Birthing is not what it used to be. For good or for bad. Nowadays, it typically includes many interventions, medication and usually takes place at the hospital where the atmosphere is far from cozy. Today’s typical birth is prevailingly medically controlled. For the safety of the mother and the baby, of course, as well as for the convenience of the doctors. Let’s be honest, modern medicine has achieved a lot in the field of mother and baby care. Many lives have been saved. And let’s not deny, it is humane to want to alleviate the pain giving birth is accompanied with. But while being convenient, is epidural also safe? The article below aims at answering this question by listing the reasons why so many parents tend to avoid an epidural and wish to cling to what they call natural or normal birth. A birth with no caesarean section, no induction of labor, no instrumental delivery, no episiotomy and other surgical interventions, no oxytocin-stimulation, no epidural…
1.Possible Side-Effects of Epidurals
Including low blood pressure (most common), loss of bladder control, itchy skin, sickness, backache, severe headaches, infection, epidural haematoma, convulsions, breathing difficulties, nerve damage, death. (Source)
2. Epidurals Interfere With The Important Cocktail Of Birth Hormones
Epidurals prevent the production of beta-endorphins, they reduce oxytocin production and block the natural increase in catecholamines levels that should occur later in labor to initiate the Fetus Ejection Reflex. In short, epidurals might disrupt the normal production of an array of hormones, making labor longer or more difficult to progress towards delivery.
3. Epidurals Lengthen Labour
4. Epidurals Increase The Rate Of Pelvic Floor Problems After Delivery
This means urinary, anal, and sexual disorders. (Source)
5. Epidural Triples The Risk Of Severe Perineal Tear
6. Drugs Administered By An Epidural Enter Baby’s Bloodstream
7. Epidurals Compromise Fetal Oxygen Supply, Resulting In Fetal Acidemia
8. It Increases The Necessity Of Cesarian Section By 2.5 Times
9. Baby Is Less Alert & Has Less Ability To Orient
10. It Is Important To Feel Labour Pain
The author of the article stresses on the importance of accepting and surrendering to labor pain as a preparation for the challenges of motherhood. “Surrender to pain during labor is like surrendering your control to God, to the flow, to nature, and allowing what needs to take place to do so, regardless of your level of comfort or satisfaction with the process.”
Of course, each case is individual, each labor is unique, each woman has her own considerations for or against pain relief medication. There is no place for judgment. But if you decide to stick to a natural birth, including a calm and supportive environment, family members around you and an array of natural pain relief techniques that you can learn to practice before the Big Day, you can do as well without an epidural.
Read details about the effects of epidurals at:
I have observed natural childbirth to be a topic of a lot of heated debates online. One camp, to which I belong, prefers to do it “the way nature intended,” without pain killers and interventions, and another camp wonders, understandably, why not use the methods of pain management that civilized humanity has come up with.