVs seem to be the norm in many places in the U.S. Birth has gone from being a natural and normal biological process to a highly managed medical event. It doesn’t have to be this way… and really shouldn’t be this way for the health of baby and mama. While medical interventions can and do save lives in a small percentage of births, the majority of labors can unfold as nature intended. Having an epidural, IVs or continuous electronic fetal monitoring (EFM) usually means you will be confined to bed, unable to walk or change positions when it would be beneficial to do so. Many moms don’t realize that they’ll be given a catheter once the epidural is administered so forget laboring on the toilet!
Natural childbirth allows you to move freely and work with your body to birth your baby. Freedom of movement makes labor easier, and sometimes faster. Women who walk and change position during labor experience increased comfort, are more likely to give birth vaginally, and have a better sense of control over their experience.Freedom to eat and drink during labor is another way that natural childbirth helps women have easier births. A woman who is well nourished and hydrated is a strong woman ready for the hard work of labor.Each unnecessary intervention has the potential to lead to more interventions, including c-section. When birth begins on its own and continues on its own time, mom is less likely to need these interventions.
For example, if you have an epidural, labor is likely to slow which may mean that your doctor will give you Pitocin to push labor along. Likewise, if labor is induced and your body and baby weren’t ready you will not produce natural oxytocin to begin contractions. You will then need Pitocin to get contractions going.
Pitocin has the potential to create intense and frequent contractions that don’t allow mom or baby rest, which can reduce the oxygen supply to baby. If baby becomes distressed many doctors will recommend a C-section.In natural childbirth oxytocin signals the uterus to begin contracting and signals the brain to send endorphins, nature’s pain killer. It also signals the brain to continue sending oxytocin which will reach a peak during the pushing phase.Epidural interfere with this normal cascade of labor hormones and can slow labor significantly. Often Pitocin is recommended to get labor progressing.
When you have an epidural you can’t feel your lower body so you can’t change positions when it would be beneficial. Also, if you can’t feel your contractions you can’t push at the right time and with the right force to help baby out, resulting in a harder, longer labor.Epidural use can cause sudden blood pressure drop for mom which means less oxygen rich blood pumping to baby. This can result in fetal distress and many practitioners will recommend a C-section.
Narcotic pain relief can cause mom and baby to be groggy and “out of it”. Forgoing this kind of pain relief will help you to stay present during the birth of your baby. Even epidural pain relief can make you feel disconnected from your child’s birth. Though the medication may not make you feel groggy, the lack of sensation and connection to the physical act of giving birth may make you feel disconnected from the experience. Some moms have to be told when to push because they can’t feel the urge. Moms may also have an epidural “hangover” or feel itchy as the result of the procedure.
Unmedicated, natural childbirth, on the other hand, requires your full attention. Some women describe it as “other worldly” because of the connection between mind and body that has to occur during birth. With the rush of natural endorphins, some moms even enjoy giving birth rather than just suffering through it.
Natural childbirth supports the idea that childbirth is a rite of passage. Because of the blood, sweat and tears that you put into birth, there is something really transformational that happens. Some like to say that you go into birth as a maiden and come out the other end as mother. Natural childbirth advocates know that this journey to motherhood is a necessary one. They know that it is empowering for a woman to give birth on her own terms. To make choices for herself and her baby without coercion, guilt and ridicule. The mother needs to feel empowered and encourage as her birth unfolds.
Without the haze of drugs or the soreness of surgery, moms who experience natural childbirth are able to recover quickly and be present right after birth. Moms experience an oxytocin high which gives them a boost of energy to cuddle their baby and begin skin-to-skin touching, breastfeeding and eye contact, which in turn enhances the oxytocin cascade. Many moms are up and walking around shortly after natural birth.
If none of the above information has convinced you to go natural….
With healthcare costs rising finding a way to save money isn’t a bad idea. Natural birth is far less expensive than a birth that has many interventions. In the U.S., maternity care is not a package deal like it is in many other countries. Instead, women are charged a la carte for each procedure or test. An epidural alone costs around $1000 while a c-section can raise your bill by as much as $20,000.
Giving birth at a birth center or at home is also much less expensive than giving birth naturally at a hospital. The fee for midwifery services ranges, based on location, from $2000-$4000 while the cost for a vaginal birth at a hospital ranges from $10,000-$15,000.
I hope this article has empowered you, and has you thinking about your future birth a little differently.