Natural Birth ~ Is It Worth It
Although women throughout the centuries had undergone natural birth, in this day and age, natural childbirth, or sometimes also called un-medicated birth, seems to be a radical concept. This kind of attitude is not surprising, since today’s technology allows women to get a ‘break’ from the labor pain.
What woman wouldn’t want a ‘painless’ childbirth ?
After all, childbirth is about pain, right ?
If you ask any women about their childbirth experience, most will describe it as the most painful experience they had ever experienced. Some even resent and decide not to have a second one because of the traumatic first childbirth experience. To make the matter worse, media seems to echo this sentiment by portraying childbirth as a medical event involving a lot of pain.
Therefore, it is not surprising that almost all women accept that it is impossible to have a natural childbirth, and even unnecessary to strive for natural childbirth.
So what makes somebody want to have a natural birth ?
And is it worth it ?
What Makes Natural Birth Worth It For You ?
To me, natural birth offers big advantages which boils down to the fact that natural childbirth is good for mothers and babies and therefore is worth striving for. Here are the advantages of natural birth for mother:
First, When you choose a natural birth, you don’t have to worry about drug safety because you’re not going to use any drugs. Remember that a drug is a drug, no matter how safe the manufacturer claims it to be. Any drugs will have side effects which vary from individual to individual.
By choosing to have an un-medicated birth, you eliminate the possible side effects of drugs to you. If possible, read the insert package of the drugs normally given at labor ahead of time or do a research on the side effects and decide for yourself.
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Secondly, when you refuse both drugs and any intervention which will interfere with the normal course of labor and birth, you actually do yourself a favor because at the end, this will result in a non-complicated childbirth with a much less or no postpartum complaint.
Let me explain this to you more clearly. Often, the drug used for either induction or pain relief has side effects which require you to be ‘further’ managed. For instance, an epidural, when given early, can slow the progress of your labor which can then make you to have a C-section. Epidural can also make you feel numb and unable to push your baby. This often lead to forceps or vacuum delivery.
What do all these mean ?
These mean that you will end up with more painful procedures which will take days, if not weeks to recover. Don’t be under the illusion that if you get a pain relief or an elective cesarean you will be able to avoid the pain of childbirth. Yes, you may be able to avoid some pain on labor, but you will be in more pain afterwards. Therefore, don’t think that by choosing to have a natural birth you subject yourself to pain unnecessarily. Truth to be told, those labor pain is much better than the after birth pains and complaints associated with the use of epidural, c-section or even episiotomy (perineal cutting up to ease the baby to get out of the birth canal).
If you still think that natural birth is more painful than medicalized birth, ask women who has gone through those procedures. Ask them how they felt the first week after birth, a few months after birth and years after birth. You will find that although the c-section or epidural was done a few years previously, women still complain about the effects of those procedures on them.
Third, since you are not drugged during the birth, you are likely to be alert after delivery and hence you will be able to bond and connect immediately with your baby.
Fourth, with natural birth, you’ll likely to suffer only minor inconveniences and therefore you’ll be able to care for your baby from early days and to get a head start on breastfeeding.
Fifth, natural birth is good for you financially since it costs much less than medicalized birth. If a normal vaginal birth at hospital costs $6000, then the c-section can be twice of that and an epidural birth costs approximately one and half of that. Add in other drugs such as a drug to speed up labor (pitocin), longer hospital stay, and whatever pain killer drug you need for recovery, then you can see how a medicalized birth sucks up more money from your wad. Also, when you set your mind into giving birth naturally, what usually happens is that moms tend to choose out of hospital birth, including home birth or giving birth at a birthing center with a midwife, because those places enable you to maximize your chance of having a drug-free childbirth. This choice, by itself, has a good effect financially – they are much less expensive than hospital birth. If a natural hospital birth costs $6000-ish, homebirth costs $1500-3500 and giving birth at a birthing center may cost between $4000-5000.
Advantages of Natural Birth For The Baby
Unmedicated childbirth also has its advantages for the baby. Here is the list of advantage of natural birth for the baby:
Since every drug has side effects which vary from individual to other individual, the only way to be sure that your baby won’t get any effects of the childbirth drugs is by avoiding it altogether. You may think that drug will only affect you. Not so. Drugs do cross placental barrier which means that your baby will be exposed to the drug you are receiving to a certain extent. Reading the drug insert before the procedure can help you to decide whether you’re willing to take up the risk of having that drug injected into your body.
Since pain killer and anesthesia can make a person droopy, if you elect to not having those, then you and your baby will be alert after delivery . This will enable you and your baby to interact after birth.
Your baby will get a better care from you and a head start in breastfeeding if you are in a good enough condition to do that. If you’re suffering from after pain birth as a result of medicalized birth, then it’s very likely that you will have to focus more on yourself than to take care of the baby and bond with her.
It’s known that a labor-accelerating drugs which can speed up labor result in faster and stronger contraction which is not the way your body and your baby are designed to cope with. Many babies suffer from the consequences of this drug, as shown by lessening of the heart beat which is a sign of stress. Therefore, avoiding this kind of drug is recommended for the sake of your baby.
As you see, the advantage of natural birth is that it’s better for your and your baby’s well being. If you can, strive for one.
Good luck for your birth.