4 Reasons Natural Births Are Awesome

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Before you start laughing in my face, just know that I already know what you’re thinking and, no, I’m not crazy. Everyone who has ever told you her awful birth story would have you believe that even labor with drugs isn’t always walk in the park, and so natural birth, to stick with the park metaphor, would be like getting held up at gunpoint in front of the sliding board.

Friends, strangers, and every TV show you’ve ever watched have done a good job of showing you that natural birth is the opposite of great. It’s long. It’s painful. It sucks. It makes you say mean things to your husband and contributes to you acting like a complete bi-otch to the nurse. It’s the last thing you ever want to willingly put yourself through. Why on earth would anyone have a baby without drugs? Hell, you’d skip the whole birth thing entirely if there were a different way to pop those kiddos out that didn’t involve showing your hoo-ha to a room full of medical students.

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Well, I’m going to let you in on a little secret that no one tells you, mostly because they don’t know it themselves. Are you ready? Natural birth is, in fact, awesome, and here’s why:

1. Instant recovery.  After you give birth with drugs, you may feel a little disoriented, queasy or feverish. You’ll certainly be bedridden or wobbly for a while if you’ve had an epidural. But if you go au naturale, you will be up and walking your natural-birthing bad ass to the bathroom not long after the last push. This isn’t to say that it doesn’t feel like someone whacked you in the crotch with a baseball bat during that walk, but you are able to get out of bed and to the facilities all by your lonesome, which is especially nice if you were just spread-eagle in front of an entourage of hospital personnel for the good part of the last three hours. Your extended recovery over the next days and weeks will be no sweat, too (barring no other complications during delivery), which will make taking care of your new baby that much easier. But don’t let on that you’re feeling fantastic; you’ll want people to do your laundry and dishes for as long as possible, and helpers will be more willing if they think they’re really needed. Try adding a limp to your walk, or just waddle like you did while you were 9 months pregnant.

2. Birther’s high.  Of course you’ve heard of a runner’s high (or if you’re not a runner, perhaps you’re familiar with….uhhh…other types of highs). I’m a runner — with one marathon and many half marathons under my belt, so I know the amazing feeling of finishing a run, sweat dripping down my face, heaviness in my tired legs. Whether it’s a flat, 2-mile route around my neighborhood or a hilly, 20-mile training session that crosses state lines, the extraordinary sensation of pride and accomplishment that streams out of your pores cannot be matched. Or so I thought. My birther’s high was very similar to my runner’s high when I crossed the finish line of my marathon, only it felt 100 times better. I wouldn’t have thought that was possible after completing my marathon, but achieving my goal of squeezing something the size of a watermelon out of a hole the size of a lemon — without drugs — totally changed that. This type of high lasts for weeks, and leaves you wanting to get knocked up again as soon as possible just so you can experience it one more time. Natural birth is like crack for your vagina. People think I’m kidding when I say that, and though I don’t have personal experience with crack, it’s gotta be true.

3. Super alert, nursing-like-a-champ baby. Should you choose to breastfeed, you are less likely to experience early breastfeeding hurdles if you avoided medication during labor. Your baby will come out with her eyes wide open, ready to look at this awesome specimen of a mommy that just got her through the birth canal like no other, with her mouth wide open, ready to wrap little wet lips around your areola. (I feel a little bit like I’m writing erotica right now, but I swear it’s not my intention; just go with it.) This isn’t to say that women who get drugs won’t be successful with breastfeeding; just that a baby who is drug-free at birth may have a tiny little baby leg up.

4. Bragging rights.  Maybe this isn’t the right reason to have a natural birth, but it is a pretty cool byproduct. I especially love it when it comes up in conversation with someone who doesn’t already know that I’m a natural birth enthusiast. Because natural birth has become so rare in this country, it’s so unexpected and people are genuinely impressed. When I go on to say that I actually caught the baby myself (“You mean the doctor didn’t deliver her?!”), the crowd goes wild. Note: your natural birth story becomes more remarkable the longer you were in labor, the less time you spent at the hospital before the baby arrived, and the more the baby weighed at birth.

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Are you committed to natural birth yet? No? That’s okay. It wasn’t my goal to convert you. I’m well aware of my pain-killer-loving sister mamas out there, and I’m happy that they have a clear plan for their births, even if it only involves an anesthesiologist and a nap. More power to them. I just hope their epidurals work!

Related post: Unmedicated Childbirth Survival Tips

About the writer

Lauren Rauseo is a work-from-home mom to Dylan, Liv and Fiona. Her favorite things are Starbucks, manicures, wine and yoga, and after realizing that none of those involve her children, she’d guiltily like to add to the list: going for walks with the kids to collect “treasures” and singing in the car. Now that she’s done birthing her own brood, she has moved on to sharing her enthusiasm for natural birth with others through her book, Natural Birth for the Mainstream Mama: A practical guide to achieving a drug-free birth in a hospital setting, available on Amazon. You can follow Lauren at on Facebook.

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Kim Waddoups 1 year ago

Great article! I had a natural, unmedicated birth with all 3 of my children. The first two I birthed at a hospital, and they were born at 7lbs 1oz and 7lbs. 12oz. 1st baby was the hardest labor & delivery, even though she was the smallest, and recovery was a little longer, too. 2nd baby was easier (I was more educated and knew what to expect and was able to relax more), and I was ready to get up and walk around about an hour (or less) after delivery. The last baby I had at home, and she weighed a whopping 9lbs. – and she was my easiest labor & delivery and shortest labor and quickest recovery. I also was able to catch her myself, which was pretty cool. The “after-delivery high” is pretty great. :) All 3 of my babies nursed like champs (1st baby up till 13 months, 2nd baby up till 15 months, and last baby is still nursing at 5 months). IF I have another, I’m all for doing it natural again, and hopefully another home birth. :)

    Kim Waddoups 1 year ago

    ^That said, I am not judging moms who birth their babies any other way. Natural birth IS hard, and it is not for everyone. :)

Renee Singleton Mack 1 year ago

I have had it both ways natural and epidural ….I’ll take epidural way any day over natural… They used to to do dental work etc. with no sedation and I sure am not having any drilling etc done without it today…same thing in my opinion. No shame in either way

Laurie Steiner 1 year ago

I understand why a natural birth is called a “natural birth,” but I hate it. Having a baby is natural no matter how the baby comes out. The title implies superiority. You do what you need to do to survive. End of story. I’ve had a c-section and a drug free VBAC and both provided the same exact outcome – a wonderful baby in my loving arms and me hurting like hell somewhere below the waist for a few weeks.

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