Feb 22 2009

More on natural childbirth

As ya know, I had intended to give birth to my son with as few interventions (including going without pain meds) as possible. I had many reasons: my health, baby’s health, to have an easier recovery, fewer complications with nursing, less risk of having a c-section, and I just plain wanted to see if I could do it.

At the beginning of my pregnancy, I thought that I’d probably get an epidural. I figured, why be in pain if you don’t have to be? And then I learned more about it. Many women have epidurals and have good experiences. But, there are plenty of women and babies who have complications from epidurals. If, while pregnant, you’re not allowed to take an Excedrin for a headache, then why is it suddenly ok to be injected with narcotics? In your spine?

After more research, I decided the risks weren’t worth it.

It’s also been shown that epidurals can lead to a “cascade of interventions.” Your labor might slow down, so you’ll need pitocin to increase your contractions. The contractions are much stronger and more frequent than natural ones would have been, and this stresses your baby out. That could lead to needing a forceps or vacuum-assisted delivery, or a c-section.

With any drug administered, you’ll need continuous fetal monitoring. This might be done externally, with bands around your belly. Some hospitals are equipped with mobile units, which is nice since you’ll be able to move around somewhat. Other times, they might require you to have internal monitoring. That means they will screw a device into your baby’s head. INTO their head. Yikes!

If you’re stuck in bed, then your pain will likely increase. You won’t be as able to change positions or move about, or use the shower as you labor.

One blogger, a mother of seven, is considering a natural birth for her eighth child. I found her post and the comments that followed to be extremely interesting.

You also won’t want to miss the posts from another blogger explaining some reasons why women choose a natural childbirth. See part 1 on the medical aspect, part 2 on the religious, and part 3 on cultural reasons.

At the very least, if you’re pregnant or hoping to be, definitely take time to research all drugs that might be administered to you and all interventions that are possible. It’s better to be informed beforehand than trying to make a decision while in labor, or worse, looking back and saying, “If only I had known about this.”

If, knowing all the risks, you choose pain relief, then good for you. You made an informed decision, and that’s important. Don’t let any natural childbirth advocates make you feel bad for your decision.

For more on the topic, see my post on thoughts about natural childbirth.

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One Response to “More on natural childbirth”

  1. To whoever is interested: the best book for making an informed choice about childbirth is “The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth.” HIGHLY recommended, and while it is detailed and comprehensive, it’s not nearly as long as it looks, because the last 1/4-1/3 of it is citing case studies, footnoting, etc.

    I liked your last paragraph, Kacie, about not letting a natural childbirth advocate make you feel bad for choosing pain relief. Make an informed choice, but ultimately, it’s your choice :-). And the world will not end if you use an epidural. . .

    Susan Keisters last blog post..Birth Survey

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