Medicated Hospital Birth vs. Un-medicated Home Birth
Updated: May 27
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From the moment I found out I was going to be a mom I knew I was going to get as much pain medication as I could during childbirth. It never even crossed my mind to have an unmediated birth. I didn’t really understood why women would chose to be in pain when they didn’t have to be. It seemed ridiculous to me.
Movies and shows portray childbirth as this horribly painful and traumatic experience. All my life I had been told childbirth was brutal and I should be afraid of it. I was terrified.
When we were told we would not be leaving the hospital without a baby I immediately informed the nurse I would need pain relief.
To ease the pain of childbirth with my son I used laughing gas and had an epidural.
Fast-forward 2 years and there I was at home in a birthing pool giving birth to my daughter…completely un-medicated.
From the beginning of this pregnancy I had planned a home birth. I felt confident that my body and my midwife knew what they were doing. This time around I wasn’t scared… I mean I was nervous… But honestly I was mostly excited. I was excited to see how amazing my body could be. I was excited to work with my body to birth my baby girl. I was excited to really experience birth.
Medicated Vs. Non-medicated
If the epidural or other form of pain medication works you should not feel the intensity of your contractions
Not feeling the majority of the contractions gives you the opportunity to rest
If you choose to get an epidural, you will need constant fetal monitoring , blood pressure monitoring, an IV, and possibly a catheter.
Epidurals can make your labour longer ( blocks oxytocin which helps your uterus to contract)
You are not able to work with your body through your contractions ( Working with your body makes labor faster)
You are not very mobile
You will need assistance going to the washroom
You will most likely give birth on your back ( Research shows that giving birth on your back: Slows labor, goes against gravity, reduces the pelvic opening, constricts blood vessels causing less oxygen to get to the baby, and makes it more difficult for baby to shift into a better position.)
Getting an epidural can increase your chances of a C-section
You are unable to feel how to push most effectively
You still feel the baby crown
Higher chance of ripping and needing stitches because you cannot feel if you are tearing
You do not need any unnecessary monitoring
You are able to work with your body through each contraction
You can move around freely ( I bounced on a ball and walked up and down the stairs)
You can birth your baby in whatever position you are most comfortable
You can go to the bathroom on your own
You can have a water birth
You are truly aware how amazing your body is
You may not even need to push baby out ( I honestly just breathed my baby out)
The connection with your baby after is unreal
less chance of ripping and needing stitches because you can feel what's going on
You feel each contraction so there is no time to rest
You feel the contractions from birthing the placenta ( I didn't even realize it was happening with my first birth. With my second birth I actually had to hand my daughter to my husband so I could get through the contractions)
Hospital birth Vs. Home Birth
You have everything and everyone you would need in case of an emergency
You have the option of pain meds
C-section rate is higher at hospitals
You are not allowed to eat while in labour ( and trust me you will be hungry)
Staff rotates - you are always dealing with new people
The staff doesn't always care or know what you want out of your birth experience
Each staff member has their own opinion about everything
You will not be given the choice to have a natural third stage of labour. ( birthing the placenta) They will actively manage the third stage of labour ( by administering an injection in the thigh or administering it through IV)
Shared space with other patients
Breastfeeding is not their main concern
Staff doesn't always ask your permission to do things. ( eg. Feeding your child formula with out your knowledge)
You are not in YOUR bed
Hospital controls when you have visitors and how many. ( our hospital wouldn't allow our siblings to come meet our son.)
Our hospital wouldn't allow spouses to stay past 11 Pm once the baby was born. ( My husband was sent home and wasn't allowed back until 6 am)
You may not get to give you child their first bath
You have the option of pain meds (Even if you want to go un-medicated you are more likely to get an epidural because you know you can.)
Its way more exhausting being at the hospital
Baby is born in a hectic and stressful environment
You have to pay for parking the whole time
You have to drive home after
lower C-section rate
You can eat or drink whatever you want
Your midwife stays with you throughout your labor
Your birth plan is important to everyone there
You are given the choice to actively manage the third stage of labour or have a natural third stage. (birthing the placenta)
You are in the privacy of your own home
You can have who ever you want there
You are comfortable with everyone who is there
You do not have the option of pain meds
You are in the comfort of your home (Being home and in your own bed after the birth allows you to truly rest)
You have your own bathroom
Your older children can be there ( Our son was upstairs sleeping while I gave birth to our daughter)
You have a lot more freedom
Everything is a choice ( Your midwife will not assume anything)
You do not have to drive home
Baby is born in a relaxing atmosphere
Overall it is way less exhausting
If something goes wrong you will have to go to the hospital
You do not have the option of pain meds
Both of my children's births were amazing moments in my life. Both baby's are healthy and happy and I wouldn't have it any other way.
If I were to have another baby I would 100 % do an un-medicated home birth again. It was the most magical experience of my life. I loved absolutely everything about the birth of my daughter. I felt an intense high for days after that I didn't feel with my son. I also had a huge sense of pride. I did it!!! and it was truly wonderful.
No matter how each of us choses to birth our children all that matters is that everyone is happy and healthy.