I cant believe I am even writing this post! Never in a million years would I think that I would choose for a Natural Childbirth, let alone write about it!
As many of you may know, I am currently living in the Netherlands and things are done a lot differently around here when it comes to childbirth. We don’t go to an OB/GYN and instead we go to a Midwife. The only time I have even dealt with a doctor throughout my pregnancy was when I had to get my Gestational Diabetes test at the hospital (where my results were sent to the midwife who then reviewed them!) At first, I thought this was pretty weird. I mean aren’t they supposed to be checking my blood all the time and doing all these fancy tests?
Of course, when I got pregnant I knew absolutely NOTHING about pregnancy and labor (I mean ABSOLUTELY NOTHING). The only thing I did know was that it was going to hurt.
I was so terrified of the whole thing that I needed to make sure right away that I would be getting an epidural. I’m pretty sure I told my midwife at our first appointment that no matter what I wanted an epidural.
To my surprise, however, only about 30% of women in the Netherlands opt for an epidural! Back in the states that figure is as high as 80% in some states (like California, where I am from originally!)
Another surprising fact, The Netherlands has the highest rate of home births in the Developed world with about 30% of women choosing to give birth at home. In the States that rate is more like 1.36%!Did you know The Netherlands has the highest rate of Home Births in the Developed World? Click To Tweet
So with this information in mind, I wondered what was so different about child birth in the states than in the Netherlands. Why were so many women opting to go drug free or to even give birth at home?
The only thing I knew about childbirth before getting pregnant was that it was going to be painful, very painful. I had only heard childbirth horror stories without ever hearing how beautiful or empowering it can be. I had always been surrounded by a culture that widely accepted the use of epidurals, so much so that I never even considered an alternative!
But one day I realized there is an alternative!
I started to do more and more research on epidurals and natural births and I was really surprised at what I found. I had always thought epidurals were totally and completely safe, and don’t get me wrong, they are very safe, but there are a lot of disadvantages!
Check out my HUGE list of resources for planning a Natural Childbirth Experience!
Disadvantages of Epidurals
- After you are given an epidural, you are not able to walk around and move as you wish due to the fact that you are completely numbed down there. (There are alternative epidural methods called “Walking Epidurals” that do allow enough feeling to continue walking)
- An epidural interferes with your natural urge to push which can lead to more medical interventions such as forceps or C-section
- An epidural can prolong labor (which increases the chance of being given Pitocin, which induces contractions)
- Your blood pressure may drop suddenly, which can add stress for both you and the baby
- Due to the increase risk of fetal distress you must be monitored using a fetal heart rate monitor
- You may experience a severe headache during or after the Epidural wears off
- Have a higher chance of getting a sever tear or needing an episiotomy
- You may continue to experience numbness a few hours after giving birth
There are, of course, many benefits of getting an Epidural, aka, MAJOR PAIN RELEIF! Its true that getting an epidural relieves your labor pains like nothing else. This is super attractive to me, especially since I don’t consider myself to have a very high pain threshold! BUT what about all these other disadvantages? Besides avoiding all the cons of getting an epidural, there are other benefits to a natural birth.
Advantages of a Natural Birth
- Labor is often shorter (because an epidural often slows down your labor contractions)
- Less chance of medical interventions including a cesarean section
- You are free to move around and labor however you like
- Faster recovery time (because you haven’t had any medical interventions!)
From my research, I have come to realize that I want as little medical intervention as possible. My wish is to be able to labor however I want, on my hands and knees, squatting, or even in the bath tub!
I have also decided that I want to be in full control of my labor, and I don’t want somebody else to tell me what to do. I want to push when I feel the urge to push, etc. For me, this has come to mean no epidural!
Labor is one of the most primitive things we can do as a human being, so why do we need so many medical interventions?
There are, of course, times when a Cesarean Section are totally 100% necessary and there is also nothing wrong with that. Many times, however, medical intervention is completely avoidable!
I also totally realize that I may end up choosing to get an epidural at some point during my labor. I am however, going in with the mindset that I am going to do it without any medical interventions!
Wish me luck as I could give birth any day now!! Ill let you all know how it goes =)
If you have given birth without an epidural I would love to hear your story! Be sure to leave a comment below! Also, don’t forget to Subscribe to A Day with Fé for updates and information!