It started with my first pregnancy. I was at work and told some co-workers that I had decided I was going to try to have a natural birth. "Are you nuts?" one replied. "I don't have that much pain tolerance." Another looked shocked. "Not me, I want the drugs the minute I walk in the hospital," she said. A third admitted, "Well, maybe it's a bit better—my back still hurts where I got the epidural three years ago." A fourth commented, "No way—it hurt so much with the epidural that I can't imagine what it would feel like without it."
Even my relatives were doubtful. "If that's what you want to do," is all my mother would say. And other female relatives said, "Well, we'll see," with knowing smirks.
In spite of all this, I remained committed to having a natural birth. I was a bit scared, but I believed that the pregnancy and birth process designed by nature just couldn't go wrong and need intervention so frequently. I just needed to learn how to work with my body and support this natural process.
Two natural births later, I now have taught dozens of couples how to give birth naturally and get their babies off to a good start. I have also discovered that there are a lot of misconceptions about natural birth.
Myth 1: Natural birth means enduring unbearable pain.
I'll be honest with you: Giving birth naturally is not usually painless. Nor is drugged birth usually painless. Most women I have spoken with who have had both an epidural birth and a natural birth preferred the natural birth. If they have another child, almost all of them say they would do it naturally again.
Giving birth naturally does not mean enduring unbearable amounts of pain, but instead learning how to prepare and work with your body so you don't need drugs. A well-trained natural birth mom will be able to work through the contractions, especially if she has a good coach.