For several decades now there has been a trend among expectant mothers to decide to go through childbirth naturally without any pain medications. Some women balk at this idea, knowing that childbirth is going to be a very painful experience and hoping to have every advantage that medication can offer.

There are a number of reasons you might consider natural childbirth. To make an informed decision you need to understand what exactly is involved and what you need to do ahead of time to plan for a natural birth.

What exactly is natural childbirth?

In the most basic sense, natural childbirth is giving birth via the natural process of labor without intervention. It means that you won’t be given medication or an epidural during labor. You might, however, use natural pain relief techniques. Some of these might include massage, water birthing, visualization and even hypnosis.

Natural childbirth also means you won’t engage in medical interventions such as an episiotomy.

Why do some women choose natural childbirth?

There are several reasons a woman might choose to have natural childbirth, including:

  • Labor medications may, in some cases, actually prolong the labor process.
  • She may want to more fully experience childbirth, and be able to remember the experience after it’s over.
  • Some women are concerned about the impact labor medications may have on their baby.
  • It may relieve some of the anxiety of the birthing process.

Still, natural childbirth isn’t meant for everyone.

Are there reasons to avoid natural childbirth?

There are also some reasons you might think about avoiding natural childbirth. For example, if your pregnancy is considered high risk due to gestational diabetes or preeclampsia, your doctor will usually recommend against natural childbirth.

Many women avoid natural childbirth with their first child, because they’re simply afraid of how painful it might be. Some choose to have a natural childbirth for subsequent pregnancies.

Whether you choose to have a natural childbirth is entirely your decision. You need to take all of the variables into account – including whether or not you have a reliable labor partner such as a doula, coach or your partner. The right labor partner can make all the difference in natural childbirth.

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Is Natural Childbirth Right for Me?