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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
If a mother wants to have a *natural* childbirth can she have an epidural and accomplish that?<br><br>
I believe a natural childbirth is just that...a *natural* childbirth....and epidural is far from natural.<br><br>
I am seeing more and more mothers (on mainstream boards) opting for an epidural, instead of a planned c-section, so that they can have what they call a *natural* childbirth without the pain.<br><br>
As a mother and an aspiring doula I almost find it offensive that someone could think that an epidural equals the same *natural* birthing experience that I...and many other mothers....have gone through.<br><br>
What do you think? Is an epidural birth a natural birth?
 

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This is a hot topic on a lot of boards!!<br><br>
To me, a "natural" birth is a birth w/o medication or unnecessary intervention. So my answer to your question is no. My body was made to birth babies...it's a natural thing for it to do w/o interfering. So by interfering or augmenting that process by using medication/intervention I don't see it as a natural process.
 

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In my opinion, they are confused. Just because a birth is vaginal, doesn't make it "natural," the way nature intended. But, I have also been known to post to those mainstream boards and use the term "un-medicated" rather than "natural" to avoid any confusion.
 

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At the childbirth class at the hospital, they asked who wanted a natural birth. I didn't raise my hand b/c I was planning on an epidural (labor progressed too quickly to get one- the best thing, thankfully). The instructor, a nurse I believe, said we all wanted a 'natural' birth, b/c if it wasn't 'natural', it was a c-sec. So, I think some people may use the terms 'natural' and 'vaginal' interchangibly, b/c that's what they have heard.<br><br>
I think if mom is happy with the way her birth went and baby is healthy, I don't think it matters how the birth happened.
 

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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;"><i>Originally posted by shelbean91</i><br><b>I think if mom is happy with the way her birth went and baby is healthy, I don't think it matters how the birth happened.</b></td>
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I agree with Kindred Spirit that philosophically speaking a birth with an epidural is not natural childbirth. Society is just so afraid to say vaginal births, so they use natural instead. I tend to say oh, so you had a vaginal birth? I agree with the other posters that however a woman chooses to birth is her choice and as long as she is satisified with it, great for her...I do believe in educating women what their choices truly are...what affects medications can have on their child, as well as the affects of each and every intervention that an ob, or CNM, or LM has to use. IMO...Is it truly a choice with out education???? A CB classmate of mine made an educated decision that she was going to let the doctor break her water, rather than pitocin; she then consented to pitocin several hours later and knew that would possibly lead to an epidural... She wound up with an epidural and a healthy baby...When we talked later she was so thankful for our classes because she knew the pros and cons of each intervention presented to her and was satisified with her decisions. She ultimately wanted a natural childbirth, but reports that she has no regrets with having a vaginal birth. Just my .02.
 

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I originally planned a medication-free water birth. Once I actually was in labour and got in the tub, I got sick feeling and the water offered me no relief from the pain. From that point on things progressed so fast and so intensely I ended up asking for an epidural. My son was born an hour later, and his birth was so peaceful and calm and beautiful that I don't regret it.<br>
However, I don't think it was "natural." I agree with the statement that society is afraid to use the word vaginal, like vagina is a bad word or something.
 

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Do you think it could be a reflection on the prevelance of c-sections that a vaginal birth is viewed as "natural"?<br><br>
I've heard this before, too. I've also been in discussions where the use of any herbs, etc., is not included in "natural" birth, since the herbs were interventions that shifted the normal course of labor/birth.<br><br>
Interesting!
 

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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;"><i>Originally posted by shelbean91</i><br><b><br>
I think if mom is happy with the way her birth went and baby is healthy, I don't think it matters how the birth happened.</b></td>
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I have to disagree. Birth is not just about the mother. It is about the baby. The baby is healthier if it is born without drugs in its bloodstream. I firmly believe that natural, by which I mean unmedicated, birth is likely to be a more meaningful experience for the mother but that is not the ultimate point of it. The ultimate point of natural birth is that it is better for the baby' s health and the mother's.
 

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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">I do believe in educating women what their choices truly are...what affects medications can have on their child, as well as the affects of each and every intervention that an ob, or CNM, or LM has to use. IMO...Is it truly a choice with out education????</td>
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Amen. If I had a nickle for everytime someone argued with me that epidurals have zero side effects I would be a wealthy woman. People really do believe an epidural carries no risks and I think like Pamamidwife said sections are so prevalent that vaginals, even in combination with drugs, may now be referred to as "natural."<br><br>
Also, I have heard people argue that as long as the baby comes out of the vagina then the birth was natural. I'm not sure where that came from because surely no one can believe that a birth induced by synthetic oxytocin that may even include forceps of vacuum is something that would occur in nature.<br><br>
I also agree with kama'aina mama, I think it is wonderful to be happy with the birth that you had but I disagree that all that matters is happy and healthy. There are plenty of moms that are happy with a planned c-section and plenty of healthy instrumentally delivered babies out there but that does not make that acceptable to become the norm.<br><br>
Amy
 

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Hmmm, this is an interesting thread. And the last comment,
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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">surely no one can believe that a birth induced by synthetic oxytocin .... is something that would occur in nature.</td>
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made by Amy makes me curious as well. I consider my daughter's birth to have been "natural" because I avoided pain medication, but it certainly wasn't as natural as I would have liked. Instead of a homebirth, we had a hospital transfer, pitocin (starting 15 hours after my water broke when I was at 3cm), an IV, and fetal monitoring...but I still feel it was natural because I didn't take any pain medications and the birthing itself was done completely by myself.<br><br>
So, umm, what do you all think?? Do I belong to the club or not?? I'm asking this in part in jest, because I do believe that how a woman feels about the experience IF she is knowledgeable about what choices where made, which most women aren't. I only wish more women were well informed! And I also agree that "natural" from the mom's perspective might not be natural from the babies, either...<br><br>
Just some thoughts I thought I'd share, because "natural" with no attempts to get labor going (long walks, sex, nipple stimulation, stripping of membranes, etc.), no interventions in the birthing experience at all (no pushing of a cervical lip, perhaps even no accupressure or other not inherent forms of pain medication) and non assisted births (without someone feeling for baby's decent and encouraging women where to push, for instance) must be rare indeed! Perhaps only unassisted births would fall into this category, if the woman did nothing consciously to get birth to start. What do you all think?<br><br>
Jennifer
 

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My birth was drug free, but not natural because I had forceps, IV, AROM, stirrpus, pit for 3rd stage, and EFM. When people ask if I did it natural, I say, "Well, there were no drugs..." (Meaning no drugs for pain; penicillin is a drug, of course.)<br><br>
Also, some people don't even think the epidural is a drug! I ask if they're going to have drugs, and they'll say "No, just the epidural."<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/confused.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Confused">:<br><br>
No, I don't think epidurals or any of the above mentioned stuff is natural. On rare occasions it may be necessary, but I still don't think that makes it natural. Just like a c/s - necessary? Possibly. Natural? No.<br><br>
So then, what is natural? I don't think you have to be in a grass hut by yourself with a stick between your teeth! I don't think a birth attendant is unnatural; many animal species are unable to give birth without their "midwives." I don't think having someone push on your back is unnatural, nor is the use of positions where people support you...I guess I would say unnatural births are births that are overly managed where such management is not necessary and often leads to problems requiring more management.<br><br>
I also think that what happens after the birth can make it unnatural as well. If I give birth at home with no interference and then the baby is taken away and circumcised and given sugar water, vitamins, shots, and tests, I would not call it a natural birth. But that's just me.
 

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Jennifer (jster) I would agree that your birth was unmed because you didn't use pain meds. I'm sorry you had to transfer, but I think you're a hero for being able to deal with Pit and no pain meds! You GO girl!<br><br>
[/B][/QUOTE] <b>... because "natural" with no attempts to get labor going (long walks, sex, nipple stimulation, stripping of membranes, etc.), no interventions in the birthing experience at all (no pushing of a cervical lip, perhaps even no accupressure or other not inherent forms of pain medication) and non assisted births (without someone feeling for baby's decent and encouraging women where to push, for instance) must be rare indeed! Perhaps only unassisted births would fall into this category, if the woman did nothing consciously to get birth to start. What do you all think?</b><br><br>
I had a midwife (<a href="http://www.fcmcdallas.com" target="_blank">http://www.fcmcdallas.com</a>) but an absolutely "natural" birth as you describe it. I exercised up until two days before I had my baby, but no long walks or other exercise during labor or to bring labor on. No sex for about 2 months before the baby because logistically, it just wasn't fun! LOL No nipple stimulation, other than the occasional squeezing in the last couple of weeks to see if I were producing colostrum (I was), because I was curious. No membrane stripping. Other than the Group B Strep swab at 37 weeks, I never had an internal exam. During labor, no acupressure- a little back massage during about 10 minutes worth of contractions, that's it, certainly no manipulation of my cervix. One internal exam when I was 9 cm because I needed to know if it was time to invite people to the birth yet (um... yeah. PAST time. Only my sister and daughter made it in time. LOL).<br><br>
No suggesting of when or how to push other than encouraging me that if I felt like it, I could have my baby anytime I wanted... but that if I wanted to wait for Vanessa (daughter) she wasn't there yet. I got on hands and knees instinctively and no one ever suggested I move into any other position.<br><br>
Overall, the only thing I wish I had done differently was call people to come sooner- my best friend had been going to catch, and she didn't make it in time, and I wish I had told Debra I wanted Virginia born in the caul, because she almost was and could have been if I had mentioned I wanted her to be. <shrug> I can't complain, it was a super birth, and I can't imagine submitting to any of the "routine" interventions again unless we were having a severe medical problem. It is just SO much nicer without them.<br><br>
Declined newborn PKU, eye ointment, any shots, etc. as well. She had PKU done at 3 days. That is the only time my baby has ever been stuck. She is so calm and sweet- I wonder if this is why? I'll never know, I guess.<br><br>
Delilah<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/love.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="love">
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
wOw! What a wonderful discussion. It is amazing how everyones views are different!<br><br>
I have to agree that an epidural is nothing but *natural*!<br><br>
I just love this place....mainstream boards get my knickers in a knot!!!LOL<br><br>
I am off to do some reading!
 

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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;"><i>Originally posted by Greaseball</i><br><b>...I guess I would say unnatural births are births that are overly managed where such management is not necessary and often leads to problems requiring more management.</b></td>
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Yeah, Greaseball! For once, I can agree w/you! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngtongue.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Stick Out Tongue">
 

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i agree with the last comment, and also would like to say that i find it insulting to me that other people use the words interchangeably.... i had a very rough and long natural birth with a midwife in a hospital.... she was wonderful.... it was a long haul, but i made the decision not to have any medications or interventions for the sake of my unvacc, no antibiotics, uncircumcised son... He came out on his own, in his own time, alert, holding his head up and ready to breastfeed for the first time... It was the hardest thing I have ever had to do, what with the back labor, and pushing through NO contractions at the very end......so painful, but out came this very alert undrugged child.... i would do it again in a heartbeat, it was so worth it.<br>
I say that as i await the birth of my second child ( i am one day "overdue"), planning to do the exact same thing for this baby.....
 

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Speaking from experience, no, an epidural is not natural.<br><br>
I was going to have my natural, vaginal, unmedicated labor and DD's birth in the local birthing center, surrounded by my midwife, my husband, my mother and the midwife-in-training (what a sweetie!). I did all my exercises every day, several times a day. I was researched in all the nifty concentration exercises and deep breathing.<br><br>
After 31 hours of hard labor, having my membranes stripped, in and out of the birthing tub, having had my water broken, and still having only progressed to 3cm, I finally realized that I was going to start passing out (which I actually did) and that my body was too tired to make it. Now, if I was simply having uterine contractions, that would have been one thing; but my body was trying to push DD out at only 3cm. Because I had previously told my husband that I did not want any medications, it took an hour before everyone finally realized what I had known an hour before.<br><br>
The hospital we went to gave us some problems (ever been referred to as "The Failed Home Birth" for a week straight?), but I got my epidural and they put me on a light drip of pitocin to try and get everything to progress. My husband and I had to fight tooth and nail, but we kept everything as natural as we could.<br><br>
Am I sorry that I went in for an epidural? No. Did I have a natural birth? Obviously not. But I'm tired of being looked down upon by all those who never had any complications giving birth to their children. I was going to do that, but God knew something else that I didn't...DD had passed all of her meconium into the bag of waters and if I had not gone to the hospital, the midwife did not have any way of suctioning the meconium out of her throat, where, once she was fully born, would have progressed into her lungs and caused MASSIVE problems.<br><br>
So the long and short of this is that an epidural is not a natural thing, but is sometimes neccessary and those who make use of it should not be looked down upon and catagorized as an un-natural birth, but commended for being able to have a vaginal birth. And those who must have C-sections should not be looked down upon either. Granted, I don't believe that women should have C-sections just for convenience sake, but that's another discussion.
 

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What is "Natural" about injecting drugs into yourself and your child during childbirth? It always urks me when people mistakenly IMO say they are going to try and have a natural birth meaning vaginal. For me the birth experience was much more about my DS than me, I wanted him to come into this world with as little stress as possible. I think it is sad that people underestimate the unbelievable power of their bodies. I think it would have been a complete contradiction to have drugs enter my sons system at birth but then refuse Vaccines and all other interventions when he was born.<br><br>
Megan
 

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This is such an interesting discussion. Here is what I think. I should mention that I am a "baby" doula more then a mother doula. I comfort and accept and do all of the doula things that doulas do, but I teach pre-natally about what happens to the baby and in labor, I think about the baby just as much as the mother. I don't work for people who are going to circumcise. Sometimes mothers choose to get a vitamin k shot, but then almost always choose not to, or to do it orally. They never do the eye ointment, unless they really need it, and no-one takes baby unless they have meconium. And then they get baby back ASAP.<br><br><br>
Natural birth is when no-one manages you. No-one is in control. You are in a sea of emotions and hormones and you lost your brain somewhere back there. There are no interventions, from stripping membranes, AROM, pit, IV...nothing is attached to you and you are free to do whatever you need to do. It is a vaginal birth with no cutting. No one is trying to save you. You are not broken. You mind is clear of narcotics and your back is left alone.<br><br><br>
Medication free birth- All of the above, but you might have had an episiomty or AROM, some sort of intervention that is done to you without a medication involved.<br><br><br>
I will go on, but my kids are crying....<br><br><br><br>
Renee, you should be so proud of yourself for the 31 hours of hard labor that you went through. And in making a decision to have an epidural, you had to come out of yourself and make a very difficult decision based on the information you had available. You should be really really proud of yourself. The chance of another birth like your first is really rare. Good luck and happy birthing day!!
 

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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">So then, what is natural? I don't think you have to be in a grass hut by yourself with a stick between your teeth!</td>
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ITA.<br><br>
I also agree that some women feel they deliver "naturally" because the baby came out of their vagina rather than a C-section which is then considered "unnatural".<br><br>
I think every woman can and do define "natural" in their own way. who is to say? must i labor for 31hrs with back labor & suffer great pain? must my labor be like this:
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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">It was the hardest thing I have ever had to do, what with the back labor, and pushing through NO contractions at the very end......so painful, but out came this very alert undrugged child.</td>
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I dont think so. i think its insulting to me that because you sufered and i didnt that somehow your birth was more worthy<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/rolleyes.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="rolleyes">: my baby came out with 9/10 apgars went right to the breast and camped out there for 3 hrs. Furthermore, i had a natural birth, no pain meds, no pit, no iv, no forceps, no vacuum. but i labored 8 hrs, pushed for 15 minutes. and i didnt break a sweat, so because i didnt suffer endlessly, am i part of the club?<br><br>
FTR: my second and third children were both epidurals. and no, i do not consider that "natural" as far as natural goes.
 
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