3rd Trimester

Going natural? (A question for second-time moms (or really determined first-timers)

I think I want to try to deliver without medication. I have arrived at this decision tentatively, and I feel like I'm going to have to learn to say it with much more confidence if it's actually going to happen. I know that much of birth is unpredictable, and I'm not trying to control every aspect of it. I'm just saying that if things go well, and both me and my baby are safe, I'm going to try to deliver naturally.

 So, my question: For those of you who delivered babies naturally (or wanted to), when did you know that's what you were going to do? Did you make up your mind right away? Did you go into the delivery room thinking you'd see how it went? If you wanted a natural birth initially but changed your mind, how did that change take place? 

Re: Going natural? (A question for second-time moms (or really determined first-timers)

  • I applaud you for this.  Please keep in mind that you will have the option to change your mind almost up until it is almost time to push (when it would be too late for an epi), so your decision doesn't have to be set in stone if you don't want it to be.

    Although I guess it might be easier to follow through with your wishes of an un-medicated birth if you fully commit to it in your head before hand.

    Probably not much help, but good luck with whatever you decide.

  • Oh, and just to add - I did have an epidural, and I loved every minute of it, but I think it's great that you may want to go for it without meds!  I have a pretty good pain tolerance, but I always say "why suffer if you don't have to?".  That's just my personal opinion though.
  • image Toots_pop:
      I have a pretty good pain tolerance, but I always say "why suffer if you don't have to?".  That's just my personal opinion though.

    I agree, and I'm so not up on any moral high horse about wanting to go natural. I think that every woman should have as much freedom as she can in making these decisions. In fact, the thing that tipped me over the edge on deciding was an article about how, for some women, the frustration and fear of immobility and side effects is scarier than the pain, and I think I'm one of those women.

  • I've been saying this with probably too much confidence since before we even conceived, lol. I've spent the whole 3rd tri trying to remind myself that if I end up asking for something to take the edge off, that it won't be the end of the world because I read so many stories about women who go through PPD because they felt like they "failed" because they didn't get the birth experience they wanted. So I still consider myself a "really determined first-timer" but I'm trying to be a little less hard on myself than I was before. Also, if you get a nurse who doesn't seem to respect your wishes, make sure whoever will be there with you knows to ask for a different nurse who WILL respect your decisions. I've read so many birth stories and heard so many accounts of women being pushed around by nurses who don't have the time or patience to "deal with" a woman not wanting interventions who pressure them into things they didn't want. So be it DH, your mom/best friend, a doula, make sure you have someone willing to step in and say something, because all these women said that it's harder to stand your ground against someone than you would think when faced with contractions.

    Good luck! I hope we can both do it!

  • Check out the natural birth board. We're really not that scary or crazy! You'll get a lot of thoughtful responses to this question.
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  • image BalancingJane:

    image Toots_pop:
      I have a pretty good pain tolerance, but I always say "why suffer if you don't have to?".  That's just my personal opinion though.

    I agree, and I'm so not up on any moral high horse about wanting to go natural. I think that every woman should have as much freedom as she can in making these decisions. In fact, the thing that tipped me over the edge on deciding was an article about how, for some women, the frustration and fear of immobility and side effects is scarier than the pain, and I think I'm one of those women.

    I knew before I even got pregnant that I wanted a med free birth.  Like you said above, the thought of being immobile, numb and paralyzed from the chest down terrified me more than the pain.  I decided that in order to even attempt med fee birth, I needed to do my research and learn some sort of coping technique.  I finally decided on Hypnobabies and I hired a doula.

     

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  • I'd recommend checking out the natural birth board on here. They can recommend some books and techniques to help you through labor and put up the best effort possible.

    I've actually planned on having a natural labor for as long as I've known how babies are born. Everyone in my family does natural childbirth, so I'm a big believer in the process and the benefits.

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  • This is our first, I want to go natural, or as natural as I can. I will not 100% rule out an epidural or other pain medication because I am not a torture junkie, and sometimes it is easier for me to tell myself I can go just a little bit longer and think there is relief in sight than that it is not there at all and I gotta go all the way to the end with no help.

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  • I am one of the detemined first-timers. Non-natural is not an option for me for myriad reasons I won't go into here but in sum, I am a lawyer who litigated a number of medical malpractice actions involving epidurals and I simply know too much about the risks and am not confortable taking them.

    The question of, "Why suffer" is an interesting one. Firstly, most natural birthers will tell you that the process is very manageable (some say enjoyable) IF you are properly prepared. It's like a major athletic event, you will likely not succeed if you don't do any prep besides say that you want to. You couldn't run a marathon like that, right? Secondly, there are real, serious risks to all of the interventions that routinely occur: pitocin, inductions, epidurals, narcotics and c-sections. So, if you can live with the risk, that is one thing, but you should read/research enough to actually know about the risks in the first place. They are irrefutable (I learned the hard way, pouring over pages of studies for those cases and dealing with the women first hand). And sadly, you won't hear a thing about them from doctors and hospitals.

    If you want to try it, check out the Natural Birth Board, it is excellent. Read the Natural Birth Stories. Also, you should read a few things. I recommend: Husband Coached Birth by Robert Bradley, Guide to Childbrith by Ina May Gaskin and Pushed by Jennifer Block. A lot of people also find, 'The Business of Being Born" a documentary by Ricki Lake to be very informative. 

     Good luck! My natural friends say it was the best decision they ever made!

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  • image BalancingJane:

    image Toots_pop:
      I have a pretty good pain tolerance, but I always say "why suffer if you don't have to?".  That's just my personal opinion though.

    I agree, and I'm so not up on any moral high horse about wanting to go natural. I think that every woman should have as much freedom as she can in making these decisions. In fact, the thing that tipped me over the edge on deciding was an article about how, for some women, the frustration and fear of immobility and side effects is scarier than the pain, and I think I'm one of those women.

    This

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  • So, I'm not a second time mom- this is my first and I am very hopeful for a natural birth.  I have chosen to go to a birth center where meds are not an option but where I can transfer to a hospital about 5min away if I get to exhausted and dehydrated or if something happens where my baby or my safety requires interventions.  For me, I feel that I'm more likely to get the support (and be able to actually have) a natural birth in a place where that is the main philosophy.

    I was at the birth of my close friend's son at a hospital where she wanted a natural birth but then had an epi.  I think it's a really complex situation- she was really committed to natural and disappointed that it didn't go that way BUT the epi really helped her relax- she dialated quickly and pushed out a super healthy, perfect little boy.  I think she just wished the staff would have offered more natural alternatives (like position changes, etc) than they did before suggesting the epi.  When you're in labor- you're like- great, yes- epi.  But in retrospect she feels she could have done it if she would have had more support.  But that all depends on the hospital, midwife, doctors.... she went to a different hospital the second time around and had a totally different experience.  natural water birth in about 5-6 hours with a hospital staff that pretty much watched quietly and let her do it her own way.  Also- it's important to point out that with the first birth, it was totally fine that she had the epi and if you are okay with that going in then you probably won't feel the same diappointment she did.

    I also have a friend who had a scheduled c-section due to a footling breach with the first and had a natural vbac at a hospital w/ midwife the second time around (her mom delivered lots of babies as a lay midwife back in the day and her support at the hospital really helped with #2).  I have another friend who delivered at a hospital with a midwife- natural water birth.  She was also pretty committed to natural and so she found a pretty strong doula who is outspoken is supporting and advoting for clients during labor in hospitals.

    I guess, overall, all options are great and it's good you are willing to be flexible.  But if you do want a natural birth, I would suggest taking a natural birth class ect.  I don't think we are "taught" how to birth naturally in our culture and there are different techniques than typically practiced in hospitals so it's good to educate yourself so you have a full toolbox (one that includes the "natural" methods and the western medicine methods so you can rely on both as you need them).

    Good Luck!

  • Go into it with an open mind. Only thing I can tell  you.

    Also- a regular birth vs a pitocin birth are two TOTALLY different things. I labored for 13hrs without meds- the doctor kept pushing for pitocin and I have never experience such pain in my life- I got the epidural and it was much better. I DID have them turn the epidural completely off when it came time to push- so that is a viable option.

    With this baby I will go into it with an open mind and listen to what my body needs. simple as that.

    You can be as determined as you want- however you won't know until you are there experiencing your own labor. There will never two similar labors- so you can get a ton of advice/suggestions- however it won't be the same at go time.

    Best of luck.

     

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  • I plan to go this route as well. Wanted to give you a couple of suggestions...get a doula! She will act in your best interest and encourage you to speak up if an intervention may happen that you are not comfortable with. She can't speak for you but can encourage you and support you in your decisions.

    Also, the best advice I have been given by BTDT moms, is if you do ask for an epi or pain meds, get checked first. It could be you are almost to the end and can tough it out for another hour. A friend who delivered her 2nd earlier this year really wishes she would have asked to be checked. Had she been checked, she would have learned she was like 8 cm dilated and birth was right around the corner. She delivered less than a hour after receiving the meds.

    Good luck!

  • image BalancingJane:

    image Toots_pop:
      I have a pretty good pain tolerance, but I always say "why suffer if you don't have to?".  That's just my personal opinion though.

    I agree, and I'm so not up on any moral high horse about wanting to go natural. I think that every woman should have as much freedom as she can in making these decisions. In fact, the thing that tipped me over the edge on deciding was an article about how, for some women, the frustration and fear of immobility and side effects is scarier than the pain, and I think I'm one of those women.

    I don't see it as a moral high horse but I'm a first timer who really wants a natural birth due to the fact that I am completely paranoid when it comes to pain meds I've never used (this happened after I started getting a resistance to ibuprofen and then again after I had a horrible experience with morphine). The way I see it is you should go in thinking that you will have a natural birth but allow yourself to change your mind and that you are not bad for changing your mind. But I do suggest talking to the natural birth board. We're good with this type of question and I know there are a fair amount of second timers there who aren't on this board. 

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  • I was induced when I had DS, and labored for as long as I could without meds, but because the contractions were so close, I felt like I was harming myself by not getting the epi.  That being said, my epi was only partially effective (got rid of the abdominal pain, but I could still feel a ton of pain in my butt/perineal area, so I still didn't really get to rest), so when I actually delivered him, I felt pretty much everything.  It actually helped a ton to be able to feel everything for delivery because I was able to push so effectively (I pushed for about 15 minutes), and the sensation of pushing helped to get rid of some of the pain.  

    My goal for this one is to hopefully go naturally, but I'm going to go with the flow and let my body lead the way.  And just for the record, I'm an RN (not in L&D), and tend to be on the lookout for nurses that I don't feel are letting me have a say.  I will tell you that my L&D nurses were awesome, and none of them pushed me to do anything I didn't want to do.  None of them were impatient, or rude.  I just don't want everyone to think that all nurses are pushy/have their own agenda!

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  • I knew from very early on that I wanted to go natural, for lots of reasons that I won't bore you with here. DH was on board with me, we felt very strongly about it, and we worked hard to educate ourselves and find as much information as we could about birth and various interventions and procedures to be sure that we knew what we were getting into.  We took Bradley classes starting at 27-28 weeks (we were a bit late on that because we moved cities and needed to wait to start until we moved) but I think that was really helpful for us.

    Turns out I had a relatively short (12 hours) and very smooth labor, with no interventions beyond some IV fluids when I got the hospital because I was a bit dehydrated.  That said, be aware that I definitely asked for the epi when I was in transition, and while I didn't really *want* anyone to give in it somehow made me feel better to articulate that I wanted something to make me feel better.  Fortunately, DH and I had talked about it beforehand and I had told him not to give in unless I used our word.  He didn't, I went without, and DD was born not too long after that.

    Things went pretty smoothly for us, but I think a lot of that is preparation and luck, and I tried to keep an open mind about what might happen otherwise.  This time around I plan to go natural again, but am again reminding myself that this is unpredictable and you never know what might happen or be necessary.

    Good luck to you!

     

  • I went without pain meds.  It was a decision I made before I became pregnant.  I was induced since I had GD and had to deliver no later than 41 weeks.  Luckily, all I needed were two doses of Prepadil (same as cervidil) to start regular contractions.  Thankfully my MW was on board with the "no pitocin unless necessary" mindset.  If I had used an OB, I think I would have had to deal with Pitocin.

    Anyhow, contractions were not too bad until I hit about 6cm dilated, then they got extremelyy painful.  There was a point where I was asking for something, but DH kept my mind on the task.  I was able to deliver with nothing.  Pushing was a nice distraction from the contraction pain.  The "ring of fire"  was not that bad and it let me know that the end was near.

    You can do it, but you need to be determined to do it, otherwise, if you start having doubts, it's easy to cave.  I nearly did and I was hellbent on no pain meds from the get-go.

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  • image BalancingJane:
     

     So, my question: For those of you who delivered babies naturally (or wanted to), when did you know that's what you were going to do? Did you make up your mind right away? Did you go into the delivery room thinking you'd see how it went? If you wanted a natural birth initially but changed your mind, how did that change take place? 

    with this one, the moment I started thinking about having another baby. had an epi with first, and I regret it so much. at the lowest setting, I needed an oxygen mask because I felt like I had an elephant on my chest. and 17 hours of not able to move around, not even able to feel my lower half, drove me to a mini panic attack. I've also learned that epi's block the body from feeling or releasing the endorphins released during labor that are important for both momma and baby. knowing what I've learned since, I've decided to go to a birth center where it won't even be a choice.

  • I knew from the start that it was something I was interested in & the more research I did the more it convinced me that I really wanted a med-free birth experience. I think reading "Ina May's Guide to Childbirth" really helped solidify the decision for me. That being said, I went into delivery knowing that anything could happen and DH and I were both open to the possibility of meds if the situation warranted it. I was able to deal with my labor without meds, even after being put on pitocin (which really worried me), and overall had a great birth experience. DH & I also took Bradley classes which helped prepare us for the big day. Definitely research it & if you feel it's best for you then you can totally do it!
  • I knew pretty early on that I wanted to try going natural. It was a tentative plan, because since it was my first time I had no idea how it would go. I went natural all the way up to 7 or 8 centimeters, then DH asked if there was anything they could give me for the nausea because I had been vomiting with my back labor most of the day. They gave me some Nubain, and it didn't do anything for the pain, but the nausea went away and it made me sleepy enough to nap a bit between contractions. I don't regret it. By the time I started pushing a couple hours later it had completely worn off so I wasn't loopy at all and got the whole experience.
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  • From what I have heard from other moms who wanted to "try to go natural" and didn't research and educate themselves on what it would be like they ended up with an epi and/or c-section.  Get a book and read about it so you know what to expect.  There are many many benefits for mom and baby with going natural - far more benefits that outweigh the "why be in pain if I don't have to be" platform if you read about them.

    And ditto to the natural board being helpful for questions like this.

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  • ditto on reading Ina May's Guide to Natural Childbirth.  The book is fabulous and absolutely encouraging for women who want to deliver naturally.  Childbirth can be a natural and beautiful experience.  As Ina May would say "Your body is not a lemon."
  • With DS, I knew from the beginning that I wanted to avoid meds unless there was a true need for them. I made sure that the doctor, nurses, and my husband were well aware of that fact so that if I felt that the pain was too much, they would use other tactics to keep my mind off of it other than pushing meds. In the end, it didn't matter because I labored at home for as long as possible and by the time I was at the hospital, I would have been too far along to receive meds anyways.

    I hope to do the same thing this time. Labor at home for as long as possible and then avoid meds at hospital. If for some reason, meds are needed for the safety of my child or myself, I will absolutely take them. I will not however take them in order to alleviate my pain. After growing up with parents in the pediatric medical field, working in a hospital, talking with various Dr.'s, and doing research of our own, DH and I are not comfortable introducing the medications into our child's system at that time or in that manner.

  • I have had 4 natural births and plan on doing the same for the fifth.  I went into my pregnancy the first time around planning on going drug free.  If I would have been in labor for much longer I would have given in and gotten an epidural.  After the first pregnancy I knew I could handle the pain.  With the second I had pitocin which made things worse.  The last 2 pregnancies have gone a lot better.  I try to go with the mindset that I can and I will do this drug free.  If I start giving up I know I'll give in and get an epidural.  Labor is rough - just keep that in mind.  However, you can do it drug free, but if you get an epidural that's okay too.  I wish you the best of luck and an uncomplicated labor. 

     

     

  • Thanks everyone! These comments have been so encouraging. I don't really know many people who have had natural births, so when I mention it, I get a lot of "Are you crazy?!" responses. Hearing people with positive experiences makes it feel more possible to me.
  • I had a natural, med-free birth with my first DD and it was an amazing experience. I would offer two pieces of advice - one, go in with an open mind and two, ask to be checked frequently. Knowing that I was making progress really got me through it and ultimately is what kept me from asking for the epi.

    Good luck!

  • I think I decided pretty on that I wanted to try to avoid getting an epidural.  I read a couple books on natural childbirth (Birthing from Within), but otherwise I didn't take any special classes or hire a doula.  I'm just kind of a 'git-er done' kind of gal.  When I make a decision I can usually stick to it.  I'm very independent and I couldn't really imagine feeling comfortable w/a doula; a random lady I don't know very well.  It's probably super helpful for other women but I'm not a touchy-feely person.  I don't think I'd want someone comforting me - I'd just want to be left alone.  DH, the nurses, and my midwife were great.

     While I was pregnant I never went around flaunting the idea that i was going to 'go natural'.  i didn't really feel like getting into any debates over the subject.  I was also open-minded though.  i knew i had never done this before and was open to the idea of having an epidural.  

    I've always known I've had a high pain tolerence though (Dr's have told me this from other health issues).  DS was 2 weeks late and I was finally induced.  Pitocin was started at 7am and he wasn't born until after midnight!!!  So........it was not a quick labor.  ;)  

    Hopefully this time I can go into labor on my own at home.  My main reason: so I can EAT!  

    GL to you! 

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