When it comes to your birth plan, ignore the mom shamers and choose between an epidural vs. natural birth based on what feels right for your body.
Choosing between an epidural vs. natural birth plan is a big decision, and while the decision should be between you, your partner and your doctor, nothing stops the mom shamers from stepping in. By the third trimester, many women excitedly make a birth plan to help them prepare for the big day…then it all falls apart. Although birth plans are important for helping new mothers understand the steps it takes to actually have a baby, any mom can attest to the fact that babies have their own plan. First, you’ll have to research an epidural vs. natural birth and choose what feels right for you. Then be prepared for it to change as you actually enter labor.
You may have already noticed moms and parents are very opinionated about their birth plans, and that’s OK, but you may have to learn to ignore the mom shamers when you discuss your birthing plans. The second you announce your pregnancy, every person you’ve ever met starts sharing their opinions on everything from names to birth plans to coffee intake. Some may preach about the importance and empowering feeling of natural birth while others tell you that epidurals were invented for a reason. Let’s break it down.
The Pros and Cons of Epidurals
Yes, epidurals exist and many women swear by them! Any woman afraid of the pain of childbirth or who is concerned about comfort during delivery should talk to their doctor about receiving an epidural. Although some women may not be eligible to receive an epidural due to previous lower back injuries or other health conditions, it can help reduce labor and childbirth pains. Once in labor, you can discuss the possibility of an epidural with your doctor to help ease your discomfort.
On the downside, a con of epidurals is their potential side effects. In some cases, epidurals can cause a drop in blood pressure, nausea, dizziness or even itching. Not every woman experiences these side effects of epidurals, but it’s worth discussing the potential side effects with your doctor. After all, you know your own health best. Additionally, an epidural may leave you unable to move around, which makes some women restless. If your goal is to be able to walk around during labor, an epidural may not be for you.
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The Pros and Cons of Natural Childbirth
More often than not, supporters of natural childbirth will be very vocal about their personal opinions and experiences with natural childbirth, and it is true that your body was made for this. Before epidurals, every woman gave birth naturally! If you prefer to avoid unnecessary medications, a natural birth is a good choice for you but only if you can withstand the pan.
Some experts recommend natural childbirth because the pains of labor can guide women to move in ways that help with delivery. If you receive an epidural, you can still push when your doctor tells you to but your body is numbed to the so-called “natural” movements your body would follow. However, because the pain can be overwhelming, natural childbirth can cause more tearing due to pushing without the doctor’s orders. Your body is less able to control urges to push when it’s overcome with pain.
While an epidural does not technically reduce tearing, the medication does allow for a more controlled delivery the way your doctor executes it. Of course, there are other forms of pain management, and you can even learn about hypnobirthing from classes to help you manage the pain.
Is an Epidural or Natural Birth Right for You?
All this boils down to one thing: what’s right for you? When it comes to choosing an epidural vs. natural birth, each woman and birth is very different. You may have a natural birth the first time and have an epidural with your next child. Talk to your doctor about any concerns you have, and be prepared for your body to guide you to the right choice once you start labor. Consider alternative pain management, like hypnobirthing, nitrous oxide (laughing gas), breathing techniques, acupuncture and more to ensure you have a safe and less painful birth experience.
Either way, there’s NO wrong answer to epidural vs. natural birth and don’t let anyone except your doctor tell you otherwise!
What was your experience with different birthing situations?