I am prefacing this blog by stating that this is my experience and of course, from what little data I have gathered, I do believe this to be the case. Of course, if you have some evidence to dispute the below, I would love your comments.
Recently, I had my second child and therefore, decided pretty early on in the pregnancy that I was going to 100% natural this time. I did more data gathering this time, hired a doula (which I should have done the first time), and delved into the effects of epidurals, medications, and other medical interventions during child birth. I was amazed to learn that if you take any of the above before you are in active labor, that labor and delivery could be slowed down significantly. Moreover, anything taken before active labor can pass directly to the baby and thereby effect the baby’s development too. This time labor and delivery was a lot quicker and while there is no pain-free labor and delivery, I have to say I was better prepared. I knew what labor pains would feel like and I was able to manage pain better. I knew about the progression of labor and the dilation and knew anything taken before I was at least 5 cm would slow down labor and possibly harm the baby. I also had hired a doula to help with pain management at the hospital and advocate for me. All in all, I have to say this time around, the entire experience was better and my recovery was 10 times quicker. Last time, I remember not being able to walk properly or do much for over 2 weeks post-partum. This time, I was up and ready within hours and the next day, was on my own, able to breastfeed a baby who was eager to feed, and was ready to head home.
This time my labor and delivery was 100% natural. Last time, I got to the hospital too early and to help me sleep and manage pain they offerred me morphine. I was only 1 cm dilated so of course, that slowed down labor – granted, the pain still continued and the meds did nothing for the pain. I was groggy, exhausted, and of course, the same can be said for the baby- she was also taking in the morphine and that may have contributed to late development for her as she did not feed right away, lost a lot of weight and to this day has issues with feeding and sleep. My sister-in-law reports different experiences with her births too. For the first, she took an epidural. I am not sure when but from how she explained it, early. While I am not associating all medical intervention with slow labor and delivery, post-recovery issues, and baby development issues, I think there is something to be said about 100% natural child birth and all of the above. Her second son was born free of intervention and from what I hear, a better eater, a better breast feeder, and even a better sleeper.
I have noticed the same this time with my second child- she is a better eater, is gaining weight, and a much better sleeper. Not that my first child was a terror- she was not. She was a great baby too but this one is just doing better and was more alert from the time of birth. I would love to do more empirical and statistical data gathering on this matter because of my own experience on the issue and I have even talked with my husband about becoming a doula part-time in the future to spread this knowledge and experience. I would love to help other women who are having children to go natural – it is truly the best thing for mother and child.