IF I wanted children (I don’t) I would want a natural water birth, ideally at home (provided I was close to a hospital, had a midwife present, and the pregnancy had progressed smoothly with no complications).
My reasons for this are:
1) I have an EXTREMELY high pain-threshold, and have experienced pain very similar to labour from the age of 11. I know what works best for me with that type and level of pain, and what works best is breathing exercises and water. Pain relief does zilch, including extremely strong forms.
2) I don’t like the idea of epidurals, or the risks attached. I believe that for me personally an epi would make me feel out of touch with my body, and out of control, which would then make me stressed and panicky. Given I strongly believe I could cope with the pain with few issues, I would see no reason to have something that would distress me.
3) I believe I would be much more comfortable birthing at home than in hospital. In hospital, interventions are much more common, particularly where I live, as they want to get women in and out as quickly as possible to free up space. Home births tend to be less rushed. You are also in an environment you know and are comfortable with, and are free to move about at will.
I think women should do whatever is best for them. But, I always advise any woman to remember that often, giving birth doesn’t go to plan, and IMO it’s best not to have too set ideas about how it will go, and it’s best to be open to things like pain-relief, as otherwise, if required, it can be quite distressing (some women feel like failures for example). Also, I think some women are very unrealistic when it comes to childbirth; my friend for example has the lowest pain-threshold ever, and has never really experienced severe pain, and has very rose-tinted views of childbirth. I know her, and I know she will almost definitely want an epi when the time comes, because the pain will hit her like a truck (as an example: she finds waxing excruciating, to the point she can’t do it; I can barely feel waxing, and find it pretty relaxing, like a tickly massage…)