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Celebrity Baby Blog

Poll: Why Natural Childbirth?

05/08/2009 at 02:30 PM ET
Celebrity Baby Blog

In anticipation of our interview with The Business of Being Born‘s Ricki Lake and filmmaker Abby Epstein about their new book, Your Best Birth: Know All Your Options, Discover the Natural Choices, and Take Back the Birth Experience and social networking site, My Best Birth, we’ve been thinking a lot (and differently) about natural childbirth.

Many celebrities chose to give birth without drugs or medical intervention, whether at home, a birthing center or hospital, and we know many of you have as well. Now tell us why or, if you’re contemplating natural childbirth for your new birth, what attracts you most to it.

Click here to see who gave birth naturally or at home.

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Showing 57 comments

Hannah on

As a labor and delivery nurse for many years and I would like to say that any woman that can grow another human being inside of them and successfully delivery that baby has done so “naturally”, irregardless of how that baby gets out! Women all over need to give themselves props for jobs well done bringing their babies into the world weather they have had epidurals, c sections or “natural” deliveries. I say to each there own, do whatever it takes to get you thru and don’t beat yourself up about needing to use medication. Your babies birth is a memory you should cherish.

Marcie on

I have 2 children, and both were natural vaginal deliveries (no pain meds, no epidural). I grew up with 2 older sisters and became an aunt at age 8. By the time I became a mother at age 21, I had 6 nieces and nephews, all born by natural vaginal deliveries. I had been around labor and delivery, and I had a very realistic view. I knew it would hurt, and I also knew I could get through it and would be ok afterward. 2 months after my first child was born, I witnessed my sister n law receiving an epidural. I have never been afraid of needles, but after watching that, I was very happy I had not had one. I also had a natural birth with my second child 5 years later. I did what was best for me, and each time I went into it with the realization that I may have to receive an epidural or c-section if things did not go as planned. Even though natural was best for me, I totally understand that it is not for everyone. I think each mother has to know what their tolerance is. I did give birth both times in a hospital. After each delivery, the pain was gone for me as soon as the baby was out. I was able to walk around immediately afterward, and that is a benefit to me. I know other mothers that had epidurals and still experienced pain from the epidural site weeks after giving birth.

Julie on

I had my first in a hospital and my second at home. The home birth was a much better experience. At home, only loving hands touched my baby and he was never away from me. The hospital is so much more impersonal. I also didn’t have to worry about hospital germs being passed to my baby. I’ll definitely have my next baby at home.

Carrie on

I did not have much of a choice in delivering “naturally”. I am severly allergic to any and all painkillers (Tylenol and Advil are the only okay ones), and so there was no question about it. I was VERY fortunate that all of my labors were quick and easy though…thank goodness!!

Kandeezie on

My first two were in a hospital. The first birth was great. The second birth was a horrible botched job by the staff and nearly put my baby’s life in danger. If the doctor didn’t apologize to me for such a big error, I think I would have sued! But I forgave and moved on. When I got pregnant with my third, I decided I didn’t want a repeat and explored my options. It was only after reading about Ricki Lake on this blog that I decided to have my baby at home. It was the most relaxing, loving, exciting, beautiful experience I’ve ever had. I was so proud of myself. I did it! I made it through. The healing time and aftercare was much faster. My midwives came to visit me at home and took care of me for 6 weeks. I still smile to this day when I think about the experience I had. I am very happy that I had a home birth.

SM on

My first child was born in the hospital, and I requested an epidural the second I arrived. I educated myself and decided to have my second child with a midwife at a freestanding birth center. The birth was 1000 times harder, but 1000 times better. So much so that I decided to have my third child at a birth center without medication as well.

“Natural” doesn’t mean “lie on the bed and writhe in agony.” There are many things you can do to help make the contractions more bearable (including floating in a warm hot tub), hypnosis, massage, etc., and they helped me birth my 10.5lb baby with no complications and nary a stitch necessary. The high after natural birth is unparalleled.

amy on

my daughter, who is now 9 weeks old, was born by c-section. i was in labor since 4am on march 2nd and my water broke at 5pm that day. i went into the hospital within an hour of my water breaking and pretty much got stuck in a bed for the next 29 hours. i labored for 30 hours AFTER my water broke and ended up beginning to get a fever and had to have a c-section. i was erally disappointed. the hospital wouldn’t let me get out of bed to walk around while in labor and i feel like if i had been able to, i wouldn’t have gotten stuck at 6cm and ended up with a c-section. i am (obviously) thankful that my daughter was born healthy and am glad we did the c-section because of the fever and all, but i still wish i could’ve delivered naturally. the recovery after surgery was horrible (and was followed by a second surgery due to complications) and i hope to never have another c section. although… you never know. im just happy my baby girl is here and healthy.

Maaike on

I live in the Netherlands and in my country, natural child birth is normal. You can even see it in our health insurance policies: If there is no medical reason that makes hospital birth a necessity (such as multiples, premature delivery, breeched baby, complications in previous births) you have to pay (more) for the ‘luxury’ of giving birth in a hospital.

Mind you, we have good and affordable health insurance for everyone in my country, and nearly all medical costs are covered. It just goes to show that even our insurance companies think that women should give birth at home – naturally – unless there is a pressing reason to do otherwise.

I grew up hearing women tell stories of ‘In America everyone gives birth in hospital with epidural!’ and most women thought it was kind of strange and unnecessary – even outrageous.

My mother delivered all three of her daughters naturally, at home, with the aid of a midwife. I am currently trying to get pregnant and I would be sorely disappointed if for some medical reason I could not deliver my child naturally and at home.

I heard that an epidural (not being able to feel the pain) slows down labour – and so does being away from one’s own environment (home). If I do have to go to hospital for childbirth, I plan to stay at home as long as I can before I go.

fuzibuni on

I haven’t had kids yet, but would go with a home birth if possible.
I feel like it would be much nicer to be in my own space instead of a hospital… with a great midwife team. Of course I would get regular check-ups to make sure everything was okay first though.

Kristen on

I was able to give birth in a Birthing Center, naturally (med free). I labored at home the entire time and arrived at the Center fully dilated, and pushed her out! I should have just stayed at home.

I hope this doesn’t turn in to a debate. I’ve seen the epi vs. natural discussion get pretty ugly. You do what’s best for you and your child. :)

Bohemian Nut on

Had 6 last one C- section 5 no medication. All 9 pounds or more. Not one labor lasted more than 3 hours start to finish. So… not cause I didn’t want it, there was not freaking time! LOL they flew out!

MtMomma on

I was torn between the first and second option, but decided to go for “other” because the biggest reason why I have chosen (and plan to continue choosing) natural childbirth is because when you interfere with the natural process, the hormonal balance of your post birth experience is tampered with. As far as my experience goes, I have never in my life felt so wonderful and alive as the days following my natural childbirth. I think that it benefited both myself and my baby tremendously. My first was an unplanned c-section and I did not have these feelings at all, but rather struggled with a bit of depression instead. The greatest natural high I’ve ever known has been to give birth naturally!

Heidi on

If free-choice isn’t something that is important to you, and you are comfortable consuming whatever plan is established for your health care without full participation, natural birth may not be interesting to you.

Natural birth grants parents the opportunity to be active participants in their prenatal care and birth plan. To me it is essential that we realize and use this power.

Cate on

My first baby nearly 25 years ago was a c-section because she was breech. When I had my second baby three years later I had natural childbirth. It was worth it to not have to go thru the long recovery associated with major surgery. I had to look for a doctor willing to let me go natural and I had to have an i.v. inserted in case they had to do an emergency c-section but I was walking around 3 hours after giving birth and experienced much less pain. Don’t get me wrong if a c-section is the only option for a safe birth then it should be done but these days it seems it’s once a c-section then always a c-section.

MizMolly on

You have to be honest about your risk tolerance. At 37, I am not willing to take the risk. My son had the cord wrapped twice around his neck. My daughter was fine but after the experience with my son, I wasn’t interested in a home birth or natural birth. C-sections have their place, esp. when it could save you or your baby’s life. That said, c-sections have their own risks too. Unlike other posters, I found c-section recovery to be extremely easy.

Jhwest on

I’ve had six kids and by the time I had baby #5 I really wanted to try natural childbirth instead of the epidurals I’d had with my others. I wanted to feel like I’d made an educated decision about which one I preferred. Plus I just wanted to be able to say I’d done it.

I used hypnobirth, which was pretty good. I was in labor for five hours, no tearing/epiosiotomy, but I have to say, the recovery wasn’t any better than with an epidural. Actually it was worse since there was no numbness to take the edge off after the delivery.

It was nice having my husband be so involved, but other than that it was awful. I don’t know why anyone would want to have a baby naturally. I was so miserable when my daughter came out that I couldn’t even open my eyes to look at her. All I could think was “PAIN!!!!!!!!”

Needless to say I had an epidural with #6. It was a lovely experience.

I don’t think anyone, including Ricki Lake, can make a really educated decision until they’ve tried both natural and medicated birth. Please don’t crucify me for saying that.

fergette on

I’m excited for the interview. I’ve seen the documentary and found it truly wonderful. My mother had both my brother and me naturally but in a hospital setting. I always thought there was no way I would do that. I figured if medicine has found a way to safely deliver a baby without the pain why not do it that way? I mean I get pain meds when I have a cavity filled so how’s it any different? But now that I understand the slowing/speeding up process of epidurals and pitocin and how it is more likely to lead to a C-section, I have completely rethought my future laboring process. I would like to find a hybrid of the two worlds where it is understood that I would prefer not to have a C-section and allow my body to do what it needs to but also have it at the ready if it really became necessary.

momto3 on

Initially, I was told I would never be able to have a child, so when I got pregnant, I knew that I wanted to experience everything including having the baby without any pain meds. I didn’t care how much it hurt, because I knew the greater prize was worth it. On my third child, I did op for an epidural, but it didn’t take affect. I had back pain too for a month afterwards. Totally not worth it.

Renee on

I got an epidural and will get another if I get the chance to have another baby. my sis recomended it b/c she did 1 without one with and she said that I wanted to enjoy it so I went for it and so happy I did I had a 3rd degree laceration took them an hour to stitch me up i actually ended up with the epidural meds while being stitched b/c I started feeling the pokes of the needle. So I am all for one everyone is built diffrently and bodies take delivering a baby diffrently some people are only in labor for a few hours and 3 pushes baby is out! I pushed 2 and a half hours my daughter was what they called sunny side up and I was told it was the most difficult way to deliver a baby vaginally b/c its the bigest part of the babies head. Just like some prefer having a c-section or some cant help it that they have a c-section.

Renee on

momto3 We were told the same thing took us 5 and a half years to get pregnant with our daughter and we are ttcing baby #2 now for the last 8 months!

Suzanne on

I would never chose to give birth without an epidural. In this day and age of modern medicine and technology I see no reason to put myself though all that pain when I do not have to. I hear so many women who think they have something to prove by having their babies naturally. While I respect their opinion, I simply don’t feel I or any other women has anything to prove. Mortality rates for women in child birth and their babies have improved greatly in developed countries due to modern medicine. I would not risk a home birth. Anything can go wrong and you, your baby, or both of you die.

Courtney on

I have 4 children. The first 3 I had epidurals, which I ADORED. I loved that I could talk with people, interact. Not be in pain, at all…it was wonderful.

With my last pregnancy he was breech, turned at 38 weeks then turned BACK while I was in labor. So he was a C section. They said ” babies only come out 2 ways and hes not coming THAT way”. So an hour later we were wheeled in, my husband was there, we watched Caden be born, I watched at they cleaned him, My husband held him while they tied my tubes. I was wheeled back to the room holding my son. And was up just about all night with him and my whole family. It was wonderful.

I actually forget that he was a C section. I feel no different towards him than I do my other children. I feel no dissapointment for not having to shove something the size of a watermelon out a hole the size of a quarter…LOL

JMO on

I’d love to experience the whole home birth in a bathtub setting but I know I will probably be begging for meds. I do have a high pain tolerance except for when it comes to cramps! I usually end up in fetus position with a heating pad. I always think, if this is what I’m like with simple period cramps what the hell does labor feel like?! This is why I think atleast for baby #1 I’ll opt for a hospital and a nice epidural!! I figure I’ll hold off as long as I can but atleast it will be an option. And I guess after I have a feel of what it’s like with after birth # 1 I’ll decide what to do for the second. But as much as I think it would be nice to do it all naturally I also see no reason to have to force myself to go through it if I don’t need to. I just always hear of these epidural headaches and people feeling numbness for days in their spines which worries me. So hopefully I won’t have to go through any of that.

Amanda on

I have given birth to three beautiful children and had 3 different births.

My first I labored at home for awhile and my mother helped me with the pain. By the time I got to the hospital and was checked I was 6cm. Less than 30 minutes later I was 10 and ready to push. 3 (terrified) pushes later he was out. I immediately felt wonderful.

My daughter I was stuck at 4cm for hours on end. They gave me morphin and ambien (called a medicated rest)and I slipped in and out of drug-induced sleep every 3 mins between contractions. When they finally checked me 4 hours later I was 6-7 cm. 15 mins later I was pushing. 2 pushes and my daughter was born. Again, I immediately felt better.

My 2nd daughter was born a week and a half ago via c-section due to her being transverse and me being 3cm dialated with a bulging sac and hanging placenta (severe danger of prolapse). The staff for this birth was amazingly supportive and wonderful. For the first time during any of my births I felt taken care of and special. The recovery for the first few days was absolute hell…but I’m almost back to normal.

I was never a candidate for a homebirth due to my high-risk pregnancies (as a result of having a unicornuate uterus) but I do I wish I’d been able to have my first 3 babies with a midwife. My OB with those 2 came in at the last minute and basically just caught them. My OB with the 3rd held my hand the whole time, but I think that was circumstantial. I love my 2nd OB to pieces, but would my birth experience with her have been all that different if I’d had another vaginal delivery? I’m not so sure.

All in all, if I’d felt emotionally and physcally supported during my labors I’d overwhelming choose a vaginal birth simply based on how I felt AFTER the births. (and yes my husband was there, but he didn’t know what to do either!)

KristyH on

I haven’t given birth but I must say I am sickened at the treatment I’ve read women receiving with c-sections. Strapped down, the father doesn’t get to cut the cord, if they’re lucky they get a quick glimpse of the baby before the nurses whisk the child off to scrub it, diaper and clothe it so the mother doesn’t get to bond with the baby in her own arms and skin-to-skin, the father is pushed out of the way — the nurses keeping him at a distance, and then the mother is wheeled off to recover isolated in a room. Sometimes it’s hours before she gets to see her child, let alone hold it.

And if the baby’s large, she’s not allowed to hold it freely for up to six weeks because of the threat she could pop the stitches.

I am horrified that the show “A Baby Story” glamorizes c-sections so much when it’s obvious the last people getting to bond with the baby are the mother and father.

Why is it, in Europe so many FEWER women need c-sections. That lets you know that there’s some pushing to surgery going on in the US, perhaps for the bigger hospital bill.

Laura on

I’ve never had children so I have no idea what it is like. That being said I have heard plenty of stories so right now I’m thinking I will probably use the epidural whenever I end up having a baby. Of course once I am actually pregnant I will certainly look at all my options and see what the best choice is for me and my baby.

Diamond Girl on

The documentary was so judgmental about the “lack of bonding” if you have anything other than a midwife home birth. That is insulting to any mother who has her child any other way. Also to adoptive mothers.

It’s ridiculous, but even that Abby who had to have a C-section with the 3-lb baby said she didn’t have that bonding with her baby.

She and Ricki had a biased agenda, and she was focused on the fact that she didn’t get the birth SHE wanted rather than the fact that her son could have been stillborn due to the condition he had of not growing sufficiently, which her doctor said usually can’t even be detected until the baby dies.

The birth is not for the mother’s “orgasmic” experience (yes, someone in the movie described it that way) – it’s for the outcome of having a child.

Jamie on

Bottom line: epidurals (unless absolutely necessary as a precursor to required C-section) are NOT healthy for your baby. Think about it this way: you’re putting large amounts of painkillers/numbing medicine into your body. Your baby absorbs a good bit of that. Why would you want to bring your baby into the world with drugs in his or her little body? Pre-delivery you wouldn’t put that kind of stuff into your body, so why would you do it during delivery?

Women have been giving birth naturally since the beginning of time. We ALL can do it, we’re biologically programmed to (though I recognize that there are instances in which a C-section is necessary!). Sure, it’s painful, but there are safe natural remedies and other birthing practices to help ease the pain.

Women shouldn’t be afraid of natural childbirth. We can do this, ladies! It’s healthier for us AND what’s best for our babies!!!

Rebecca on

It will be a few years before I have kids, but right now the idea of natural childbirth doesn’t appeal to me at all. I already know I function poorly when in pain so if the pain meds/epidural work for me I’d rather have those when the time comes.

Olivia on

I chose an unmedicated birth the second time around because I wanted to feel more connected with my child. It wasn’t about the pain, or the recovery. I’m so happy I did, it was an amazing experience. The recovery was much quicker, and the pain wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought.

Nicole R. on

I voted for “Because it’s safer.” I think epidurals and other medical interventions such as augmenting and inducing labor can easily cause a “cascade of chaos,” resulting in failure to progress and unnecessary C-sections. The most dangerous way to deliver a baby is through C-section, which has significantly higher risk of maternal death.

I’ve had two natural births, partly because I really wanted to avoid a C-section. Yes, sometimes there is no doubt that C-section is necessary, and I am grateful it exists. However, many other times the situation is ambiguous, and C-sections are overused for reasons like “failure to progress.” Often this lack of progress is actually caused by the medical requirements associated with epidural use, especially the lack of mobility. Labor can stall for a variety of reasons, but a big one is being unable to change positions. So I knew that I didn’t want to labor stuck on my back, tethered to the fetal monitor, hooked to an IV and a urine catheter.

Plus I know three women who opted for epidurals whose babies were born with high fevers — that’s the “epidural fever” you so seldom hear about. Their newborns were taken from them and pumped full of unnecessary antibiotics in the NICU. The families were terrified, of course.

Labor is hard work … it hurts … and you can do it!

Finnaryn on

Heidi, free-choice is important to me and I chose an induction with my third when offered. My doctor never forced me. I also chose to bring up the idea of another induction when I first became pregnant with my fourth. I have short labors and the time has been halved with each baby. I have no desire to give birth in the car, while getting the other kids to a babysitter. I have torn each time, and that is another consideration.

And in regards to Ricky Lake, quite frankly, she continues to turn me off of “natural” child birth. Granted, two of my labors were pain meds free, and if we have another I would not request pain meds. But she comes off and a know it all who has set out to make any woman who chooses to give birth outside of their home, feel like a fool. I do not care to listen to an actress tell me how she thinks I should give birth. If you want to have a home birth, fine, whatever, but not every OB is “out to get you” and just make money. My OB clearly laid out ALL of my options and let me decide what I wanted to do. I feel completely comfortable with my births.

DrSticky on

I think the whole debate interests me most. During my pregnancy I read lots of stuff which I would now label PROPAGANDA which stressed how natural was the best way, best for baby….it left me feeling it was pretty much the only way and my birth plan was: move around, no drugs, natural birth. My doctor told me that it’s not a failure to ask for an epidural, but I would not listen. So it was a TOTAL shock when my legs would not support me as baby was in a posterior position, so I could not squat or move around, and after 10 hours trying it naturally in a birthing pool I was still not fully dilated; baby was distressed, my blood pressure was high…drugs helped me fully dilate but after 2 hours pushing DD still would not emerge – a forceps delivery was tried but my DD came down and WENT BACK UP AGAIN. Basically, I ended up delivering by caesarean section, not because it was the easiest thing for the hospital, but because it was absolutely necessary. And how much of a failure did I feel that I did not do it ‘properly’? 5 weeks down the line I had post-natal anxiety and depression and could not bring my baby to the breast without crying. The expectations I had of childbirth and the pressure I felt to do it naturally to be a good mother was profound. My next delivery, I chose and elective caesarean and the whole experience was actually wonderful, the delivery was so relaxed and my youngest DD (now 3) is such a chilled out honey! I am happy if people believe in and deliver vaginally/without the aid of medical intervention/drugs (I don’t like the word ‘naturally’ myself these days). But the promotion of it (similar to breastfeeding) sets up women for a huge shock and sense of failure if they do choose available pain relief options or they do have a medical emergency.

Cat on

I have had two babies, my first was induced 2 weeks early because I had toxemia. and my second was born 3 weeks early because of the same thing. I had epidurals with both and had the most wonderful experience. My labors were fast and about 4 pushes later I delivered two very healthy babies. once they were out the doctor put the baby on my chest and they both nursed right away.
I think that it should be your decision how you give child birth ( unless a c- section is the only opinion.) You are the mother and it is your body. I am so grateful to live in america because our health care gives us that opinion.
And just because you have a C-Section or a medicated child birth it doesn’t minimize your bonding with your baby. You should be open minded when giving birth because if something happens that isn’t in your birth plan you wont get disappointed, because things can happen. It’s so sad when women put a bad name of epidurals and c-sections. Listen to doctors they do know what they are talking about, not some actress. When she goes to medical school and delivers 100 babies than I will listen a little more.
And just because women had home natural childbirth 100 years ago, it doesn’t mean we still have to too. Thats what so wonderful about modern medicine.

Lorus on

First birth was a c/s because she was a footling breech. Ended up being allergic to the morphine they gave me so I became severely sick and had blurred vision. I remember seeing a blurry face of my newborn all wrapped up in a ball of blankets before she was taken away. I spent 2.5h in recovery on my own before they brought me up to my room. Even then I was vomiting like crazy and so sick that I didn’t care that I just had a baby. No interest in holding or nursing her. My blurred vision didn’t go away until about 10 hours later. The whole situation sucked and I ended up with severe post partum depression. We ended up having a horrible time nursing and my milk didn’t come in until the 6th day. Went on to nurse successfully after a VERY long and difficult first few months.
When I became pregnant with my second I went with a midwife and was planning a homebirth. Only to find out that baby #2 was breech as well. Did EVERYTHING in my power to flip her as the thought of a repeat c/s scared me to death. She remained breech so I had to have another one. My midwife knew an amazing OB/GYN who helped me out. She was really into VBACs, empowering women, women’s rights, etc. She made sure my second c/s was 100x better. After my daughter was out I was able to see them clean her up and being examed, then my husband got to hold her while they stapled me up. I took her into the recovery room with my midwives and they unwrapped her and laid her naked on my chest. Nothing like seeing your newborn staring up at you during the first hour after their birth. She had no interest in nursing, just looking straight at me. I was in recovery with her for 3 hours before heading to my room. We left the hospital 36 hours after she was born since I wanted to get home. Even though healing from a c/s is the absolute pits the second time around was so much better as I felt like I bonded with her compared to my first.
Planning on trying to conceive this Summer with baby #3 and both the OB/GYN and my midwife support having a VBAC. Here’s hoping I get my homebirth next time around!

Rach on

JHwest,I love your last comment :)

Before my child was born, I had planned to be “a natural goddess”, doing everything without meds etc and enjoying a nice waterbirth with some hypnobirthing.Everyone had told me that contractions feel like “period cramps” …right My period cramps sometimes had me in bed for the first couple of days because it was so painful,so labour pains were horrible, esp after being induced and having a foley.

Preeclampsia pretty much killed that ! I had to be given the epidural to lower my BP.I don’t know why women say it is painful and stuff. The freezing needle felt like a bee sting or pinprick and the actual epidural tube insertion etc felt weird…it made me want to twitch as if I had ice running down my back.

I had been called to the hospital a couple of days earlier and I had no rest thanks to all the tests etc that needed to be done and then a noisy roomate..so I was really tired and really hungry (since all I could eat was light things like salad and popcicles because they thought I would need a C-section). This was my first baby, so I was quite scared,esp since induction meant baby would be a month early, so I couldn’t even calm myself to focus on the hypnobirthing stuff.

When I have bad pains water is my best friend, esp if I soak.In retrospect,I think if I was able to have my waterbirth, I would have gone naturally.I wasn’t invested in either natural or meds, but I knew I was def against having a c-section.

My chilbirth experience :

http://rachael-ann.blogspot.com/2008/12/road-to-baby.html

Corinne on

I had an unmedicated birth with my son and I am so glad I went that route. My OB/GYN was a bit reluctant when I told him I planned on giving birth without having an epidural but since I am a doctor and was totally aware of the possible consequences of my decision-including having to undergo general anesthesia if I were to need an emergency c-section- he agreed to it anyways.
Labor was a piece of cake, only 8 hours with a baby that weighed 3.8 kg (8.4lbs)! Of course I am lucky to have a wide pelvic opening so that makes it easier.
I am now expecting twins and, unless complications arise, I fully intend on doing it unmedicated all over again. The recovery is just much better as no drugs have to wear off your system.

MizMolly on

Kristy H: I have no idea where you got your information. I had a large baby boy via c-section and could lift him. I also had my daughter c-section and was still lifting my son, who is a toddler. While this wasn’t the safest thing, I didn’t “pop” my stitches and everything was fine. You are allowed to lift your baby, no matter the size.

Ali on

I chose to have an unmedicated birth using Hypnobirthing and even though it was 35 hours of emotional ups and downs I would do it again in a heartbeat. I was fortunate that I had a team of people who respected my birth plan enough to try everything they could to help me through it…even though I was at a hospital. I know many people aren’t’ as lucky.

Saying that though I was an aggressive patient. I met with every doctor…I went through detailed information about Hypnobirthing…I set out high expectations and they followed every one. They even wrote how far I was dilated at the very top of the board so if I was to walk in the hallway I wouldn’t see the number.

Through my pregnancy I learned that alot of women just follow their doctors. They don’t ask questions and in turn some of them get treated like cattle being herded through the labour ward. One pregnant person in…”not progressing” within the time they want you to (nevermind about your body or baby), Section her..NEXT!

The absolutely awesome thing I experienced in being able to feel everything was the placenta being delivered…now if they could bottle that feeling–wow!! LOL! I did have an episiotomy (Yes that was pain like I had never imagined) and I did have stitches (they numbed the area first)…but I also had a baby who amazed all of the nurses with how alert he was…especially for going through labour for 35 hours right along with me, poor kid. EVery single one of them commented on how different babies who are birthed naturally and those who have received and epidural really are. One of them actually just came in to see him because she said she hadn’t seen a naturally birthed baby in such a long time.

I think that more women need to know the options. I always explained my Hypnobirthing training like this….you would never think to run a marathon without training for weeks before so why would you expect yourself to be able to labour for hours without training?!

However you decide to have your baby though one thing is true…Women are absolutely amazing!

Mommyof3 on

When I found out I was expecting I wanted to do a natural home birth, around here where I live it is very unherad of so to speak.I thought it was a very calm and relaxing way to deliver my daughter. Since I had so many complications with my pregnancy my Dr recomended I do it in the hospital incase anything went wrong so I did. I went into the hospital to be induced, labored with all back labor and no meds (what sheer hell) for 13 hours and delivered my 4 pound baby witout any complications. Well low and behold as soon as the placenta was to come out it decided to stay, it would not detach. I was taken to the OR and just before they preped me it detached thank god.
When I had my second baby (18 months later) I decided to do it again at home, well the Dr’s all wanted me to deliver again in the hospital due to my previous complications so I did. I labored for 8 hours with my son, no pain management again and had a wonderful quick delivery….as soon as my son came out so did the pools of blood (sorry about the yuckieness) I don’t remember much after that at all…I was given 4 blood transfusions and sent to the ICU for 2 days.
With the last baby (again 18 months later) I decided to not even think of a home birth and do it all in the hospital. I was in labor with her for 4 long days when active labor began. 6 hours later and an epidural she was born without any complications at all….and luckily I didn’t hemorage!!!!!!

So I was glad I got off my “high horse” as my Mother caleld it and went ahead with the hospital delivery. Had I done it at home with the 1st I would hopefully had made 45 mins away to the hospital..but with the 2nd baby I would not have stood a chance!!! I’m very pleased with my decision….because in teh end I had not only 3 happy, healthy babies…I was alive to talk about it:)

tracey on

with my first pregnancy, i practiced a style of hynobirthing and went into labour with an open mind. even though i was committed to the birthing course i took, i also did not know how labour would pan out – and for that, i am glad because it also mean i didn’t have expecations and therefore, any regrets. after labouring at home for 3 days with non stop irregular contractions and my TENS machine, i spent 14 hours in hospital and had my waters broken for me, syncotin and an epidural. placenta delivered on it’s own. 2nd degree tears. 93 hours all up. it was the greatest experience of my life – and i was able to get up and around straight away. no issues with the epidural site, no issues getting it in at all.
i’m about to deliver our second baby any day now at a birth centre this time – and while i’ve got more coping skills now (homeopathy, water, aromatherapy etc) to get through a birth without drugs or intervention, i wouldn’t hesitate to do what i need and feel i want at the time. it’s not about intervention/no intervention, drugs/no drugs – it’s about birthing my child safely. i think intervention is needed, sometimes and our birth experiences are different to each pregnancy and person so we shouldn’t and can’t judge each other.
i agree that modern medicine is there because it *is* needed and is wanted. and i also agree that we’ve been doing this for thousands of years. it’s up to the individual and their caregivers, and then up to us to support them!

jessie on

i’m all for the epidural. i have horrible pms cramps so labor would probably be painful too. it doesn’t matter whether you use an epidural, natural vaginal or c-section, as long as the baby is healthy. i was watching an episode of baby story on TLC and one woman was in so much pain but refused to get an epidural because she wanted to be all natural in a tub, which i thought was ridiculous. she was in so much pain, later on she said she didn’t even enjoy the experience. it doesn’t make you any less of a woman if you choose to have pain medication/epidural, so why suffer, unless you don’t mind it. as for me drugs please, lol.

Jasmine on

Jamie, to be fair, yes women have been giving birth naturally from the beginning of time, but they’ve been dying giving birth from the beginning of time too. Women still die all over the world, giving birth naturally, so let’s remember even in a home birth everything is controlled so it’s not exactly “natural” like it is for millions of women in the world who don’t have access to hospitals.

I do think all women should do what’s comfortable for them but should also be aware that they can’t control their birthing experience since circumstances can arise that force them to leave the birthing center or their home and be rushed to the hospital. If that happens, they aren’t bad mothers and shouldn’t feel compelled to defend themselves for not “being perfect and natural.”

I’ve had both natural, vaginal with drugs and a csection and they all had their pluses and minuses. In the end, I had very little choice in any of the circumstances but love my children the same and don’t feel like I bonded any differently with them based on how they were born. Actually I had the worst depression and hardest time bonding with the child I birthed naturally but I don’t think that has anything to do with his birth and is just the change in hormones so many women experience. There’s just too much judgement and shame placed on women regarding pregnancy, birthing, and bf.

Now maybe I’m one of those women capable of seeing the good in any situation? Maybe I just don’t try to control everything? Also maybe I can just bond with my children whether I hold them seconds after their birth or hours, but I think too many women try to manipulate the birthing situation to give them a sense of accomplishment as a person when as one poster stated, the point of birth isn’t the “rush”, but the outcome of a healthy baby. However that happens is secondary.

zara on

can i recommend epidurals?

i have two children. the first was a drug free water birth and the second was induced with an epidural. i’m very lucky and both births took only 3 hours and 2 pushes… but delivering without pain was a really intense (in a good way) experience… the sun was shining through my window, i smiled at my husband, gave a little gentle push and my daughter was born… , it was such a calm and blissful moment.

also, nobody tells you how nice epidurals feel – like warm caramel running up and down your legs.

i sound like such a druggie!

Michelle on

I have two children and I’m expecting my 3rd in August/early September.
I had an epidural at 8 cms with my first and I hated it. I couldn’t feel anything below my ribs until hours after the birth and I had residual back pain for months. With my second I knew I wanted to have a drug-free birth. He was born early and needed to be in the NICU for 2.5 weeks and I had a bad experience at the hospital, but I never regretted laboring and giving birth naturally. Now that I’m pregnant with my third child I am planning another drug-free birth but this time will have a homebirth if I can stay pregnant long enough! If she’s full term I will have a homebirth (quite possibly a waterbirth) at home assisted by a midwife.
I think a lot of people assume homebirth means you can’t go to the hospital if something goes wrong, or that you’ll be on your own and won’t know if baby is in trouble. In most cases that just isn’t true. Some women choose to have a “UC”, an unasssisted childbirth, but for myself I would rather have the support of a trained midwife…at least this time.
I chose the “It’s safer” option for the poll because I believe that’s the biggest benefit for mom and baby. Women who labor naturally and change positions are less likely to have episiotomies, Pitocin, vacuum and/or forcep deliveries, and csections. All of those bring more risks to a birth. They also have shorter labors and, obviously, there’s no risk of drug interactions, side effects, or negative reactions for mom or baby. There’s many other benefits but for me those are the most important.

Kace on

I delivered naturally because I think it’s better for the baby. I just didn’t want to have my daughter exposed to painkillers, etc. if I didn’t have to. That said, I was also lucky enough to have an uncomplicated, relatively quick (hospital) birth with an excellent doula to help guide me through it. Not every woman is lucky enough to have that type of birth, so I realize that it’s every woman’s personal decision and also a matter of circumstance. But for me, the natural route was more for the baby’s sake than to alleviate any temporary discomfort on my part.

Lindsay on

The more interventions, the more likely complications are. No thanks. I will take the few hours of pain to prevent complications as much as possible.

Barbara on

I can’t agree with statements such as this is the natural way to give birth or this is how we are supposed to give birth. This means if you break a leg you shouldn’t require any pain killer. This is the way you were meant to heal. Same argument with tooth extraction. I know of too many women who wanted “natural childbirth”, and became so exhausted with the pain they had to have a c-section. Some women do not want the pain killer to get into the baby’s blood stream. However, if the newborn needs some minor surgery, I am sure the mother would never deny the baby a pain killing drug. It is certainly the mother’s decision, but I see more reasons against natural childbirth than for it.

Hea on

After staying away from everything even remotely poisonous, narcotic or alcoholic for nine months, I sure am not going to prop my system and my baby’s system full of drugs during the grande finale. I’ve had excessive brain surgery through my mouth without much complaints, birth is a walk in the park in comparison.

Erin on

I’ve had two babies at the hospital, one with epidural and one without. While the epidural birth was a wonderful experience and I had no complaints, my second birth, which was all natural, was truly amazing. Even more than the actual birth, the time immediately following it was just spectacular. I felt great, on a natural high, and was up and about within minutes. My mother showed up at the hospital after the baby was born, and he was nursing out of sight. She didn’t see the baby and thought that I was laboring with an epidural based on how I seemed. If I was planning to have another one, I’d go with a birth center instead of the hospital. The hospital was wonderful, but I’d prefer to be able to go straight home rather than having an overnight stay. I wouldn’t personally give birth at home because my first son required medical treatment immediately (he was 100% fine within moments, just hadn’t cleared out his lungs all the way) and I’d be too scared of reliving those awful moments at home. If I hadn’t had that part of the experience, I’d probably long to give birth at home.

Jodi on

I recently gave birth to my 4th girl – my first homebirth. With my first daughter, I had an injection for pain relief, but no epidural. #2′s labor progressed much faster, and by the time we got to the hospital, there was no time for pain relief.

When I was pregnant with #3, I planned to try for a natural delivery in a hospital, mainly because I already knew I could do it and how incredibly empowering the experience of natural childbirth was. Again, we made it to the hospital just in time to push, so I had my natural delivery by default.

When I discovered I was pregnant with #4, I found myself wanting to have my natural childbirth in a more supportive environment, so I planned a birth center birth. Nothing had been wrong with my hospital births, but I feared being perceived by some doctors and other medical staff as a ‘trouble-maker’ if I refused to go along with the ‘usual’ way of doing things, including the epidural. I imagined myself screaming during the final stages of labor and having all the happily-epiduralled women in the other rooms listening to me and thinking I was stubborn and that I’d asked for it (which I guess would be true – LOL!).

Anyway, all of that led me to a birth center, where I knew my decision to try for a drug-free birth would be respected and maybe even admired. Little did I know that 6 weeks before my due date, the center would be flooded and I would be left planning a homebirth if I wanted to stay with the midwives I had come to know and trust.

So, I came to homebirth kind of by accident. I don’t feel at all dogmatic about drug-free labors, and I think women should absolutely have epidurals if they want them. What I do object to is women being pressured to conform to the ‘modern way’ of having babies. In the heat of labor, if someone is saying to you, “why don’t you just have the epidural? That would really make things better,” you’re hardly in the best position to argue. On the other hand, if more women had medical professionals whispering in their ears, “You can do this! Your body was made for this!” maybe a lot of unecessary interventions could be avoided.

Carrie Rodich on

I would do natural birth if it was an underwater birth. Seems like it would be less stressful for both mom and baby, and possibly be safer. DH is totally freaked out about the idea of home birth, though, so I want to see if water birth is available through my ob/gyn clinic.

patricia on

I love drugs

Lanna on

Um, I would’ve gone with the first three options all at once, with a dose of “I don’t blindly trust hospitals and doctors without a *very* good reason.”

dawn on

natural child birth is rewarding. you feel every bit of pain, to bring such a beautiful person into the world. My first child I didn’t have a good experience with the epidural. I still felt contractions on one side,and thought, I might as well had done without it… and besides, ever since then,Ive been having an achy back. my second child (12 years ago)I had natural,nothing for the pain. My third (4 1/2 years ago)I also had nothing for the pain,and my fourth,nothing. I think I dealt with it pretty good. before giving birth to my children,I head alot of horror stories about how aweful the pain was. and it was. to me atleast. But i took lamaze classes with my first pregnancy (13 years ago) and I learned a breathing technique that helps your body ALOT through any sort of pain,even when I had my gall bladder attack,it helped.

MamaPenguin on

I honestly do not care how other women birth their children. I just don’t. It has nothing to do with me. I think it is important that information be there for women to make the best choice for their babies, so I suppose I support nonhyperbolic (from both sides!) information exchange.

Chrysalis on

I chose to birth normaly because to me that was the only option I ever considered. I was born that way, and I suppose I felt it to be a rite of passage I didn’t want to miss, but honestly I never considered anything else. As it turns out, it was such a fulfilling affirmation of my personal strngth. I feel that in many ways it fortified my with a personal awareness that helped me through some of the tougher moments of the early motherhood adjustment period. It was also moving and empowering for my partner.
Our first time we had the assistance of midwives, which I believe makes a tremendous difference, and is probably one of the reasons so few women choose to birth naturally now. When your care is provided by someone who fully understands and trusts the birth process and your ablilities, you are imbued with confidence and bolstered by their wisdom. Conversely our current OB/GYN system treats birth as inherently pathological and imposes so many constraints that it actually changes the physiology of the experience and makes it more challenging. In effect creating a self-fulfilling prophecy of pain and complication.
My husband and I feel so strongly about this, that when our second birth was imminent, and we had moved to an area where midwives had been legislated out of practice, we chose to deliver her ourselfves, just the two of us. It was not a decision we took lightly, nor did we fail to arm ourselves to the teethe with information. In the end it was wonderfully mundane and blissful. We simply had one more person at the breakfast table than had been at the dinner table the night before.
Now, as we anticipate the arrival of our third, and have moved again to a place with far less oppressive laws, we are planning to freebirth again. After ten years of marital bliss we didn’t think anything could bring us closer. But after facing down something most of society treats with such fear and apprehension, and learning that it in fact can be wonderful if we invest together, we feel empowered as a couple and closer than before. We don’t want to give away our experience to some one else if we don’t need to. This time we’ll be able to share it with our son and daughter as well.

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