Why Natural Childbirth? - Mothering Forums

View Poll Results: Why Choose Natural Childbirth?
Concerns about medical risks/side effects to me. 214 100.00%
Concerns about medical risks/side effects to my baby. 229 100.00%
Concerns that epidural anesthesia wouldn’t work well enough, (e.g. only affect one side of my body). 25 100.00%
Concerns about epidural anesthesia restricting my freedom of movement during labor. 171 100.00%
Concerns about epidural anesthesia leading to an undesirable cascade of interventions. 208 100.00%
Concerns about the extra cost, (esp. for those who are uninsured or underinsured) 27 100.00%
Desire for my baby and me to remain alert during the birth and post-partum process. 203 100.00%
Desire for faster labor. 80 100.00%
I had an epidural with another birth and wasn’t impressed with the experience. 35 100.00%
I had natural childbirth with another birth and was impressed with the experience. 102 100.00%
It is/was really important to me to be able to feel my own “urge” to push and not have it coached or directed. 159 100.00%
It is/was really important to me to have my baby out-of-hospital, so I was willing to forego an epidural in order to make this happen. 113 100.00%
I have confidence in my body’s ability to give birth and my own ability to use natural pain relief measures. 209 100.00%
Holy toledo! Have you seen the size of that epidural needle? 84 100.00%
Other.....of course ;-) 36 100.00%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 15. You may not vote on this poll

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#1 of 73 Old 05-24-2012, 01:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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This is a poll for women who have chosen or will choose natural chidlbirth, i.e. childbirth without epidural anesthesia or other pharmacological pain interventions.  No epidural v. NCB debates, please, and bearing in mind the uniqueness of our experiences, let's keep it judgment-free.  

 

Because women often have multiple reasons for making this choice, you may select multiple poll answers.   

 

I'm readying for my third NCB, and I wonder if other women make this choice for the same reasons that I do.  Among my top reasons:

 

1. Medical concerns.  I understand that epidurals can lower blood pressure.  Unlike a lot of pregnant women, I lean toward low blood pressure and really don't want it getting any lower during labor.

 

2. Freedom-of-movement concerns.  OK....freedom in general!  It seems like I would have to give up so much freedom in order to get an epidural.......freedom to stand or squat, freedom to have my baby out-of-hospital, freedom to decline interventions that suddenly become necessary during the epidural.... 

 

Anyway, I'm curious to hear from other like-minded moms: Why did you/will you opt against the epidural?


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#2 of 73 Old 05-24-2012, 04:50 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Turquesa View Post

1. Medical concerns.  I understand that epidurals can lower blood pressure.  Unlike a lot of pregnant women, I lean toward low blood pressure and really don't want it getting any lower during labor.

 

2. Freedom-of-movement concerns.  OK....freedom in general!  It seems like I would have to give up so much freedom in order to get an epidural.......freedom to stand or squat, freedom to have my baby out-of-hospital, freedom to decline interventions that suddenly become necessary during the epidural.... 

 

The 2 above reasons pretty much sum my main concerns with the epidurals - and that they can (but don't always) lead to a lot of other interventions. OH and that needles in general make me feel wonky / queasy . 


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#3 of 73 Old 05-24-2012, 05:08 PM
 
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For me, free movement but mostly just the desire to avoid complicating factors. You don't know for sure how a drug will affect you and what side effects you might get, so I'd just as soon avoid it if I can. I prefer to use medication only when necessary--to the point of being a little weird about it sometimes (and I'm a pharmacist, so I understand the risks and benefits of medications). I'd rather try other methods to deal with pain/discomfort--drink water, change positions, distract myself, try relaxation exercises, etc. I don't even like taking ibuprofen when I have a headache. So I didn't want an epidural if I could avoid it. Same with Pitocin--I preferred to avoid it if possible. I would have considered medication if necessary, but it didn't become necessary. Now that I know what the pain is like, I feel confident I can handle it with my next birth too if it's similarly uncomplicated. Yeah, it hurt like a [fill in the blank], but at a certain point it was over, and then I had a baby to snuggle. I was able to deal with it.

 

I suppose you could lump this under "concerned about medical risk" in the poll but it wasn't so much about risk. I wasn't concerned that something horrible would happen or was even likely to happen to me or to the baby. Lots of women have epidurals every day and things work out fine for them, and if I'd had an epidural then I'm sure things would have worked out just fine for me. But I didn't want to introduce another variable into my personal situation if I could help it. And I didn't need to.

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#4 of 73 Old 05-24-2012, 05:12 PM
 
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I selected lots of options, most of which can be summed up as a desire to avoid negative side effects for both me and the baby.

I also selected "other" because one of my secondary reasons for wanting to avoid pharmacological pain relief is that I view the labour experience as a personal challenge a bit like doing a marathon or climbing a mountain or something and I want to see if I can do it.

And before anyone jumps on me from a great height, that is a very personal view and not a commentary on anyone else's choices. I know not everyone views labour like that and that is entirely up to them.

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#5 of 73 Old 05-24-2012, 06:16 PM
 
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I picked lots of options, I didn't want to be stuck on my back, or a cascade of interventions, but it when it really came down to it, I just really wanted to know what it was like!  The natural birth stories that I read were so interesting, and the epi births usually weren't.  I didn't want to miss out on the experience.
 


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#6 of 73 Old 05-24-2012, 06:23 PM
 
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bragging rights and that medal we always hear about!


drowning in hormones with 4 daughters and an understanding, loving hubby. also some dogs. my life is crazy and we are always learning.

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#7 of 73 Old 05-24-2012, 06:33 PM
 
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ok i'm crazy, but i have major control issues. for me, ncb in home setting would allow me to have as much control as is actually controllable.... (yeah i know birth can throw a lot of curveballs, but no policies to fight, no birth plans to worry about, no ppl i have to hire to advocate for me, can eat, drink, move, do what i want, puke as many times as i want, don't have to worry about anyone ignoring my wishes, can catch my own baby, etc) 

 

i guess my answer is more towards setting than ncb... but the setting kinda dictates the birth sometimes.

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#8 of 73 Old 05-24-2012, 06:34 PM
 
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Originally Posted by purplerose View Post

bragging rights and that medal we always hear about!

 

hahaha where can I write to have my medal sent??? I never got one? Maybe I should start bragging?

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#9 of 73 Old 05-24-2012, 06:41 PM
 
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I never considered having an epidural. I don't perceived it as having benefits.  That's for me, personally, as I don't really care if other people want one or not.


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#10 of 73 Old 05-24-2012, 07:31 PM
 
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I don't feel strongly about this issue but figured I'd rather skip the big needle and not be stuck on my back than otherwise.  If a situation were to arise in which an epi would be useful (eg exhaustion) I would take it.  As it worked out I have never gotten to the hospital in time to have one.

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#11 of 73 Old 05-25-2012, 03:30 AM
 
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I picked the vast majority of the list. I think my main concern is the epidural might not work combined with the restricted movement, since that will prevent other pain relief methods. Also I hear some people get bad headaches from withdrawal, and I am pretty sensitive to drug withdrawal in general. Anyway, I also want a homebirth for other reasons.

 

I'll probably set my reasons-to-transfer bar pretty low. I know some people make it work with breach, twins, etc., but I think in those cases the epidural pros might start outweighing the cons for me personally....

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#12 of 73 Old 05-25-2012, 11:21 AM
 
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I didn't check the 'concerns about how an epi works' choices because I never really have considered having one.  I'd be worried about those things if I felt I HAD to have one (i.e., I was having surgery) but I've never gotten to them because the desire to be where I want to be doing it the way I want to trumps any fear or dislike of pain.

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#13 of 73 Old 05-25-2012, 12:13 PM
 
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I checked off several items in the poll, but overall I'd say I chose NCB over an epi because for me - I'll take the devil you know vs. the devil you don't.  What I mean is that you pretty much know what you're getting with NCB: pain (at levels which vary from person to person and birth to birth).  But the pain isn't harmful to you - it just hurts.  With an epi you just don't know.  I know lots of people have had them work 100% and with no complications and where it didn't lead to a cascade of interventions, but without a crystal ball you really don't know if you'll be one of those people.  So I just don't mess with it.

 

But that's just me.  I'd never try to talk someone out of an epi.  Everybody has different priorities.
 


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#14 of 73 Old 05-25-2012, 12:36 PM
 
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Personally the idea of a needle injecting stuff into my spine or bloodstream that'll make everything stop going the normal way (movement and alertness and birth process) terrifies me so I never considered getting it. In labor I never wanted it but was afraid I'd need it due to an early urge to push I experienced.

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#15 of 73 Old 05-25-2012, 03:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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bragging rights and that medal we always hear about!

ROTFLMAO.gif  I almost made that a snarky option....along with another poll answer: "Because I have to be a martyr."  But my boring and more mature half got the better of me, so I restrained myself.  wild.gif

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hahaha where can I write to have my medal sent??? I never got one? Maybe I should start bragging?

 

http://betterbirthdoula.org/?p=570  winky.gif

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#16 of 73 Old 05-25-2012, 07:45 PM
 
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Most of mine were covered in the options.  If I were to give a free-form answer to this as an open-ended questions, my top personal reasons would be (not necessarily in this order)...

 

1) I am not a "good patient"-- believe it or not, probably BECAUSE my mom is an awesome doctor (who practiced evidence-based medicine, almost to a fault).  That means I question everything, want to discuss everything, and get really irritated when anyone takes a "because I told you so" attitude with me.  Or worse-- "because it's standard procedure."  Oh, H3LL NO.  ROTFLMAO.gif At the same time, I loathe face-to-face confrontation unless necessary.  Thus-- as long as I'm low-risk, it's not an emergency blahbitty blah boilerplate disclaimer-- I NEED to be the decision-maker and be working in as much of an "unimpaired state" as possible.  Not to "control" things, exactly, but not to put myself in the position of passive object if it's not an emergency.  To put myself in the most respectful possible space, with professionals whose judgment I trust.  FTMP, that will be homebirth for me, with MWs who are highly-educated and experienced.

 

2) (This is for homebirth...)  Because it's the safest option for me and my baby, or, at the very least, the risk is minimally increased relative to the psychological and physiological benefits for me.  I actually believe that the best studies indicate mortality is equal and morbidity less for homebirth with a qualified attendant (than for hospital birth).  But I'm saying that even at WORST, studies show/will show only a tiny increase in risk, and that such a tiny increase is still palatable to me considering the rewards, the ease, the psychological comfort and physiological benefits.  Basically, I don't think that additional risk exists, but I do believe that if it does, it's tiny and worth the great marginal rewards.

 

3) Mobility and overall... again, not more "control" but "an increased range of options."  That's huge for me.  Baby seems "stuck," but "almost fits?"  I can much more easily move and adjust and squat, etc., vs. having to be subjected to a vacuum (and possible generous episiotomy).  Baby has shoulder dystocia?  Easy Gaskin vs. McRoberts, etc.  Want to pop in the shower?  Easy.  If I have an epidural, not so much.  When I was first really researching births (8 years ago?), I tried to do the "devil's advocate" thing with my mom, who had two hospital births without pain meds.  She said, "Here's the bottom line.  You prepare for a NCB, then at least you have options.  You can always get pain meds if it's not working for you.  You don't prepare?  You're getting the pain meds.  Would you rather have more options?  Or would you rather have the decision taken from you?"  Me?  I'd always rather have more options.   


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#17 of 73 Old 05-25-2012, 08:11 PM
 
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Lots of reasons, but with you on the epidural...have low blood pressure already and prone to panic attacks, especially if I get dizzy and it sounds like a big drop in bp causes dizziness. That scares me far more than the pain.


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#18 of 73 Old 05-25-2012, 08:45 PM
 
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I don't feel strongly about this issue but figured I'd rather skip the big needle and not be stuck on my back than otherwise.  If a situation were to arise in which an epi would be useful (eg exhaustion) I would take it.  As it worked out I have never gotten to the hospital in time to have one.

Yep. I knew it was better for me and baby to go without AND the whole needle/spine thing wigs me out. What if they miss?
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#19 of 73 Old 05-25-2012, 08:52 PM
 
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i had an epi with ds1 that went fine but with ds2 it didnt even kick in and there were long term negative side effects to me

 

when i got pg with dd i chose to have an unassisted birth which meant no epi.  i was fine with that as even if i were having a hospital birth i wouldnt anyway.  i researched other methods of paid relief and had a wonderful birth with DD in a birth tub at home. i plan on doing the same with this baby as well
 


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#20 of 73 Old 05-26-2012, 03:39 PM
 
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I voted concerns about medical risks to baby, to me, cascade of interventions, wanting to feel the ability to push (because of the medicals risks for me and baby not feeling that) and other.  The other was that I just really wanted to know if I could do it.  I mean, yeah, it's difficult, of course.  So I wanted to be able to rise to that challenge.  Why do people climb mountains or do Ironman triathalons?  It sounds torturous.  But they want that medal too. :D

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#21 of 73 Old 05-27-2012, 12:40 PM
 
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I was concerned about side effects for me and the baby. I decided going in that I would not extrapolate ("If it hurts so bad now, what will it be like in an hour?") but just take it minute by minute. And it just never was so painful that I felt like I needed something.

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#22 of 73 Old 05-27-2012, 01:32 PM
 
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It started for me as being scared &!@#less of having a huge needle going into my spine. Once I found out that's how an epidural works I decided against it. Then my friend told about her experience with an epidural & how it absolutely didn't work. Then I found out about the possible side effects & cascad of interventions. The I realized I wouldn't be able to move. There really seemed to be nothing positive about having an epidural. I had experienced significant pain before, childbirth is temporary, & it turns out it didn't hurt nearly as much as almost bursting my appendix. (Actually, I'm one of those crazies that will insist it didn't hurt at all, but...)

All those reasons and the medal!

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#23 of 73 Old 05-27-2012, 02:02 PM
 
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I wanted to be able to move around.

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#24 of 73 Old 05-27-2012, 02:11 PM
 
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I have never had an epidural.

 

Freedom of movement, urge to push, avoiding cascading interventions….these are all important to me.  

 

The idea of a needle going into my back does not seem like fun, either.

 

That being said, I have been blessed with relatively easy labours - if I had  long or difficult labours, I might be inclined to stick the needle in my own back!

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#25 of 73 Old 05-27-2012, 05:49 PM
 
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I voted Other...I'm deathly afraid of (bladder) catheters.  That was enough for me to forgo an epidural.  I also have a ton of hardware in my back that would make an epidural iffy but my main motivation was not having someone stick a tube up there.  **shudder**  Any discomfort I felt during labor was nothing compared to having a catheter.  


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#26 of 73 Old 05-28-2012, 04:01 AM
 
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I just want an intervention free birth because I despise needles and doctors as well. I love nurses, as well as rogue MDs who actually listen to me ( as rare as they are). I had a C section with my daughter, after I was in a car accident and had a 'difficult' pregnancy, and although it went OK, I had badly craved a natural birth.

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#27 of 73 Old 05-28-2012, 10:14 AM
 
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I also chose several options.  I agree with previous posters- that the idea of the epidural was scarier than the idea of the pain.  I can deal with pain.  Anesthesia freaks me out.  I had a pain medicine free birth with my DD, despite pitocin induction (rising blood pressure) and those contractions were intense.  I am confident that I can do NC again, although I would really like to skip the pitocin this time as well.  I also wanted to skip any further interventions and thought that was my best chance and to bring my baby into the world with as few substances in her body as possible.  Haven't we studiously avoided all that might affect them all these months?  Only to load them up with drugs right before they come into the world- no thanks.  Oh and I have control issues too.  smile.gif


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#28 of 73 Old 05-28-2012, 10:42 AM
 
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I just want an intervention free birth because I despise needles and doctors as well. I love nurses, as well as rogue MDs who actually listen to me ( as rare as they are). I had a C section with my daughter, after I was in a car accident and had a 'difficult' pregnancy, and although it went OK, I had badly craved a natural birth.

It stinks that you didn't have the control you wanted. Sometimes that happens -- with my third birth, I had high blood pressure and the doctor decided to give me pitocin to speed things along. I ended up having a precipitous birth (and no one believed it was happening except my husband). I felt so powerless. 

 

After my third baby, I had nightmares about his birth.. poor guy, now he's 19 and I'm over it... but for a while I had a hard time forgetting what happened.

 

I hope natural childbirth happens for you someday. I see that you're an extended breastfeeder; you should feel good about the natural food and nurturing you're giving your daughter now. 

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#29 of 73 Old 05-28-2012, 01:32 PM
 
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I was really afraid of seizure complications since they run heavily in my family. I also did not want to and never have given birth in a hospital. I think if I gave birth in a hospital I WOULD have succumb to getting one, especially with the intensity of my last birth but I am always glad to not have the option of getting one in the end.

 

I know both my children have been very alert babies and nursed very well. I have never had any real intervention unless you count the MW pushing back DD2s shoulder as she had dystocia.

 

We were made to birth without meds so I prefer to follow that path.
 


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#30 of 73 Old 05-29-2012, 06:14 PM
 
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My blood pressure tends to drop dramatically at the slightest introduction of any drug.  I'm also deathly allergic to Fentanyl (a common pain drug found in epidurals), so that's the reason that gets my doctors very alert and keen on keeping the birth natural (when I don't feel like debating).  But actually, even more than that reason, is everything said above: free movement, less interventions, the needle, etc.

 

After having my DD totally natural and med free in a hospital, I realized the biggest benefit of all when you go natural, especially without any pitocin, is all the lovely natural Oxytocin that is released throughout the labor.  Let me tell you, that was the best high I've ever experienced!  For two weeks after the labor I was floating on clouds!  It was bizarre and I didn't know that could be an effect.  I had no PPD, no issues with my milk; I wasn't even tired when I was getting only two hours of sleep.  I also had my placenta encapsulated and ate that for 3 months Sheepish.gif.  So who knows, maybe it was that too?  All I know is that I want that experience again!  But now I'm preg with identical twins and the docs are giving me the hard sell to go medicalized all the way.  And I'm fighting them.  But I hate confrontation, so it's been stressful.  In the end I just wish they'd respect my wishes and quit telling me how I could be putting my babies in danger.  I'm only 29 weeks and so far, no complications whatsoever and the twins are growing great!  So hopefully, I'll get the birth I want again...and that awesome high times two!!! kid.gif


Me-38

DH-46

DD-Born 7/19/09 Natural,unmedicated hospital hypno birth! energy.gif

Pregnant with Mono-di twin boys, due some time in mid to late July 2012!babyboy.gifbabyboy.gif

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Hypbirth Natural Childbirth Preparation Kit Dvd , Natural Childbirth The Bradley Way Revised Edition , Gentle Birth Gentle Mothering A Doctors Guide To Natural Childbirth And Gentle Early Parenting Choic , Ina Mays Guide To Childbirth

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