Define natural childbirth to me

Heather - posted on 02/18/2010 ( 31 moms have responded )

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So I have always been under the impression that natural childbirth means just that, no intervention. I had a home birth with no pain medication, fetal monitoring, etc. I worked extremely hard to have the natural birth I wanted. It drives me nuts when some moms claim they have had a natural birth even though they were administered pitocin or any kind of meds other than an epidural. I thought natural meant, "the way nature intended." I don't think nature created pitocin, man did. So I want to know what you ladies think...am I right, or does natural only mean not getting the epidural?

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FETAL MONITORING IS A VITAL PART OF BEING IN LABOUR.I NO OF A GIRL WHO WAS LEFT IN HER HOSPITAL ROOM WITHOUT BEING PUT ON THE MONTIOR STRAIGHT AWAY WHEN THE CAME BACK IN THE PUT HER ON IT AND THE BABY HAD NO HEART BEAT.SHE GAVE BIRTH TO A STILL BORN.HER BABY WAS ALIVE GOING IN BECAUSE HE WAS MOVING.IF THE MONITORED HER STRAIGHT WAY AND NOT OF LEFT HER FOR OVER AN HOUR HER LITTLE BOY WOULD OF BEEN SAVED.ITS VITAL FOR THE BABY NOT FOR US.

SINCE THEN IN THE SAME HOSPITAL WHEN I HAD MY SECOND CHILD I WAS MONITORED AROUND THE CLOCK FROM THE TIME I STEPPED INTO THE WARD TILL SHE WAS BORN.I GUESS THE REALISED HOW IMPORTANT IT WAS TOO.

Tara - posted on 02/18/2010

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As far as your doctor or midwife is concerned, natural childbirth is any vaginal birth, whether or not you have drugs. If any kind of intervention is required (forceps, vacuum, c-section) then they consider it "non-natural.

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31 Comments

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Elizabeth - posted on 09/15/2011

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It's a matter of individual definition. Some Doctors use the term "natural" for anything that's not a C-section. Some people just aern't comfortable saying "vaginal".

Kerry - posted on 02/19/2010

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Although I understand that you say the drug used to induce labour isn't natural it's man made, I happen to be one of the unlucky women who can not go into labour without the assistance of the drug to induce labour. My second child was 10 days late and still no sign of movement, even after my waters had broken still no contractions. However i feel that I had a natural birth, all three of them were vaginal deliveries with no pain medication. So I felt every contraction and experience all the pushing and pain associated with birth, the only thing I needed was a little bit of help to start the contractions.

Maggie - posted on 02/19/2010

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I had two natural births in hospitals. I did have fetal monitoring but no meds and no interventions. I had gone to a birthing center both times but toward the end had to go to the hospital due to complications. However, both times I was able to labor as I wished and change positions as I needed to. Under the circumstances I'd say it was as natural as it could be.

Heather - posted on 02/19/2010

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@ Katherine Voutt:



having a water birth is not unnatural, it is a natural substance by nature. drugs on the other hand, are not, they are a man-made synthetic substance. What do you consider to be all natural then? Not breathing or moving in labor? Because relaxing your body and breathing the right way in labor does make you alot more comfortable. Also, DON'T speak for all women saying "no women would say 'I would do that again in a hurry'." That was exactly what I thought rght after I pushed me baby out...that I would do it all over again, a hundred times! I had such a beautiful birth experience with my son that I am looking forward to being in labor with the next baby I have. Yeah it might have been a lot of pain, but my son was worth the sacrifice.



@ everyone else:



sorry for my lack of explaination on the fetal monitoring. I meant electronic fetal monitoring...the kind where they screw a probe into the baby's skull and you are hooked up to the machine.

Props to women to had pitocin without pain relief from drugs, that must be very hard and I am not passing judgment on any women who has interventions. I had a lot of preparation for a natural birth and I know that is why I was so successful

Michelle - posted on 02/19/2010

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Natural birth to me is when you give birth with no pain relief natural. Everyone is different and I personally won't judge anyone who had pain relief. My sister is having to have a epidural for medical reason.
I am proud that I had a natural birth with all 4 of my children (no pain relief at all), but like I said everyone is different as long as you and baby are safe that is what is important.

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TO ME A NATURAL BIRTH IS GIVING BIRTH VAGINALLY.A MEDICAL BIRTH AS THE DOCTORS SAY IS A NATURAL BIRTH VAGINALLY WITH PAIN RELIEF.A BIRTH IS A NATURAL ONE AGAIN VAGINALLY WITH NO PAIN RELIEF.I WAS LOOKING AT A MATERNITY PROGRAM A WHILE BACK AND THIS WAS SAID.THATS HOW I NO.



ALSO DONT PASS JUDGEMENT ON ANYONE FOR USING OR NOT USING PAIN RELIEF IT DOESNT MAKE YOU ANY BETTER OF A MOTHER EITHER WAY.WE DO WHAT WE HAVE TO.I TOOK PAIN RELIEF ON MY FIRST AND MY BABY WAS VERY HEALTHY.MY SECOND AN EMERGANCY C-SECTION WERE BOTH OUR LIVES WERE IN DANGER.WHATS IMPORTANT HERE IS A BABY THAT IS HEALTHY AND ALIVE.ITS NOT A COMPETITION ON HOW WE GIVE BIRTH TO THEM.:)

ITS FANTASTIC TO BE ABLE TO GO ALL NATURAL NO PAIN RELIEF THATS GREAT AND I LIKE TO HEAR THAT.I DONT WANT TO TAKE THAT PROUD FEELING AWAY FROM ANY MOM.WELL DONE TO YOU.

Kelly - posted on 02/19/2010

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I gave birth with the aid of Gas Only but since thats not classed as drugs i see myself as having a natural birth but i also see myself sitting on the fence in this discussion.

I dont know how everyone else see's the use of gas.



I think if you used gas or nothing then its natural as everythign else is classed as a drug.

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natural birth is to give birth to a baby through the vargina... if we are to say it's not natural if you have pain relief then same thing can be said about water births there not natural cause it gives you pain relief like a drug. If you really want to get into it then natural birth with any sort of pain relief would mean it's not natural at all including the wet towel on your head during contractions as it helped you get through the pain... which any sort of relief is like a drug as it makes you feel good.
Thou a midwife could be seen as a intervention to you giving birth so if you had one of them then it would count towards being a natural birth. Natural would mean on your own & do nothing but deal with it on your own... but who really cares how you did it, you gave birth with drugs or without trust me just thinking about how women would want to have a small melon pushing through their vagg & feel proud about doing must have been on drugs cause no women would say 'I would do that again in a hurry'. After 2 naturals & 3 c-sections and I would have a c-setion over a natural any day!

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I thought natural meant a vaginal brith with no medical intervention but my midwife referred to my labour as a natural birth. I had a vaginal birth with fetal monitoring (which I personally don't see as unnatural) because I'd had problems with low amniotic fluid levels and we knew he was going to be a small baby because I had to have extra growth scans, and I used gas and air. I think to be quite honest gas and air isn't a medication so therefore in my eyes and the midwifes eyes I had a natural birth.

Susan - posted on 02/18/2010

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U R exactly right...I have had 3 blessings or curses whatever way u wana look at it...LOL jus playing and 2 of them were epidurals but with my daughter NO CHANCE!!! And believe me u r a better woman then me cause if i had tha choice I WOULD SAY EPIDURAL!!! Because of the 2 huge metal rods in my back they wouldn't give me anything cause of a chance of infection....SO I WENT 16 hr. WITH NOTHING not even my normal pain meds.!!! NEVER AGAIN.....LOL :) Tell those girlfriends of ur'z they don't have a clue what NATURAL IS REALLY LIKE....Only people like us can clam that one!!! Be Blessed

Jodi - posted on 02/18/2010

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LOL @ Pieta. After I checked into my hospital while I was in labour, I then headed off for a walk to the local shopping centre with my husband to pick up some magazines to read - the midwives had no problem with me even leaving the hospital grounds during the progression of my labour!!! I must have been quite a sight every time I had a contraction in the street, LOL (I am in Australia too). I was pretty much allowed to go anywhere I pleased, as long as my husband was with me. It certainly passed the time and helped things progress naturally :)

Becky - posted on 02/18/2010

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In my mind, natural means no interventions. However, I don't consider fetal monitoring an intervention. Even a midwife in a home birth checks the baby's heartrate from time to time with a doppler or stethescope. I do hear a lot of people referring to natural childbirth as only a birth without pain medication.
I had a natural childbirth with my second. I went into labor at 5:30 am and labored at home until about 7:30, when I decided I'd better wake my husband up and head to the hospital. By the time we got to the hospital, we had less than 20 minutes to spare before our little guy made his experience. Not even time to change from my street clothes to a hospital gown, let alone for any interventions or medication! it was great, exactly the way I wanted it.
With my first, I did it mostly without pain medication, but I did have to be induced, due to high blood pressure, and had an epidural at the last minute for the same reason - they told me putting me under for an emergency c-section if necessary could kill me when I had hbp. In retrospect, I wish I hadn't had it, all it did was make me wait to push him out, but, it is what it is. But man, the IV was the worst part of labor! I was so determined to avoid that the 2nd time around, I think that was part of the reason I put off going to the hospital to the last minute!

Tawni - posted on 02/18/2010

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i think ideally it means no intervention- however, I do think that women who labor without pain medication of any kind should not be robbed of the ability to say and/or discounted when they claim they labored naturally because they wound up needing pitocin due to their labor stalling/contractions not being effective enough esp since pitocin intensifies the pain of labor 10 fold. I had no interventions with my 2nd labor and with my first i had to have pitocin or risk having to have a c-section because my membranes had been ruptured for over 24 hours. I still talk about both of them as natural labors because I did work through each and every contraction and labored through every bit of it listening to my body. So, yes.. technically no interventions- however-i think the elitist view that is coming across in your message alienates mothers who worked just as hard to work through their labors in a way they felt was best for themselves and their babies without trying to numb away the pain...

Tori - posted on 02/18/2010

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Websters Dictionary: a system of managing childbirth in which the mother receives preparatory education in order to remain conscious during and assist in delivery with minimal or no use of drugs or anesthetics.



I had help with induction but had no painkillers whatsoever, and I consider myself to have had a natural childbirth. To go through that painkiller free and have someone say it wasn't natural labour is an insult! That's just ridiculous!!!

Theresa - posted on 02/18/2010

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I always thought that natural meant no drugs or pain meds of any kind. I didn't consider being in the hospital or having fetal monitors to be not natural. I still gave birth naturally, just in a hospital where there was help if necessary. Though yours was truely all natural.



Someone posted that they didn't know how you could get away with no IV in a hospital. I've had 3 babies. I didn't have an IV with any because I didn't want meds so they said there was no need. I'm expecting my 4th in 3 1/2 weeks. I will have to have an IV with this one because I have Group B Strep and will have to get antibiotics during the birth to make sure the baby doesn't contract it.

Andrea - posted on 02/18/2010

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By definition, a natural childbirth wouldn't include medical intervention. I attempted a completely natural childbirth but it didn't work out that way. I was in labor for 30 hours and only spent a little more than 9 hours in the hospital before I had her. But then I had to have a fetal monitor attached to her scalp because the machine kept losing her heart beat and once I got upset over that, there was no way I could continue to keep a handle on my contractions. So, I think I made a valiant effort, but in the end I did have a medicated vaginal delivery.

Patricia - posted on 02/18/2010

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I tell people I had a natural birth with my daughter because I did not take any meds or had an epidural although I was in the hospital because I had to be induced. I was already 41 weeks w/my daughter that they decided they should induce me so the only thing I had was an IV for most of that day before my daughter came, but other than that I believe to have had a natural birth.
Paty

Sheree - posted on 02/18/2010

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I agree 100% with you Heather. I had a natural birth, no drugs although i had to have fetal monitoring as the dr was worried about the baby (there was a possiblilty for still birth, due to complications) I went into labour at home and actually thought it was braxton hicks, when i arrived at the hospital to make sure everything was ok, they told me I was 6cm dialated already and the baby should arrived that night. I had her 90mins after getting to the hospital with no drugs at all :) Im proud to say I had a natural delivery

Heather - posted on 02/18/2010

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in the states...you can DEFINANTLY refuse the IV fluids...you never have to do anything that you don't wan't to.

Heather - posted on 02/18/2010

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thanks ladies! i wish there was just more of a defined line between "natural" and "vaginal" birth, that's all :) thanks for sharing your experiences, i love to read them!

Peita - posted on 02/18/2010

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Erin, are you in the the states??? I'm in Australia and our hospitals don't put IV's in unless there are complications and you need to go to surgery!! We are left to progress "naturally" and we are also discouraged from using pain relief!! We don't have many home births here either, the hospital staff tend to leave you in the delivery room to progress and just pop in to check on you, and sometimes to monitor the baby! It always facinates me to hear what other coountries hospitals do for child birth, I think we have it great here, we are encouraged to walk around and even stand up to deliver to minimise tearing!!

Amanda - posted on 02/18/2010

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I feel your right..but I had meds and an epidural and to me I feel I had a natural birth because he came out the same way he went in and just because I had meds does not mean that I didn't go through anything...although if I had my time back and thought it through I don't think I would of had any of the meds...but I was young and it was my first child but to me I feel that we both had a natural birth just I had meds for the pain and you did not. (But I must applaud you for what you went through, I don't know if I would of been able to do it...) :)

Peita - posted on 02/18/2010

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I think natural is exactly as you say, no drugs and assistance! Not many people achieve this though, so well done to you! My first was forceps and epesiotomy delivery and people tell me that was a natural/normal delivery, my response is 'well he came out the right hole, but that's about it' lol! My second was less intervention, because my blood pressure was very high, I needed medication to calm my nerves and so I didn't have a fit, but there was no intervention with my girls delivery and I still had every bit of pain, but after having her, I needed a blood transfusion because of a retained placenta, I was induced for my 3rd due to pre-eclampsia, but the pitocin was the only thing I had, I went through labour and delivery with no pain relief or meds! After my 3rd I had major complications that almost took my life, and even though I think that natural is best, I understand that there are some circumstances when you need assistance! I never chose to have an epidural, c-section or epesiotomy and forcepts just because I can, but I think that it is ok if someone else chooses it, people cope with things differently!!!

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I would assume natural means w/out medications...I don't see how fetal monitoring would make it unnatural...I mean that doesn't make you have the baby any sooner or nothing? So to me natural could be in a hospital or where ever you may be and then you would not have a cesarean, meds (either epidural or pills), let the baby come at its pace and no episiotomy...I guess if you were in a hospital then you'd have an IV w/fluids and that would kinda take away natural...but if you're in a hospital then I don't see you getting out of that one...so long as they weren't putting meds in there too I'd still consider that natural? But yeah, pitocin: NOT NATURAL!

Jane - posted on 02/18/2010

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The true meaning of natural childbirth means no intervention INCLUDING an epidural. So you are correct that pitocin is not natural, nor are pain meds, or an epidural.



Now, with that said, with my daughter, I delivered vaginally and "almost" naturally. I let them give me a little bit of pain relief once in my IV, didn't like it because it made me feel as though I was out of control and once that wore off, I didn't have any other intervention. With my son, no pain relief in my IV but I did go for the epidural which wound up only numbing my left leg (something about my spinal cord having something that splits it or something like that) so I felt everything anyway.



BUT, in both cases, I can not claim "natural" childbirth.

Brittani - posted on 02/18/2010

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Well I would have to agree with you. I now look at it in a new way reading your story. I honestly dont think you can get any NATURAL then what you have done. Props to you!

Brittani - posted on 02/18/2010

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Well I would have to agree with you. I now look at it in a new way reading your story. I honestly dont think you can get any NATURAL then what you have done. Props to you!

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