Natural Vs Medical

Lately, a lot of birth stuff has been going through my mind. And the one thing that kept coming back was “Why do women have the births they do?” And this led to “Why do I think the way I do about birth?” And finally “Is there really a difference in the ‘type’ of birth you have?”

There is a lot of debate about going medical for a birth and going natural. In all my research, I am definitely on one side of the spectrum. I do believe that medicine is there if something goes wrong, but if it doesn’t? Is it truly needed if everything runs smoothly and your body does what it was meant to do?

I decided to seperate everything into catagories, and analyze them haha.

Medically:

Induction of labor – This can be used when there are complications with a pregnancy, but not enough to warrent a cesarean section. The labor is augmented with pitocin, and is administered intraveniously and the dosage can be turned up or down depending on the result (aka, the contractions). They sometimes schedule these for convenience, which I think is total crap, but it’s what some women want. They also schedule these if a baby gets too large, but 98% of babies will not be too large to deliver if a woman gets in the right positions. 2% of women have something that actually makes the pelvis smaller, which is true CPD. In these, having a vaginal birth is not possible. I have a post on it here.

Episiotomies -This is a cut that is performed to prevent tearing. This is still pretty much split down the middle as to whether it’s better or not. In most of the research I have done, I have found a couple interesting facts. Torn skin heals faster and heals stronger than cut skin. It tears on a seam, so once it comes back together, your skin is able to fuse back to how it was and actually have a stronger seam than before. Episiotomies are better for doctors to sew though, if stitches are needed, which they always are with an episiotomy. And if you use upright positions, like squatting and such, to birth in, your pelvis is 30% bigger and your perinium isn’t squished, so it is more likely to fan out when the baby passes through. Flat on your back, you are more likely to tear, and this is why episiotomies are done. One more thing I found was that with natural tears, 4th degree tears are less likely than if you get an episiotomy. Episiotomies can rip more than the doctor cuts, which makes the 4th degree much more probable. I have a post on this here.

Cesarean Sections -If these are truly needed, that is fantastic that we have them. If not, they can cause more problems than benefits. There is a longer healing time, bleeding, prematurity, nicking of organs, and even death. It is MAJOR surgery. It’s not like getting an ingrown toenail removed. They are cutting open your abdomin and pulling your baby out through the hole. I have a post on this here.

Epidurals – This offers a ‘pain free’ labor and delivery. The side effects are shaking, itching, headache, paralization, nerve damage, etc. It does pass over the placenta, so your baby is getting the same drugs you are. It slows labor, so you are more likely to receive augmentation. You lie on a bed, unable to move around, so when it is time to deliver, the baby may not have gotten in a good position, and it is harder to push the baby out, and forceps and vacuums are used more often. They are really great if you are getting tired and need to rest, but weigh the risks and benefits yourself before assuming they are completely safe. I have a post on all the risks and benefits here.

Natural:

You prepare yourself for your pregnancy and delivery the entire time. You trust your body to do what it is meant to do. THere are no interventions, unless medically necessary. You don’t receive pain medication. Instead, you use coping that you learned and practiced during your pregnancy. You create an experience where you get more support, encouragement, and attention. You have people at your birth that support your decisions and your birth plan.

You believe that labor is only painful if you are tense. If you can relax and work through contractions, and be able to move around, you can actually have a ‘pain free’ labor.

In labor, when you are relaxed and supported, endorphins are released when you experience pain, and these take the pain away. They leave you with a happy feeling, and the pain is not noticeable. The endorphins help labor go faster and have contractions that open the cervix more.

If you fear, adrenaline is released. This is used during a ‘fight or flight’ reflex actions. THis slows down labor and can actually make it stop. This is one of the reasons that a woman may be in active labor, but the minute she gets to the hospital, her labor stops, so she needs to be augmented with pitocin.

You can use herbal remedies for labor, but if you want something to help you through, great support is the best option (here is my doula plug haha).

My biggest thing for having a natural birth is that you go nine months keeping medicines out of your body. You are careful what you put in, just in case your baby may react to it. Why is it that you can put all sorts of drugs into your system when you are hours from having your baby without even a second thought? Is it truly any different from the drugs you keep away from during your pregnancy? Sure, they are tested to be safe, but technically, none of them have been around long enough for the long term effects to be tested. So, why introduce your baby to drugs when you are so close to seeing them, when for 9 months you don’t want them to get hurt?

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This issue is so debatable. You have people completely staunch on either side of the spectrum. You rarely hear anyone in the middle.
I am all for medicine. We are living longer, we are healthier, and our lives are better. But, at what point does medicine become too much and we need to step back? When the cesarean rate is at 50%? 60%? When no one has a natural birth anymore? When midwives are completely outlawed?
How do we know when medicine has been taken too far, and we won’t be able to find our way back to a ‘safer’ birth for mother and baby? Will we be able to go back and start again, or will it be too late?
And there I go with the questions again haha.
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One Response

  1. Interesting post. Certainly something to think about. I tend to be right down the middle. I don’t think the medicine is as dangerous as it seems, but I do agree with the fact that after nine months without it, why jump that deep into all kinds of medicine when it isn’t necessary? That’s all part of the huge debate of what I want for my next birth. I am leaning heavily toward natural, but in a hospital setting just in case.

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