Natural Birth vs. Epidural: Which One Should I Choose

Natural/Drugs Free Childbirth or Epidural: What Are the Pros and Cons?

Deciding how you want to give birth can be a little overwhelming. The important thing is to find what you feel is right for you. The best way to make this big decision is the good old pros and cons list. It’s just, smooth and precise!

A generation ago there was not even a discussion about epidural versus natural birth. Your mother probably did not have much choice in her childbirths.

One of the biggest questions about the birth you can have is whether you want an epidural or natural birth. There are advantages and disadvantages to both. Before we get there, let’s take a closer look.

Natural Birth

Natural birth is done without medical intervention or pain medication. Many women find birth as a rewarding experience. You can have a natural delivery in a hospital, birth center or your own home. Wherever is more comfortable, a midwife will probably assist you. Certified midwives work together with hospitals and gynecologists so that, in case of complications, the mother can be transported to the hospital.

If you plan to have your child naturally, you need to learn different ways to manage pain without medication. Besides breathing techniques, you can think of hypnosis, aromatherapy and the use of a delivery bath. Find more information about how to prepare to a natural birth here.

Benefits of Natural Birth

The advantages of natural birth are:

  • Birth usually goes faster than birth with epidural
  • Less risk of forceps or vacuum
  • Able to move and change position during the labor
  • Have more control on the labor process
  • Reduces the risk of cesarean delivery
  • Most women indicate that they feel good after giving birth in a natural way
  • Safer for the baby – Epidural use during labor can cause sudden blood pressure drop for mom which means less oxygen rich to the baby. That can cause to fetal distress or lead to C-section.
  • Allows better breastfeeding right after birth since the baby is not sleepy.
  • Quicker postpartum recovery for the mother.

The disadvantages of natural birth

  • Scary to imagine the pain you will feel
  • Fear and anxiety about the pain
  • Unable to talk or to discuss – you will concentrate on pain management
  • In rare cases, natural birth can have an increased risk of blood loss. This might happen when the labor is prolonged and there is tearing involved.


Epidural During Labor

An epidural reduces pain in a specific area – in this case, the lower body. Women often choose to have one. It is also sometimes a medical necessity if there are complications, such as those that result in a cesarean section (Caesarean section). A spinal puncture takes about 10 minutes and another 10 to 15 minutes to work. It is delivered via a tube via a tube.

The benefits of an epidural

The benefits of an epidural at birth are:

  • Pain relief
  • You can rest, sleep and talk during the labor
  • Can turn the labor the more positive experience

The disadvantages of an epidural

The disadvantages of having an epidural are:

  • Requires the constant wearing of an external fetal monitor
  • Requires that you have IV monitoring and a reasonably constant blood pressure
  • Limit your movements during the labor
  • Pain in the back after birth
  • Tremor and chills after the drug disappear
  • Swelling of the limbs after using the drug
  • The possible side effects of the epidural can disturb you during labor, including itching, headache, and nausea.
  • You might find that your epidural makes pushing more difficult and additional medications or interventions may be needed.
  • In rare cases, it might cause permanent nerve damage in the area where the catheter was inserted.

Whatever type of birth you choose, make sure it’s the right one for you! Do not let other people force you into delivery that you do not want or that you are afraid of.

Natural Birth vs. Epidural: The Bottom Line

Due to labor complexity, there is no single method of delivery. According to the Office of Women’s Health, these are just a few of the factors that doctors and midwives take into account to make a recommendation:

  • General health and emotional well-being of the mother
  • The size of the pelvis of the mother
  • The level of tolerance for the pain of the mother
  • The intensity level of the contractions
  • Size or position of the baby

It is best to understand all your options and know when you may need medication so that your baby can enter the world without complications.


In conclusion, once you’ve decided whether an epidural vs. natural birth is right for you, it’s important to learn all you can understand about the pros and cons of your choice and what you can expect during labor and birth.


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