But women have been birthing naturally without medication for millennia; it is what our bodies are meant to do. Planning a natural, unmedicated childbirth is an empowering, transformative experience that has many impressive benefits for the whole family.
Stay in control of your body
When you choose to birth naturally, you will be able to maintain control over your body throughout your entire labor. Freedom of movement during labor can do wonders to speed the process along as gravity helps the cervix dilate and the pelvis expand. Many birth centers and hospitals now provide birth balls, birthing tubs and rocking chairs to encourage moms to move around and help labor to progress naturally. Unfortunately, when you have an epidural or an induced labor, most hospitals will require that you stay in bed for the duration of your labor, which can actually lengthen your labor and make it harder to endure.
No side effects for mom or baby
Some medications used during labor can affect baby’s heart rate, ability to breathe and breastfeeding success after delivery. For birthing moms, accepting medications during labor can cause feelings of drowsiness, itchiness, tingliness, nausea and lightheadedness. They can also cause loss of bladder control and headaches, create severe drops in blood pressure and interfere with your ability to push effectively. Choosing to have a natural birth is great for mom and baby because it introduces no medications into the body that could have potential side effects.
An alarming number of births in the U.S. now begin with induction. Unless required for medical necessity, this unnatural start to the labor process does not benefit mom or baby and has a direct relationship with the use of other interventions during birth. The rise in inductions is also directly related to the increase in caesarean sections, which are now at dangerously high levels in the U.S. -- one in every three births is done this way. Unfortunately, the use of social induction is on the rise and many labors are started for the convenience of schedule, rather than waiting for Mother Nature to take its course. When you choose to birth naturally, you can minimize the use of interventions in your birth experience.
Feeling of empowerment
Many moms who experience natural childbirth not only feel capable to cope with the contractions, but report a deep satisfaction, sense of empowerment and even feelings of great pleasure with their labor experience.
Certified nurse midwife Dinah Waranch explains, “When you give birth naturally your body releases endorphins which not only help you cope with the pain (they are natural opiates) but also make you feel wonderful (the famous "high" of natural birth). Oxytocin, the hormone which stimulates uterine contractions, also stimulates the milk-ejection reflex and orgasm. It is the "love hormone". When women have a natural birth, oxytocin helps them to fall in love with their babies. Pitocin is the synthetic version, but it does not have the same effects. In fact, it inhibits production of the natural version. Most women in American hospitals have their labors either induced or augmented with Pitocin. Natural childbirth can be a positive and empowering the experience, not only for moms but for everyone in the whole family."