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If you are pregnant and thinking about having a natural delivery… you are a rock star! It is always smart to fully educate yourself about all options before you make a big decision. Childbirth is no exception! If you are looking into natural pain management during labor, you are the minority.
Did you know, over 60 percent of women opt for an epidural during labor?
I want to quickly highlight that no matter what decision you make (epidural or not), you are a superwoman! Every woman who brings life into this world should be celebrated because every life is a miracle.
I wanted to share with you my decision for natural pain management during labor, and how I was able to power through each contraction. If you are interested in reading my full birth story, you can find that here.
This is a guest post by Lauren from Warrior Mama Life. Read more about her from her author profile below.
Disclaimer: The opinions in this post are NOT intended to take the place of medical advice.
Wait, there are side effects of an Epidural?
Most women choose to receive an epidural because they don’t want to feel any pain. I completely understand that!
The pain a female body is capable of enduring is incredible! However, for me, I was more concerned with the potential side effects of an epidural than feeling pain.
Before you make any medical decision, you should be fully informed of the side effects. It is important to know that any medication and procedure will have side effects, so always weigh your options.
Here are a few side effects that made me do some more research:
- It can lead to more medical interventions like Pitocin. An epidural prevents your body from feeling your contractions and blocks natural hormones during labor. There are some studies that show your labor stops progressing, and many women end up needing Pitocin (a synthetic hormone) to speed their labor back up.
- Longer labor. Because an epidural may prevent you from progressing through labor and the need for other interventions, this also extends the overall laboring process.
- May increase your chance of a c-section. As mentioned, many women who receive epidurals also need Pitocin. Pitocin stimulates intense and much more frequent contractions which may put your baby in distress.
- You may be unable to push strong during labor, due to the inability to fully feel contractions. This could lengthen your labor, or potentially lead to a c-section.
- Potential pelvic floor problems following labor.
- Possible increased risk for vaginal tears.
- Potential nerve damage near the injection site.
- Could develop a severe headache that can last a few days.
- Could develop a Fever.
- Potential side effects in baby such as fetal heart rate, sepsis, and reduced immune systems.
- Could block your natural production of oxytocin which helps with breastfeeding.
So, is natural pain management during labor better?
Now that you are informed of the potential side effects of an epidural, let’s talk about why it is so important to feel what’s happening in your body during labor.
Here were the big things for me during my natural labor:
- Because I felt every contraction, my body was able to open quicker and progress at it should. (I checked into the hospital at 4am, and delivered my son at 9am.)
- Being able to tune into my natural hormones (oxytocin), I trusted my body to do everything it needed to do (dilate, labor, nurse, etc.). I nursed my son within minutes after giving birth.
- Feeling my own contractions helped me push for only 10 minutes, at my own pace. The doctors just sat back and watched.
- I was able to get up and move around and be in different positions that helped with natural pain management during my labor (showering, walking, squatting, etc.)
How can I make natural labor as painless as possible?
First, let me just say this. Your body is MEANT for this!
Women have been delivering babies naturally since the beginning of time! My Grandmother gave birth to a 13-pound baby in her home!
If all these women before you did it, so can you. If you choose to have a natural birth, the biggest most important thing of all is your mindset.
You need to trust in yourself and your body, and let it do its thing. If you trust your body, half the job is done! Take a look at the ways I handled natural pain management during labor:
- Mind over matter. This is the first and most important. Trust your body, and trust yourself. The right mindset, in the beginning, sets you up for success. Don’t think about what can go wrong. Have positive thoughts from the start.
- Relax! This was the best technique I used. If you are tense, you will not dilate. You need to breathe. Relax your face, mouth, hands, fingers, toes. During each contraction, you need to let go, and let your body open up. This helped me dilate fully within hours.
- Movement. Get up and move! Walking in between and during contractions helped take my mind off the pain, and let me lean and squat during each contraction. I used this method during the earlier stages of labor.
- Shower. As my labor progressed and my contractions were getting more intense, my nurse suggested I take a shower. I stood there for 20 minutes and let the hot water pound on my lower back. This was amazing!
- Peanut Ball. As I entered transitional labor my nurse suggested I lean over a peanut-shaped ball to relieve my back labor. My husband massaged my back during each contraction. I was in this position (and side laying the longest).
- Side Lying. Towards the last hour, I moved the peanut in between my legs and laid on my side. My husband was still massaging my back. This was the shortest most intense stage for me.
- Endorphins. Yes, endorphins! They are real, and they work! When I began pushing, I was the most nervous about this pain. Let me tell you something incredible, I felt nothing! No pain. Just complete relief. After my son was born, I have never felt better. I got up and walked around. I needed no ibuprofen or any other pain medication after my labor. My body did what it needed, and helped me recover immediately.
If you’re worried about the best natural pain management during labor, remember, YOU got this mama!
Whatever you decide to do, the decision is yours! My number one suggestion would be to do your research before you make any decision. If you take anything away from my story, I hope it would be the fact that your body can handle natural pain management during labor.
You are a warrior and can power through absolutely anything. Trust yourself, trust your mind, trust your body!
♥ Recommended Posts FOR YOU:
>>> How to PREPARE for Labor & Delivery – tips by a Labor & Delivery Nurse!
>>> Things you should AVOID after birth for a smooth recovery.
>>> How to prepare for baby while on a budget
>>> The Ultimate Postpartum Guide to navigate life after birth!
About LaurenWarrior Mama Life
Lauren says, “I love to share with my readers some of the ways I conquer every day to build the best life and home for my family. Motherhood has been an amazing journey, and every struggle has presented new opportunities. I hope my journey can inspire other women to conquer their days, and live their Warrior Mama Life too.”
Check out Lauren’s blog & social media pages for more content!
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