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Recovering after childbirth: When going natural pays off

Maria Mora is a freelance writer and single mom fueled by coffee, questionable time management skills, toaster oven waffles and the color orange. She lives in Florida with her two young sons. If you see her on Twitter, tell her to stop p...

The benefits of natural childbirth

Childbirth isn’t a contest. For many moms, an epidural is the way to go. If you’re on the fence and considering going natural, here are some post-delivery benefits that may not have occurred to you.
Labor pains

For some women, delivering a baby without an epidural makes a big difference during recovery and initial bonding time with Baby. We talked to three moms who experienced quick recoveries after giving birth naturally. Find out what they have to say about recovery after natural childbirth.

What happens after natural childbirth?

For many women, laboring naturally and pushing when it feels right results in a faster recovery. Many pain management techniques can help laboring moms without the use of medication, including the assistance of a doula and techniques like Lamaze. According to Judith A. Lothian, RN, PhD, LCCE, FACCE in The Journal of Perinatal Education, a mother who is given the opportunity to respond to the pain of childbirth naturally will protect her own body. Even after a long labor, Mom’s surge of adrenaline will help her feel alert as she bonds with her newborn.

Learn how to manage labor pain naturally >>

Erin’s birth and recovery story

“My first birth was an induction with Pitocin, epidural and weeks of recovery,” says Erin, mom of three. “I couldn't get out of bed for 24 hours, and when I finally did, I fell. I was thrilled with my healthy baby but felt out of it and helpless. When I became pregnant again, I knew I wanted the birth to be different and actively prepared for a drug-free birth. Our plan was to stay home as long as possible, and it worked. Unfortunately, the baby was persistent posterior, so that last stage of unmedicated labor took another 2-1/2 hours of hard work. When she was finally born I hopped out of bed and took a shower in the fancy labor room. I checked out of the hospital a day early. I went home totally active and with energy. It was a harder birth yet when it was over, I felt exactly like myself.”

Magda’s birth and recovery story

We talked to advice blogger Magda Pecsenye about her birth experiences.

“After my first son’s birth I was the perfect low-risk candidate for a homebirth, so I went for it,” says Magda. “I had the typical long, pokey second labor followed by my son coming out in three pushes. I had no tears or rips, and within an hour of my son’s birth we were both asleep in my bed. By the third day or so my organs were all back in place, and I felt mostly normal everywhere else, too. My mom kept handing me glasses of water to drink, and all that hydration flushed out my system so I didn’t have all those weird hot flashes I’d had after the first birth. I give the second birth and recovery two thumbs up, and have recommended my midwives to dozens of women.”

Discover the benefits of natural childbirth >>

Kate’s birth and recovery story

When Kate Davis was 10 days overdue and 5 centimeters dilated, her midwife broke her water to help get labor going. “I had my child less than three hours later with no other interventions. My only drug was some Tylenol about two hours after the birth,” says Kate. “I did have three stitches for a small tear and that was, by far, the worst part of the day (the Lidocaine didn't really work to numb me). As for recovery I was able to shower, eat dinner and was walking the halls of the hospital within two hours of labor. Recovery was actually quite easy and I was fine but tired within the first 24 hours. I felt like my body parts had returned to their regular positions within a couple of days.”

More on labor and delivery

Too busy for childbirth classes? Think again
Doula or don't?
What birth is really like: The naked truth

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