Natural childbirth is an important goal since
most people want to give their babies every possible advantage
in life. The kind of pregnancy, labor, and birth our children
experience has a profound and lifelong effect on their health,
including their mental, emotional, and physical health.
There are many advantages of having a natural
Better for baby. Any drugs
that a mother receives during labor do enter the baby’s
body. The result can be a baby that is less alert at birth.
Since a baby has an immature liver, it takes much longer
for him or her to process these drugs and the effects of
any drugs given during labor will last much longer in the
baby than they do in mom. Drugs given during labor and delivery
can affect the baby’s respiration and heart rate.
Some medications given during labor can cause a drop in
mother’s blood pressure which results in less oxygen
to the baby. It is easy to recognize an unmedicated baby
because they are alert, pink and cry out.
Better for mom. Without drugs,
mom is alert during labor and usually able to move around
freely and find a position that is most comfortable to her.
She is able to actively aid in the delivery process when
it’s time to push the baby out and is usually able
to push the baby out more gently and faster. Women have
a strong sense of empowerment during labor and accomplishment
Better for the family. Husbands
or partners can feel involved as they work together through
labor. When the unmedicated baby is born, he or she will
often be alert and make eye contact with mother and father
enhancing the initial bonding that occurs between baby and
Better for breastfeeding.
Since an unmedicated baby is more alert, it is easier to
get the breastfeeding relationship off to a good start.
Many natural birth babies began suckling at the breast even
before the placenta has been delivered. Some drugs given
during labor can also dry out the baby’s mouth which
makes initial latching-on more difficult. Having a natural
birth also ensures that the mother gets the proper amounts
of hormones at the right time to begin producing milk effectively.
Less risk of medical intervention.
An unmedicated mother is less likely to need Pitocin to
speed labor, a vacuum extraction or forceps delivery, or
bladder catheterization. Mom is also less likely to have
a cesarean section, which is important as current cesarean
section rates in the US are over 30%.
Quicker Recovery. Mothers
who give birth naturally can usually walk after the birth.
They recover from the birth more quickly which makes caring
for a new baby easier.
Long Term Benefits. We are
just beginning to understand some of the long term benefits
of natural childbirth. Many studies in primal health have
shown that influences in fetal life, the perinatal period,
and early infancy can have dramatic effects on our lifelong
health. Studies have shown that autism is more likely to
occur in children who, during birth, were induced or born
by elective or emergency c-section. Other studies have shown
that babies born to mothers who receive pain medication
during their labor have an increased likelihood of abusing
drugs during adolescence and adulthood.