When I first found out that I was expecting my daughter, I told me husband that I was getting an epidural no matter what. The thought of going through childbirth without it wasn’t even something I was willing to consider. But after weighing the pros and cons of a natural childbirth, I decided to go epidural-free!
Now I know what you are thinking, how did you change your mind? As I started learning and researching about childbirth, my interest in having an unmedicated and natural birth grew. Before I knew it, I was reading books and watching tons of Youtube videos where women talked about their stories, which actually made me start considering this as a possibility for myself.
But if I’m being honest, I wasn’t confident in my decision until my husband and I sat down and literally wrote out all of the natural childbirth pros and cons. When I saw everything on paper, I was convinced that this was what I wanted for myself and my baby.
Once I made up my mind, I went into labor prepared and even EXCITED to give birth. I know that may sound crazy, but it’s true! It felt so empowering knowing that I was prepared and as ready as I could be.
So, I wanted to share my personal list below!
8 Pros of Having a Natural Birth
Because I had such a positive experience, I feel like the pros for natural childbirth came a lot easier for me! Of course there are more, but here is my list of positive reasons to consider giving birth to your little one naturally…
1. You feel it all.
Some may think of this as a con, but for me, I found this as a big positive! Especially when it came time to start pushing, it was a huge advantage in my eyes that I was able to feel everything. I could feel when contractions were coming. I could feel when I needed to push, and I know the right amount of pushing to do.
With my little one, I only pushed for about 40 minutes, and I completely attribute it to the fact that I was able to be more effective with my pushes by knowing what was going on.
2. Less chance of tearing
Some may not realize it, but having a natural birth could potentially reduce your chance of tearing if your baby is smaller than 8.5 pounds! Being induced can increase your chance of tearing but getting an epidural may also increase your chance since epidurals increase your chance of using instruments to assist with birth (like forceps).
My little one was four weeks early and was on the smaller side, and I am so thankful that I was able to give birth naturally and walk away with no tearing whatsoever! While other mamas may not have had the same experience as me, I still think lowering your chances as much as you can is worth a shot!
3. You will feel so PROUD of yourself.
Giving birth in general is a reason to feel proud of yourself and what your amazing body was able to accomplish! Whether it was a C-section or natural birth, you should feel proud! For me, knowing that my body was able to handle giving birth without any medical interventions or assistance and that I was able to work through all the discomfort that came with it, I was completely overwhelmed with this feeling of accomplishment.
You set out to accomplish something major and by actually following through and accomplishing a natural birth, it’s hard to describe the level of proud you will feel for yourself!
4. Safer for Baby + Mom
Because it is the most natural option, it is also the safest one for you and your baby. Of course, there may be situations where intervention is essential for the safety of you or your precious little one. But if you have the ability and choice to proceed with your birth without medication and interventions, it is the safest option for your family!
For me, personally, my little one had to go to the NICU right after birth because of her gestational age and some other health reasons. I remember nurses sharing with me that if I would’ve had an epidural, my little one may have had even more complications.
5. Shorter Labor
For me, I’ve always heard that an epidural may slow or even stall labor, making a longer birth and an increased chance of a C-section. On the flipside, giving birth without interventions could mean having a shorter labor!
I was in labor for about 15 hours from the early start to delivery, going through all three stages of labor. In all honesty, I was expecting it to be much longer. On average, most women’s first stage of labor alone is between 12-19 hours with their first child. I truly believe that because I was able to give birth naturally, my birth experience was much faster than what it could have been.
6. Shorter Push Time
While I experienced a shorter labor in general from my natural birth, another pro is that I also experienced a shorter push time! In general, women will push for around 2 hours, and I only pushed for about 40 minutes!
I truly think the push time is shorter because of my other reason above…you’re able to feel it all. You’re able to feel your contractions more accurately, which means you’ll be able to feel when you need to push. Your timing will be better and, ultimately, you’ll be more efficient with your pushing.
7. Quick Recovery
Another big pro is having a quicker recovery! Because your labor is shorter and your chance of tearing is less, you’re bound to have an easier time recovering! While it still took me the average 4-6 weeks for all the discomfort and bleeding to cease, I was absolutely amazed at how quick I was able to get up on my feet after birth.
Literally, within the hour after my baby was born, I was able to get up and get a shower. It’s such an empowering feeling to watch your body go through something so challenging and then bounce back so quickly!
8. Oxytocin + Endorphins
The ultimate reason that I decided to have a natural birth for my birthing experience was because I kept hearing about the amazing feeling you get after you give birth. Through all of the positive birth stories I heard and read about, story after story described this overwhelming feeling of relief and love and connection with your baby.
I am so excited to share that I experienced this amazing oxytocin and endorphin rush that I was hoping for! As soon as my baby made her appearance, it was like I completely forgot about all of the pain and discomfort I had just been feeling seconds before. It’s the craziest and most amazing feeling I’ve ever experienced, which is why it is my biggest pro for giving birth naturally.
3 Cons of Natural Birth
Since this is my personal list of natural childbirth pros and cons, I genuinely struggled with coming up with more cons. My experience was a wonderful experience that I wouldn’t trade for anything, but I do know that a natural childbirth isn’t for everyone. Here are my cons…
1. You feel it all.
I know, I know. I had this for the number one pro as well. But, it’s true. It’s both a pro and a con that you can feel it all. It’s uncomfortable. It hurts at times, and it’s something your body isn’t used to doing.
However, if you do your research and learn about ways to ease the discomfort during labor, you’ll be able to push through!
2. You will feel like you can’t do it.
Giving birth in general is hard. In almost every positive birth story I’ve heard, the women will reach a point where they genuinely don’t think that they can handle it any longer. I know that it happened to me, and if my husband and I hadn’t discussed this moment and prepared for it, I probably would’ve ended up getting an epidural.
But, I realized that this moment is crucial. Just when I thought I couldn’t handle it any longer, things started transitioning and baby time was just around the corner! It’s not fun going through this moment of self-doubt, but looking back, I see that it was a turning point.
3. It may not be right for you.
While this may not be considered a true “con”, I think it’s important to note. Giving birth without interventions and medication may be the natural way we are intended to give birth, but it is no longer the only way for good reasons.
Every mama and birth journey is unique. It comes with its own challenges and experiences. No matter how much you prepare and read about natural childbirth, it may simply not be in the cards for you, and that is okay. If you aren’t able to give birth naturally for whatever reason, it may feel disappointing temporarily, but it’s important to remember that your baby arrived with both you and your little one healthy!
Like I said above, childbirth is personal and different for each family. If you’re considering giving birth naturally, continue to learn about the process, watch and read about positive birth stories, and make sure that you keep your “why” at the forefront of your mind! No matter how your little one makes it into this world, it is still a miracle sent from God!
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