Some women know exactly how they want to give birth long before their due date arrives. Maybe they're midwife Ina May Gaskin's biggest fan and have vowed for a natural birth no mater what, or perhaps they booked an induction at the first possible moment and got the anesthesiologist on standby for an epidural. But a lot of women don't know exactly what they want when it comes childbirth, medicated or natural, and that's why it's important to weigh your options carefully. A good place to start is this list of signs you might benefit from a medicated birth, which can help to point you in the direction that could be best for you and your baby.
Your health and the health of your baby can play a role in whether you would benefit from a medicated birth, but so can your support system, your pain tolerance, and how prepared you feel before you start the laboring process.
Medicated birth can sound scary even to the most pain-averse mother. However, there are several levels of medication you can receive during labor that can help control your pain. Some of these are more invasive than others, and some have more long-lasting effects than others. The U.S. National Library of Medicine reports that the epidural is the most popular form of drug-based pain relief used during childbirth, but even epidurals can come in varying doses depending on the needs of the mom.
Whatever your decision about the kind of childbirth you want to have, you're no less a mama because you've had an epidural than if you stuck it out without medication. First and foremost, choose the option that is best for you and your baby, and perhaps consider this list of signs as you're mulling your options and discussing them with your doctor.