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Topic natural childbirth---ridiculed-update!!! Go to previous topic Go to next topic Go to higher level

By senorcoconut On 01/20/04  

My best friend is 7 months pregnant with her first.
I have two kids, so she is turning to me for help. I went pain-killer free with both of mine (and they were HUGE babies--almost ten pounders!) because of a back problem that made epidurals a bad idea.
Katie has decided to go natural, too. I applaud her decision, but she is facing a problem I faced with my labours: In addition to the strangers commenting on her choice of birth, her DOCTOR is telling her he doesn't recommend natural childbirth for anyone! He is PUSHING her to get an epidural! He is a fresh-out-of-residency doc, so what the hell does he know?!!
She is the only mother-to-be in her lamaze class who is going natural, and the other women put her down for her decision!
I am afraid with only her hubby and me to support her decision that she might give in and have a birth she does not want to have because of the pressure.
My doctor also pulled that shit with my first, even afer I informed him of my problem. He got mad, walked out of the room and returned five minutes later to inform me I was to go see an anaesthesiologist immediately after my appt. that day.
I told him I had plans after that and how DARE he do that without my permission! I told him that if I saw him anywhere NEAR my room on the day I was giving birth I would walk out and have my baby elsewhere, even if I was ready to push.
Has anyone else experienced this?

By jane_bond On 01/20/04  

I got a lot of people laughing at me and insisting that once I got a few contractions I would change my tune! I never got that much pressure, except for my mom, who kept insisting that my planning to not allow pain meds was myopic - with the advice of a great midwife, I told her "what do you think women who homebirth do? They don't even have the option for pain meds? Do you think labour hurts less for them? Going pain med free is a decision - you make it, prepare for it and you follow through." She never mentioned epidurals again.

Now, my advice, tho I realise that it's late in the game now for your friend, is that she should have a different practicioner. I doubt however that it'll be that easy to make the switch this late in the game.

But, thousands of women give birth pain med free. Look up their stories online and print them off or email them to your friend. Continue to be a great support. Help her get some inspiring books. Ina May's Guide To Childbirth is a good one by Ina May Gaskin. The Birth Partner is another amazing resource.

My birth story, also pain med free, can be read here:

Good luck! She can do it!

By freakadeak On 01/20/04  

Oh my god! Grrrr! I hate reading things like this. It makes me so mad. A doctor who doesn't recommend natural child birth for anyone! What a moron. I wonder how many natural childbirths he's actually seen.

Your friend can totally do it! I'm sure your and her husband's support will be a huge help. Like Jane Bond said, I would suggest that she, and everyone who will be there with her, prepare as much as possible in the next few months. In addition to "The Birth Partner" I also highly recommend Sheila Kitzinger's book "The Complete Book of Pregnancy and Childbirth" the section on birth technology is very clear and informative and there is a very inspiring section on the purpose of labour pain and lots of ideas for coping with the pain.

If she has any cash to spare she could consider hiring a doula. You can find doulas in your area on the DONA website

By Peachy On 01/20/04  

Yikes! That is crazy. It just doesn't make sense that after 9 months of maintaining a healthy lifestyle for the sake of the baby you're expecting to fill your body with drugs and painkillers at the very end. Luckily, the birthing center were I'm having my baby is pretty progressive and very supportive of natural childbirth. I really hope I can go through with it. To get ready I've been reading "Ina May's Guide to Childbirth" by Ina May Gaskin. It covers all sorts of philosophies and techniques related to natural chilbirth. Maybe you could find a copy for your friend...I got mine at the library. (Ooops...I just realized Jane Bond already mentioned this one.) Is there a chance she could switch to a Mid-Wife, who may be more open minded?

By craftykatie On 01/21/04  

Any chance your friend could switch to having CNM (Certified Nurse Midwife) attend her birth? What about hiring a doula?

A big problem with doctors who push drugs, and the hospitals they work in, is that they do not provide the enviroment that makes a drug-free birth possible in the first place.

I always recommend the book, A Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth by Henci Goer and Birthing From Within by Pam England. Those books will help build your friends confidence in going drug-free.

By selina-k On 01/21/04  

"A big problem with doctors who push drugs, and the hospitals they work in, is that they do not provide the enviroment that makes a drug-free birth possible in the first place."

is that the ever-lovin goddamn truth!!!

By Auntart On 01/21/04  

I honestly think she should switch doctors. It's never too late. I hate doctors...much like everyone else who posted...that push the drugs and espeically when it's a man doctor it just irritates me....ahhhh! I had a pain free birth also at a free-standing birth center in NYC. And my baby was also almost 10 pounds. Everyone, family and friends, thought I was crazy for even thinking to go pain free. But after the fact...they have all applauded me. Maybe she should look into birth centers in your area. If she decides to stay with her doctor...still look into birth centers...lots of them have classes you can take. For example I took a "Child Preperation Class"...which was preparing you for labor and then I took an "infant Care" class...which was sorta a crash course on what to expect the first few months. They covered immunizations to diapering to breastfeeding. Unfortunatly this won't be the one and only time that people are going to question her parents still question our decision to not get our son circumcised and my husband parents are wondering why we haven't baptised our son in the catholic church....uh maybe because we aren't catholic. Anyhoo...check out the classes....if for nothing else it will be nice for her to be surrounded by other preggo women who plan on going pain-free. Also look into Pre-natal Yoga classes...most of the ladies in there are planning on going pain-free too. These environments will help her feel confident in her decsions.

By jjfantastic On 01/21/04  

i'm also in favor of reading as many positive pain-med-free birth stories ahead of time as possible. in additiom to the great books already recommended, i read "the baby catcher" by peggy vincent while i was pregnant, which is the memoir of a bay area midwife, and found it incredibly empowering and confidence building. (excerpts online at

i was planning on going the CNM attended hospital birth route, but it turns out my midwife was not there, and one of the OBs from her practice did the catching. i liked him just fine, though at my one pre-natal visit with him, he did say that a lot of women change their minds once things get going. and to be honest, if labor had dragged on and on, i can't say that i wouldn't have accepted an offer for an epidural...there are appropriate uses, like if you've been in labor for 24 hours and are just plain exhausted, an epi can give you enough relief to rest and get your strength back - just ask them to give enough to get a nap in and let it wear off and get back to work. and i would certainly never degrade someone for trying to go natural and deciding to have an epidural - you do what you've gotta do to achieve the goal of having a healthy baby + mom.

at any rate, it's getting increasingly difficult to type with the napping boy on my shoulder so i'll your friend "the baby catcher" - it's a good, inspiring, quick read. i've never ever been tempted to write an author before, but as soon as i finished it, i emailed peggy (and she wrote back right away and offered to meet with me when she was in KC for a midwifery conference!)

also, my md-free birth story is also online -

and on last wtf? the women in her LAMAZE class are saying she's crazy? hello, isn't that a natural childbirth class???!

By Auntart On 01/21/04  

I just read your birth story and am sitting here dronking coffee and crying. What a wonderful experience. It sounds so much like mine...with all the ideas of what you want to use (props and such) for the birth and never getting around to it or forgetting about it. Makes me laugh whenever I come across something that we planned on using. We made the mistake thinking during labor we wanted it to be just "us"....what was I husband had to go to the bathroom and eat at some point. Thank goodness my best friend was just a phone call away and she was Jon's lakey throughout the labor.

By senorcoconut On 01/21/04  

******pretty progressive and very supportive of natural childbirth******

How odd that we consider places that allow us natural childbirth progressive.

By jane_bond On 01/21/04  

Speaking of pain med free childbirth... Would any of the pain med free moms here want to participate in research for my book on pain med free labour? Please contact me via the email in my profile.


By miss On 01/23/04  

gosh, i am australian and the attitude here (at least in my experience) is quite different. I went throught the birth centre at the public hospital and it was fantastic. My first labour was 32 hours and even though i was delirious towards the end they always supported my decision to not have an epidural or a ceasar unless necessary for the safety of the baby. And i managed to be drug free except for pethidine half way through so that i could sleep and get through it.

The second labour was a breeze - same place, only 3 hours and drug free again. i guess i desrved some good karma after the first labour...!

Again, support your friend, and feel free to use my example that even in a prolonged, painful labour, that your friend can have the strength to have her baby drug free. And defintelt try to use a doula or midwife, they are fantastic!

By Bawlmer_Lenore On 01/25/04  

Sounds like he's from the damn Dark Ages. CNM (certified nurse midwife) is a good suggestion that I've seen posted here. Also, Lamaze is NOT necessarily the best kind of birthing class is your gonna go pain med free. Your friend might want to check out if there are and Bradley Method teachers in the area. She can start by checking out their main website: .
I used the Bradley method for my two boys (9lbs 14oz, and 8lbs 13oz) and no painkillers. (It was NOT easy, but it was worth it for me.)

By melmelon On 01/27/04  

I don't really have anything new to add...other than a great big WTF!!!! There's nothing that drives me more insane than some man who thinks he knows the best way for a woman to give birth.
I was very lucky with my first daughter's birth (I wasn't able to get a MW, all booked up - so I had an OB). The Dr. was VERY open minded, considering, and let me do things my way, but it also helped that my sister's a doula and was there...drugs and c-sections were spoken of during labour (I was a little busy to really pay attention) and if I didn't have her there, my husband probably would have went along with what "they" suggested....doctors are always right, right? Anyway, after a lovely 24hr labour and only a little bit of that gas (I am still convinced it is only flavoured oxygen, since it doesnt do a damned thing for pain,but it does give you something else to if you aren't busy enough), out came my little pet monster (now two and terrible). This time around, I was fortunate enough to get the midwife, and I still can't get over the level of care....anyway...enough of my bitching...your friend is lucky to have someone, such as yourself, who cares enough about her interests and not what the establishment thinks is "best."

By seven_lux On 01/30/04  

excuse me...NAK

It is not always enough to just *want* natural drug free birth.
Your friend needs to know her stuff before time comes to birth.
She needs to learn how "routine" interventions most often lead to a cascade of complications.
She should find out why exactly it is that she wants a natural drug free birth, learn the possible consequences of such actions...tell her support people to help remind her of why when the time comes in case she loses sight too easily.
Usually at some point pain meds will SEEM like a good idea in the midst of it all...but that often means it's nearly over!

She is best off with a doctor (if she must go that way) who is supportive of her choices and what she aspires to do, not one who demeans her desire to do the best by herself & her baby. Not one who feeds her lines like "i don't recommend natural childbirth for anyone".
Of course he doesn' soon as women find out that yes! most of them CAN do it without his almighty doctor presence he might be out of a job!

She needs to know what the 'doctor preferred' position for a labouring woman is (flat on back, on a high bed) and what that will do to her birth process. It is not natural and decreases the pelvic opening by around 30%. It can slow labour, and definitely makes it harder for the baby to come out.
All that extra effort and time to be in pain is not what you want when you are aiming for an all natural birth.

I tell you what...the absolute HIGH & RUSH i felt after birthing on my own terms, empowered by the knowledge i had from the research I had done, was like nothing else i have ever experienced ever. I wish every woman in the world could feel that over their birthing experiences.

More women in the world deliver babies without pain medication than with.

Please tell your friend to remind herself that her birthing experience will be her own and no one elses.. if she is prepared, knows her stuff and is supported by at least someone close, there is no reason why she can't take control of her own birth. Despite the doctor and what HE wants....he is NOT GIVING BIRTH, she is!
She has to live with herself, and body for the rest of her life, not him.
He wants the baby out as quickly as possible, and does not need to care about most repercussions to mother or baby.
The brutalities that OB's get away with is truly horrifying in some cases.

jeebus, i could go on all day....
rant rant rant!!

By sofrosyne On 01/30/04  

I didn't read all the posts here, but I totally agree that she should try to switch doctors and should DEFINITELY look into a doula. There is a program in my area (in michigan) that even provides doulas to pregnant women for free as part of their training. If her doc is pushing epidurals now, he definitely will when she is in labor and she might just be vulnerable enough to succumb to one. At the VERY least she should prepare her husband or whoever is going to be with her to ask her caregivers to not offer unless she asks and back up her decision while she is there.

I got a bad feeling about my doc at around 5 mo but nothing bad enough to switch (tho if I had followed my gut, I would have). I am pretty sure that she lied to me about how far along I was to try to trick me into getting an epidural. Doctors do some unbelievably messed up things to laboring women.

Recommend "the doula book" to her, she will see how much a doula can help her get the birth she wants or make whatever birth she gets easier. Maybe she can get a midwife, or if her insurance only covers drs or whatever, call up a midwife who does homebirths and ask for a doctor recommendation.

By mokistar On 02/01/04  

I have to say that my favorite book for med free child birth is "Birthing From WIthin." The lady that wrote it use to or still does run the birthing center in Albquerque, nm. She teaches alot of childbirth classes including a basic class and another called the zen of childbirth.
This book gives alot of methods of handling your pain and exploring the childbirth prior to giving birth. Art is involved insome of the excercises. Probably another reason I like it so much.

By vespabelle On 02/04/04  

I'll third the recommendation for birthing from within (there are classes based on the book as well - my husband and I took one).

Also, third the doula recommendation. if she can't afford one, she may be able to find someone who is a "doula in training" who will do it for free or a much reduced fee.

Also, BIRTHPLAN! Give a copy to the doctor/nurse, a copy to the hospital when you arrive to put on your chart. Have your partner carry one. We were assigned a very natural-childbirth friendly CNM at the hospital because they all knew that I was one of those crazy ladies who didn't want an epidural!

By MlleEmily On 02/13/04  

Two words- malpractice suits.

Thats why docs in the US don't generally support natural birth- it's less controllable by the doctor, who wants to be in total control of the proceedings. I'm sure everyone knows the business of birth (and for hospitals it is a business) is completely political. There are so many caesarians performed that don't really need to be done, but the statistics show that fewer women die in childbirth die from caesareans than naturals. The difference is small, especially in developed countries, but tell that to insurance companies when they set their premiums...

Dang, I don't even WANNA have kids and I'm so peeved at doctors who are unsupportive of natural birth.

By senorcoconut On 03/09/04  

She's in labor...
I will let everyone know how it went when she delivers. She was induced last night and she had to be manually dialated the first two centimeters this morning. She was diagnosed with possible pre-eclampsia Monday.

By luci_mama On 03/09/04  


i'll go light a candle as soon as my baby (2 years old!) gets up from nursing.

prayers already on their way.....


By senorcoconut On 03/10/04  

Still in labor. Will be 48 hours in 5 hours. They broke her water this morning, but she is not prgressing at all. They may have to do a section. They will decide in two hours.

Fucking doctors and their fucking inductions.

By senorcoconut On 03/10/04  

And we are at 50 hours and counting.

My mom says she has hit a roadblock, but doesn't know much more than that. SHe went to visit her about 6 hours ago and said she wasn't doing too well. I don't know what's going on. With the pre-eclampsia I am kind of worried.

By seven_lux On 03/11/04  

Wow. I'm surprised they have even let her go so long what with inducing for "pre-eclampsia" and all.
I would have thought they'd whip baby out a.s.a.p, and she should just be grateful that they *let* her labour at all. *GRRR* to her doctors...

...and a *CRY* while I'm at it.

BEST BIGGEST GREAT WISHES for her and her baby (& her birth experience, because that is important too).

By senorcoconut On 03/11/04  

ARGH! They had to section her early this morning because he would not dialate past 7. See? Induction!!!! She was not ready to deliver.
Now she has a longer recovery time and she coud not have the natural birth for which she was hoping. Modern maternity medicine sucks. Babies know when it's time to be born.

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