(Closed) Why not use pain meds for birth?

posted 7 years ago in Pregnancy
Post # 3
436 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: January 2010

I believe that we were created to deliver babies/reproduce. I believe I am strong enough to do it, and I don’t need pain meds to get me through. I think that there is value in a natural birth. Maybe not for anyone else; but for myself.

Post # 5
1144 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: April 2014

I did it meds free twice and as soon as my kids were born I was practically back to normal. The horror stories associated with the epidural (possibility of paralysis?!?) scared me. A friend of mine said she felt as if she was going crazy.


I went through labour and delivery pretty quickly though






Post # 6
1181 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

@solidarity:  there are a lot of benefits to “natural” labor (with out pain meds).

Any medication you take during labor, will be passed on to your baby. That alone deters many people from choosing medications.

Pain medications can also alter you mental status and can make you less alert. A lot of women want to be fully aware- many women have waited their whole lives for the birth of their child. Its a big moment!

Pain medications can also increase complications and the use of other interventions (meaning more drugs or invasive procedures, possibly C-section). It tends to become a snow ball effect. 


Post # 8
3696 posts
Sugar bee

The medication the mother receives also goes to the baby. Data from a number of years back demonstrated that babies born with narcotics in their system didn’t do as well (for example, they had a harder time bonding and catching on to breastfeeding, etc.) Nowadays, hospitals that use narcotics during labor will only use them up to a certain point, to try to be sure that they have time to leave the baby’s system before birth. (Fewer hospitals are using them now that epidurals are so widespread).

Epidurals also can interfere with bonding and breastfeeding, but the big reasons why many women prefer to avoid them include the increased risk of complications and the “cascade of interventions” that often result. If you get an epidural, it tends to slow labor down, so they often give you pitocin to get things going again. That, in turn, can cause contractions to be too intense (although you can’t feel them) and it can cause fetal distress (the fetus’ heart rate changes during contractions, and when they come too hard and fast one after another, it can really mess things up). Fetal distress often leads to a preventable C-section.

Synthetic pitocin also interferes with your body’s own production of natural pitocin. Pitocin affects both the muscles and the brain: it causes intense contractions, and it also causes intense feelings of love and bonding (i.e. the “love hormone.”) Endogenous oxytocin – the stuff your body makes on its own – is produced in the brain and travels out to your muscles, and so the love and euphoria it causes help to offset some of the pain it generates. Synthetic pitocin can’t cross the blood-brain barrier, so it can *only* intensify your muscle contractions. That’s why many women report that contractions with a pitocin IV are so much worse – although doctors will say they aren’t. The contractions might measure at the same intensity on the monitor, so the doctors will say that they are objectively “the same,” but if the mother isn’t getting any of the emotional benefit of self-generated oxytocin, the “same” contraction intensity is going to be perceived very differently – and in that situation, the mother’s perception matters a lot more than what the monitor says!

You also have to be on an IV and monitor with an epidural, so you will be on your back in bed to give birth, which is about the worst position to do it in – you have to push the baby up and out, and your pelvis cannot open as wide as it could if you were squatting, kneeling, etc., in an upright position with gravity working for you rather than against you. And if you can’t feel what’s going on with your muscles and vagina, it’s very possible that you could push too soon, or too hard and fast, and increase your risk of tearing.

Post # 9
2223 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: January 2012

Every additional intervention you have during your labour makes you more likely to end up having an emergency c-section. Anasthesia can also affect the allertness of your baby upon birth which is a critical moment to get a good latch if you plan on breastfeeding.

To me it seems like a totally legitimate goal to want to have a natural birth. Seems kind of nuts that women go into it already deciding that they’ll need pain medication.

Post # 10
213 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

@solidarity:  I did epidural with all 3 of mine. I kinda wish I didn’t with my last 2. 

Each time they gave me epidural my contractions slowed down rapidly which put the babies under more stress from prolonged labor. They gave me pitocin(sp?) to start the contractions again which produced really strong ones, I assume not natural ones. I could feel the baby passing through the birthing canal even trhough the epidural and the pain was terrible. The doctor told me that there is nothing they can do. Basicaly if I didn’t get the epidural I would have a faster labor that would be milder on the baby and the pain was about the same as if I went without epidural ( or so I was told) 


My first one though was awesome, I practically slept through the whole labor and didnt feel a thing.Even when it came time to push I couldnt feel anything. I guess I was hoping for the same with my third one, hoping the bad experience I had with second would no repeat. I wasn’t so lucky 


Post # 11
5867 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: April 2013

I think it’s mainly that introducing pain medications increases the risk of complications for some women.  Some types of pain medication can slow labour down, make you unable to move into differnt positions (whcih can make labour more comfortable and more productive), intorduce problems with pushing in which you either can’t push hard enough, push too hard, or can’t feel the right time to push (these problems all cause issues with recovery).  It can also introduce risks to your baby becuse medication can be passed to him/her through the placenta.

There is this thing that people talk about called the “spiral of intreventions” (I think I got that right?) where having one intravention increases the likelyhood that you’ll have to have another, and another, and another.  

But, of course, we are so fortunate to live in a time where women have options to choose from many differnt types of pain meds or choose nothing at all.  Every birth and delivery is differnt and it’s really impossible for one woman (or doctor!) to say what the right choice is for another.  I think the key is to educate yourself and make an informed choice.

Post # 12
4581 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

I knew any drugs in my system would be passed to the baby and could make her less alert. I also didn’t want anything that would affect my ability to push and I wanted to be free to get up and walk around.

Those are just my personal reasons and I don’t judge women who choose to have a medicated birth. But I’m glad I had an all natural birth and I’m confident I could do it again. We’re built to do it, after all.

Post # 13
626 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

beacuase of the reasons above. Also because sometimes they won’t let you have them. I asked for an epidural cuz I was scared of the pain to come, not because I needed it but they said no as I was progressing too quickly. I did have a half dose of fentanyl ( it didn’t do anything :/  )  When my friend was in labor they wouldn’t even give her that as they said she was too far.

Post # 14
3696 posts
Sugar bee

EDIT to my post above (sorry, it was late and I was tired when I wrote it):

– I should have said “natural OXYtocin,” not “natural pitocin.” Pitocin is a brand name for the synthetic form of oxytocin, aka “the love hormone.” Also, I forgot to mention that one of the other major side effects of narcotic pain relievers on newborn infants is that it interferes with their breathing, in addition to the other effects mentioned. That’s the major reason why hospitals now cut off narcotic pain relief ahead of birth to try to clear it from baby’s system.

Post # 15
12244 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: May 2013

Apparently I’m a masochist. I’m also terrified of potential paralysis!

Post # 16
2478 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

I delivered my second son without any drugs at all. I don’t think it is a coincidence that I didn’t need stitches afterwards either. The joy of a med-free birth was that I could properly control my own pain and I’d worked out techniques that made this possible precisely because I wasn’t zonked out with a load of opiates and stuff. 

I made my decision after a straightforward but overly medicated labour 18 months earlier when I had my first son. Far earlier than necessary and without me asking for medication, I was persuaded to take a massive shot of pethidine. As a result, my labour slowed, I had to have an epidural and the whole process was far longer than it should have been. During my second labour I took charge of what I wanted and politely refused all offers of drugs.

Our bodies were designed to deliver babies and the ideal position to do so is not flat on your back with your faculties impaired by narcotics. 

I hasten to add that I have no issues with people deciding to take all the medication going and of course, sometimes it just isn’t possible to deliver without it. But in a straightforward labout and delivery it remains far better for you and the baby if you can avoid narcotic pain relievers.

The topic ‘Why not use pain meds for birth?’ is closed to new replies.

Find Amazing Vendors