At some point during their pregnancy, every first time mom considers the question of meds vs. no meds. For some, this is a very simple decision. For others (like me!), it can be a long drawn-out brawl and it’s never clear who the victor might be.  I’ve been fortunate with my pregnancy thus far and have had no indications of possible complications. Until I hear otherwise, I’m going with the assumption that I will have a vaginal birth rather than a c-section. Obviously this can change up to the last minute, but the more prepared I can be for the marathon of labor the better off I’ll be (at least in my own head).

For my own reference, I’ve used various methods to become better informed and I’m sure I still have a long way to go.

  • Talk to friends and relatives: Everyone’s experience is different and everyone’s threshold for pain can vary widely. I found it was really encouraging (for both sides of the debate) to hash it out with friends and relatives about their own birth stories. The thing to remember is, there’s no right or wrong answer. You have to do what you are comfortable with and what is best for you and your baby.
  • Read up on the risks and benefits: There are tons of books and websites out there chock full of useful information. Remember though, take everything with a grain of salt. Those who are dedicated to their belief system can be almost fanatical in their opinions. While your source may contain lots of great information, there are bound to be some misleading facts and/or comments thrown in as well.
  • Write out a birth plan: This may sound a little silly at first, but it may just force you to consider some of the things you’ve been avoiding.  Even if it’s just for your own reference, having all these details in one place can be reassuring and may even help you make some decisions you’ve been putting off.
  • Attend the nerdy birth classes: Most hospitals offer these and some are more up to date than others. We attended a breastfeeding class along with LaMaze and are signed up for baby CPR. The LaMaze class, while a bit outdated in some respects, was definitely helpful in informing my husband and reinforcing much of the information I’ve learned over the past few months. We’re going to need all the help we can get, so having a few other tactics available to us definitely made the class worthwhile. It may be a bit of a drag at the time, but what’s 8 hours when you consider the new life that will soon be in your hands?

Regardless of your decision, I firmly believe it’s worth reading up on a natural birth. As women, our lives have been completely overrun with information on how NOT to get pregnant. Now, wonder of all wonders, we’ve managed to accomplish the impossible and are patiently awaiting the newest addition to our family. Due to the wealth of information available, this is both a happy and terrifying experience. You are completely inundated with advice and information that is usually well-meaning, but not always well-researched. As a mother-to-be, it’s now our job to sift through the facts, rumors and outright untruths until we manage to eek out a semblance of understanding about this incredible process.

Use the resources available to you and definitely consult your doctors and midwives. Even among medical professionals, there are many schools of thought and finding the right balance for you is important.

Here are a few resources I found useful:

Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth

Dona International

Google search “epidural vs. natural” for pure opinion based info


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