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Thoughts on what is (and what is not) a natural birth

Forum: Natural Childbirth


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August 6th, 2011, 01:31 PM
nilla's Avatar Veteran
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Location: New Orleans, LA
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Hi all! I was recently involved in a discussion on facebook about natural births. Since then, I've been thinking a lot about what constitutes a natural birth and if I am right in saying I had one. The discussion on FB essentially boiled down to the fact that I had my water broken during labor. I was well into labor when they were broken (my midwife's suggestion) to speed up labor. At the point of breaking my water I was probably about 7cm and it seemed like transition started immediately after they were broken. It occurred to me, via the FB discussion, that breaking the bag of waters is an intervention and thus my birth may not be considered natural to some. This broke my heart a little because I am incredibly proud of my pain free, naturally starting, water birth. At the end of the day, I still consider it a natural birth , but it made me wonder what you all think.

Any thoughts on any of this? What do you consider a natural birth? Would it be more appropriate to describe my birth experience as med free, and not necessarily natural?

Thank you Jaidynsmum for my super cute siggy!

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August 6th, 2011, 01:49 PM
thepinkleprechaun's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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Well in MY opinion that is definitely a natural birth. I mean, you are not going to find very many women who go out in the woods and pop a squat to deliver their babies with no one around, so if that's their definition of natural that's pretty ridiculous.

I consider natural with no pain medication but I know others have different ideas. I had a pitocin induced birth with my last baby, NO epidural or anything else and I am extremely proud of that. Pitocin sucks lol!

Don't let anyone get you down about it
Katie- mom to Aden (5) Phineas (3) and Phoebe Violet (1)
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August 6th, 2011, 03:34 PM
Kelllilee's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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This is a question that comes up a lot here, you may be able to find some earlier threads about it. Really, it boils down to a personal feeling. To some a natural childbirth simply means a vaginal one. at the other end of the spectrum a natural labor can be considered one with no interventions whatsoever. There's a whole range in there.

For the purposes of this board I think we've come to the conclusion that it means no pain medications.
Kellisa, Mama to:
Courtney, Nola, Kya, Whitney, and baby girl #5 coming soon!
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August 6th, 2011, 07:58 PM
ashj_1218's Avatar Hiya!
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I know we recently had a thread about what constitutes a NCB...if you look back maybe three or four pages, you might be able to read through it. If I remember correctly, there were quite a few responses.

I, personally, consider a NCB any birth where "minimal" interventions are used (aka: an IV for GBS+ is an "intervention" but not one that really changes the NCB status) and the mother does not have any pain-reducing/relieving medications. I think that having your water broken well into labor, having an IV for fluids or medication, or having intermittant fetal monitoring does not place a birth outside the natural realm. Especially if the interventions are done later in labor and do not alter the outcome.

I also had my water broken in labor, as I was beginning to push. Sure, I could have spent two hours pushing with my water intact (if it would have stayed that way) to get my son to drop lower into the birth canal...or the midwife could break it, release the bubble above his head, and allow him to fully descend...and me to get him out in a half-hour. Seems a fairly simple decision to me. And I do NOT think it disqualifies me from having a natural childbirth. Or you.
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August 6th, 2011, 08:40 PM
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My definition of natural birth is one without pain meds and as little intervention as possible. 6 of my 7 deliveries were with pitocin (PPROM with no labor), 2 of them I received 1 dose of narcotic pain meds, I consider the other 5 that I did not receive any pain meds natural birth.
Mom to Meagan,Nathan, Dylan, Tristan ^i^, Zachary,Ashlyn,
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August 6th, 2011, 09:45 PM
Sk8ermaiden's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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The generally accepted definition is without pain meds, and I subscribe to that too.

ROM has been used to speed up labors since midwives began!!

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August 6th, 2011, 10:18 PM
Mega Super Mommy
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I know there are several thoughts on what people think a natural birth is, just like the other girls said. To *me* natural birth is with no pain meds or epidural. If I end up being GBS and require antibiotics or my water breaks with no contractions to follow (like my last labor/delivery) and I require pitocin, I will still consider myself as having a natural birth as long as I don't accept pain meds or an epi.

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August 6th, 2011, 10:19 PM
Quantum_Leap's Avatar frequent flier
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I think that in this day and age, with the medical establishment having the attitude that it does, managing to avoid any intervention at all is a major accomplishment. Managing to avoid them ALL is great, too, but a birth can still be natural even if some interventions are used. (And on the scale of interventions, breaking the waters is a fairly minor one, since, as others have already mentioned, it's been used by midwives since time immemorial.)

ETA: I wouldn't consider the use of EPO or raspberry leaf tea during pregnancy to be interventions, even though those are methods that are also designed to speed up labor. They've also been used by midwives for ages and ages, and they definitely fall on the spectrum of 'natural.'

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August 7th, 2011, 12:09 AM
ChicaChels's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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I was induced for HELLp with my daughter and had no pain meds....I consider it a natural birth even though I had cytotec (knowing the dangers, i was still in a position where i was okay with it) pitocin, CFM, Internal monitoring, AROM..pretty much every intervention except pain medication or c/s (both were close though, my nurse had stadol in her hand to put in my IV when i started pushing, and at one point my CNM called down to the OR and told them to prep)

with my son, spontaneous labor...walked in to the hospital pushing...daddy caught...i definitely consider that natural

Maverick Jude
December 9, 2013
5:20PM 8lb3oz 20.5"
Hospital water birth
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August 7th, 2011, 08:52 PM
nilla's Avatar Veteran
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Thanks, ladies! I'll definitely go back and see if I can't find the other thread that discussed this question.

I'm glad to know that I'm not weird in thinking that a birth can have some interventions and still be considered natural. I am also of the mindset that if a woman delivers without pain medications, she has had a natural birth. And good point about how midwives have broken the bag of waters for ages... I hadn't thought of that!

Thank you Jaidynsmum for my super cute siggy!

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