The choice to prepare for a natural birth or to use epidural medication is a personal decision. As a mother of 6, I’ve experienced childbirth without pain medication as well as with an epidural. With this in mind, I want to discuss the hard reality of natural birth pros and cons.
Natural Birth Pros And Cons #1:
PRO: You get to feel everything!
In a natural birth, you remain alert with no loss of sensation. You can move around freely and try a wide variety of positions to promote comfort and labor progress. You can feel the power of contractions, the movements of the baby, and the hormone rush that comes when your little one is finally born. You’re able to actively participate in the entire birth process.
CON: You have to feel everything.
Unlike epidural medication, natural childbirth techniques do not claim to eliminate pain. Even in the best of circumstances, labor is still hard work and contractions can be painful. If you have a complicated or prolonged labor, natural approaches to pain management may not provide enough relief.
Natural Birth Pros And Cons #2:
PRO: Less risk to mom and baby.
Natural childbirth techniques are not invasive, and pose little harm to you or your baby. Epidural medication, on the other hand, has many potential side effects. These include a drop in mom’s blood pressure, spinal headaches, and itching, to name a few (1). Epidurals also risk a cascade of interventions, starting with IV fluid and the insertion of a urinary catheter.
CON: Risk the loss of emotional control.
While natural birth can be a calm, gentle experience, it’s often accompanied by a lot of moaning, grunting, and even yelling. The unrelenting nature of the long, hard contractions in late labor can lead to a loss of emotional control for mom. Although the occasional “freak out” moment is normal, some women fear what they might say or do when the intensity of labor ramps up.
Natural Birth Pros And Cons #3:
PRO: Smoother postpartum experience.
Many women report a smoother postpartum experience after a natural birth for a wide variety of reasons, including:
- Hormonal rush. Natural birth triggers a release of endorphins which can strengthen the mother-baby relationship (2).
- Less postpartum pain. Natural birth is associated with less severe perineal tears (3). And, believe me. When your bottom feels good, it’s a lot easier to enjoy your baby.
- Good bowel function. Epidurals and narcotic medications slow the bowels and cause constipation, a problem that is avoided when you have a natural birth.
CON: May be too tired to enjoy baby.
Moms may be exhausted after a long natural birth. Let’s be honest — coping with contractions requires a lot of effort. While endorphins typically help buoy your energy after birth, some labors are unusually challenging. Strong back pain from an OP position or a prolonged pushing phase may leave mom feeling like she doesn’t have the strength to continue. In some cases, pain medication can help give mom a break and enable her to save her energy for when baby is born.
Kopa Birth’s online birthing classes allow you to prepare for a natural hospital birth from the comfort of your own home, 24/7. Enroll today in our free online childbirth class and start preparing for your natural birth!
(1) Anim-Somuah M, Smyth RMD, Jones L. (2011). Epidural versus non-epidural or no analgesia in labour. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Issue 12. Art. No.: CD000331. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD000331.pub3
(2) Childbirth Connection. The Role of Hormones in Childbirth. Retrieved from http://www.childbirthconnection.org/maternity-care/role-of-hormones/
(3) Lindgren, H. E., Brink, Å., & Klinberg-Allvin, M. (2011). Fear causes tears – Perineal injuries in home birth settings. A Swedish interview study. BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth, 11, 6. http://doi.org/10.1186/1471-2393-11-6