As a practicing PA, I have learned to adapt the philosophy that LESS IS MORE when it comes to treating my patients. I assess the risk versus benefits of each medication and determine whether it is truly necessary before I prescribe it. In medicine, it is important to do the least amount of invasive intervention possible while still treating the issue at hand.
For this reason, I chose to do a natural birth. I understand that there is no one-size-fits-all method when it comes to birthing. Many factors come into play that determine a womanâ€™s ability to deliver (ie: overall health of the mother, size of motherâ€™s pelvis, motherâ€™s pain tolerance level, intensity of contractions, position of baby, etc).
For me, personally, I had no real medical issues or contraindications to natural laboring. I was young and healthy and I knew my body could handle it. In fact, my body was built to birth a baby without medical intervention.
These were some of the factors that convinced me to choose a natural birth:
- Labor is often shorter- Pain medications results in slower contractions, therefore, it prolongs the laboring process.
- Breastfeeding becomes easier- Babies that are born via natural birth are usually more alert and have a heightened interest in breastfeeding. Pain medication can cause increased drowsiness for the baby - which can impact breastfeeding.
- Less complications with epidurals and pain medications - Epidurals can cause: severe bleeding from puncture site, headaches, labored breathing, drop in blood pressure, slow the babyâ€™s heart rate, nerve damage, infection from puncture site, and increased risk for use of episiotomy, forceps, vacuums and caesarean sections. While some of these complications are rare, it does happen.
- Shorter vaginal healing process- What more can I say about this? Less sore vagina is a win win.
I didnâ€™t walk into the hospital with a birth plan as I did with my first pregnancy. If you read my birth plan in 2016, you would think I was a tad bit extra. ðŸ˜‚
With my first pregnancy, I was adamant about laboring naturally. With my second pregnancy, I didnâ€™t put much thought into my labor. I just wanted a healthy baby boy. I knew I would try a natural birth, but I also knew that if I couldnâ€™t tolerate the pain anymore, I was willing to get the epidural. And trust me, every time the nurse asked me if I wanted the epidural, every bone in my body wanted to scream YES!
With any subsequent pregnancy, labor is often MUCH shorter than first pregnancy. Because of that, it was easier for me to tolerate the pain this time around. I ended up delivering just fine without the pain medication.
If youâ€™re considering a natural birth, know that itâ€™s very much doable. You just have to mentally prepare your body physically. Yoga, pelvic stretches, massages, meditation, and deep breathing were all the things that helped with my laboring.