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The epidural is without a doubt the most popular and powerful pain relief option during labor and birth. Are you hoping to go natural? You'll still have access to many pain relief options that will make your labor and delivery more pleasant.
Why natural birth?
There are many reasons to choose natural birth, and every woman who would like to give birth without an epidural or other conventional forms of pain relief during labor will have her own motivations. Some of the more common reasons to choose to go through labor and birth without pain medication include:
- Seeing natural, unmedicated childbirth as the default, and not wanting to interfere with nature.
- Not seeing pain as a big deal, or having a high tolerance for pain.
- Wanting to experience childbirth without medical interventions, as much as possible.
- Concerns over the possible side effects of medical forms of pain relief, including epidural analgesia.
- Worries that an epidural would trigger the augmentation of labor with Pitocin, and eventually a c-section. Natural birth advocates call this the "cascade of interventions".
- A short labor, so there is no time for medical pain relief.
- Having giving birth naturally before and not seeing it as excessively painful.
- Giving birth in a setting where medical pain relief is not available — at home or at a birth center.
Labor contractions, pushing, and giving birth to the baby and placenta are all likely to be at least slightly painful experiences. Many women say that giving birth was the most painful thing they have ever done in their life, though most of those same women will immediately add that they basically forgot about the pain as soon as the baby was born.
If you are hoping to go natural, you could be one of those women who doesn't feel the need to seek out alternative forms of pain relief at all. You may just go with the flow, and experience labor and birth as they come. Or you may want to seek out other means to reduce the pain of contractions and childbirth. Here, we will discuss four powerful ways to reduce pain: immersion in water, hypnobirthing, remaining mobile, and distracting yourself with other things.