Why I Want a Natural Birth

Please note, before you read this I am not judging anyone who has chosen a medicated birth or had a c-section. I am just simply educating women on the benefits of natural birth and the risks of blindly listening to the "normal routine" of hospitals and doctors.

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When people ask me where I'm having my baby, and I tell them I'm having a natural water birth at a birth center, I get the same look and phrase from everyone.."Good luck with that!" (with a sarcastic chuckle and big eyes) They say it like I have no idea what I'm getting myself into. Haha! Believe me, I KNOW without a doubt it's going to be the worse pain I'll ever feel in my life, the Bible clearly tells us that, so that's not a surprise to me!

A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world. John 16:21

Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. Genesis 3:16

Epidurals didn't even become mainstream until the 1970's! (reference) So women for THOUSANDS of years have been giving birth naturally with no medical intervention whatsoever! It is not impossible! Our bodies were created by God Himself to create and deliver a baby! I LOVE researching how our bodies react to contractions and labor, it's truly a miracle how our bodies work! So, just because natural birth is rare nowadays, doesn't mean it's dangerous or crazy. Natural birth is VERY safe in majority of cases. Yes, there are real emergencies and I thank God that we have doctors who can perform c-sections and save many babies' & mother's lives. But when the c-section rate in America is 32.8%, we should scratch our heads and wonder why that is such a HIGH percent! Well, let me tell you why...
it's called unnecessary medical interventions.

Let me go through the list of routine interventions used in a "normal hospital birth" and inform you on the risks associated with each intervention.

1. Unnecessary Induction. "We know that estimated due dates are inaccurate – only 3% to 5% of babies are born on their "guess date" and full term is classed as up to 42 weeks of pregnancy. So for your baby to be born safely when he should be – when he is ready – you need supporting evidence that things are not safe to continue before intervening."-Risks of Induction If you are healthy and the baby is healthy, there is no reason to induce before 42 weeks. The risks of induction are as follows; the need for a c-section, pre-mature birth, low baby heart rate, infection, umbilical cord problems, uterine rupture, and bleeding after delivery. -Mayo Clinic All I ask is to research why your doctor feels you need to be induced, and make sure it is truly necessary to prevent needing more medical interventions!

2. Artificial Rupture of Membranes. This is a form of induction without medication, when a midwife or doctor takes a crochet looking hook, and breaks your water. The risks for this procedure are; increases the risk for infection, prolapsed umbilical cord, fetal heart decelerations, and c-section. When the cushion from the amniotic fluid is gone women have reported being more uncomfortable, so it often increases the likelihood of the mother requesting pain medicine. Once the membranes are ruptured the mother will be running on strict time limits because the longer the water has been broken the more increased risk of infection there is which means she has higher chances of induction and a c-section. -The Birthing Site But there are some cases where this may be a beneficial choice. Breaking the waters allows medical professionals to determine if there is meconium present. If your labor has stalled or become sluggish the ARM may get things moving if performed at the right time.

3. Continuous Electronic Fetal Monitoring. I know you're thinking, this isn't medicine, how is EFM a medical intervention? Women in the continuous EFM group were 1.7 times more likely to have a Cesarean and were slightly more likely to have a forceps/vacuum delivery when compared to women in the intermittent auscultation group. Women in the continuous EFM group were also more likely to require pain medication. -Evidence Based Birth Fetal monitoring is very important but definitely not necessary continuously! EFM also restricts maternal movement, which has been proven to prolong the length of labor. I have chosen to have my baby's heartbeat monitored with a handheld doppler vs. the continual fetal monitoring.

4. Epidurals. All my life, when I thought about having a baby, I always figured I would just get an epidural, until I actually got pregnant and started my crazy first-time mom research! I know about 60-80% of women in America get epidurals and all 60-80% think I'm crazy for not wanting one! But, after doing my research, I have come down to the conclusion that the long-term/short-term risks outweigh the one day of pain I will have to endure. Even the FDA is warning the public about the risks of epidurals. The first reason I don't want an epidural is because it begins the "cascade of interventions" needed. Epidurals are proven to slow down labor/contractions, which increases the need for a c-section. (Which if I can prevent, I want to!) Also, I know so many women who have chronic back pain from their epidurals. Honestly, I will take the excruciating pain that comes with a natural birth, rather than having a pain-free birth and a life-long back ache. Use of epidurals increases the chances of an instrumental birth by vacuum extraction or forceps, which often means an episiotomy is performed. -My Birth Also, epidurals cause nausea, vomiting, shaking, itching, numbness in only one side...aka, WAY more problems I want to deal with! To top it all off, I hate needles, so I am refusing the IV as well! There are a lot of great articles and information about epidurals! I encourage you first-time mommies to research, research, research!

5. Pain Medications (Tranquilizers/Narcotics). If you choose not to get an epidural, some women choose to get pain medication, such as Demerol or Phenergan. Everyone reacts to drugs differently. The most common side effects for Demerol is a drowsy, doped up feeling, possibly with some nausea and vomiting. Because it enters your bloodstream, your baby will feel some effects (the intensity will depend on how close to delivery you receive the drug). Baby's heart rate might drop, and he or she may be sleepy and temporarily unable to nurse. Some babies have to be given oxygen, although all the effects are short-lived and treatable. -What to Expect My friend had two natural births, and decided to get Demerol with her first birth, and she said she regrets it so much, she doesn't remember anything from that day, and didn't even want to hold her baby after the birth, because she was so out of it. No thank you! :)

6. Elected Cesarean. I can't believe someone would actually chose to have a c-section. But, with the celebrities making it a "cool" thing to do now, I figured it would become more mainstream. Victoria Beckham started a little movement "Too Posh too Push"...She elected to have a c-section around David's soccer games, so he could be there and didn't have to miss any games. REALLY? Cesareans are a MAJOR surgery! I have tons of friends who've had to have emergency c-sections and the recovery is SO much harder than a vaginal birth. Yes, it may seem easy to pick your due date and get cut open and sewn up, but it is so much harder to recover from than a vaginal birth. I know many of you who've had c-sections needed them, but this new trend of electing for a c-section with no emergency whatsoever is crazy!!

I know there are so many more interventions, but I just wanted to go over the main routine ones, and why I'm choosing a natural birth! So, please don't tell me I'm crazy! I just want the best for my baby and my body. God made me to be able to do this, so I'm putting myself in His hands, and praying all turns out well!

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  1. Loved this post! I am a student midwife and it's always exciting to me when moms do their research instead of blindly going along with cultural norms regarding pregnancy and birth. I'm also 22 weeks pregnant with our first baby and planning to have a home birth with an awesome Christian midwife... blessings on the rest of your pregnancy! : )

  2. I'm planning a home water birth, only using a midwife and doulas. I have no plans to even see an OB, and I only had one ultrasound to ensure we weren't having twins! During that one, my precious baby reacted to the wand expressing distress, so I couldn't subject him/her to another one. My husband and I are thrilled with the home birth possibility, as it puts the coaching on him, the decisions on us as a team, and the comfort for us both of our own home. Some have been skeptically enthusiastic, but most just call me crazy. God designed my body to bear children naturally - no inductions, no medications. It's normal and natural and DOABLE! :) Good for you!!! :)

  3. We are so much alike....♥ I remember thinking you were my "twin" when I first got to "know you" via Modern Modesty/Facebook.
    I'm 38wks ptegnant (almost 39) right now and I plan to go all natural with this baby as I did with my last two deliveries. BEST BIRTHdays EVER!!! I remember getting eyebrow raised reactions blah blah with my first pregnancy because of my choice to refuse epidural and all natural birth. The unknown of how labor will go when you haven't experienced child birth yet can be scary. I wasn't going to "expect" a wonderful my choice birth (clearly at any point in pregnancy I knew ultimately God was in control of the life inside me)....however, I did my homework and prayed that God would give me the strength to keep my focus when the big day arrived. My only advice that I would like to emphasize (which I learned AFTER my first child birth which was all day long constant contractions before I went to hospital) SLEEP, get rest....even though you'll be excited and anxious for the "prize" (aka- baby). I learned that your BIGGEST job is at the end and you'll need your energy to PUSH! LOL....I slept in between contractions during my 2nd baby's labor and it made a difference! You will do fabulous ♥ I'll be praying!!! Looking forward to hearing all about it, but first.... my baby Kyle will be in my arms. Ahhhh.... so excited!

  4. Good for you! While I'm a huge supporter and believer in a natural childbirth (I had one myself), I also believe that women need to be more informed regardless of how their labor and delivery play out. So kudos to you for putting the information out there. I have a post on my blog regarding my natural childbirth resources (found under the 'helpful things' page) that mentions a few things that helped me cement my decision. In case you want to check it out. Also, you should episiotomy to your list. They are still considered routine for vaginal births but are in fact unnecessary.

  5. Good for you! I had my two children naturally, it was at a hospital, but I did my research and said no to a lot of things, including the basic IV!! In the birthing class I took before my first was born, the nurse who taught it was very much in favor of natural births. She called all the interventions a "slippery slope" meaning once you start on them, more are sure to follow. I wouldn't trade my two births for anything. I agree with Alicia, sleep while you can. It may not just be a day you are in labor, but several, that happened with my first! Will be praying for you!

  6. I think you have a great plan!! It's always best to do your own research! This was what I had wanted to do but as I had a couple of things to be concerned about my birth plan did have some changes. I allowed for basic changes for the health of the baby and my last 2 (out of 5) were pretty well as natural as you could get (I'm thankful to not have been in labor and ever have true need of an epideral)! With my fifth, Jesse, we had some work to do to get the other children all situated and so we drove (rather quickly) to the closer hospital as the contractions were very strong and seemingly coming to the last stages. Can you imagine my husband's surprise when he suddenly had to (literally) catch the baby when he had planned to help me out to get into the hospital early on a Sun. morning. Things like this tend to happen when you think you really have it all down!! lol God saw to it that he was completely natural and like the 4 before him, in good health. I praise God for that!!!

  7. I would love to have a natural birth but at the same time I would like to know if I can do it at a hospital in case an emergency happens. Also how can I found out what hospitals in my area offers natural birth as an option. Thanks for sharing!

  8. Good for you! We had two natural births and two induced births. The labor for the inductions was 2-4 times longer and much more painful and did lead to more intervention. Our last baby was born and home and was by far the easiest, most peaceful experience yet. We are expecting our fifth right now (31weeks along) and are planning another home birth. I think you are being wise to avoid intervention unless necessary. Our prayers are with you!

  9. That is awesome you are having an all natural birth! I am a nursing student now and I just finished my clinical rotation in Labor and Delivery. My dream is to become an L&D RN or a Nurse Practitioner specializing in Maternal Health. Another risk factor with an epidural is that there is a potential for contracting a urinary tract infection because an epidural comes with the insertion of a urinary catheter. Once you get the epidural you can no longer get up out of your bed because you are completely numb from the belly down which can increase the possibility of getting blood clots in your legs. Walking is one of the best ways to get the baby moving down the birth canal. I love reading your posts! Good luck to you for a quick and easy delivery and of course a healthy little one!

  10. I wanted to respond to Priscila. I had natural childbirth at my local hospital with both of my children. I was honest with my doctor as far as what I wanted to do. He supported me, but also said his job was to make sure the baby and I stayed healthy. My husband and I had a plan as far as what we would do if different things were offered. I went to a childbirth class and talked to the instructor at length about natural childbirth, I also read several books and looked at things on line. I went on a tour of the hospital ahead of time and talked to them about natural childbirth and what they had to support me during that. Finally when I was in labor and went to the hospital, I requested a nurse that would support me doing it naturally. Both experiences were wonderful. We only have one hospital in my city, so I didn't have to research more. I would suggest you do research different hospitals, what they have to support natural childbirth and how their nursing staff feels about it. The best thing I had was a husband who was willing to stand up for me and what we wanted out of the birth. There were several times he did stop something that was happening and ask me if it was what I wanted. Having him support me was huge!!

  11. I truly hope you have a wonderful, slow labor that you can get through without medication. You go girl! But I know a lot of women whose actual L&Ds looked nothing like what they had planned and hoped for. And often the result was that they felt sad that things didn't go as planned, or guilty for "giving up" and having an epidural, or like a failure for needing a c-section. Any birth that results in a healthy mother and baby is a successful one, regardless of meds and interventions. So by all means, lay out your birth plan, but consider that it might not go by the script. Best wishes!

  12. Wishing you the best! The one thing I would advise you to keep in mind is that birth is one of those areas that is just not in our control. We of course want to educate ourselves and make the best plan possible, but try to be open to the possibility it may turn out as you expect--and that's ok. I know so many women that have had a lot of trouble because their births are not what they had in mind! In my case, my first birth required intervention due to pregnancy complications, and my second birth ended in a life-threatening complication. In the end I'm grateful to G-d for my two beautiful babies, even if they didn't come in the natural birth I envisioned:)


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