Natural Labor

11 Replies
karif - April 14

I am having the hardest time finding information and support from other mothers and parenting/pregnancy websites on completing a delivery of my first child without pain medications or c-section. I have heard all these horror stories about labors being days long, but then I find out that the mother was induced. Of course it lasts that long! When your body is ready, you will have the child. I want to be there, lucid, able to control myself and be proud to say that I didn't have the medications, and in the right state of mind, everything works out just fine. I watch these baby shows and the mother says, "I don't want drugs during delivery!" But then she caves at the first contraction. Didn't she even try? I am losing hope! If anyone knows of a book or a website that has super-positive things to say about natural birth, please let me know. Otherwise I am doomed! Anyone feel the same way as me? I don't want an epidural because the thought of that needle makes me throw up. I am looking for a friend to be supportive and I will do the same!


DanielleO - April 15

Hi Karif, I am a week late with this baby, and I plan to go naturally. I had my first a year and a half ago, I was induced at 40 weeks because they thought she was too small. She turned out to be 6lbs 14oz. But I did that pregnancy naturally to, other than being induced that is. The labor lasted 12 hours. I have a high pain tolerance, and when I was in the last part of labor, where the pain was almost where you can't take it anymore, I was just laying on the bed staring at the clock for two hours until I was dilated enough to push. I wasn't talking to anyone. I just laid there. They asked if I wanted anything for pain, and the thought does cross the mind. But you just have to be strong. The contractions are the worst part. When they tell you you can push, that is the best pain relief out there. Pushing through a contraction makes you not able to feel the contraction. And it is sooo nice!! I also hate the thought of an epidural. I don't like needles, and the thought of one going into my spine just makes me cringe. And to think you can get paralized if they do it wrong. Eeek. Anyways. When are you due? I was due last week, so I am hoping I go any day now and don't have to be induced again.


K - April 15

Don't lose hope!!!I think it is great that you want to go natural. I think you should definitely try. I bet you can do it- I have a couple of friends who did. I do think you should go into it with an open mind and keep your options open, because things don't always go as planned. I felt just like you. I was absolutely sure I was going natural- no drugs for me!. My dr just smiled and said okay, but there will be an anesthesiologist available in case you change your mind, but don't wait until it's too late. My dd had been breach most of my pg (I tried every trick in the book to get her head down as there was no way I was having a C-section), but a few days before I went into labor we found out at the dr that she had flipped head down and was engaged. I had a labor that would have lasted a total of 1 1/2- 2 hours and would definitely have been all natural were it not for complications. The contractions came fast and furious. Initially when the nurses tried to get me to have the epidural- I said no, but the pain was so intense, that I changed my mind and started yelling for the anesthesiologist. They checked me, discovered that I had dilated from a 2 to a 10 in 30 minutes and was in the pushing stage, and discovered that the reason the pain was so intense was that dd, who was three weeks early, had somehow flipped after labor started(my dr says extremely rare, but occasionally happens if babies are a little early and favored the breech position), was breech and was stuck. My pain was much more intense than a regular labor would be because she was jammed and battering my insides. I remember the nurse saying "oh my gosh you are already dilated to a 10 this baby is coming out soon" and me saying "Then I can do this without drugs" and then the nurse began to realize the problem and pandemonium started. They had to give me medicine to try to slow down the labor long enough to get me to the OR for an emergency C-section. All in all, even with the drugs to slow down the labor and the c-section, dd was born within 1 1/2 hours after getting to the hospital. There were people running everywhere. They were running my gurney so fast that I'm surprised we didn't crash. They got dd out in time and she was bruised and battered, and had to have a CT of her head that day, but she had no major injuries. I was quite famous around the hospital afterwards- several staff members came to see the girl who got all the excitement going- even the janitor came who said it was like an episode out of ER. So much for my perfect birth plan! If dd hadn't flipped, I definitely could and would have done the all natural thing- even with the extra pain I was feeling. Our hospital does not allow VBACS, so if I get pregnant again, technically I'm supposed to have a c. My dr says if labor starts before the scheduled C , at the speed of my labor the 1st time, I'll be lucky if I don't have the baby in the car, and, I may very well be so far by the time I hit the hospital that they let me have my natural. I'm proof that bizarre things can happen, and you just need to go with the flow. Plan for a natural and keep your options open to see how you feel while you are in labor. Don't be too disappointed if your plans don't work out, you will still have that beautiful baby at the end!


karif - April 15

Hi Danielle! At this stage you will probably think its silly, but I am only 5 1/2 months! I am trying to get mentally prepared and like I said, having a hard time. I am so glad to hear that there is another mom out there that actually made it through. While I do understand that things can happen, In your case, K, I feel for you. I have heard that even the start of breach birth is the most terrifying pain that could ever exist. Of course I am leaving open ended areas in my birth plan, always making sure to cover the bases I could be hitting in emergency cases, but it seems to me that hardly anyone out there even thinks of this as an option. I am convinced that as long as there are not complications I will be able to do it. Danielle, I wish you the best of luck with this baby and hopefully she/he comes out soon! At least you will enjoy a whole summer with them. I am due in the heat of August, so I plan on being miserable for at least two months prior to the actual delivery. Thank God for air conditioning! Here's a fun fact for the both of you and any others interested in natural births: I read in an article after I wrote this that 76% of women have epidurals and something like 27% have planned c-sections so they don't even experience the birth. I simply couldn't believe these numbers. Maybe I find it a more challenging experience since it took my husband and I five years to conceive. Thanks for the advice and I am starting to breathe better since I wrote that question and received this incredible advice.!!


K - April 15

I don't think you are silly at all!! I'm sure I was as worried as you were when I was 5 1/2 mths too. I think it is good to think about it and at least try to figure out what you want to do and plan ahead. Congratulations on finally being pg!!!! Sounds like you had a long hard road. It took us 4 years (with 1 m/c) to get pregnant with dd. I hope you are really enjoying the pregnancy!


mama4andmore - April 15

KArif hello, i am not currently pregnant, but am trying for my 5th. I can proudly say that I have given birth 100% all natural 4 times. I won't lie to you and say it doesn't hurt, because it does. But there are ways to help you cope with the pain, such as destraction, a focus point, and someone very supportive. I have never used lamaze because i was told it can cause you to hypervenalate and the baby to have difficulties receiving oxygen. Try finding a book on the bradely method of birth. It is a great method. Also it is all mind over matter. In addition, when you diale from 8-10 and pushing that is the hardest (as far as pain goes) and many women do all of that for all of 3 hours. So remember and keep focussed that it isn't forever and maybe watch the clock. I used to ask my doctor how long and focus time in 15 min periods through the last couple of hours. You rarely hear of stories about women who pushed for hours all natural because usually only women who have medication push for hours due to not feeling. You will hurt so bad all you will want to do is push. I screamed and yelled and focussed through all 4 but they all 4 were all natural. Another reason I chose not to get an epidural was because many women years latrer tend to still have pain in their backs from recieving epidurals and i chose to take hard short term pain over long term minor pain. So just stay focussed and who ever is your support person during birth should be warned not to take anything personal and just do as you say.


mama4andmore - April 15

K I am a mother of 4 as previous stated. Just as all labors are not the same for everyone all labors are not the same for each child a women births. My 3rd son was born so quick my doctor was called to come to deliver but while he was walking in the hallway my son was delivered by a nurse because not even the residental doc could get in there quick enough. I don't think I pushed more than 3 times. But baby number 4 the doc came in and said he would do his rounds and be back in 15 mins and we should be ready to push...well......he wasn't born for 3 more hours. So don't let your previous experiance stop you from having another child they aren't all the same.


E586467 - April 16

Hi karif, If it's want you really want go for it, you won't regret having a natural birth & you will feel sooo empowered as a woman it is well worth the pain. If you want a natural labour, make sure ALL those who are to be present know what your wishes are, as what they say during your labour can make a huge difference. With my dd (1st baby, now 3yrs) I planned on having a natural birth but as soon as my husband went out of the room to go to the toilet (about 4hrs into the labour) the nurse said 'oh you poor thing, do you want something for the pain?' Well after that comment I doubted my ability to cope & to cut a long story short, I ended up having pethidine which made bubs fall asleep, the labour slowed down, they had to break my waters, found mocconium in the water (quite common with pethidine use) & had to monitor dd's heart rate by screwing a coil into her scalp (while I was still labouring). I still had her v____ally after 12.5hrs (She was a healthy 7lb 10oz) but with all the interventions it was a very disappointing birth experience (except for having dd, that was wonderful beyond words). With my ds (who is now 10.5mths) I was determined to do it natural, & I had a completely natural drug free water birth after a 8hr labour, & delivered a very healthy 9lb 3oz boy. The birth experience was wonderful & I would do it again in a heartbeat. My recovery was quicker & I was able to go home within 24hrs. Even if you don't want to have a water birth, I highly recommend the use of water to help ease the pain. I was in the shower for most of the labour than hopped in the bath toward the end (don't use the bath until the labour is well established as the weightlessness can slow the labour). Also remain upright as much as possible & let gravity do some of the hard work for you (eg kneeling, standing, squatting, sitting). I would highly recommend reading a VERY informative book called 'NEW ACTIVE BIRTH' by Janet Balaskas. She is a midwife that has traveled the world learning about the different birthing techniques, the best ways to labour to minimize pain, and an understanding as to how & why our bodies are efficient at birthing unaided by drugs. You will also learn why modern medicine (western doctors) have hindered the birthing process making it harder for women to birth, leading to interventions, drugs, & an increase in c-section. Hope this helps.


FLDoula - April 17

Have you thought about finding a doula in your local area? If you cannot afford one contact DONA for a listing of doulas working toward certification. They usually will help you for free or low cost. I have 4 children of my own, 3 hospital, 1 homebirth. I became a doula to help women have a positive birth experience. Also think about hypnobirthing or hypnobabies. You still have time. Great programs! I agree with reading the book New Active Birth. Also get ahold of any Penny Simkin information you can. Just doing a web search on her will land you into a wealth of information!! Stay on your feet to keep labor moving, try to get either mobile monitoring or periodic, change positions often, slow dancing is great, get a birth ball and start using it now to put baby in optimal position, (sit on it and rock side to side) Most hospitals will have them now or allow you to take them. Great for during labor! Shower or tub if midwife/doctor allows. Have a birth plan and try to get your cargive to sign off on it and put a copy in your records. Have great labor support! That will go very far toward helping you achieve the birth you are seeking.


karif - April 19

Thanks for the information about the cheap doulas! It's not real popular in my area, but I did plan on asking my dr if he knows of any that are affiliated with the hospital. If I can't get a birth ball from my hospital, where do I go to find one? I suppose they probably have them on ebay. Thanks for the help!!


wv_red - April 21

Hey Karif you can get a birth ball at any walmart target or any store that sells fitness stuff. All it is is a yoga ball. try to get at least a 65 one. i am also doing the no drug birth and I am looking forward to it. I think it is going to be an experience to remember. Stay strong and stick to your goal!!!! Heres to a fast and uneventful labor! cheers!


Alison - April 24

Does it count as a natural labour if you use gas & air? I didn't have pain meds just lots of gas & air when I had my DD. Though maybe having that means it's not a natural labour I don't know? I went into labour naturally as my waters broke 5 days before my due date and my DD was born 14 hours later. I was pushing for 2 hours which was hard going and they were muttering about an emergency c-section but thankfully DD came out in the end so that wasn't necessary! I don't know if I could have coped without the gas air mind you - it didn't seem to stop the pain I could still feel the pain I just felt "distanced" from it if that makes sense?! :-) I guess I can't cla__s it as a totally natural birth as I used the gas & air but my DH was proud of me that I didn't need medication or an epidural! I'm hoping to avoid both with baby #2 due in October ;-) Go for it! Remember things might not go as planned some women end up needing c-sections which weren't planned or intended, but if you want to go natural I think you should go for it and not let anyone put you off - whatever you do don't listen to "horror stories" women will try to tell you - that is their experience not yours! You can do whatever you put your mind to! xxxx



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