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Drug-free Birth - any positives?!
Drug-free Birth - any positives?!

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#1 BellaRosa

Posted 31 January 2005 - 06:54 PM

I'm due mid April, first time pregnant & want to aim for a drug free birth. A few friends/rellies have recently given birth & have really made me doubt I could get through labour & birth drug-free. They're telling me I'm crazy to even try! All have pressured me to have an epidural. Can I PLEASE have some positive drug-free birth stories to renew my faith in a woman's ability to do it...

#2 Lexico27

Posted 31 January 2005 - 07:13 PM

Here is my story:


My advice:

Ignore them but keep an open mind.

**better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to post and remove all doubt**

#3 angels5babes

Posted 31 January 2005 - 07:23 PM

Here is a great site which will give you some great inspiration...(God knows I need it)

Birthing Naturally

I think a great deal depends on your state of mind and knowing you can do it and wanting to do it naturally.  Of course, sometimes things don't always go as we would like so you must be open to 'going with the flow' of things.  

With me, I had very quick deliveries which gave me no time for an Epidural or other sorts.  If you count Gas as pain relief, was mainly something to concentrate on and hold onto for me.  Don't know how much it really worked.  

Hope that site helps with a little info.  I haven't read it all yet but will do before my time is up.

Good luck.


#4 Guest_rocketgirl_*

Posted 31 January 2005 - 07:42 PM

You can do it.

Saying that I aimed for a drug-free with my first & ended up on pethadine but he was posterior - which causes a lot more back pain.

My other 2 births were all drug-free & very easy. The key was the pre-natal yoga, it fully prepared me breathing & position-wise. If no-one offers classes in your area there are videos & dvds available. Just stay away from the one with the wierd american woman in a turban...

Good luck.

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#5 angels5babes

Posted 31 January 2005 - 07:45 PM

Amena,  That is a great birth story. Congrats!


#6 kcsunshine

Posted 31 January 2005 - 07:48 PM


Just thought I would give you some positive experience.

I aimed for a drug free labour, and was able to achieve this, even with a complicated delivery. It really depends on your state of mind, I became very internalised when the going got tough. You need to be un inhibited, so that you can do what is needed, eg scream, grunt, etc. You will also need a fantastic support team, that will encourage you rather than feel sorry for you. And people that support your way of thinking. You can hire a doula if you don't have anyone that will be suitable. You really need to be able to trust everyone, including the person delivering your baby.

The pain relief (you will need something) that I chose was using a TENS machine, massage, hot packs, and a bath, also used a birth ball. You need to have different things, so that when one isn't working anymore you can change to something else.
Be prepared for the unexpected, and have an open mind. Emergency c/s are always a possibility, especially with a first pg. I'm not trying to put you off, just be realisitic.

This was my first baby.
My labour progressed well, my waters broke first, so I had full on contractions from the start, no lead up. Spent about 5 hours at home before heading to the hospital. Once at the hospital, an internal revealed I was 3cm dilated, so I hopped into the bath, stayed there until I needed to push. Then the babies heart rate dropped, so I had to get out. I had another internal, and the midwife discovered that I had a breech baby. So then a decision had to be made, whether to continue or have a c/s. I continued with a vaginal delivery, and only used the TENS machine, not even any gas! And I had to push for 2 hours to get my baby out. It was all worth it, I had a gorgeous baby girl who was so alert, and still is. She is definately better off without the drugs. Though I do think you have to be tough to do it drug free.

Goodluck and hope everything goes to plan.



DD (Johanna Isabella) 30 Aug 04

#7 Lise

Posted 31 January 2005 - 08:35 PM

I was going okay with my drug-free labour plans with my first bub right until the midwife put me on my back so a foetal monitor could be attached.  Bub was posterior and the pain became intolerable, I ended up having an epidural.  If I could go back in time I would insist they monitored me using a foetal scalp monitor or other method so I could stay upright.  Being on my back meant he didn't rotate and delivered posterior and the less said about that the better.
Second time around I was determined to be more assertive, another posterior labour but this time I stayed upright or on all fours, delivered on all fours, bub rotated and came out the right way, NOT A SINGLE STITCH, TEAR OR GRAZE YEEEHAHH!!!! As opposed to a second degree tear first time around.  Cannot say enough good things about staying off your back.  
Also water in any form, whether a shower head, bath or whatever, I personally find very comforting in labour.  Good luck, you can do it, one step at a time.

Lise 30
DH 31
DS 5
DS 3
TTC#3 Mar/Apr 05

#8 aunty-moo

Posted 31 January 2005 - 08:36 PM

Both my births were completely drug free and I actually enjoyed giving birth!  I found it to be the most wonderful, powerful experience I could ever have.

My first labour was 12 hours and I somehow just dealt with the pain, I went 'somewhere' else IYKWIM

My second labour was 4 hours, very intense and very quick, I wouldn't have had time for drugs even if I wanted them.

I was terrified of having an epidural, absolutely terrified, I was more afraid of this than actually giving birth, thank god I didn't need one.

I should mention that both births were water births and I truly think the water helped take the sting out of it.

People still look at me like I have two heads when I mention that I had no drugs or gas.

It DOES hurt, but it's so true, once that baby is in your arms the memories start to fade very quickly and you think 'that wasn't so bad'.

I wanted to feel every single contraction and think that every time I contracted I was getting closer to meeting my baby.

YOU CAN DO IT! But if you can't, don't feel bad about it, giving birth is great no matter how it happens original.gif

GOOD LUCK, will look out for your birth story in a few months original.gif

Jack & Zoe

#9 toby&millarsmum

Posted 31 January 2005 - 09:24 PM

I have had one of each.  The second was drug free and it is amazing how much better you feel straight after the birth.  Your endorphines kick in - you can actually feel it happen.  My drug free birth was AMAZING - I cant wait to do it again!!
I would never have an epidural or pethidine again (like I did with my first.)  They were horrible but I didn;t realise how horrible until I experienced my drug free birth.  Without drugs I just felt soooooo in control (yes, it was excrutiating, but) and so aware of what my body was doing.  I had notearing and I wasn't even sore afterwards.
It is so easy to be offered drugs or other forms of intervention in a hospital, so be clear aboout what you want and GO FOR IT!!!
Good luck!!!

#10 Schneiderberry

Posted 31 January 2005 - 09:39 PM


Just thought I'd put my two bobs worth in...

My second birth was drug free (I tried the gas but couldn't use it). I am glad that I have experienced it however I will have intervention this time round (only because I am planning an induction)

While at the time I didn't really enjoy it, looking back now I am proud of myself that I managed it well.

It is your decision after all and do no let anyone deter you from trying to achieve your goal. Feel comfortable in your decision, however at the actual time of birth please do not feel disppointed if you happen to succumb. After all no matter how it happens it will still make you a great Mum!!!

Good luck and belly rubs!!!

Me  28 Mel,
DH  34 Rob,
DSD 14 Jade,
DD 3 Amber,
DD 2 Georgia,
DD 1 Hannah
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#11 Rhoxie

Posted 31 January 2005 - 10:34 PM

I've had three bubbas, the first one I had a shot of Peth and the second two I didn't have anything.

From my point of view the the two drug free labours went much better than the first one.  With Gabe I felt that the Peth did not actually help with the pain at all - it just made me silly and unfocused. I could not focus, or listen to what was going on and when the midwife said not to push I pushed and tore a bit.

The second two I just used showers and my hubby rubbing my back.

The adrenaline really does kick in with out the peth and afterwards both the bubs and i were really alert and happy to cuddle and bond. Truely an amazing experience !!!  

I'm terrified of pain (I screamed the house down several weeks ago when I got stung by a wasp) and a real woossy girls blouse so even though it hurts alot it can't really be that bad can it ?  original.gif  LOL

If I have anymore I will not be having drugs for those births either unless I really have too!

A good way to go into the birth is to say in your birth plan .. that if all is going smoothly and I am coping well please don't offer me any drugs but If I start to get panicy or ask for pain relief then please organise it as speedily as possible.  original.gif  That way all your bases are covered. !  

Roxy - Mum to Gabryell, Kiara and Sebastian<img src="http://lilypie.com/baby1/050523/2/12/1/+8" alt="Lilypie Baby Birthday" border="0" />
<img src=http://owl.dyndns.org/~rhoxie/images/SantaSeb.jpg />"I Saw Mummy Kissing Santa Claus"

#12 Debby

Posted 01 February 2005 - 07:55 AM

My best birth was my only totally drug free one.

My first ended in a csec after a cascade of intervention including pethadine and an epidural.

My drug free birth was the most amazing spiritual experience I have every had.  I laboured at home for a few hours under dim lights, soft music and with my loving husband and great doula.  I sang, moaned and groaned and hoola danced my body to 7cm before we went to the hospital.  I was so relaxed the hospital midwife asked my doula if I was really in labour and was shocked to find me 7cm.  My daughter was born 40mins later.

It was so different from the mass of drugs and intervention that I had with my first one that ended in the csec.  I had thought I was so educated for my first birth having attended the antenatal classes and read all the "Mummy" books - but it was only later that I realised how ignorant I was and how different my labour could have been if I had read the RIGHT stuff and spoke to the RIGHT people.

Luckily for me I had the opportunity to learn from my mistakes and the ultimate result was a good 2nd birth with my 2nd son (my first vaginal birth) and then an absolutely amazing 3rd birth with my daughter - my drug free one.

My big recommendations if you want to have a very good chance of achieving a drug free birth are:

a.   Hire a doula, the support another experienced woman can give you in labour and how she can help you get over the "hurdles" and periods of self doubt cannot be underestimated.  It is wonderful to have DH there with you as your partner but very few spouses have a clue on how to really support their wife.  A doula can also give him tips.

b.  Learn relaxation techniques and hypnobirthing.  You might think this is a bit hippyish - and I did too but my third labour was basically pain free (intense yes but not really painful) because I was so relaxed with it all.

c.  Go to the hospital as late as possible.  The longer you are at the hospital the more likely you are to be subjected to interventions.  Once you have one your chances of having more is significantly increased eg. artificial rupture of membranes increases the risk of oxytocin augmentation which increases the risk of wanting an epidural which increases the risk of poor baby positioning and fetal distress which increases of an operative vaginal delivery or caesarean - this is what is commonly known as the cascade of intervention.

d.  Read read read - forget the "Hospital Complaincy Classes" (my cynical view of antenatal classes) and attend some instead that are run by the CEA or the homemidwifery service - they are much more holistic in their approach.  Also forget the "Mummy" books you can buy in most book stores - go to a birthing specific bookstore like Capers (available online) and get something like Effective Care and Management in Pregnancy by Enkin etal or any one of the other multitude of great books out there that tells you all the minor and not so minor things that can happen during labour and how you can do certain things to maximise a positive outcome.

Good luck, I hope you achieve your goal.


#13 Isis

Posted 01 February 2005 - 09:34 AM

All of the info given here is excellent. One pointer for you to get you thinking on how to achieve your own ideal birth- listen to your friends and rello's birth stories. Hear what they did and what they experienced. Then sit back and think, 'What can I do to to avoid that?' They made certain choices, what can you do, to own your own choices?

As you can see, drug-free birth is possible, and definitely preferable to birthing with the full spectrum of pharmaceuticals on board. By educating yourself (as Debby said, more then the 'Mummy' books and hospital run classes) you will be able to truly make the decision of when (and if) to use the medications available.

My own experiences were a 4 hour gel induced gas only labour with DD. Pity about the GA I had straight afterwards- that was a lot of pain relief LOL. I had a day of early labour with DS, then a powerful, very active 2 hour drug free birth. I only went to hospital with DS's birth because I couldn't mentally handle the overpowering contractions my body was experiencing, I needed my midwife to ground me. I gave birth 15 mins after getting to the hospital original.gif To be able to totally interact with DS, to be able to walk and talk and bask in those wonderful birth endorphins, was better then any drug I have taken. The sense of power from his birth that I had is still with me today!


DD Oct 01 ~ DS Aug 03
TTC #3 from late June

#14 AnnabelMc

Posted 01 February 2005 - 09:56 AM


I agree with the others here.... YOU CAN DO IT!!  (If that's what you really want)  

I felt the same pressure to have drugs during the birth of mine, but comforted myself with the fact that billions of women all over the world since time began have given birth naturally, if they could do it SO COULD I!  My Mum gave birth to 4 naturally and my Grandma 6!  Can't be that bad, right?

I ended up having pethidine with my first (succumbed to midwives pressure) and it was one of the biggest mistakes of my life.  Pethidine did nothing for the pain, but caused me to have complications when delivering.  My bub became distressed and was born "floppy", as well as not breathing.  (This can happen when pethidine is given shortly before 2nd stage labour)

With #2 I had a blissful natural birth - the birthing experience I wanted.  I was fully alert and aware of everything going on around me, unlike when I had pethidine, and felt strong and IN CONTROL.  

The biggest positive for natural birth in my mind is that you can rest easy knowing that your bub will suffer NO side-effects from the drugs.  Epidurals lead to a increased likelyhood of needing an assisted delivery, which can be distressing to bub.  (ventouse/forceps, or even emergency c/s)  

A close second positive is that your recovery time is MUCH quicker.  I was up walking around an hr after giving birth with #2.... I know of some women that were up and about DIRECTLY after giving birth.  I think this factor can lead to the mother coping better with her newborn in the short-term.

Another positve - you can have a fully active birth if you want.  And you can give birth in any postion at all!  There'll be no need to hooked up to a machine to monitor the baby's heart-rate.

And lastly, you'll feel so EMPOWERED and confident in your body that YOU DID IT!!!

Of course, there are positives for having a birth with drugs too, but I assume that's not what you're wanting here.

Good luck!!

DS - 4 yrs
M/C (10 wks) - Aug 2002
DD - 1.5 yrs
EDD - 4th Sept '05

<a href="http://www.tickercentral.com"><img border="0" src="http://www.tickercentral.com/view/1f2n/1"></a>

#15 GIO

Posted 01 February 2005 - 01:21 PM

I'll post the link to my birth story as well.  It's a long read so grab a cuppa beforehand.

Tell all your relos to get stuffed and let them think it's just the hormones - that's what I did when everyone said "Well if you want a drug free labour you know you'll end up with an epidural and a cesarean."

Read as many birth stories as you can - I certainly found other women's stories a great inspiration.  Almost like it was a competition "If they can do it, then I certainly can"
Also remember that your body evolved to give birth. It isn't some newfangled disease that must be cured with drugs and a surgeon's knife.



Dog Monty 2.5
DD Lydia Charlotte 14/10/04

#16 goneanon

Posted 01 February 2005 - 01:30 PM

I had a drug free birth and I was the biggest wuss ever (less wussy after it!) so you will be able to do it so long as there are no major complications.

Although the pain is excruitiating I am really glad I did it drug free because I felt so fantastic afterwards. Although I was really tired I was clear headed and felt on an incredible high for days afterwards.

I wouldn't say the birth was great, partly due to the pain and hard work and partly due to the midwives telling me not to come in even tho I was about to give birth (it was not that fast i didn't think, not sure how long my established labout was) but I am looking forward to doing it again as I'll know what to expect next time.

Things that help:
- prenatal yoga, I just did half an hour at home few times a week, huge help
- hot water/baths help a lot with the pain, stretching yr perineum, speeding things up
- staying rested in prelabour but then getting active once you can no longer rest
- researching active birth stuff.

You can do it, don't be put off by other people, there are a lot of advantages to going drug free.

Me (27)
DH (36)
DS Isaac Dylan Hodder DOB 19/03/04
M/Cs 10/02, 1/03 & 5/03

#17 Kristi14

Posted 01 February 2005 - 03:13 PM

hi original.gif

i gave birth drug free 9 days ago. original.gif

i never planned on going drug free but it was too late for pain
relief.  i had an extremely quick labour of 1 hr 4 mins, which
was brought on by an emergency induction.

i waited too long to ask for pain relief and i thought i would
never get through it drug free, but i did, and i am very proud
of myself for achieving that original.gif

so, it is possible to have a drug free birth and be able to get
through it.

go for it original.gif

good luck original.gif

Kristi (26)
3 kids and #4 on the way!!!!!
EDD#4 = 25/2/05

#18 katmc1

Posted 01 February 2005 - 03:18 PM

I had a drug free birth simply by accident.  We were very lazy and did not prepare a birth plan.  My labour was very quick and by the time i decided that i might like to try some gas - just for the sake of it really - the midwife said "Too late" time to push.  I have spoken to some people who plan every moment of their birth and then become disappointed when it doesn't turn out that way.  I guess it depends totally on every person and their threshold of pain - my hubby says i am quite a wimp and was suprised by my drug free labour as was i.  I thank my gorgeous little boy for not giving me enough time to think about the pain and just getting on with it.  That said, next time may be a totally different story.

I just took the wait and see approach.


#19 DeRat

Posted 01 February 2005 - 03:48 PM

I have had 2 children both drug free, although that was not the plan both I planned on using pethadine but when it actually happened did think I needed it.
With DS went to the hospital mid-wife put me on the monitor, told me I was in early labour (she couldn't have been more wrong) she rang the Dr, told him not to rush, 5 minutes later told the midwife I needed to push, she told me she thought i was only in early labour but she would do an internal anyway, she discovered DS was crowning. I was just about to ask for peth when the DR. came in abbused the mid wife good and proper, which totally took my mind off the pain, the Dr arrived just in time to catch DS on his way out.
With DD it was a really quick delivery, got to hospitl they put me on the monitor, decided they should move me to the birthing suite, started to push, DD was out after 3 pushing contractions.
The best thing about doing it drug free is that I clear memories of bringing them into the world, but if I needed to have drugs either for my safety or my childs I would not have hesitated.

#20 manhattan

Posted 01 February 2005 - 04:15 PM


Edited by manhattan, 01 September 2011 - 07:32 PM.

#21 flutterbug

Posted 02 February 2005 - 10:57 AM

I went in with an open mind.  I really wanted a drug free labour and the midwife knew that so she tried to encourage me.  When the contractions really started happening, I opted to try the gas but it didnt do anything for me, then a new midwife came on duty and she discouraged me from making too much noise and after that I was asked if I wanted them to break my water to bring it on faster.  This unfortunatley was not fast enough and I had had enough, I was also very tired from being awake for 26 hours and finally asked for an epidural.  Now I am very afraid of needles, but I did not feel a thing.  With the pain eased I was able to have a sleep, whilst my husband ate breakfast and the day after the birth I was counting down to when we could have another baby.

I suggest you do the same and go in with an open mind, that way if you do end up deciding on having drugs you will not be so disapointed with yourself.  It was the best thing that I did and I intend on going in with the same frame of mind next time.  Also remember that everyone pain threshold is different.  Good luck with your decision.

#22 mesaana

Posted 02 February 2005 - 12:48 PM


I think it helps to be as prepared as you can be, it gave me a lot more confidence when I knew what was going to happen and what I could do.  Learn as much as you can about yourself, your body and what is going to happen, what could happen, what you can do, what your partner can do.  

Something that helped me learn was the Pink Kit, which I found a few women talking about on EB when I was pregnant.  You can get it from: http://www.birthingbetter.com/
and I found it to be very helpful and useful.  As others have said, its good to just go with the flow as everyone and their experience is different, but you can still aim for a drug-free birth.

I was actually getting quite annoyed in my pregnancy from all the people who would say "you've got to have an epidural", and "you can't do it without an epidural", which were comments from people who had never had a baby.  Stay confident in yourself, but also if things don't go exactly to plan, don't beat yourself up over it either.  My labour plan wasn't even taken out of my bag, so no-one knew what I actually wanted - luckily everything went as I wanted it to (mostly - but i'm not hung up on the little things).

Good luck,


DH Rob
DD Zoe 04/03/04

#23 winnie

Posted 02 February 2005 - 02:08 PM

I had both my DD's drug free and agree with everyone else that has already posted.  It can be done but also know your options and be prepared for the unexpected.

Apart from feeling in control and knowing exactly what was happening one other great positive is after the baby is born.  You can enjoy and clearly remember those first few moments.  DD1 and my parents came in to see me less than 2 hours after DD2 was born and I was already up and about and felt fantastic.

Ignore what anyone says to you as in the end it is your decision.  Best of luck.


#24 NikkiA

Posted 02 February 2005 - 02:22 PM

With DD's labour I didn't cope well with contractions, I tensed up and fought through them, counting and doing a lot of pelvic rocking but tense.

My birth plan was to go as long as I could without pain relief, but to have whatever I needed to stop it being a horrible experience.  

I ended up having peth, which wiped out a couple of painful hours (I can't really remember them),  but I can clearly remember pushing and felt in total control for that. But as a result she wasn't breathing properly when first born and had to immediately have an injection to reverse the effects, something which I still feel badly about.

When it came to DS's labour I don't know if it was just an easier labour or that my body remembered going through the same thing 15 months before, or if I just coped better, but I did that one drug-free and it was great.

I really concentrated on walking and breathing deeply, whilst relaxing everything that was tensing for each contraction and only ended up going into the hospital 3/4 hour before he was born.

I have no idea if the next labour will go as smoothly but I hope so. I'm going to try and stay as relaxed and hopefully will go drug-free again. But if things don't go as I hope and I need pain relief, I will be using it.  I would rather remember my childrens birth as having some pain relief, than the most horrific experience of my life.

Good luck, I'm sure things will be fine.
Nikki    original.gif

<a href="http://lilypie.com"><img src="http://lilypie.com/days/050311/3/0/1/+10" alt="Lilypie Baby Days" border="0" /></a>
due 11th March 2005
Nikki 31 Phil 31
DD Emily 12/4/02
DS Tyler 15/7/03
Bonus Mum to:
Alec 13
Paris 8

#25 Zebette

Posted 02 February 2005 - 03:49 PM

Hi there,

I gave birth drug free to twins and I am a big scaredy-cat so if I can do it anyone can! It was supposed to be a c-section but it all happened very fast when I went into labour and I didn't get my epi, any peth or any gas..just a few puffs of air between Twin 1 and Twin 2 (they were born 30 minutes apart)
It was the best experience of my life and I would do it over and over again.
My first DD I had gas (ick) and an epi and it was a much longer recovery for me.

Stick to yours guns but keep an open mind, don't feel bad if you can't do it and tell everyone else to mind their own business!

Goodluck no matter what happens!


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