Navigating the Natural Childbirth

So You Decided On A Medication-Free Labor and Delivery. Now What?

Making the decision to go without medication during the birth of your baby is a huge step. But once you’ve made that choice, many additional choices follow. When, where, who, and how – these are just a handful of the factors you must carefully consider in order to have a safe and positive experience during childbirth. Every woman’s decision is unique and there’s oftentimes not a right or wrong answer when making decisions about your labor and delivery experience.

The Face-Off: Birthing Center vs. Hospital

A natural childbirth can be held in either a birthing center or a hospital. Depending on how open and supportive your doctor is, it is possible to have a successful and non-invasive childbirth experience in a hospital setting. If your doctor gawks at the idea of seeing you labor and deliver your baby with no medications and only natural remedies, you may consider opting for a birthing center. Once a woman makes the decision to go at it with no medications, it is imperative that everyone around her supports her decision, including her doctor, partner, and anyone else who will be present at the birth.

 At the hospital there is always the option of changing your mind and taking advantage of medicine. This can be a positive or negative, depending on your outlook. If you don’t want that option, this may not be the right setting of choice. However, if anything unexpectedly went wrong for you or your baby, the hospital is the best place to be. In the hospital, you will have a revolving door of nurses and doctors. If you prefer a quieter, more private experience, you might not head there when it’s go time.


At a birthing center you are without the option of epidural or other pain medications. The setting is highly conducive to moving around, getting in and out of the water, alternative pain relieving techniques and tools, etc. You are also surrounded only by people who are completely on board and experienced in natural childbirth. You are guaranteed support and sound advice in a birthing center. You have a much more private experience and the most possible control over your circumstances in this setting.

The Face-Off: Doula or No Doula?

A doula is a natural childbirth coach who acts as a support and advocate for the laboring mom and partner. A doula will be by your side at either the hospital or a birthing center and remain with you through your entire labor and delivery.

With a doula, parents are equipped with a very well-educated and experienced childbirth coach who is present at the most crucial time. The doula is often aware of alternatives that (in a hospital setting) aren’t always offered to a mother during childbirth. A doula is usually up on pain-free childbirth solutions and alternative remedies, such as hypnobirthing techniques. She will act as a mediator between doctors and nurses and will be a wealth of information for the parents-to-be.

Without a doula, parents are on their own (other than the midwife or doctor and nurses). For a couple who prefers less people be involved and present at the birthing center or hospital, they may not prefer a third party in attendance. When taking this route the parents will need to make sure they are well-informed on all relevant options ahead of time. Online childbirth classes and childbirth coaching are available to parents who wish to fully educate themselves before it’s time for labor and delivery.

The Face-Off: Pain Management Solutions

Other than having a supportive and loving partner available to weather the intensity of labor and delivery, pain management during natural childbirth is a top priority. There are various methods, techniques, and courses that will achieve the end goal of having a healthy baby and mom during delivery. These techniques are best utilized in combination with one another rather than just choosing one or two.

Pain management during natural labor ranges from changing positions to breathing techniques, massage, aromatherapy, and water birthing. The use of a birthing ball, slow, deep breathing, massage therapy, and Jacuzzi tubs or showers – these are all wonderful and effective ways of alleviating anxiety and lessening the pains of labor. A mother can take advantage of a pain-free childbirth course, an online birthing course, and childbirth coaching classes in order to educate herself and her partner about all pain management options. It is absolutely possible and attainable to enjoy childbirth without the use of medications!


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