What kind of advice would you give a first time mom trying to decide how to give birth?

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Answered by: Kimberly, An Expert in the Labor and Birth Category
"Are going to have an epidural?" "Do you think you'll go all natural or will you use drugs?" "How do you feel about having a c-section?" These are just a few examples of the kinds of questions a first time mom gets asked. And on top of where you'll deliver and who your pediatrician will be, probably some of the most important. Trying to decide the method of childbirth, especially for a new mom, is a rather daunting task. There are so many different options, it can make for many a sleepless night.

The main option that I found to be most popular, was going all natural. While most doctors and midwives leave the decision up to the mother, they stress the advantages of natural childbirth. They do leave open the option of a c-section, but most of them would rather leave that for emergency cases only. I made the decision to go all natural when I gave birth to my daughter, and I will probably go all natural again should I have another child. There are many different factors that one should take into consideration, and I will discuss the more important ones in this article.

The biggest, and in my opinion the most important, is the pain factor. Ask any professional and they will tell you that giving birth hurts, a lot. They'll also tell you that how much it hurts depends entirely on the mother's ability to tolerate pain. Someone with a low pain threshold would probably describe it as the most agonizing pain they'd ever felt. On the other hand someone with a high pain threshold might admit that it was the most pain they'd ever been in, but that it was tolerable. Personally, I would put it somewhere in between a root canal and hacking off your own foot. This factor is probably the biggest disadvantage to going all natural.

One of the biggest advantages, in my mind anyway, is the fact that giving birth naturally generally means a shorter labor. The drugs used in an epidural take away the pain, but they also slow down the contractions which prolongs labor. Natural childbirth allows the body to function as nature intended, which generally ends up meaning a shorter labor. As an example, when I had my child naturally my active labor lasted about eight hours. Which for a first child is fairly typical. My friend had an epidural with her first child, and her active labor lasted about thirteen hours. The five hour difference may not look like much on paper, but when you're the one in pain it can mean everything.

Another advantage to natural childbirth is that one generally spends less time in the hospital. When you have an epidural, they generally like to keep you for at least three days to make sure that neither you nor your child present any adverse reactions to the drugs they administered. When you give birth naturally the decision to leave is left up to you, so you could spend as little as one night in the hospital baring any complications. I spent barely a day and a half in the hospital after my daughter was born. The added bonus being that you're generally back to normal or near normal physical status faster than if you have the drugs.

The final advantage that I want to talk about is that you're less likely to need an emergency c-section when giving birth naturally. Now don't get me wrong, there is always a chance that a c-section will become necessary. I've just found that emergency c-sections are less likely when giving birth naturally. The main reason for this is connected to the epidural slowing down the woman's labor. Sometimes it slows it down so much that it stalls at a crucial point, and the only safe option left is a c-section. During natural labor, there is also a point where labor slows down. Mainly to give the woman a chance to rest up for the final effort, but this period generally doesn't last that long so there is no need for medical intervention.

If you are an expectant first time mom reading this, I hope that the opinions I've put forth have helped you decide which method is best for you. Everyone will tell you something different, because everyone has their own opinion. In the end, the only opinion that matters is yours.

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