OPTION 5: Vaginal hospital birth with drugs
“I was a little disappointed that I needed an epidural and Pitocin, but they really helped my labor speed along with little pain. And the actual birth was wonderful! I pushed, and everyone cheered me on like it was a sporting event.” —Raven, a writer and mother of one in New York City
“I think women are prouder when they have natural childbirth; it’s a nice accomplishment. It’s like, hello, this is the closest to nature we get; it really is our core essence.” —Laurie, a tutor and mother of two in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Who chooses it: Women for whom controlling their physiology is more important than controlling the experience; the most mainstream of all options.
What you get: The opportunity to regulate the level of pain and to move along a labor that won’t get started or is taking too long to progress.
What you give up: The opportunity to experience a natural childbirth. In exchange for pain relief and the ability to speed labor, you will be subject to a steady stream of medical interventions. The drugs used are not without possible side effects, and small amounts may reach your baby.
What you need to know: New research shows that with modern techniques and drugs, epidurals given early in labor are no more likely to result in a C-section, forceps or vacuum delivery than late epidurals and may in fact speed labor because the mother is more relaxed.