In the last five years there have been many more women who want to have a natural childbirth experience. They wish to forgo traditional methods of pain relief so that they can feel every pressure, labor pang and be completely immersed in the act of giving birth. Others simply are fearful of a completely natural childbirth and are more than happy to accept the epidural when the doctor orders it. With all this bravery, it no doubt makes one wonder if natural childbirth is healthier and safer.
First it is important to define natural childbirth. Many people consider natural childbirth the complete and absolute voidance of any medical intervention including hospitals or even physicians. These women may prefer to deliver at home or in a birthing center designed to provide an aquatic or natural birthing environment. Some may deliver at home with a doula or midwife at their side. Other forms of natural childbirth mean quite simply the absence of pain medication throughout labor. For all intensive purposes, this article will discuss the non-use of pain medications allowing women to handle labor and childbirth through a vaginal delivery.
By many accounts, natural childbirth is a healthier option for both mom and baby. Many of the medications that are used in epidurals or spinal blocks are opium derivatives that can linger in the blood stream and that do eventually make their way to your unborn child. While the results may be minimal to notice, it is often that the newborn is less lively and may have a slightly more difficult time breathing because of the dopamine effects of the analgesics used. Sometimes the effects on a newborn can be more noticeable and it can take several hours to a few days for all the effects to wear off. Another less than desirable side effect of having pain reducing medications during birth is that it can actually stall out labor. As the muscles are relaxed they may less likely to produce stronger progressive contractions and a woman is less likely to feel them. This can lead to other medical interventions like IV pytocin or other stimulatory drugs to restart birth. As a worst case scenario, the stalled labor can cause fetal distress at which point many doctors will do an emergency C-section.
It is also important to consider that millions of women have given birth naturally throughout the dawn of mankind. While it is undeniably painful, the pain is not something that cant be handled and often it is the fear of childbirth that provokes the wicked responses in many women. When you take a minute to realize that natural childbirth is actually natural and affirm that you will make it through you can greatly reduce your apprehension and your pain. The human body is intricately designed to produce hormonal and chemical responses to pain when we feel it and if no pain medication is given this innate bodily function does take over. There is certain protection of both mind and body that can enable humans to endure such severe pain. When we interfere with this function by artificially supplying our bodies you have to wonder what other natural rhythms are being disrupted as well.
There is also a whole other factor about natural childbirth that many women fail or forget to consider. It seems that as a society we have become so dependant upon our doctors and hospitals that we forget about having a sense of control over what is going on with our bodies. There are loads of women who feel as though they have been cheated at birth by not being able to feel the baby come or the head breech the vaginal canal. With epidurals and spinal blocks you are essentially numb with the exception of feeling pressure and you are restricted from moving around or getting off of the hospital bed. Since many of the back labor pains can be accommodated by differing positions and many births may happen easier in a squatting position many options become an impossibility if you choose to go against natural childbirth. While you may not want to feel every single thing that is going on, you do want to feel as through you participated and experienced childbirth (or you may not).
Natural childbirth by many groups’ perspectives’ is the only way to go. After you have spent nine months being completely in touch with your growing child, it is only natural and human to want to see it to fruition. Yet, not all feel that way and there is no shame in that. Over the last few years there have been growing numbers of women who actually schedule c-sections and opt for labor inducement asking for the epidural as soon as possible. And, this is nothing to be ashamed of. Your birth is something personal to you. It is important to understand the facts that surround natural childbirth and you should always be able to leave your options open. Doctors often act by the assumption that no women in their right mind wants to feel childbirth without stopping to consider that you are an individual. As an informed patient and mom to be, you have the ultimate right and decision. You may find that there are alternative options that offer a little bit of both sides that are safer for you and your baby. Child birth is not something you can redo, and while you never know exactly what will go on (which is why it is good to do it in a hospital setting) you should be open to whatever it takes to make the experience memorable and fulfilling to you. Natural childbirth or not; it is your decision and whatever feels right to you is!