5 Reasons Why You Can Have an Unmedicated Child Birth
I find myself in a striking minority by being unwilling to get an epidural. Four of my friends all had babies within a year of me and I was the only one to go unmedicated. Of the 20 or so moms-to-be at my child birth class, there was one mom who said she was undecided, and everyone else was a resounding, “of course I want the epidural!”.
If you want an epidural, I know I won’t convince you otherwise. I have no interest in trying to sway you at all. Everyone will choose what is best for them, and that’s great! If you think you want to go without medication though, you may desire reassurance and some reasons why to go that route. You have your own reasons, but during labor you want to have a long list of reasons as to why you are putting yourself through it, so I’d be happy to provide you with more.
# 1 Epidurals are scary. I’m a wimp and I hate needles. The thought of a giant needle going into my spine is absolutely terrifying. I know they are super safe, and any pain incurred in getting it put in can’t compare to that of labor and child birth, but I can’t get past it.
# 2 An epidural also means a catheter. Since you can’t move or feel anything from the waste down, you have to get a catheter put in while you’re in labor. I don’t want any additional drama going on in that region, it’s going through enough having to push a baby out.
# 3 Being able to move. The hospital I delivered at said that they don’t do “walking epidurals” because they tend not to work. Moving around during labor helps pain management, helps labor progress, and provides some distraction. I spent most of my labor on a birthing ball swaying my hips from side to side with my head on the hospital bed. I was able to get up and walk around when I had the desire, which was mostly only when I had to go to the bathroom, but the option was there!
# 4 Pushing CAN BE really quick. I was a first time mom and a size 00 (when not pregnant). No one thought the baby would come out quickly. My doctor was so sure that it would take a long time for the baby to get out that she missed the birth. It helped that my son wasn’t very big, 6 lbs 9 oz, but being unmedicated made it go so fast! My son was born approximately 30 minutes after I hit 10 centimeters, and that was with the medical team telling me NOT to push. I’m thinking it could have been even faster.
Since my doctor hadn’t arrived yet, the hospital staff was trying to have me hold off until she got there. The thing is, when you feel every bit of every contraction, you can’t not push. The contraction makes you push. I didn’t care one little bit if the doctor was there, not that I had a choice. I didn’t find pushing to be bad at all. It was a relief to get that pressure moving.
It is in no way guaranteed that unmedicated child birth with shorten your pushing time, but it doesn’t hurt it!
# 5 Child birth is the most important thing your body will ever do. This was my mantra while I was in labor. I wanted my body firing on all cylinders, all avenues of communication wide open. I think I repeated this one to myself during every contraction.
Bonus: #6 You are amazing!
Women have been birthing babies for all of human history without drugs. It is absolutely doable. You can do it! You have to go in knowing that you are not going to get the epidural, and your support person or people have to be on board too to keep from caving in. If you think, “I’d prefer not to get an epidural, but we’ll see once I’m in labor,” you’re going to get the epidural. Labor is awful, if you consider it an option to take all of the pain away, of course you’re going to take it!
Unmedicated child birth is not for the faint of heart, but if you choose to go that route you will be so proud of yourself. (As every mother should be!) I’m happy I did it, and I will be doing it again in five months. It was absolutely the best option for me, and I can only hope that my next birth is like my first.