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Natural, Unmedicated Childbirth: How I Prepare

Since I'm expecting our 8th and this has been on my mind recently, I would like to share with you how I prepare myself for natural, unmedicated childbirth.

I had an epidural with my first two births, but the third came so quickly there was no time for drugs.

During that third pregnancy, I had read about The Bradley Method of Natural Childbirth and noticed that "pressure" was used in place of the word "pain".

That may have been why I was completely taken by surprise when the "pressure" turned out to be excruciating, gut wrenching, old fashioned PAIN. I remember trying to climb over the top of my bed, as if I might escape from it.

After it was all over, which amounted to about 15 minutes, I couldn't get the term "blunt force trauma" out of my head. I felt like I had been walking along, minding my own business, when I was suddenly hit by a Mack truck.

Once I had time to reflect on the whole thing, though, I realized the worst part was really not that long if I took into account the periods of rest between contractions.

With my next delivery, my fourth, I was much better prepared as far as what to expect from labor and delivery, and I was ready to give the natural, unmedicated birth another try.

It went much better than the time before because I eliminated the whole "panic and try to run away from the pain" response.

I still had moments of panic and telling screaming to my husband that "I CAN NOT DO THIS!"  He calmly assured me that I really could and that it was almost over. That part probably lasted for less than five minutes, a significantly more manageable amount than the last time.

I could see that with each delivery I was more in control of how I responded to the pain, and that meant that I actually felt less discomfort from it.

When it came time to prepare for delivering my fifth, I had read The Birth Book by Dr. Sears and Mrs. Sears and was more determined than ever to control my mind and not let the pain get the best of me.

This would be my third natural, unmedicated delivery, and I was excited to employ what I had learned through the book and my own experiences.

That delivery was the best so far, but I still felt like there were those few minutes when I wasn't in control. Once again, I announced, "I CAN NOT DO THIS!" and my husband encouraged me to carry on.

My sixth labor and delivery were very similar to the fifth. Very manageable with only maybe 3-4 minutes I wish I could have remained calm.

During my seventh pregancy I read a new book, and had an epiphany about pain management that changed my thinking and my experience with labor and delivery.

To be continued.

For part 2, see my next post in this series, Preparing For Natural, Unmedicated Childbirth.

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  1. Congratulations to you and your family!
    I used Bradley for my first baby and it worked so well I became an instructor :)

  2. I am blessed! says:

    I've always been induced and don't use any particular method other, but I don't use an epidural or pain meds. I did finally try getting on my hands and knees last time and it did seem to ease the contractions a bit. I would love to just go into labor someday, but when it gets down to it I'm always too scared of having a 10 lb baby!

  3. Kelly Family says:

    I've given up the concept that I have to feel in control the whole time. I think trying to control the pain hampers it…why not ride the wave, trust God and let it happen.

    Also recognize that the feeling "I can't do this" is a clear sign of transition-so recognize it for what it is-not a loss of control but a sign that the end is near.

  4. Great post! Congratulations on your coming addition! What a blessed family you have:)
    We are "planning" to try for #3 in the spring and I hope that I can do it unmedicated and natural. I look forward to your next post:)

  5. Thanks for sharing! I'm expecting my first baby at the end of December! I'm planning on a natural, unmedicated birth with a midwife. I'm very excited, but I'm trying to read as much as I can so I can be as best prepared as possible since I've never been through labor and delivery before.

    Would you recommend Dr Sears book? I've heard about it, but I haven't purchased it yet. Thanks!

  6. Smockity Frocks says:

    Kelly, The Sears book is GREAT! It recognizes that there is pain and has several ways different women have worked WITH the pain to have a good birth experience.

    My part 2 will give some nitty gritty details about how I do that and I'll list another great book, too.

  7. Lora Lynn @ Vitafamiliae says:

    Can I tell you how happy it makes me that you've gone back to full feed for RSS?

    Your Laziest Reader

  8. I had a Bradley birth for my first and only, and I loved it so much I am taking a doula class in January. I loved my labor!!!! (and yes, it DID hurt; and yes, I did cry out several times "I can't do this! And I'm not even in transition! Samuel, I can't do this!" Little did I know that I was in transition.)

  9. ...they call me mommy... says:

    CONGRATS!!! Can't wait to hear more! ūüėČ

  10. Hooray!!! What a wonderful blessings :)

    Looking forward to your next post. I have been induced each time and with Pitocin cranked up I always opted for the epidural until this last baby. I progressed to 8 centimeters but then stalled and lost it … got the epidural and delivered a couple of hours later. I am still open to trying natural but I am scared of not making it again.

  11. This is wonderful. I still wish I had NEVER had the epidural with Soph and Little One. I was almost there with the last when I panicked and caved. None of my epidural experiences have been great except for the first. I keep thinking if I could just have one more I'd get it right:)lol
    Oh, and I tagged you over at my homeschool blog:)

  12. I'm glad to see you posting on this. I have questions. I was induced and had epidurals for my first two.

    This time around I really don't want to be induced and I am considering going without the epidural. But I can't put into words any convincing and/or specific reasons WHY I want to go med free.

    I keep thinking that if I want to 'tough it out' and make it through it, I ought to feel strongly about the decision before going into it.

    What are your thoughts on this? Why do you choose to go med free? Especially after your 3rd delivery was so painful? And while I'm asking questions… did #4 and beyond come as quickly as #3, or was that an isolated thing? Having been induced two times before, I really have no idea what my labor/delivery timeline will be without induction!

    –This is officially the end of my longest comment ever.–

  13. Smockity Frocks says:

    Amy, I reeeeeeally didn't like the needle for the epidural being jabbed into my spinal cord. Plus, it took me a full 24 hrs. before I could walk well after the birth. Drugs seem to affect me really strongly, even "non drowsy" allergy medication knocks me out.

    I figured if I could make it past that 15 min. period of pain, I'd be better off trying it without the drugs.

    The 7th labor and delivery was nightmarishly long, but I still got through it! Except for that one, they all went fairly quickly.

  14. Smockity Frocks says:

    Forgot to add, the pain was SO much easier to manage without being induced. Pitocin = EVIL!!!

  15. Fruitful Harvest says:

    Hi there~
    I'm the momma of 6 blessings so far all drug free.
    3 hosptial births
    then 2 homebirths
    then another hospital birth (induced 4 days early and weighing 10#11oz)

    When I was due with my 5th child I read the book Birthing From Within by Pam England and Rob Homowitz! My midwife recomended it!
    It helped me trumediously with letting go of fear and a bad birth experience (I had with my 4th)
    The excersises out lined in the book you can do months ahead to prepare your mind and sprit for the labor and birth!

    Blessings to you….I wonder if you read the same book?
    Looking foward to your next post!


  16. So, what I hear you saying is that in order to get better at unmedicated childbirth, we need to have 6 more babies. My husband will be… um…. thrilled.

    Just kidding! I applaud any mother who can do it without the epidural. I tried with my first, but it was a long labor (41 hours), he was nearly nine pounds, and he had a HUGEMONGOUS head (which is now thankfully normal sized). They gave me the epidural to prep me for a C-section, but the epidural actually sped up my labor.

    My second labor began just about as slow as the first, and so we jumped to the epidural rather quickly. If we do it again, we will likely try natural again.

  17. Smockity Frocks says:

    Georgiann, I haven't read that book. I'll have to look for it. Right now I am reading Ina May's Guide to Childbirth. Very informative!

    Keowdie, Those long labors are difficult!

  18. when I was in labor with #5 I prayed the rosary and it was my best labor not to mention quick! the power of prayer and the intersession of our blessed mother is what got me through it!Try it, you dont have to be catholic!

  19. We used the Bradley Method with our births too. With my first we tried to go natural at the hospital but ended up with an unnecessarian. My second and third were born at home with a midwife. My third was the best of the three – I went into labor while watching Grey’s Anatomy, took a walk around the neighborhood at 10pm, again after midnight, got in the labor tub after 2am-ish and had my baby girl in the tub around 3:30am! I had my husband, mom, doula/friend, sister, and two dear friends all there with me. The midwife got there just in time to catch the baby. It was amazing! Completely different experience than my first birth!

  20. “That may have been why I was completely taken by surprise when the ‚Äúpressure‚ÄĚ turned out to be excruciating, gut wrenching, old fashioned PAIN. I remember trying to climb over the top of my bed, as if I might escape from it.”

    This is SO true. I used Bradley with my first child and I ended up with an epidural! LOL! I don’t feel as though Bradley prepared me to expect PAIN either. :) (Though I did love our classes and learned lots of other things!) I had our second and third child (and for future subsequent children) at a birth center instead of the hospital and read “Birthing From Within”. BFW prepared me so much better to expect pain. I love what she says about labor…

    “There are three things that are givens about labor: It’s hard work, it hurts a lot, and you can do it. That’s the bottom line. Everything else you learn about it is icing on the cake.”

    I found a lot of encouragement through that because it is so true! Once I learned how to expect and accept the hard work and pain of labor, the pain wasn’t all-consuming anymore. Happy Birthing! :)


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