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Preparing for a Natural Birth Webinar | FREE


Webinar being led by High Country Doulas

The first epidural was used by a neurologist in New York in 1885. Dr. Leonard J. Corning injected cocaine into his patient’s back to treat spinal weakness and seminal incontinence. 

Since then, epidurals have quickly become the most popular method of pain relief during labor in the United States today by far. 

According to a Listening to Mothers II survey conducted in 2006, more than 75% of U.S. women reported receiving an epidural. In contrast, only 54% of women in Canada and only 22% of women in England reported having an epidural before or during delivery. 

Impact on Hormones

Epidurals may inhibit beta-endorphin production, a naturally occurring opiate that works to restore internal balance in response to pain and stress. It is also responsible for the dopamine-driven reward system that produces feelings of pleasure during sex, birth, and breastfeeding. 

Epidurals may reduce oxytocin production during labor. Oxytocin is often referred to as the love hormone for its relationship with sexual activity, birth, and breastfeeding. Later on, this hormone plays a major role in the promotion and development of a strong maternal bond. Oxytocin is also the hormone responsible for the uterine contractions necessary to open your cervix (dilate) and help your baby be born.

These are only a few of the many hormonal changes that result in epidural use and everyone can be vulnerable to these imbalances. 

An unmedicated, natural birth and labor is best suited for those looking to be an active participant in the birthing process, remain in control of their body, and have minimal medical intervention overall. If you are planning on taking this approach, it is incredibly important to treat each day of your pregnancy as preparation for childbirth.

Luckily, there are many resources that can help you with this process. In particular, compiling a birthing team that abides by the principles you put forth is truly not negotiable! 

An unmedicated, labor and birth is often desired by looking to be an active participant in the birthing process, remain in control of their body and have minimal medical intervention overall. We will be discussing different breathing techniques, nutritional, exercises, and more to ensure you will have an empowering and deeply satisfying childbirth experience!

Studies have shown that epidurals specifically contribute to the following side effects on laboring mothers and their babies:

-Lengthened labor
-Increased risk of severe perineal tear
-Increased risk of cesarean section
-Increased need of synthetic oxytocin, or Pitocin
-Decreased chances the baby will be in the correct birthing position in the final stages of labor
-Decreased chances of spontaneous vaginal delivery
-Increased occurrence of complications with instrumental delivery
-Increased risk of pelvic floor problems
-Prevalence of drug-toxicity in newborns
-Increase of deficits in newborn abilities
-Compromised fetal blood and oxygen supply and heart rate
-Interference with initial mother-baby bonding
-Possible decrease in breastfeeding efficiency

While epidurals are an effective and useful form of pain relief intervention during childbirth (when appropriate), they can cause unexpected side effects in both the mother and baby. Although in some cases epidurals are incredibly beneficial, they should not necessarily be a routine procedure for the majority of births. 

My goal is to share with you how you can best prepare for a medication free birth without the need for medical intervention at our next event, Preparing For A Natural Birth on Tuesday, April 23rd at 7:00 pm EST.

Earlier Event: April 20
Later Event: April 28
Sibling Class | Boone