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Hi lovely ladies,

I am wanting to hear from people who have had a DRUG-FREE BIRTH. With DD I had a lot of complications with the pregnancy, I went into labour at 34 weeks, which was stopped with drugs, and I also had a placental abruption. When I went into labour and arrived at the hospital, there was a hospital midwife waiting for me at the door who took me up to the birthing suite and straight into my room where my OB was waiting for me. I was told to get changed, and my OB did an internal and I was already 3cm. She broke my waters because of the problems with my placenta and wanting to get baby out ASAP without doing a c-section. I was coping really well with the contractions up to that point, as they had been progressively getting worse, rather than all at once, but once my waters were broken the contractions increased in intensity so fast that I just couldn't cope. I was given gas which made me go a bit loopy, and while I was in this state the hospital midwife asked if I wanted to try an epidural. I was kind of out of it, and I don't remember agreeing to it, although I must of because she called the anesthitist (sp?) and it was done 15 mins later. I then spent the next few hours in a semi-coma, almost sleeping but still awake IYKWIM. I remember snippits of things that happened, but there's alot that I don't remember, and I kind of feel a bit ripped off, which is why I want to try and do it drug-free next time (barring complications again). If my OB hadn't of had to break my waters I feel that I could have done it this time, but it just wasn't possible.

So I would like to hear your experiences, if you thought it was worth it etc, how bad was the pain on a scale of 1-10, and tips on managing the pain.

Thanks in advance, and sorry for the novel!


I so think it was worth it, but then I have had it both ways so to speak. DS1 was just 5 puffs of gas so that doesn't count but DS2 was completely drug free.

Pain is relative so on my 5 could be someone else's 10, or 1. When I lost my focus I would say the pain was probably an 8, but when I had my mind on the task it was probably a 4 or 5 if that. I got "in the zone" and the pain just seemed to disappear, especially in transition.

DS2 was a planned home water birth, the birth that I was deprived of with DS1 because I got the whole "well you've never been pregnant/laboured/birthed before so no"; wish I had pushed the issue but hindsight is 20/20 and the NHS is much more supportive of home births now, even for first timers. He was officially 2 days overdue. I woke up on the Friday night about 11pm after a somewhat restless sleep feeling wired but not being able to put my finger on why. I stayed up watching mindless drivel on telly for about an hour when I decided that I should head back to bed, even though I didn't feel particularly tired...that should have been my clue. LOL I was woken at around 5:45am, from a dead sleep by a contraction just ending. I nudged DP and got up to go to the loo where I found I had lost my plug in the night sometime between coming to bed at midnight and when I was woken up. I shouted from the bathroom that I didn't think DS1 would be making his last swimming lesson of the term and rang the midwife. She had just gotten back home from being at another birth so said she'd grab a bite, jump in the shower and be round as soon as she could. DP asked if I wanted him to start filling the pool and I said that he could time I should just say yes. 2 contractions later(10 minutes after ringing the midwife) and 3 minutes after my last contraction I told dp to ring the midwife back and tell her she might want to get to us pronto. DS1 was born in less than 4 hours so I was expecting this one to hang around and I wasn't to be disappointed.

We rang James' support person and asked her to pop round as James had woken at this point and bless him he just wanted mum and I just wanted him not climbing all over me. LOL I didn't show it to him but I really didn't want him touching me and he didn't really understand that I was in pain as I wasn't showing it to him; but he made it very hard to concentrate. He had just turned 4. Midwife arrived and it was all hands to the pump for getting the pool filled, which we managed, but only just so I spent most of the labour pacing our room where we had set everything up and trying to find any position that was comfortable. The pool was finally filled and just before I went to get in my hind(or is it the fore ones at the "front") went and as soon as I was in the pool the rest of them went.

Still with's a pretty long short story. LOL

The rest is a bit of a blur in the sense of time but I must have hit transition when I got in as bubs was basically moving down once I was in so lots of test pushing. I know the midwife rang the backup at one point and next thing I know I'm going for it and he was out. LOL 9 minutes, about 5 pushes and he was born, the backup midwife arrived about 10 minutes too late to witness the event; the backup is there for bubs at a homebirth there is one midwife for mum and one for the baby, well that's the theory anyway. Total length was 2 hours! Unlike with DS1 there was no "ring of fire", just looked down and there was all this hair and it then dawned on me that his head was actually out. LOL We didn't know what we were having and as I lifted him from the water I could feel right away that he was most definitely not the girl we had all been expecting. I was disappointed for about a nanosecond but then I didn't care; James came in to meet his new brother, we waited for the cord to stop pulsing before I cut it and the placenta arrived not long afterwards. I was helped out of the pool, into my nice huge comfy bed where I was checked for tears (one little 1st degree one that we didn't stitch)and warmed up as I went into shock, as you usually due in a preciptous birth(happened with DS1 as well but not as bad) and then he had his first feed and someone made me a cup of tea that I never did end up drinking. LOL

It can't have been that bad though as I was pretty much ready to do it again the second he was born and have been trying to convince DP ever since.

So hopefully you have gotten to the end of my novel and it has provided some insight. I just kept reminding myself during those early contractions before I got in the pool that I had to not fight them and work with my body and though it might hurt that every one of them brought us one step closer to meeting our baby. I tried the TENS machine at the start(left it at home when we had DS1 as it wasn't IN our hospital bag....doh, and if we had gone back for it he wuld have been born on the side of the road)but practically ripped it off within 3 minutes as it annoyed me more than anything and I think I was too far gone for it at that stage.

The End.....thank g*d you are probably thinking. LOL


I've had three drug free water births. I think it's worth the effort too, if you can manage it. Of course it's painful but I found it a purposeful kind of pain, if that makes any sense, that I could work with and (mostly) feel in control of. Of course during transition I was yelling for drugs and threatening to pull dp's testicles out through his nostrils if he ever so much as looked at me again. But that stage doesn't last long, only a few minutes for me. From there it's not that the pain is less but that it's manageable again. Crowning is pretty horrible. If you've ever been slightly constipated and had to do a big poo you'll understand the burning sensation, it's much like that but much more intense. But again that doesn't last long, even with my second who crowned THREE times! And then they're out and you hardly know what to think. The first time I just looked dumbly at this wee baby floating in the water and said 'so there really was a baby in there' duh! After looking at my third I asked the midwife if she was sure he was mine as he had heaps of hair and blue eyes. The water was murky buy pretty sure there wasn't anyone else in there with me. It's an incredibly powerful experience to birth naturally and afterwards I felt like I could do anything. Hope things go as you would wish this time.
I posted this on another thread about natural birth in this forum but wanted to post it here so that you could read it.
I have had a natural, drugfree birth with my daughter. Although it is a painful process, in my opinion giving birth was the best experience of my life!

My advice is to be well prepared - read books that positively talk about birth (New Active Birth by Janet Balaskas was reccommended by my midwives and discusses positions and has great real life quotes. Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering by Sarah Buckley is another great one for learning about the natural drugs our own body produces that the synthetic ones are made to mimic, you just have to give them time to start working(some chapters might be a bit far out for some but just take what you need)Understand the process of birth and what will happen in your body - just remember that yours might turn out slightly differently. Watch natural births - there are some shows on the Home Health Channel on Foxtel but UTube has some too - just make sure you watch the truly good natural ones. Most natural births will discuss water birth because water is a wonderful natural pain reliever but it is not necessary to have a water birth to have a drugfree birth. If you want a drugfree birth you have to make that commitment to yourself and your baby.

Talk it over with your support persons so that they know you are serious, let them read some stuff or watch videos with you if they have never seen or thought about natural birth before. If you are having this baby at a hospital and do not want drugs offered to you make sure your support person/s stand strong, follow your wishes and tell each and every midwife/doctor/nurse not to offer drugs and that you will ask for it if you seriously want it. Most women get to a stage in labour where they say they can't do it and 'ask' for "help/drugs/somebody just get it out of me" and sometimes drugs will be offered at this stage and once something is offered to help relieve your pain it is hard to refuse.

To help relieve pain in labour remain active. Allow your body to be in positions where it can open, eg.sitting on your butt in a bed for hours on end will not help because you are sitting on your cocyx. However active doesn't mean working yourself to exhaustion, listen to your body, it WILL know what to do to help that baby move down. When laying down lay on your left side. Try not ot lie flat on your back for long as this squashes blood vessles. Use heat packs/hot water/massage on your back to relieve pain during contractions. Use bath or hot shower when in established labour to relieve the stronger contractions. Some women use aromatherapy and such and find this brings relief. Eat in early labour, if you have it! and suck on ice-blocks, sip water and apple juice throughout. Visualistaions, and being positive helps immensilly. Ask the midwives to check baby's heart beat with a doppler as you move around rather than strapping you to a machine in bed.

Remember that the pain is for your baby, this is just what birth is, no need to change it because it works awesome on it's own. Also the pain is NOT constant, I was laughing and joking, talking, between contractions even though mine were less than 5 mins apart throughout.

Feel the rush of a contraction come, let it in, relax, move your body, and let it leave again.

I was in labour for 25 hours - 8 1/2 hours established labour - but I sure felt all 25 hours of contractions!!! smile I gave birth to my baby girl, without sitiches or drugs. She was 3.960kg with a 35cm HC and I am a thin build. I birthed in a birth centre so that my possability of a low interwention birth would be increased. I wasn't able to have a water birth but used the shower which helped immensely (I went into transition during the shower and the pain relief from the water really helped). My waters were broken when I was 5/6cm dialated - the midwife and I both felt that they were slowing labour - and Hannah was delivered 3 hours later so it moved very quickly after that. The pain after my waters broke increased significantly but once I surrendered to the pain and allowed myself to do whatever felt natural (make noise, move around) that is when the endorphins kicked in I think. So the time when my pain was the strongest is the time I least remember the feeling. Everyone has a different pain threshold but I think my contractions were about a 4 during the first/pre-labour stage, around a 6/7 when I entered hospital and hit their peak when my waters broke so that was my 10. But still bearable.

Do I think it was worth it? Absolutely. In my opinion, why spend your whole pregnancy staying away from things that can harm baby and then in the last hours use drugs that do cross over to the baby. There are definately things you can do to stop labour from heading in that direction if you want to. You are strong enough because this is your baby.

You, your body and your baby will be fine. Try to enjoy the experience because it is the only time you will birth this baby. (Sorry for the mega-long post, I am really passionate about this topic! If you would like my full birth story PM me and please also ask if I can help further in any way.)

You CAN do it!!!

ugh!!! that really gets me..... if they were worried about your placenta, then why would they go and break your waters!! Even though it may make them feel as though they are more in control of the birth, rushing the labour along just increases your chance of it happening!!

sorry.....had to get that of my chest!

I had a drug free birth at home. Brilliant experience, highly recommended.

You could speak to an independant midwife as they would put your needs first. Due to your previous experience you may be classed as high risk, however if you are very close to a hospital, you may be able to utilise both services.

All the best!
My OB broke my waters as I had asked to avoid a c-section. She needed to check that they were clear and that when they broke things would not go downhill, as by the time I went into labour I only had about half of my placenta still attached. I stand by her 100% and think she made the best decision for my situation and I'm glad I didn't have to have a c-section.

Because of being high-risk this time around, I will be seeing the same specialist group. I am more than happy to go back to the same hospital as the midwives there were fantastic. I'm not really looking at a home birth, or a water birth, although the birthing suite does have two birthing pools if I changed my mind. I just want to have a drug-free birth so that I can feel more like I know what is going on with my own delivery. I hated not knowing what happened in the time between having the epidural and needing to push, I feel like I have lost a part of the birth of my first child, something that I can never get back.

Thanks for your replies ladies, I will definately be giving it my best shot!

2 drug-free births (2820g 1hr 30min, 4040g 50min),
2 births using gas (4460g 7hrs, 4600g 1hr 13min).

Good luck with it all,
If you have any questions that you think I may be able to help with, please ask.

i had a bad experience for my first had pethadine injections throughout and felt awefull i had a really bad recovery as well. my second i swore i would not have drugs again which i didnt the bath was and still is the best drug u could give me it was fantastic. will be doing it for this one as well. i have had 3 babies since my first no drugs i will never have drugs for birth again. plus what ever u do dont lie down, sit stand squat kneel anything but on ur back will just prolong labour and hurts like hell. no matter what u do it is going to hurt and as u get further along in the labour and the contractions get closer together it gets more painfull. other than the bath i found concentrating on breathing (i feel like the big bad wolf blowing down the little piggies houses by the end of it) it may sound cliche but it really does help. by the end the pain is up around the 15 mark but so do expect pain but if u just find a cumfortable position u will find it easier and try to stay as calm as possible cause as soon as u lose control that is when the docs get one over u and u end up being given drugs u dont want to have. well i hope this has helped at all good luck
oh yeah i forgot if the doc breaks ur water it seems to make the pains more intense very quickly not sure why that is just know it is
Posted by: lotsatots
plus what ever u do dont lie down, sit stand squat kneel anything but on ur back will just prolong labour and hurts like hell.

I hear this all the time, but I cant agree
I don't believe that lying down prolongs labour... If it does prolong labour, I am thankful.
I had ALL of my children laying on my back, I have lost count of the amount of times I have heard this is the worst possible position for labour, and it causes the most damage.
I also didn't breathe them out, I pushed them out, and in giving birth this way, 4 times over, I had no tearing, required no stitches - not even with boofa - 4600kg (10lb 2) with his 39cm head.

no matter what u do it is going to hurt and as u get further along in the labour and the contractions get closer together it gets more painfull.

This I agree with - unless you have a quick labour. The contractions with my quick ones, started off at their highest intensity, there was no gradual build, it was straight into the most painful contractions for 3 of mine - the easiest labour I had was the 7 hour labour, where the contractions did build over time. And my body seemed to go into a state of shock with the quicker ones- to hard for me to explain.
I count the length of all my labour from the first niggle, until holding baby, and they were pretty quick, but just remember, quick doesn't always equal better or easier.

DS#1 (2820g) born 1 hr 30 min
DS#2 (4460g) 7 hours and the easiest
DS#3 (4600g) 1 hr 13 min
DD (4040g) 50 min

having said all that, everyone's labours and birth experiences are different, everyone's pain thresholds are different, you ask 1000 women what their experience was and you most likely will get 1000 different answers.
Realistically, if your baby is born safely - what does it matter how it came into the world? What is right for me, wont be right for you - I am reminded of that almost every time I mention that I birthed on my back.

Good Luck to all the mummy's with impending births, you will find your way - and that will be the best way for you!
[Edited on 09/01/2009]
HI I have had one induced labour using gas and an epidural (sp) and one induced labour using gas that in hind sight I probably didn't really need.

In my first labour I started using the gas only a few hours into my labour and then the dr decided that I needed more pain releaf so that I could relax and finish dialating. I had got to 8cm and then stopped dialating. I don't really remember to much of what happened that day because I got so tired. My first contractions (very mild) started at 9pm on thursday and my DD1 was born 11:55pm Friday.

My second labour I felt so much more in control. I got to 8cm before I started on the gas and then gave it away in the pushing stage. This labour lasted only 4.5hrs. Much nicer to handle. I hope to do it like this again in about 7 weeks.


I was walking around all day before I went to the hospital, and I found it much more uncomfortable than when I was sitting. The midwife at the hospital kept telling me to stand next to the CTG machine and walk round it, but I almost died. When I was sitting/lying on the bed I was at my most comfortable, and I gave birth to DD flat on my back with one foot on each of my OBs and midwife's hips. I pushed until she crowned, and then my OB told me to cough and her head was out. Lying on my back was the most comfortable way for me too, I would have loved to be able to have a shower though or played on the swiss ball cos I think these things would have helped a bit with the pain.

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