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What is a 'natural birth'?

(90 Posts)
GlitterandSparkle88 Wed 19-Oct-16 08:04:59

This may seem like a silly question, one which until recently I thought I knew the answer.

Anyway why I'm asking is I have had various other mums tell me that I haven't had a natural birth.
I had a vaginal birth with an epidural -(under consultants request) as far as I was aware a vaginal birth regardless of pain relief was a natural birth but since receiving some comments from rather judging people I'm starting to wonder what is classed as a natural birth?

whattheseithakasmean Wed 19-Oct-16 08:11:40

Does it matter? As long as the baby came out safely, it is a win. Birth is birth, I'm not sure tacking 'natural' on to it helps anyone much.

frikadela01 Wed 19-Oct-16 08:13:00

I think many people consider a natural birth one in which you give birth vaginally with no pain relief start from gas and air hmm

Imo you had a natural birth since your baby came out of your vagina. I did it with only gas and air and I didn't even use much of that. There was nothing natural about it, it felt horrendous and I'm still waiting for my medal grin

Ignore the judgy knobs. Your birth experience is all yours, other people can fuck off.

whattheseithakasmean Wed 19-Oct-16 08:14:54

I'm not sure why gas and air is 'allowed' for a 'natural' birth and other pain relief isn't? It seems like a random distinction to me....

frikadela01 Wed 19-Oct-16 08:25:47


I completely agree. I've just heard a ridiculous amount of times irl and on here that people "did it all themselves without any pain relief apart from gas and air".
The whole thing is ridiculous in my mind, whether you did it at home in a pool with whale music or you had to go the full hog crash section under GA why the hell do other people care.

cosmicglittergirl Wed 19-Oct-16 08:29:01

Natural birth is vaginal without assistance e.g. Forceps etc as far as I thought, not without pain relief. I had DD2 with an epidural and I'm sure it said natural birth on my notes, unlike DD1 who was born with a ventouse.

frikadela01 Wed 19-Oct-16 08:35:38

Do they use the word natural in birth notes. Mine said normal vaginal delivery.

carmenta Wed 19-Oct-16 08:43:30

I think the word "natural" is a bit problematic. It has connotations of doing it the "right" way, which is part of a larger picture of imposed guilt over birth choices or unavoidable birth circumstances - I'm not suggesting you're using it that way btw, just that it's part of society's usual way of describing birth that disapproves of pain relief during the most excruciating experience most women ever have.

I think to have a truly "natural" birth you'd probably have to be naked and alone in a forest somewhere without any professional support or pain relief.

GlitterandSparkle88 Wed 19-Oct-16 08:45:21

I know obviously the main thing is baby is here and well. It's just the few who have passed comment have made feel a bit down about the birth in a way that before I was super proud of myself that I'd done it as throughout we were convinced it was going to end in a section for one reason or another and not that I'm judging anyone having a section my mum had to have sections with all of us and i think everyone should be proud of giving birth however it's done there is no easy way to do it. I was just curious to what the term natural birth means as the midwives said I'd had a natural birth but like I say there's just a few high and mighty people who keep putting me down. I'm starting to see that no matter what you do as a mum there is always someone ready to pass comment!

melibu84 Wed 19-Oct-16 08:49:09

Midwives have said I had a natural birth, despite the fact that I was induced and had an epidural.

I think in some cases, they just mean that you gave birth vaginally as opposed to having a c section.

i wouldn't worry about what people think / say. The most important thing is that they baby and mother are safe.

Plus, drugs are good lol. I always said I wouldn't have an epidural, but after the drugs kicked in . . . Bliss. i was in labour for 24 hours, and the first 6 I just had gas and air. Next time, i'll be putting the epidural in my birth plan. Science has moved on for a reason.

Nickname1980 Wed 19-Oct-16 08:56:39

I was induced and had an epidural last time, plus an episiotomy. In my notes it says "natural birth". That's because I didn't have ventouse or foreceps, I think?

It's a weird term! As I don't consider my birth "natural" at all in the slightest! I was induced - it didn't happen naturally! - and I had an episiotomy, that didn't happen "naturally", either!

But honestly, I don't care. Thank goodness for modern medicine getting my baby and myself out of childbirth safely.

I think the high-and-mightys are rare. If you come across any, they're ridiculous and pointless. Don't think about their opinion.

Your experience sounds positive and not traumatic and that's what matters!

Nickname1980 Wed 19-Oct-16 08:58:06

Haha melibu84 - I posted the same time as you. Sounds like we had similar experiences!

WindInThePussyWillows Wed 19-Oct-16 08:59:38

This really grates on me. I had a 52 hour labour with my twins which resulted in twin 2s heart rate dropping and two premature and very distressed babies needing out ASAP so had an emergency section.
So many friends and family have commented what a shame it is I couldn't have given natural childbirth a go angry
I gave it a bloody good go.

As long as you physically and mentally happy and have no trauma and the baby is happy and healthy it shouldn't really matter.
It's your body, birth and child they can butt out.

NickyEds Wed 19-Oct-16 09:00:52

When speaking to me in the weeks straight after my births they were referred to as ' natural births'- so the mw would say ' so you had a natural birth...' but in my notes and when referring to them later on they were 'vaginal births' and that's what went in my notes. Dc were were both vaginal births with no forceps/ventouse/epidural but I had gas and air and diamorphine with them both and labour was augmented with ds. The term natural birth is just a bit, no medical and inaccurate. I can see why it would offend if you've had a c section or an epidural and your birth was referred to as 'not a natural birth'.

reallyanotherone Wed 19-Oct-16 09:05:20

People avoiding the word "vaginal" cos it's rude, innit so use "natural" instead.

Heirhelp Wed 19-Oct-16 09:06:13

The language of midwifery is laden with unhelpful emotions I did not 'give birth' as I had an emergency c section after I 'failed to progress'. I previously have had a medical management of a miscarriage as I had 'retained products' and the doctor told me he would prescribe 'abortion pills'. Labels can be so unhelpful. As long as you and baby are healthy and you are able come to terms with your birth that is all that matters.

OvariesForgotHerPassword Wed 19-Oct-16 09:08:32

I thought we were moving away from natural and towards vaginal birth instead? I wouldn't say induction is a natural birth but it is a vaginal birth. However I'd say epidural is natural because is it pain relief rather than intervention? (I didn't have one so I don't know what they class it as).

Birth is birth, as long as mum and baby come out with full health (physical and emotional) and a positive experience, it's a win smile

mouldycheesefan Wed 19-Oct-16 09:09:35

"Natural" is a ridiculous term. If we left it to nature many babies alive today would actually be dead, and many mums too. Thankfully modern medicine is there to save many mums and babies lives.
It is shorthand for no medial intervention and no pain relief. So no, an epidural is not a "natural" birth. But who gives a damn? My conception wasn't even natural I had fertility treatment.
Funny how if people are ill, they want medical tratment for their cancer, broken leg, kidney failure, upset stomach, but yet childbirth it's somehow ironically regarded as positive to leave it to nature. Weird!

Lj8893 Wed 19-Oct-16 09:10:53

I'm a student MW and don't use the word "natural" as its a strange word to use really.

I use the terms "spontaneous normal vaginal" "induced normal vaginal" "assisted vaginal" and "emcs or elcs".

Pootles2010 Wed 19-Oct-16 09:14:03

Isn't natural used by those who don't want to say the word vagina? Agree, bloody daft. You have a lovely squishy baby, who cares if it's seen the inside of a vag or not?

YokoUhOh Wed 19-Oct-16 09:15:13

If people ask how you gave birth, tell them you were in a wood surrounded by bears with a twig to bite on for pain relief.

People are so competitive about this sort of thing, usually you don't have much choice in the matter anyway (like you said, doctor advised an epidural).

MrsJayy Wed 19-Oct-16 09:18:45

I don't think medical professionals use natural birth do they it doesn't say anything iyswim. I. Had a vaginal birth with ALL the drugs everything except epidural I have a spine problem . I don't know why women say natural birth maybe to show how brave they were or something. As long as baby is out it isn't a competition you don't get a medal if you have a drug free no intervention birth.

Donatellalymanmoss Wed 19-Oct-16 09:21:51

Who's putting you down? Try and remember their opinion doesn't matter.

Isn't natural birth just one where the baby comes out of the hole created by nature without assistance from either forceps or ventouse?

Also the shorthand descriptions used in hospital are used so that the people in charge of your care know what post-birth compilcations to look out for. It's not a scorecard for rating a mother's performance.

GlitterandSparkle88 Wed 19-Oct-16 09:25:09

Agree with you all and normally I wouldn't pay any notice to these types of people but I think the lack of sleep is letting things get to me more than normal. Honestly for me I feel so proud that my body has produced this amazing little human and I feel like the epidural played a big part in me having such a positive birth experience and I'm so thankful for that as I know many ladies do not. It really got to me when I was asked would I have another or had it put me off and I said I'd do it again tomorrow when a family member commented that 'I didn't really know what it's like to give birth because of the epidural' sad this was from someone who fair play to her did it all with no pain relief but she keeps making these comments and saying I haven't had a natural birth?! To me however baby gets out its all giving birth surely?

mouldycheesefan Wed 19-Oct-16 09:26:17

Op if you are telling people you had a natural birth that invites them to comment. Just stop saying that. It's not a competition. You had a baby that's all that matters." How was the birth?" Reply "so pleased when I got to hold my baby" or similar. Not "well it was a natural birth I had an epidural" which invite the reply"well if you had an epidural that isn't a natural birth'.
Don't get hung up in semantics, enjoy your baby.

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