Why I am choosing a Natural Childbirth!

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! Natural Birth pros and cons

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 difference….FEAR!

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!)

Epidural Pros and ConsFrom 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!

 

12 Comments

  1. Mother in Law October 19, 2016 / 7:13 pm

    Sweet Leigh, my lovely daughter in law. I have given birth naturally, at home, without any pain relief or drugs to your husband and before that, in hospital to his brother. Also without any pain relief. At the time that was not offered in the Netherlands. I gave birth subsequently to their sisters in the UK, both at home without pain relief although that was offered to me. Yes, it did hurt but the recovery was pretty quick. I couldn’t stand anyone touching me let alone put a tube in my mouth for gass and air so it wasn’t really a conscious choice. Women have given birth this way for thousands of years and nowadays it is so much more safe. However, if the going gets really tough and you need to have relief I think it is wonderful these options are there. For me it just wasn’t a first choice because of the risks attached to having an epidural.

  2. Emily October 20, 2016 / 2:17 pm

    I’m glad I read this today! I had my first 2 kiddos without epidurals. While it’s my desire to do that with #3 (due any day now!), labor can be overwhelming and it makes me consider an epidural. Your post reminded me why I chose to skip it with the first 2. I want to be able to move around as that’s helpful to me during labor. And I want to stay away from slowing the labor and potentially having more interventions.

    Thanks for the reminders. 🙂

    Good luck to you!!!

  3. Jessica October 20, 2016 / 4:41 pm

    I’m going natural if I ever have another child. My first L & D was FAST! Water broke at 8:30pm and had my son at midnight. My contractions were fast and furious; one after another…no break. I chose to get the epidural out of fear {like you said!} thinking I wouldn’t be able to handle anymore, but by the time they finally got around to giving it to me I was already 8 cm dilated. Seems kinda silly, right? I dealt with up until then. So they gave me one dose. All it did was make my pushing soooooo weak. I still felt tremendous pressure but could barely push, which ended up being the longest part of my L &D. I’m thinking next one I have will most likely slip out, right?!

    • daywithfe October 20, 2016 / 4:58 pm

      Wow! Thats an incredibly fast labor! I hope mine goes that quickly! The next one will probably slip out as soon as you have your first contraction 😉

      I think the biggest obstacle for a lot of women is fear but if we try to get past that I think having a natural birth can be a very empowering experience!

  4. Joanna October 20, 2016 / 6:07 pm

    I gave birth to our first two completely natural, and it was the best choice ever! I labored with our twins naturally all the way up until 10 cm as well. Safe birth for you mama!

    PS. The comment from your mother in law is the sweetest.

    • daywithfe October 20, 2016 / 7:12 pm

      Joanna,

      That is so great to hear! Also very encouraging to know that you feel like it was the best choice you could have made =)

  5. madi October 20, 2016 / 11:11 pm

    Its great to read this perspective. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Lora October 21, 2016 / 2:43 pm

    I had a natural birth with both, and though it’s definitely painful, I’d continue to go that route! I like freedom to move around and feel like it has definitely helped birth to go much quicker.

  7. Emma @ Muddy Boots and Diamonds October 28, 2016 / 6:36 pm

    Your reasons for wanting a natural childbirth are the same reasons why I’ve wanted it. It didn’t work out with my first – I had back labor and no support which led me to getting an epidural. But I managed it with my second. I agree 110% that fear might be what drives a lot of women to getting the epidural. And close to that is lack of support – whether its from family, friends, or their medical team. We took the Bradley Method class with my second and got a doula (two things I wanted with my first but didn’t get) and I think it made a huge difference. Not only for me, but for my husband!

  8. Rebekah October 28, 2016 / 7:15 pm

    I love that you are encouraging women to break the. fear->pain cycle. Birth culture in the States is truly horrible. There is a feeling like no other after having a baby, knowing that your body is capable, knowing the you could work with your body and give birth to a partof your heart. It is amazing. Yes, birth can be great with an epidural, and I would never say that someone who used an epidural or other pain relief medicines did not feel like their birth was beautiful, but it is not the same.

  9. Angela Kim October 28, 2016 / 7:25 pm

    I tried to have my third baby naturally but couldn’t withstand the pain. I had an easy delivery with epidural but have tremendous respect for moms who can do it naturally. I wish I could’ve but I knew I just couldn’t handle the pain. it’s great that you can!

  10. Millason @SimplyNaturalMama October 28, 2016 / 9:08 pm

    I really wanted an all natural birth, and it was natural for the first 36 hours, but then they had to intervene. The two best things I did were hiring a doula and using Hypnobabies. Both really help with overcoming fear. Now that I have had my daughter, I know that I can truly do anything! You will have a great experience! Good luck!

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