Natural Childbirth vs Epidurals and Medication - FamilyEducation

Types of Delivery

Learn about different delivery options and medications you can choose from to prepare for the labor and delivery of your new child.

In This Article:

Natural, medicated, and analgesics childbirth

Sometimes you have a choice about how your baby will enter the world; other times (due to medical necessity or emergency) you do not. As you wait out your pregnancy, it's a good idea to learn about possible types of delivery so that you can make an educated choice when you have an option. The basic methods of delivery are (1) natural, (2) medicated, and (3) cesarean.

Natural Childbirth

Baby Talk

Natural childbirth is delivery without benefit of powerful pain medications.

Natural childbirth is any delivery without powerful pain medications. Whether your child is born naturally after careful preparation in natural childbirth classes or born on the way to the hospital in the back of your car without benefit of medication or medical assistance, it is a natural birth.

Today, there are many natural childbirth methods, programs, and classes to help you prepare to give birth without pain or medication. If a natural birth is something you would like to experience, make sure you take the time to prepare well in advance of your due date. With proper training, a natural birth can be very rewarding and personally satisfying. Without advance preparation, however, it can be a painful and traumatic experience.

Medicated Childbirth

Daddy Alert!

Learn all you can about the medication options available for delivery. This will help you feel more involved and knowledgeable when your partner goes into labor and asks for pain relief.

Not all women care for the idea of natural childbirth. They prefer to use medication to dull or completely eliminate the pain of labor and delivery. Choosing a medicated delivery is neither a good nor bad decision; it's simply another option for women today.

If you're interested in a medicated delivery (or even if you plan a natural birth, but want to know all the options), consider the various kinds of pain relief available. Then talk to your doctor. Her experience and expertise can help you understand the possibilities. You'll find that most doctors have the option of a variety of choices, depending on your specific needs. Most likely your doctor will choose the best pain relief for you from a number of analgesics, tranquilizers, and anesthetics. General anesthesia might also be necessary in a complicated case.


Baby Talk

Analgesics are medications that relieve pain.
Anesthetics are medications that produce a loss of sensation.

You're familiar with analgesics such as aspirin and Tylenol. These are drugs that relieve pain. During childbirth stronger analgesics such as Demerol are frequently used. These drugs are usually given intravenously, through an IV drip. In this case the medication is "dripped" slowly through a needle that has been inserted in one of your veins or muscles (the buttocks, for example) after labor is well underway. Medication is fed to the needle through a tube connected to a plastic bag.

The effect of analgesics on the newborn depends on the dosage and how close to delivery the drug is administered. Some infants are born sleepy and unable to suck; others might have trouble breathing and need oxygen. These side effects are not dangerous and quickly wear off.