Hi Everyone,


I had 2 natural, midwife-assisted births. The second one, the birth of my daughter, was a home birth.


My sister-in-law is now pregnant and wants to have a "natural" birth. She has met with a few midwives, but still quite likes the idea of having an epidural.

I've given her a few reasons why she should try to avoid having an epidural, but she's not convinced.

Please help!

I need as many reasons as possible to show her that an epidural is not the way to go!

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An epidural can interfere with breastfeeding in the first hour of life. It's important to get the first good latch and feed within the first hour of birth or breastfeeding may be more difficult. Research the "Breast Crawl" online. Epidural babies do not latch on as well and may not latch on at all in the first hour because they are too sleepy from the epidural medication.

The women I know who had an epidural do not remember feeling an 'urge to push'.  They just pushed when the medical staff told them to.  Their babies were much more sleepy following birth, mine were very alert.

I forget the exact reason why, but after the birth of one of my kids, one of my nurses had to explain that she just wasn't used to having me, the mother, so alert and awake and capable of making decisions.  She was laughing because it was just so unusual.  I was thinking, how sad!  All those other women are really missing out!

You can do some internet searching to find out more.  If you have an epidural, there is a good probability that your labor will slow down, then you'll be giving pitocin to speed it back up.  There is also a 2-3 times higher risk of having to have a c-section.

If you get an epidural you have to give birth laying down on your back. If your sister-in-law wants to have a natural birth and try different birthing positions which may make her delivery easier, and more comfortable for her, then an epidural would completely take that option away.
With an epidural you have to be on your back.  This birthing position shrinks the pelvic channel and often causes more tearing than would normally occur.

All you have to do is watch the "baby" shows and see what unfolds:


  • the mother's blood pressure drops and there is concern for her welfare and baby's
  • the mother develops a fever - "have to get baby out right now because mom might have an infection"---even though fever is extremely common with an epidural
  • the mother's labor slows down - they introduce pit - the baby goes into distress
Those are the most common problems that I have seen or heard of from friends. My main reasons for not wanting it were to avoid being so heavily monitored and having to stay in bed.

I very much wanted a natural birth in a free standing birth center with my first.  I was in labor for days, but I could handle the contractions, what I couldnt handle was the exhaustion.  So I went to the hospital for and epidural so I could get some rest and have the energy to push.  When I arrived I was 7 cm, they give me the epidural and without telling me also administer pitocin which the baby didnt like.  I had to have a catheter because I couldnt walk to get to the bathroom.  I wasnt aloud to eat or drink incase I had to have a c-section.  There were nurses in the room ever 30 minutes adjusting monitors.  Finally after 10 hours I was 10 cm, but I didnt have the urge to push.  I couldnt feel my contractions and I ended up pushing for 2 hours.  Baby was coming out beautifully but because I had hit the time limit I got a level 4 epesieotomy.  I got upset when they took her to the nursery for shots and a bath and I couldnt go because I still couldnt walk.  She didnt nurse well for the entire first day, and we still had trouble the second and third days. 

The recovery form the epesiotomy was terrible and it was at least 6 mos before I could have a BM that wasnt painfull.  But I have to say the worst part was when I was getting ready to deliver and the doctor asked how I ended up there, I explained to him what had happened and he laughed and said," Well you will just come straight here for the epidural next time wont you?" 

I will never have an epidural again.


I had a natural mid-wife assisted birth with my son and it was the most amazing experience of my life!!  I will admit in the very beginning I was frightened at the thought of no pain medication but then I did a lot of research and reading (and watched The Business of Being Born) which all changed my mind completely!

The thought of having a needle in my back scared me, the thought of not being able to feel my legs and have no control of pushing scared me, also the effects that it has on the baby scared me.  I wanted to avoid as many medical interventions as possible. 

If it's the pain that she is most frightened of, it wasn't that bad.  Sure it hurt, but you're having a baby.  But the endorphins and the horomones that your body produced immediately after birth is like no other high you'll experience in your life!!



If she is worried about pain, all the more reason to avoid an epidural.  With an epidural, you are much more likely to end up with an episiotomy or a c section, both of which are painful in the recovery stage (never mind the much higher likelihood of infection).  If she educates herself beforehand, she will learn for herself that an epidural is not such a great fix.  Maybe you could give her a copy of Ina May Gaskin's Guide to Childbirth.  Also, after many childbirth discussions with peers, I've not met a single woman who chose to deliver without interventions who regretted any of it.  These women all have such positive emotions tied to their childbirth experiences, even when they were very challenging.  The women I know who've gone the "traditional" intervention route don't seem to have nearly as high a percentage of such positive memories of their experiences.  I had two intervention-free deliveries, both very different, but absolutely wonderful!  Having worked as a Labor and Delivery nurse, I am all the more passionate about letting our bodies do what they already know how to do.  Most of our "assistance" just seems to muck things up.



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