“The World Health Organization has repeatedly implored the U.S. medical authorities to return to a midwife-based system of maternity care as one way to help reduce our scandalously high mortality rates.” – Gentlebirth.org

If you’re pregnant, know someone who is, or plan to become pregnant in the future you’re probably thinking about how that baby is going to get here. Now of course we all know it takes nine months for the baby to grow but once those nine months are over how it proceeds from there is a matter of personal preference.

Maybe you have a firm idea in your mind of how you want your childbirth experience to go or maybe you’re going back and forth between the options not sure what to do and which method to choose.

Again, as it is with everything, as close to natural is the best – for both baby and mother. Having a baby is one of the most amazing experiences you’ll ever have. It’s a good idea to take the time before baby comes to really decide how you want this experience to go for you, baby, and your entire family.

As Close to Nature is Best

Often women experiencing their first birth and pregnancy want all the precautions taken and are in a state of some fear.

Many at this point opt for the perceived safety of a hospital to have their babies. Hospitals offer doctors, nurses, equipment, emergency options should a problem arise, and of course pain killers in the form of epidurals and narcotics.  Each of these options come at a price and possible negative effects.  In fact, according to the American Pregnancy Association, over fifty percent of women giving birth at hospitals use epidural anesthesia. This potent form of pain control has disadvantages you may or may not be aware of.

12 Potential Negative Effects of Epidurals to the Mom

  1. Drop in blood pressure.
  2. Must lie in bed which can prolong labor.
  3. Severe headache
  4. Continuous fetal heart rate monitoring
  5. Challenges with pushing
  6. Numbness and needing assistance with walking
  7. Rare cases can result in permanent nerve damage.
  8. Shivering
  9. Ringing in the ears
  10. Backache
  11. Nausea
  12. Urination issues

While epidurals can offer pain relief, the potential negatives outweigh the benefits. I advise you to strongly consider the negatives of epidurals before choosing to have one.

If you take a moment to think about it, women have been having babies outside of hospitals for many years now without doctors, epidurals, or other fancy equipment that comes with hospitals.
And when it comes to babies, epidurals bring along a whole lot of other potential problems and complications – ones you really want to consider before opting for an epidural.

According to the American Pregnancy Association, the following risks are associated with epidurals for the unborn child:

  • Trouble ‘latching on’ during breastfeeding
  • Respiratory depression
  • Fetal malpositioning
  • Increase in fetal heart rate variability
  • Increase need for forceps
  • Increase need for vacuum
  • Increase rate of caesarians
  • Increase need for episiotomies

You should really educate yourself pick your options with care. A lasting impact may be left on you and your unborn child.

Choosing All Natural Childbirth

Again, I want to remind you that women have been giving birth to babies without epidurals for thousands of years now. God designed the female body for giving birth and naturally handling the pain with endorphins. Although parts of labor can be intense, the reward of an unmedicated, healthy, happy baby is well worth the price of temporary pain.

Once you decided on having a natural childbirth, a great way to evaluate what you want to do is to speak with other moms who have had an unmedicated birth. These women are usually strong proponents of natural childbirth and very willing to show their support.  Also, spend time reading books on childbirth, attend a private childbirth class that focuses on natural methods of handling pain.

Location Options for Childbirth

Today the trends in having babies are moving towards more natural methods that present a lower risk for both mother and baby. Depending on where you live, you can opt to have your baby at home or at a birthing center. A midwife is usually available to come to both places.

Some women are afraid of having their babies at home. They fear a problem that would require medical attention would arise and they’d be too far from a hospital to get help. Just because you have planned a homebirth does not mean you cannot transfer to a hospital if complications ensue.  Remember that many problems in labor today a side effect of an intervention.  Many homebirth midwives even have a relationship with a doctor and hospital where they can take laboring moms. Consider how far are you from the nearest hospital? How long would it take you to get there at the very busiest time of day?

If a homebirth does not seem like the right choice for you, look for a birthing center in your area. Some hospitals today offer a birthing center option. This gives you all the comforts of being at home along with the security of the hospital there.

When it comes to having a baby there are many choices; location, assistance and even who is in the room. Take the time to look at the pro’s and con’s of each, then compare them to your specific situation and make the best decision possible.

Once you hold your new baby in your arms you will realize the planning was all worth the investment.

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Dr. Axe's Action Steps

Dr. Axe
  1. Remember each mom’s birthing experience is different with each child. Even if you had a caesarian before you can still opt for an at home birth with the next.
  2. Call a local mothers’ group and ask to attend their next event. At the event ask around about their experiences with childbirth.
  3. Consult with your doctor or midwife about childbirth options; painkiller, centers, hospital, or home and all natural births.