Do you plan to have a natural or medicated birth?
That is THE question for every pregnant woman.
A few weeks ago, I was decisively pro-medication. Less pain during childbirth? Yes, please! I had heard enough women praise the merits of pain medication, and simply assumed that would be my preference for delivery.
But then my husband and I paused to consider what a big decision this was – the birth of our child! We started to take the decision seriously, and evaluate the options for ourselves before jumping to hasty conclusions.
After lots of research, discussion and consideration of the various options for birth, we decided we want to have a natural childbirth, as free from medication and medical interventions as possible. To be clear, we thought through many of the pros and cons of each possible methods of birth, and came to a conclusion that we both feel really great about.
Here are some of of the benefits of natural childbirth that went into our decision:
- Women have the physical ability to give birth naturally, without medication or medical interventions, and have been doing it for generations.
- Natural labor allows the woman to move around freely, and find positions that are comfortable and helpful in the delivery process.
- There’s no loss of sensation or alertness during a natural birth, allowing the woman to actively participate during every stage of labor and birth.
- Natural birthing women are less likely to need interventions such as Pitocin, bladder catheterization, or a vacuum extraction or forceps delivery.
- Babies birthed naturally are more alert immediately after delivery, and show more ability to breastfeed and bond.
- Recovery after a natural childbirth is often faster and easier.
This is our ideal birth situation. But we also realize that life doesn’t always go as planned, and are preparing for all possibilities. Obviously, if serious complications arise, and there’s clear risk to myself or the baby, we will do whatever it takes to have a safe birth.
Also, this is in no way a judgment against parents who make different choices than ours. I understand that different people have different values, and am certainly not trying to pick a fight with anyone.
Personally, I really want to have a birth that allows my body and our baby to naturally do what they are meant to do, to be connected and present to the entire experience, and to freely make decisions about the birth process. I desire the sense of accomplishment that I imagine I’ll have after the difficult and involved work of labor and delivery.
Unto that end, we have begun preparing for a natural birth. We’re reading books, scouring the internet, talking to friends, learning and practicing various relaxation techniques, planning with our doctor and doula.
And really, all we want in the end is a healthy baby.