Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Why We Are Choosing to Birth Naturally

I thought that I would post on this because I have recently received criticism from some people about my husband and my decision to have a natural childbirth. Truthfully, I don't confront people with a hearty "I AM HAVING THIS BABY WITHOUT MEDICATION! LOOK AT ME!" standpoint. Usually, it's brought up when they ask me if Andrew and I are taking any birthing classes and upon telling them we are taking Bradley Method Classes and explaining what they are ( only if they ask, of course), the judgement comes rolling in. There are MANY things that have been said to us about it. Upon searching the web for questions some people might have about a woman choosing natural childbirth, I found someone who stated the following & it kind of wraps up everything that has been said to us into one bundle.

" I don't get it. Why experience pain unnecessarily? You aren't a better mother strictly because you martyr yourself for the child birth experience. The thing is, those who use no pain meds tend to look down on those of us who did, like we did something wrong. Screw that! I wanted the baby. The whole act of childbirth was just something I had to do. It wasn't an experience. It was simply a necessary evil!"

I think that a lot of people assume because I am choosing to opt for an intervention free birth that that means that I think pain/induction medication are the devil's advocate. That I'm a crunchy granola/hippie/treehuger ( don't get me started on what they say when I tell them we're choosing to cloth diaper and breastfeed, that's an entirely different blog post). The truth is, I feel that birth is something VERY personal. It's a woman's choice entirely how she chooses to birth, & that may be different for everyone. After doing MUCH research, Andrew and I have decided not to use those interventions unless TOTALLY necessary ( and there are times when they are needed!) because of the information that we have learned.  I am not saying that I am a better mother than anyone else or that I will have a 'better, heathier or smarter' child than any other person because we're choosing to have an intervention free birth, but we feel like this is the best for our daughter and for me. This is also part of the reason we decided to go to a midwife instead of an OB. Not that OB's are terrible people or anything, but we wanted someone who specialized in natural birth and who was going to advocate for us and do whatever they could, within the limits of safety, to help us have the natural birth we want.

Some Reasons We Decided Against an Epidural:
  •  Medication administered to the mother can be up to 20 times too much of a dose of medication for baby.
  •  Epidurals can change the Fetal Heart Rate (FHR), indicating that the baby is lacking blood and oxygen.
  • Babies born to mothers who developed a fever from the epidural in labor are more likely to have a lower Apgar score.
  • Babies born using an epidural require resuscitation more. It's required in `11.5% of births using epidurals and only 3% of non-medicated births. 
  •  Epidural babies are more likely to have jaundice. The reasons are not entirely clear on this, but it is suspected that it is related to an increase in assisted delivery (forceps or vacuum extraction) or to the increase use of pitocin with epidurals.
  • Hemorrhaging is more likely in women who receive an epidural.
  • Oxytocin is a hormone released during breastfeeeding. If a mom has been induced with pitocin, administered an epidural, had an instrumental delivery, etc., this hormone was not allowed to be present in its natural form. This can adversely affect how well breastfeeding gets started. 
  • An epidural can effect the babies ability or desire to latch, causing difficulty with breastfeeding.
 Some Reasons We Decided Against Pitocin:

  • Studies have shown that pitocin ( an exogenous version of oxytocin) can interfere with the natural production and regulation of natural oxytocin and can have adverse effects on the fetus and mother. 
  • Higher rate of complicated labors and deliveries, greater need for analgesics and anesthetics, postpartum hemorrhage and a higher rate of placental rupture.
  • In either induced or enhanced use of pitocin, the blood supply (and therefore the oxygen source) to the uterus is greatly reduced. With naturally paced contractions, there is a time interval between contractions allowing for the baby to be fully oxygenated before the next contraction. In induced or stimulated labor, the contractions are closer together and last for a longer time thus shortening the interval where the baby receives its oxygen supply.
  • It is the belief (not necessarily the practice) in the medical profession that induction should occur when the risk of continuing pregnancy presents a threat to the life of the mother or baby. These situations include: some severe diabetics, kidney disease, severe preclampsia, severe high blood pressure, kidney disease, and an overdue pregnancy where a danger to the fetus has been proven. If induction were carried out only when these conditions were present, at most, an estimate of 3% of births would be induced. In reality though, due date paranoia remains the most common reason for induction and the consequent use of pitocin. Surprisingly, studies on the due date calculations revealed frightening evidence. Firstly, the due date varies significantly between first time pregnancies and subsequent pregnancies. Also, maternal race has been shown to be a determining factor in gestation time. Another variable to the accuracy of the due date is the recent dependence of ultrasound as reliable criteria for infant size and gestational age. First trimester measurements have an error bar of ± 5 days, increasing to ± 8 days in the second trimester and are as high as ± 25 days in the third trimester! Bigger fetuses are assumed to be older and in studies where the ovulation date was known 70% of women who were classified as postdates were incorrectly dated.
  • Studies on induction have shown that 30% of fetuses testing normal developed fetal distress when labor was electively induced and the cesarean rate was 15% verses 2% for spontaneous labor.

 I also disagree with the statement that birth isn't an experience. I think birth is THEE experience. A wonderful and beautiful thing that's results in life. Medicated or unmedicated birth, it breaks my heart to think anyone would think any differently. 

Honestly, I feel like I just jumbled a bunch of thoughts together, so if you have any questions, feel free to ask!


  1. Good for you,Nic! I might be old school but I had all three of my girls natural and I used cloth diapers..I did not breast feed though. There is nothing wrong with doing it natural...I Mom did...her Mom did. You do what you feel is right for you! Who cares what others think :o)Kathy Weipert

    1. Thanks Kathy! I appreciate the kind words! I hope you're doing well :)!

  2. you go mama!
    i cant wait to read little ladys birth story and how much of a trooper you were!
    love your new blog design!

    1. I'm excited to be at the point where I am able to write her birth story! And thanks! I was tired of the blah look my page had!

  3. I definitely feel the same way. I want to have as natural as possible, provided that everything is going ok. Luckily, I haven't had too many negative responses yet, but I'm not as far along as you are. I did have a SIL say something like "just wait until you're in there" when I did tell her my plans. It kind of made me a little mad. It's definitely good to do the research and see what's best for you and baby!

    1. I feel bad sometimes that I'm coy about the way we are choosing to birth because I know that I shouldn't be ashamed. Tell your SIL to kiss your behind! I hope that you have the wonderful, beautiful natural birth that you are dreaming of. No matter what, it will be beautiful!

  4. I agree with you... birth is thee experience!! I mean, birthing a baby is a miracle. You are participating in a miracle! How amazing is that?! My husband cried as my daughter was born (proof of how miraculous it was, ha ha!) I admit that I was in my own world of pain (even with an epidural) so birth wasn't as magical as I thought it would be... but holding my baby for the first time, I will never forget that feeling. I can't even describe how amazing it was!
    I was induced as well as received and epidural, and everything worked out perfect for us! I don't care if people judge me for our decisions, just like you shouldn't! It is SO personal and woman are SO wrong to judge others for wanting to do it differently than them. It's such an amazing, HARD thing that we should all just support each other! Personally, I admire those that can do it natural! So don't worry about the judgements :)

    1. Good for you, mama! Any birth that results in a healthy happy baby is a good birth! The road to getting there is determined by many other factors but the result is what is important!

  5. So glad you're posting about this! As you know, I went to the extreme and had a home birth, but it was the best experience of my life and I don't regret an ounce of the discomfort and I love knowing that my son got his best start for life possible. You are an amazing person and mother to give your little princess this gift, not that any other mother isn't, but your choosing this is nothing short of completely awesome. :)

    1. I was really interested in a home birth, but Andrew was more comfortable with having the birth at a hospital but he is all for naturally birthing and he is an amazing coach :)


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