Drug FREE labor! Share your stories.

posted 2 years ago in Pregnancy
Post # 2
8483 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2013

Well I was induced so I had pitocin, the contractions were insane (IMO) so I wanted an epidural.  However, I was always open to an epidural but for me it was either nothing or an epidural, I didn’t want any narcotics.  Mostly because most people I talked to who had narcotics were completely out of it for awhile, so I really didn’t want to feel that way.  At least with the epidural I was present and not loopy.  Just a thought since you said you didn’t want an epidural but might have been considering other pain relief methods.  If someone wants pain relief, I’d probably recommend an epidural over other pain meds!

Good luck!  I really wish I hadn’t been induced because I think it would have been a lot nicer to go into labor on my own (less monitoring, free to do what I want, a slower build up of contractions, etc).

Post # 4
4413 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

I had a med-free labor and birth. What exactly do you want to know?

For the first part of the labor, I would just lean on DH whenever a contraction came. It really felt good to just drape myself on him like we were slow-dancing. Then we tried the birth ball, and while it felt GREAT, it really slowed my labor down so unfortunately I had to stop with that. I started walking the halls for a while, but I was making some, errhhh … frightening noises, so we put a stop to that haha. Next we tried the tub, but boy that did absolutely nothing for me! By this point, I was having coupling contractions and a crazy uncontrollable urge to push, so they pulled me out of the tub and I went back to my room.

At this point, because of the premature urge to push, we wanted to slow my labor down so back onto the birth ball I went. I just sat there, staring at this picture of flowers I had brought in, trying not to push with my contractions and just kind of zoning out. Then I switched to the “open knee chest” position on the bed — basically a yoga child’s pose — and stayed there trying not to push for what felt like an eternity. I just stared at the side of my hospital bed and tried to breathe through the contractions without pushing for over an hour. 

By the time it was actually time to give birth, I was completely fine pain-wise. The contractions were terrible throughout my labor and made me feel vaguely ill the entire time, but then when I had to push I was fine. I ended up with a severe tear but it didn’t even hurt when it happened because my body had fired up so many endorphins for me. In the end, I’m so glad I did it med-free and plan to do the same with my next kid!

Post # 6
1871 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

I think everyone is different. The contractions for me were super intense and more painful than I ever thought they would be. I most definitely wanted that epidural! I thought that maybe I could do it without but NOPE…. now some other women do just fine with it and have a natural, unmedicated birth easy peasy. You just wont know until you go through it. Good luck to you with whatever you decide!

Post # 7
42089 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

Don’t hate me because I have easy deliveries.

First child, silent labour (that means you feel no contractions). I was so clueless, I had no idea I was even in labour. It never occurred to me to put my hands on my belly to feel my uterus contracting.  Why would I if I wasn’t feeling any discomfort?

My ex was out of town on business, but due home that evening. When he got home, I was taking a warm bath because I was having searing pains right across the rectum- still no clue I was in labour. I just thought something was seriously wrong. I was 34 weeks. Hubby insisted he take me to ER. He went up to visit a friend of ours who was a nurse on the 3rd floor while I waited to see to doctor. Before he could get back to ER, I had been transferred strainght to the delivery room and our son was born. The doctor asked me if I felt like pushing. I said “Not really. He asked me to push. I pushed once and our son was born. He was 3 lb 13 oz, but healthy-didn’t require any intervention other than the warmth of the incubator- no oxygen, IV etc. They insisted he stay in hospital for a week, so I did too to breastfeed. We went home on day 7  and he gained a full pound in the first week home from the hospital.

Second baby- 34 weeks. Waters ruptured, doctor insisted I go to hospital as there is more chance of a cord prolapse with a premie, smaller baby. I wasn’t in active labour so they put me in a bed on the ward. I woke up at 12 midnight with the same searing rectal pains and rang for the nurse. I told her I thought I was going to deliver the baby now, she told me that wasn’t likely if I was just feeling my first contractions. She did however decide to do a pelvic and I was 10 cm. I was whisked down to the delivery room and my daughter was born at 10 minutes after midnight- 4 lb 3 oz.  healthy- no incubator necessary, Home on the 3rd day. No problems.

OK- you can start hating now.



Post # 8
832 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: December 2012

Hi! I had a drug/intervention free labor and birth 2 months ago with my first baby. Im not sure what you want to know, but I’ll start at the beginning. I didn’t take any labor classes but I did read Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way which I would HIGHLY recommend. My husband and I read it together while I was pregnant and we practiced the exercises for a drug free labor and how to relax and let your body do all the work. If I hadn’t read it I don’t think I would have had a successful natural labor. The book gavemy husband and I all the tools we needed to help me relax. It really taught my hubby how to support me through the labor. It describes your partner as the “drug” to help relieve the pain. 

First, I want to say that labor was the hardest thing I have ever done but if I can do it…you can too! My labor was 26 hrs long with 3 hrs of pushing! That’s like super long if ure not familiar w labors. I started having contractions at home and my husband helped me thru them tilowe both felt it was time to go in. It started slow and soon got really painful…the car ride was rough. We went to the hospital and I was 3cm dilated by then. I was also in intense pain..I mean I was crawling on the ground during contractions. The midwife wasn’t there yet but the nurses had my birth plan and my husband made sure they knew we did not want any interventions. I hated the bed for my contractionsthe they felt 1000000 times worse on there so I labored everywhere else literally….on the flooragainst the wall on the chair in the bathroomover the counter..you name it. My husband rubbed my back the entire time (I had terrible back labor) andforced me to drink to keep my energy up. My midwife showed up an hr after we got there and stayed the rest of the time. There was a point that it hurt soon bad that I said I wanted meds but my midwife and hubby knew that was the pain talking and not me so they encouraged me that i was doing great and could do this. Fast forward hours and I was pushing. I pushed on my side, squatting, standing, laying, and ended ube pushing my baby out in a squatting lay on the bed. The nurses wanted to give me pitocin to help speed things up but I refused and my midwife did as well..I’m so glad I had her and my hubby to back me up..I was in no position to argue!  

My little baby boy was born med free at 6 lbs 14 oz and 19 1/2 in.  I want to be honest and say although I’m proud I did it completely natural it was by far the hardest most painful experience of my life. Some women say they barely had any pain but boy wasMIT labor and birth different. I still want 4 more kids but I can’t guarantee that I could ever go thru it all again. I’m hoping the next is easier so I can do naturalPlease don’t be discouraged though…my labor was on the very painful end of the spectrum…many women have more pleasant low pain experiences.  All in all..I wouldn’t change it and yes I’m going to attempt all natural again..I think it’s worth it even 26 hrs of pain for your baby to have the benefits of being born free of drugs. If u have any specific questions just ask! 

Post # 9
1059 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2008 - A tiny town just outside of Glacier National Park

julies1949:  Holy shit I didn’t even know “silent labor” was a thing. Amazing!!


If all goes well, I will be laboring and delivering at home in the next month, so an epidural isn’t an option unless I decide to bail and go to the hospital if I really need it. I’m not saying that WON’T happen, but it will take serious decision-making as it will mean giving up on a home delivery for a non-emergency reason. 

If I am not tolerating labor well, I am not completely beyond taking oral narcotics (I don’t believe my midwives will administer IV narcotics) from some oxycodone we have at home. I know from personal experience that I tolerate narcotics well and they tend to activate rather than sedate me, so I wouldn’t feel too out of it. However, I don’t want to dose up the baby and have her be difficult to assess post-delivery or have trouble latching as a result, even if it’s theoretically “safe.” 

I’ve done a lot of preparation with a drug-free (I say that ironically now, needing IV penicilin for GBS) in mind, but I am not averse to taking something if I really, really need it. My mindset is to see how far I can go and what it’s like before asking for that sort of assistance, and I’ve set myself up to not have the option readily available without serious consideration. Due in 2 weeks, so I’ll let you know how it goes. 

Post # 11
2696 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

julies1949:  I LOVE you. No hating here. Some envy, yes, but that is awesome!

I *attempted* a drug free birth…so please disregard if you feel, but I can share experience on the other pain meds used.

First, I was induced due to my daughter being IUGR (I had kindey issues that caused a lot of stress on my body, which made her stop growing). At 38w 4d, I had gel inserted to ripen my cervix.

I went back to the hospital 6 hours later. I had made no progress, so they inserted more gel and admitted me for the night.

I wanted to avoid pitocin and a c-section more than ANYTHING, so I walked the hospital stairs for HOURS. That evening, while they were monitoring me (I didn’t feel like I was having much for contractions), my water broke, and things got crazy FAST. When my water broke, I was 3-4cm. The nurse told me to try to get some rest, but things were so bad that there was no way I could sleep.

I tried the shower for pain relief, and it did nothing. They brought me a ball, but I didn’t get to use it before the felt it was time for me to go to L&D.

Things were so painful at that point that everything I tried to deal with the contractions was NOT working. I didn’t realize I was progressing so fast, and thought “if I can’t deal with pain like this at 4 cm, how the hell will I get to 10???”

So I told the nurses to order an epidural (they knew I didn’t want that so, they got me to try nubain and gas first).

Nubain..worked minimally. Once I had used that max of that, they gave me gas, which the nurse told my DH, “it does’nt really do anything, it just gets Mom to focus on her breathing” lol

When my epi arrived, no one had checked my progress since the first check after my water broke. While he was prepping me, I felt my body want to push, but honestly, I wanted relief so badly, that I didn’t say anything.

When the epi was in, they checked me and I was at 10cm….so the epi was pretty well turned off as fast as it was in, and I had to wait an hour to push, since I could feel NOTHING.

That labour, from the time my water broke, was 6 hours.

I’m pregnant again, and I am most-definitely aiming for a drug free birth. I know what I am in for, and it’s incredibly painful, but I know I can get through it now, since I got so close last time.


Good luck with your birth! I hope it goes how you want 🙂

Post # 12
1059 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2008 - A tiny town just outside of Glacier National Park

Baby girl came at 38 weeks, 1 day — and I labored as hoped for, at home, and gave birth to her in the labor tub. My water broke at 3 pm, I was in early labor at 4:45 and active labor by 5:45, pushing by 7:45, and she was born at 8:38pm, 7lbs 9 oz. My labor was fast and hard, with hardly any time between contractions, and while it was intense, I never felt I reached my physical limit, nor did I once have the thought “I can’t do this.” Pushing was a real challenge, with less intense contractions but more uncomfortable sensation as she moved through my body. I had a 2nd degree tear, which I didn’t feel at the time I delivered her. Now, it feels sort of like I got punched in the vag, but it’s manageable.

Oh! And I also had a manual placenta extraction 1 hour after birth after my placenta failed to separate and deliver even with two shots of pitocin, some homeopathic crap, and methergine. They did this procedure as well without pain medication because it was that or transfer to the hospital and probably stay overnight. Which means my midwife reached up inside of me and scrounged out my placena, by hand, in one piece. And that was JACKED UP, and felt realy wrong, but still not like I was dying or anything. Then they stitched me up (with lidocaine).

For me, the first week of parenting has been by far more difficult than L&D.

Post # 13
2114 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2012

I had pitocin because my water broke and 8 hours went by and labor hadn’t begun….the contractions were super intense and unbearable. I first tried fentanyl push twice to take the edge off and honestly all it did was take the edge off the next two or three contractions and I wS right back to complete agony. They backed off the pitocin but the contractions were still back to back, hard and strong. The epidural was planned however I had hoped I wouldnt need it until I was further dilated. I asked for it at 3cm…an hour later they checked and baby was descending! 

The kiral of the story is, for some…like me, narcotics were useless. And if you get pitocin for any reason, prepare to for labor to be that much more intense…I’m talking zero to 60 in no time! 

Post # 14
378 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

I had an epidural after about 37 hours of labor.  While I did want an epidural going in I did not want any other pain medication.  After 25 hours (my dr was scared the epidural would slow labor) I did get a shot of pain medicine.  It made me even more tired and kind of out of it.  It did little to nothing to help the pain.  The epidural actually ended up progressing my labor not slowing it down.  When I have another child I plan to refuse anything but an epidural.  Honestly, there is no way to know before you have your first child how your body will react to labor

Post # 15
2475 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

My plan for labour was to go with the flow. I just gave birth on May 2nd and I really did have to go with the flow. My labour came on fast and furious and I was ready to push before leaving for the hospital (luckily we live close). When we got there my midwife gave me a few mouthfuls of gas while she got ready and I asked if I could have an epidural, but she said I was fully dilated and the baby was coming. Honestly, it was the most painful thing I’ve ever done but I got through it and did well. Pushing through a contraction was also a lot better than just riding it out. There was a lot of “I can’t do this!” and a lot of low pitched screams (which are apparently better than high pitched ones) but my husband and midwife were very encouraging. I am kind of glad that I was forced to give birth naturally – it is definitely an experience!

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