Pregnancy is one of the most beautiful parts of life. It’s a mark of a new chapter, and getting a new family member is always exciting. However, that doesn’t mean that pregnancy and childbirth can’t be scary. It can be hard making the right choice for you and your baby when it comes to the birth plan, especially if you have a lot of people around giving you advice.
The most heated debate is usually natural birth vs. epidural. Some will tell you that natural birth is the only way to give birth, while others will say there’s no reason to feel any pain. That’s why we’re here to help you make an informed decision that’s best for you and your baby.
What’s the Difference Between Natural Birth and Epidurals?
Natural birth refers to giving birth without any anesthetics and with minimal assistance. The term is somewhat controversial, as birth is a natural process regardless of how much assistance or anesthetics a woman receives.
Epidural, on the other hand, is a spinal anesthetic that relieves labor pain. The benefits of epidural are widely debated as it’s not always considered to be the safest option for the mom or baby.
What Are The Pros of Natural Birth?
The main reason people advocate for natural birth is that they say it can make women feel more empowered and in control of their birthing process. However, this attitude disregards a person’s individual experience with birth and their specific needs.
Of course, there are other, true, benefits to giving birth without epidural. Women who choose this option tend to have a shorter pushing time and less vaginal tearing. The recovery after birth doesn’t last as long, and there is a decreased risk of needing more serious interventions.
One of the most significant benefits of natural birth for most women is bonding with their baby and breastfeeding immediately.
What Are The Cons of Natural Birth?
Giving birth without epidural doesn’t come with zero cons, though. The biggest drawback is that you have to go through the whole process without the help of any drugs to manage the pain. Childbirth is the most painful thing a woman can go through, and not every labor ends after an hour.
This kind of pain can have a long-term impact on individuals, making them wary of future pregnancies and not allowing them to be in the moment. Moreover, since not every birth is easy, you might need assistance and drugs anyway.
If you’re opting for a home birth, consider having a medical professional present or change your plan to giving birth at the hospital. Women who opt for giving birth without epidural at home may put their and their child’s life in danger if anything goes wrong.
What Are The Benefits of Epidurals?
The pros and cons of epidural births are constantly disputed, so hopefully, this will give you a fresh perspective on the topic. The main benefit of giving birth this way is that you get significant pain relief. The anesthetic usually starts working ten to twenty minutes after it’s injected.
Epidurals allow you to stay in the moment and experience your birth fully aware of everything that’s going on. One of the best benefits of epidural is that it allows you to decide to use it even if you wanted to go with natural birth at first, thus putting you in control during your birth.
Even though people have some reservations, epidurals are still considered to be both safe and effective.
What are the Cons of Epidurals?
If epidurals are so great, why does the natural birth vs epidural discussion even exist? It exists because the drawbacks of epidurals are concerned with both the drug’s side effects and its effects on the birth itself.
The side effects include backache, nausea, fever, and headaches. When it comes to birth, there’s a potential that it will last longer since you can’t instinctively push. Your movement during labor will also be limited, as your lower body will be numb.
It’s also more likely that you’ll experience tearing, and some studies have linked the use of epidurals with an increased need for risky interventions such as emergency C-sections.
Natural Birth vs. Epidural: What Should You Choose?
Whether you choose an epidural or a natural birth can depend on more than just your preference. Women who have healthy and low-risk pregnancies can decide solely based on their own needs and the advice their doctor gave them. Sadly, not all women are in these shoes.
How High Risk is Your Pregnancy?
It’s almost pointless to talk about natural birth vs. epidural if your pregnancy is considered high-risk. This is because complicated pregnancies have a higher chance of needing intervention during birth.
If you’re carrying more than one baby, have health issues like high blood pressure or diabetes, or have a history of needing intervention during birth— natural birth may not be the safest option.
However, if you’ve taken a look at the pros and cons of epidural and decided the cons outweigh the pros, you don’t have to choose it. There are other ways to manage pain and minimize intervention during birth, and you should definitely talk to your doctor about them.
Can You Visualize Your Childbirth?
Devising a birth plan is deeply personal and different for every woman. To help you make the right decision, visualize your birth. What do you see? How does it make you feel? Try not to think about the pros and cons of epidural and no epidural. Instead, focus just on how a situation without and with assistance would make you feel.
Do you think natural birth can feel empowering? Would it make you feel more confident if you knew you had other options in case the natural birth proves to be too much? Or would an epidural help you feel the moment more and focus on the delivery?
Whatever you decide on, make sure to tell your doctor about it. The more details you give them and the clearer you are about your wishes, the easier it will be for the doctor to make them come true.
On top of that, you should be aware that additional questions and potential changes can occur when the big day finally arrives. The team of professionals are there to ensure everything goes right will help you decide how best to proceed, given your wishes and overall state at the moment. Don’t be afraid to talk to them openly.
The best way to end the natural birth vs. epidural debate is to do your research and talk to your doctor. Nobody but you and the doctor leading your pregnancy know your body better. Both natural birth and epidural have their benefits and drawbacks, and what works for one woman may not work for another.
What do you think? Has this article given some clarity on the situation? Let us know what you think when you book your next appointment at (941) 500-3100. We look forward to hearing from you.