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Labor, Delivery, and Saying "NO"–5 More Interventions We Refuse

Labor and Delivery 5 More Interventions We Refuse

I went into my first labor like a warrior to battle, out to defeat the evil enterprises of medicine that would try to make me take drugs, have repeated interventions and cause my birth to be stressful instead of relaxed, medical instead of natural and healthy.

Turns out I was actually pleasantly surprised that my battle plan – I mean, my birth plan, all 2+ pages of it – was met with more, “We pretty much already do that,” or “Of course we’d allow that,” than, “No way, Jose, my way or the highway!” I think that in the last few decades OB health has come around a long way, swinging the pendulum back from the “tie ’em down, drag ’em out” sort of philosophy that many hospitals used for deliveries in the 1950s or so.

A Few Exceptions

There are still some interventions that are fairly standard practice during the birthing process that we avoided as much as possible. It’s good to have choices. It’s good to have docs and pediatricians who will listen to you and have a two-sided conversation. But you have to know going in how to enter that conversation and what things that seem mandatory might actually be optional, or at least up for discussion.

This is the third in a five-part series. Catch up here:


Genevieve from Mama Natural offers great week 2 week pregnancy updates. I wish I had these when I was pregnant!

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1. Avoid antibiotics during labor, when possible

The Strep B thing stressed me out since pregnancy number one. I learned that antibiotics gave baby a rough start and increased the likelihood of yeast infections, which can make breastfeeding very, very challenging. I was nervous and hoped and prayed I was Strep B negative.

No such luck.

I had antibiotics in an IV with my first, and then because I didn’t get the full regimen of both doses, my son had to have a shot of it after birth. I ate my yogurt and took acidophilus capsules to build our healthy gut flora back up — I now know that yogurt is a tiny group of foot soldiers and I was lucky I won the battle without a bit heavier probiotics like the ones we take regularly nowadays. I did feel fortunate to avoid a yeast infection (nursing was hard enough with my jaundiced, sleepy baby and his stressed out mommy).

Now I wonder if his eczema and the fact that autoimmune disease runs in our family is affected by that first experience.

With only 39 minutes in the hospital before birthing my daughter, I didn’t have time for the antibiotics. After a heart to heart with our pediatrician, a sensible woman whom I just love, we decided that the low percentage chance that the bacteria passed to the baby multiplied by the minuscule chance that it would make her sick wasn’t worth the risk. We would give antibiotics at the first sign of a fever, but for starters, we declined. All was well.

And number three? Ha. He was born in the ER and they were trying to start an IV after he was already nestled on my chest. That didn’t happen!

We knew he hadn’t been exposed to my vaginal bacteria for very long, and we were willing to stay in the hospital 48 hours for close observation, so we made the same decision with him as with our daughter. This is not a decision to be taken lightly, because the small percentage chance that the baby would contract GBS could result in a harrowing hospital stay or even death for the child.

I’ve since learned from our midwife that there’s also a “late-onset” GBS that may not show up until a week after birth. I’m Strep B positive yet again, and we’ll skip the antibiotics, but I feel both glad and a little unsettled that I have this new information – unsettled because WHY was I never told this before?

2. Avoid all pain relief drugs for natural childbirth

We took Bradley Birth classes and saw videos of babies after birth with drugs and after natural births. Great propaganda, maybe, but I was taken in. The natural birth babies were so much more alert and active, and I wanted to be wholly present for my newborn. It became a goal for me, like some people aim to complete a triathlon, to accomplish a fully natural birth.

I would rather embrace the pain of labor, which is completely over the second the baby is born, than wonder what consequences my choices for artificial drugs might have.

3. Artificial labor induction

Even before I was super crunchy and naturally-minded, I didn’t like the idea of putting drugs in my system, whether it was Tylenol for a rare headache or especially major knock-out drugs when a little baby was also depending on me. (Learn more about what’s in children’s Tylenol and the risks.)

So I looked for classes to help me get what I already was pretty darn sure I wanted, a natural birth. We learned so much from our Bradley Method course and I’m really glad it was available. I felt informed and ready for anything and dedicated to striving for a natural birth. I just had a perseverant attitude about it and never doubted I would fail.

Plus, pitocin-induced labor is usually twice as painful – no, thank you! I learned about natural means of inducing labor including walking, breast stimulation, and simply helping labor along through warm baths and appropriate relaxation in my quest to avoid Pitocin and breaking the bag of waters during labor.

4. Vitamin K shot for newborns

We declined this one as well with baby no. 1 even before I was very crunchy.

The shot includes pain, of course, plus risk of artificial preservatives. Its purpose is to increase blood clotting to help avoid a rare condition of bleeding on the brain. We weren’t in a high risk group (those who used alcohol or epilepsy drugs during pregnancy), so we simply opted out. If I felt the K was necessary, I’d probably go with an oral dose. (source)

UPDATE: Learned more, made a different choice with baby no. 4…might make a different one yet had I to do it over again. Read about it here.

5. Decline the eye ointment for newborns

Infants are given antibiotic eye drops (sometimes, but not as much anymore, containing silver nitrate) directly on their eyes immediately after birth, for one reason: to prevent the spread of gonorrhea or chlamydia to the baby.

Labor and Delivery 5 More Interventions We Refuse

With zero partners translating to zero risk of either of these diseases, I was adamant about avoiding that one. As with many of these decisions, “Nothing unnecessary” quickly became my mantra.

Nothing Unnecessary For Labor and Delivery

I’ve learned it’s worth asking the questions:

  • Is this procedure necessary?
  • What are the risks of not doing it?
  • What are the risks of the intervention?
  • Do I really feel I need it?

What “normal” medical procedures do you avoid during labor and delivery? What do you embrace?

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55 thoughts on “Labor, Delivery, and Saying "NO"–5 More Interventions We Refuse”

  1. Do you have a copy of your birth plan? I am pregnant with no. 2, and would love an example of a thorough birth plan to help craft mine!

    1. Vitamin K = decreased risk of intracranial bleeding…coming through a birth canal with open fontanels is very stressful on a newborn and therefore can cause complications. V-k is simply a vitamin that helps create clotting factors, which a newborn is lacking. Better be safe then sorry.

      Erythromycin eye ointment = required by law in the US for newborns. Sorry guys…babies getting it no matter what.

      1. None of my kids had the eye cream, and only one of my four had the vitamin K shot. The vitamin K shot doesn’t actually have any vitamin K in it, and the package insert has a black box warning for severe reactions including death. Because my 5th will be born by c-section, I am going to come to the hospital prepared with an oral vitamin K supplement if they insist that he MUST have some sort of supplemental vitamin K.

  2. I completely agree- thank you for mentioning your friends story- I’m sorry to hear she was in the NICU for sepsis. It’s really hard to watch a baby go through that- And even harder for the mother.
    If any of you have ever seen a baby with a bleed due to not receiving the Vit K shot or seen a baby suffering from GBS sepsis (from strep b), then you would think again about saying no to these amazing drugs we are now lucky enough to have and would give whatever you could to prevent it.

  3. I would like to share my experience: I have 3 kids. With my first born, I had no idea what I was doing, and I let the doctors to just ‘do their job’. I had a synthetic oxytocin IV through the last half an hour – hour of delivery, which resulted in constant pain, I had problems distinguishing between the individual contractions, and therefore I had no idea when to push. Consequently I ended up being exhausted, I pushed when they told me to rather than when I felt like it, it was completely ineffective, I had a nurse putting all her weight onto my belly to ‘help me push’, and honestly, I dont really remember much, just the jumble of too many voices of too many people shouting at me to push and that annoying nurse. Then of course they took my son away immediately to wash him and dress him, then brought him for a few minutes and then they took him away for the next 8 hours. I was so exhausted I didnt even mind. Only later when I recalled everything did I realise, that our problems with breastfeeding could have had something to do with the fact, that he was first fed 8 hours after he was born, and possibly after having been given milk by the nurses before then, not mentioning how I felt when I imagined how HE must have felt for those first hours after he was born. With my daughter I did all the oposite – nice, quiet birth, no interventions, no oxytocin, I could feel everything. My last contraction came after about a 5 minute break, I knew exactly when to push and I only had to push twice for my little girl to come. I remember everything and it was the most beautiful and peaceful experience ever. We had a skin on skin bonding time and I still remember how she smelled and how we cuddled. My last baby girl was born almost like her sister, only in the last minutes I agreed to oxytocin again, which was stupid, but this birth was much more painful than the previous one and I just wanted to see my baby. The nurse said she was going to give mi the IV for the last contraction so sthat the pushing is easier. I should have known better. The feeling was just like with my son – no idea when to push, and the pushing felt somehow ineffective. I wouldnt do the oxytocin during delivery again. I must say though, that it probably saved my life after baby no.2 when I almost bled to death. In 21st century, yes. After the beautiful and completely uncomplicated birth. I wouldnt change a thing though, it was worth it 🙂

  4. We’ve made pretty much the same choices. I was lucky to have midwives with my first who treated everything as optional and gave us the pros and cons. I’ve been GBS+ with all four of mine, declined treatment with the last two (I’m low risk for it anyway – doc wouldn’t agree to me declining it with my second). No eyedropps (hubby and I are faithful to each other). I declined the oxytocin injection with my first two but had minor hemorrhage after my second so I’ve agreed to it now. We’ve always done the Vitamin K but I might ask more questions about it… Thanks for sharing! It’s nice to hear another mom’s experience. 🙂

  5. I couldn’t disagree more. As a NICU nurse, I have seen the worst. For example, a mother watching her child seizing for hours from meningitis caused by not having Antibiotics for Group B Strep. It may have turned out ok for you, but not everyone is as lucky. Sure, skip pain meds if you want but the others are standards of care backed by research.

  6. I have several comments. i am usually strep B+ as well I do take the antibiotics since I know someone who came so close to losing her precious son because of her refusal to take them. I had 4 colicy babies, am currently expecting my 5th, was recently told by a chiropractor that the antibiotics do mess up the babies flora and that babies do not start to produce their own gut bacteria until 3 months old. (His belief was this is why a lot of babies colic for 3 months) He also said no matter how much I take the baby will not get enough of it through my breast milk. He recommended I buy a very good quality liquid probiotic at my local pharmacy and give a few drops a day to baby. He said it usually takes about 4 days before baby stops colicing.

    Where I live induction is mandatory at 2 weeks post due. The main reason according to my doctor is after 2 weeks post due the placenta can begin to deteriorate making the chance of hemorrhaging higher. I have been induced with 3 of my 4 births. I was never given pitocin I was induced with Prostaglandin gel that was put on my cervix. The labor is not more painful but it was longer. However with the one birth that I went into labor on my own the contractions were so hard and fast (less than a min apart at the start and then piggy backed that I never felt like I was “in control” even tho it was my third baby I couldn’t get my breath between contractions. Every birth story is different.

    I am fairly “crunchy” myself. I take herbs to prepare my body for birth and a herbal formula to manage the afterbirth pains. It makes a big difference. (available at I feel like we have to be discerning though. I have seen both sides of the equation. Those who rush in to the doctor to quick and those who refuse to consider medical intervention. My mom had home births and they all went well for her. I have a very good friend who was midwife/homebirth only until baby#4. Midwife told her baby was breech. She chose to have an ultrasound because of that. Doctors wanted her to have a c-section and midwife was dead against it. After praying about it her and her husband decided to have the section. The cord was around the babies feet once and twice around its neck. it would have died if she had listened to her midwife and delivered it naturally. I think having ideals and doing your research is good but don’t get so dead set on one thing or another that you aren’t willing to take advice from a trained medical professional.

    1. You have a great balanced view, Rancherslady, definitely a woman after my own heart! 😉 I’m so curious – how is the probiotic working? My kids take a liquid probiotic, but I haven’t used it with my 5mo yet.

      Thanks for the helpful comments,

  7. My nephew had jaundice when he was born. He also had what they called “baby eczema” up until he was about 9 months old. It was during this time that my sister accidentally found out that he was allergic to eggs. She had been exclusively breast feeding and was delaying the introduction of first foods because of his eczema, but was herself eating the things he was allergic to. They tested to see what other foods he was allergic to, and found dairy, nuts, tomatoes, and onions also made him react. Since excluding these things from her diet while breastfeeding and avoiding giving him these foods, his eczema has cleared up. No further breakouts either. Before this the Dr.s kept prescribing ointment to try to control it but never got to the root of the problem. Now when I hear of children with eczema I think of my nephew.

  8. All of these comments ^^^ are why I don’t want to deliver in the hospital. My sister, the strongest woman I know, a mother to beautiful amazing kids – had a terrible horrible labor the first time…then a forced induction the 2nd time…before her water broke or her she had a single contraction.


  9. For my whole pregnancy I knew that when the day came I was going to have an epidural. It wasn’t only about the pain I didnt want to be miserable while I was in labor. A few family members including my boyfriend were trying to talk me out of it. But as soon I was admitted I requested it. I didnt receive it until 3 hours later and by the time I was able to get another one I was dilated to 10 cm. and it was time to push. Luckily I only had to push for 15 minutes because it had completely worn off. During my 12 hours of labor I did receive pitocin to speed up labor and I needed to have my water broken. But luckily I had already had the epidural so the pain wasn’t terrible until the end. I dont know if the epidural slowed down my labor or if my baby wasn’t ready to come out but my doctor was going to give me a c section at 11 if things werent moving along. But at 10:07 I had a healthy baby boy with no complications. So in my case I think the medical interventions I received actually helped me. I would have ended up with a c section without the pitocin and would have ended up with pain medication either way. I had a calm stress free labor because I was able to make these choices. My son also received the eye ointment and vitamin K shot and was perfectly happy baby once he was in my arms. So no harm there. Luckily I was strep b negative but I believe I would have taken the antibiotics because I wasnt willing to take the risk.

  10. Refuse artificial induction? Um, no. I had pre-e, and had I done that, my daughter, myself, or both of us wouldn’t be here today. The majority of inductions are done out of medical necessity, and avoiding them because you don’t want to put drugs in your body puts both mother and baby at serious risk.

    I’m not quite sure why you think you’re qualified to give this advice (you don’t mention where your medical degree is from here), but telling women who may not otherwise know better to ignore the advice of their medical professionals is downright dangerous. Do you really want to be responsible for the death of someone’s child? I really hope you don’t.

    1. Lauren,
      I’m just sharing the choices I made – I have no idea if the majority of inductions are medically necessary, but I know that some (many?) aren’t, and personally, as a mom, I wanted to be prepared to know my rights and understand the reasons behind every choice. I like to encourage others to do the same. I’m certainly not advocating that all women do what I did nor am I giving advice. Just sharing my personal story. I have no medical experience whatsoever as described in my site disclaimer. Katie

  11. “I would rather embrace the pain of labor, which is completely over the second the baby is born,” the pain is not over when the baby is born! It lessens enough, but now you are exhausted and have to take care of a baby! I spent my pregnancy and labor medication free. But after the baby came out, pain-medication was the only way I could get any rest! Also it helps when I have to walk to use the bathroom or respond to baby, to not be in so much pain. Maybe if nothing rips or gets cut or stuck… but everyone I know giving birth has ripped, had a stuck baby, C-section, or episiotomy. Medication free is ideal but not always realistic.

    1. Ashley,
      True! It’s funny how I forget about the after-birth pains every labor. Now that I’m through labor no. 4 and near enough to remember, it’s like, oh yeah, still no fun. 😉 IF I could only not tear, I could have a much nicer after-birth… 🙂 Katie

  12. The note about the eye ointment is not completely accurate. The eye ointment given is erythromycin. It is not irritating to the eyes. The silver nitrate has not been used in years. But if you have a cesarean or know that you have no risks then it is not necessary. Talk to your doctor and your nurse. Please don’t come in with a Birth plan you printed off the internet with no real understanding of why you are refusing things. You will get a lot more respect if you can explain your rationale.
    The hospitals do not create these standards erroneously. For concerned educated moms a lot of what happens in the hospital may seem excessive. But so much is standard because we care for so many uneducated, unhealthy moms that we don’t want to miss an at risk baby. If you ever want to get a good idea of the lies people will tell, go work in a hospital.

  13. When you have to have a c-section (and yes, some if us HAVE to…) you almost have to take the antibiotics and pain meds. I had to do my first night out of the hospital with no pain meds because of a pharmacy mix-up and it was awful! Also, the eye drops are, I believe, only for vaginal births, so we didn’t get those. That vitamin K shot, though, despite the artificial preservatives, is a good thing to have when your babies are small (my twins were just above the lower limit for normal birth weight) and/or preemie, especially if you plan to ebf.

  14. I have been very interested to learn about how much the “standard” practices for Labor and Delivery vary by state/region/hospital. I know mamas in the south who have said, “I had a c-section, so I couldn’t breastfeed” – which was the information their medical team told them – yikes! I know a mama in Florida who had to conspire with ther midwife to have a VBAC because the local hospitals would not allow anyone to even try.

    My experience in Oregon has been totally different. We may have a reputation for being “crunchy,” but result is that much of what you describe is just standard. Doctors assume that a VBAC is the goal. Our birthing hostpitals follow “baby first” procedures that include keeping mom and baby in the same room post delivery, no formula offered, no pacifiers offered, etc. We have the antibiotics, Vit K, and Hep B, though it was just a simple “no thanks” to decline the Hep B when my kids were born. Our hospitals have also pledged not to do elective c-sections until babies are full term. (I wish it was not doing elective C-sections period, but at least this is a start.)

    1. I’ll confirm that. I just had my second baby in Oregon and was really pleased that after she arrived Kangaroo care is now norm (at least in the hospital where I gave birth). This has changed in just the past 5 years since my last delivery experience.

  15. I am an older mom, now grandma, who had 8 children between 1975-1992. The first two were born in the hospital with all the franken-care one can imagine (being forced to have my pubic hair shaved off, given an enema and then hooked up to an IV machine, having my arms and legs locked down while lying flat on my back to give birth, being given gas to ‘knock one out’, a routine episiotomy, forceps birth, etc), and decided I would NEVER pay for someone to abuse me or my child again.
    I had regular OB visits, which seemed pointless to me, as all they did was measure my stomach, check me vaginally (never any problems), take my weight and blood pressure. Everything was totally normal with both pregnancies.
    The first child was born in 1975, the next in 1978. The second was induced because I was ‘late’, though neither the doctor nor I knew when I had become pregnant for certain. I was young and had not known to say no yet. My daughter would have been born naturally within a few days had I not been induced. And though it only took me 4.5 hours to have this child, the quickest, it was also the hardest.
    After I got divorced, remarried, and became pregnant again, I’d already made up my mind that I was NEVER, EVER going back to a conventional labor, delivery in a hospital.
    This was 1983, home birth (where I lived) was relatively unknown, but I’d already decided I was going to home birth. I knew of one woman who had had two home births, and so I contacted her ( I knew her, but not well), and she agreed to help us with our labor/delivery.
    What a great experience! I took a combo of herbs for pregnancy (to help with labor/delivery) for 6 weeks prior to due date (he came in 7 weeks from when I began), and we had a totally natural birth, at home, with no interventions, no meds, no doctors or nurses probing me, no stress. I also did not go for routine prenatal visits. No medical at all.
    We ended up having 6 home births with no medical, not interventions, no problems. I am not advocating this for others as this was my own personal choice, but it goes to show that all those interventions, including ultrasounds are not necessary. Had we had a child born with medical issues, we would have dealt with it, but as it was, all were born with all their fingers, toes, and healthy as horses.
    We were not ‘lucky’ as some people have so rudely implied. I ate well, exercised, stayed active, and knew my body. I would have sought medical care had I felt something was wrong (baby not growing properly or moving enough).
    On a side note, I did have a miscarriage in 1984, which resulted in over 5 weeks of bleeding. I’d gone to my OB/GYN who did a blood test that confirmed my pregnancy. We did not have insurance and I did not want to run up a huge bill at the hospital for a D&C. I did research (back in 1984 this was much more difficult than today!). I was scheduled for a D&C when the bleeding would not stop, but decided I did not want to go this route unless it was a last resort. We just could not afford thousands in medical bills.
    I looked into herbs (I’d begun to get into herbs in 1983 for my pregnancy), and found I had one of the herbs suggested for miscarriage, decided how much I thought I should take, and within 2 1/2 days passed something the size of a dime with a little curly-Q attached (umbilical cord?). I was scheduled two days later for a D&C, which I cancelled and never went back to the doctor. Five months later I became pregnant for our 4th child, who was born with no problems.
    Sorry! A long story, but all the interventions are not necessary unless one is displaying problems. Even pre-eclampsia can be healed when calcium and magnesium are taken in large enough doses. Garlic and cinnamon can help in lowering blood pressure naturally.

  16. It’s interesting that your first child was given a shot of antibiotics. For the 9 years I’ve been a labor and delivery nurse, that has never been the norm, but I know some interventions can be geographically different. We always wait for a fever to be present before suggesting treatment. But after seeing a baby die from GBS, I see no reason to refuse it as a mother. The benefit outweighs the risk, even if you think the risk is small. In your case, with fast labors, we don’t bother giving the antibiotics, because they have to be in for 4 hours before delivery.

    The drugs for pain relief is going to be a hot topic. I think it’s important for women to feel empowered with their delivery, but I think it’s more important for them to have a safe delivery. Sometimes the most empowering thing can be to get them comfortable enough to breathe well and relax. I’ve seen many women who didn’t dilate until they had their epidural, because they hadn’t done the training needed to relax through birth. It also makes me so sad when women labor for 24 hours without an epidural and then they feel like they’ve lost some sort of battle when they “give in” and get an epidural. Too often women are so focused on their birth experience rather than the child they’re bringing into the world. It’s like when a woman gets so excited about planning her wedding day, and she loses focus on the fact that it’s about the marriage, not the wedding.

    I hate inductions, but I do think women should be open to them for medical reasons. It can be equally hard for medical personnel to deal with a woman who is adamently against all intervention, and yet she comes to us asking for help. We’re trying to help. We’re not trying to suggest the worst thing possible. Our recommendations are out of concern for the health and safety of the mother and child.

    I like the article about Vitamin K posted by ZB above. Medical decision aside, be aware that if you’re having a boy and you want a circumcision done by the pediatrician in the hospital, you must have the Vitamin K shot.

    As far as the eye ointment, I completely understand your desire to pass on that one. But for every woman who’s confident she’s in a monogamous relationship, there’s another woman who is confident, but wrong. Women come in with unknown infections because they were unaware their partner was unfaithful.

    As a nurse I don’t mind when people want to refuse these things, but I still wish they would recognize that we are not the enemy. We are here to help. When patients come in ready to do battle it can be so draining. We’re excited to help you bring a life into the world, we’re not just looking for ways to control your experience.

    1. Karyne,
      thank you much for your balanced and respectful perspective – I am definitely one of those who would have felt she “lost” by giving in to an epidural, but I was also determined and knowledgeable enough to know how to relax and let my body do the work it was made to do. Thank you for enhancing the worth of this post! 🙂 Katie

      1. Ditto. I think it is a good idea to ask if a treatment or procedure is necessary. It is also good to recognize when those things might better deliver the outcome we desire.

  17. Please, please read this post (all if it; it’s long) before refusing Vit K. The main risk factor for Vit K deficiency is exclusive breastfeeding, and the risks are very small compared to the risks of Vit K deficiency.

  18. Have you looked into treating your GBS with garlic (inserted vaginally)? I think it’s suppose to be done for like 10 days, you can do it before bed.

    1. Linda, Haven’t heard of that one, but I’ve heard of Hibiclens and not looked into it nearly enough. I have been considering vaginal application of the liquid probiotic I take…not that I would know if it did anything, but it’s worth a shot! Thank – Katie

  19. Martha Artyomenko

    Great post! I think the absolute best thing to do, is to use a ladder approach to interventions. Sometimes there are reasons to use those interventions, such as when pain relief saves you from a higher level intervention like a c-section or an induction from other forms of intervention, but it is always good to ask questions. The more you can educate yourself and show your care provider “I trust you! What would happen if we chose not to do that?” or “What medically could be wrong if we wait a day or three before we would do that intervention?” I also highly recommend hiring a doula if possible, that can help you with the education role, and feel like you have someone at you and your spouse’s (if applicable) side to help you to remember what you desired and needed.

  20. Just found out I’m having a miscarriage and don’t want to go with a d&c. Any recommended resources on this would help.

    1. Oh, Katie, I’m so sorry. 🙁 🙁 I have many friends who have grieved the loss of an unborn baby, but I’ve never been there myself so I don’t know what questions to ask. Be sure to take time to take care of yourself – blessings, Katie

      1. Katie, I’m so sorry. I’ve been through this twice. If you’ve just discovered the miscarriage, did you get to consult with your OB/midwife yet? For me there was no problem with waiting for my body to expell the baby naturally. The first time it was necessary to use methergen to get everything out, and then a cycle of birth control pills to “reset” my menstrual cycle if you will. There are certainly risks with D&C. Some OBs insist on it routinely, but if you can avoid it it’s much gentler on your body. It’s so hard to wait around for the horrible event you know is coming. I don’t know if you’ve thought of this, but if you can avoid the D&C you have a better ability to give your child’s body respectful burial. Praying for you in this sad time.

        1. I’ve had 3 miscarriages. Each time was natural with no medical intervention. I returned to the doctor after the bleeding had stopped to make sure my uterus was empty and there was no longer a chance of infection. My 4th baby was actually conceived just one day after I stopped bleeding from my second miscarriage. Most docs wouldn’t recommend getting pregnant so quickly, but it was a very healthy pregnancy. God bless you.

  21. While I completely agree with turning down pain relief drugs during labor, I can’t agree with this:
    I would rather embrace the pain of labor, which is completely over the second the baby is born

    Don’t forget the placenta! The second time around, I found the placenta much easier to birth than the baby because of its bonelessness, but it did hurt a bit. The first time, I had a lot of trouble getting the placenta out, really worked at it, and ultimately had to be helped by the nurse digging her fists into my belly, and I think that hurt MORE than the actual birth. However, I also think my subjective experience of pain was intensified by the shock of having my baby taken away without my getting to see or touch him for even one second because he “might have” inhaled meconium. He was fine, but I wasn’t. I might even have avoided the excessive bleeding mentioned above if I hadn’t been so upset.

    Anyway, my biggest reason for saying no to drugs was that I wanted to feel my baby being born. In addition to the pain, there’s a distinctive intimate sensation that I was only going to get to feel once or twice in my life; I didn’t want to be numb.

    But not wanting a needle next to my spine, with possible complication of several days’ intense headache, was a big motivator, too!

    You mentioned jaundice, so I want to make sure all your expectant readers are aware that mothers with Type O blood are more likely to have babies who develop jaundice so they can be prepared to make treatment decisions. I’d always thought jaundice was something that happened to poorly nourished moms or alcoholics or something, not me.

    1. Good point, ‘Becca – those labor hormones did a great job of fuzzying my memory of a lot of that stuff, but yes – the afterbirth sucks. THEN you feel better!!! And the whole needle/spine thing? Yeah. Ditto.

      I didn’t know that about type O, which is me!!! Thank you! 🙂 Katie

  22. Here, they give pitocin via IV just as the baby’s crowning (actually, with the “first shoulder,” I think). Having spent a lot of energy refusing pitocin during labor itself, I was none too pleased to have it given to me without my consent or knowledge while I was distracted (I had an IV because I chose to get the Group B antibotics). I think they basically said it’s to stop me from bleeding to death, and they give it to everyone automatically. Since I don’t feel like “everyone” used to bleed to death, I was upset. Still am, if you can’t tell 🙂

    1. You’re kidding! Pitocin does stop excessive bleeding after the birth, but they could wait to see if you need it, duh. I did not have an IV during my first birth, I did bleed excessively, and they gave me Pitocin as a shot after telling me they were going to do it and why. (Having gotten that done quickly, then they started an IV, to give me saline to recover from the blood loss.)

      1. Pitocin causes the uterus contract and helps to clamp off the vessels at the site of the placenta. It is virtually an open wound once it releases from the uterine wall. If you are able to breast feed immediately after delivery you release oxytocin to promote this, but pitocin is given to aid in this process. No, not everyone bleeds to death, but post partum hemorrhage is not something you wait for to happen and back pedal. Many hospitals give it after the placenta is delivered, and no medicine will reach the baby. I often think many people don’t know the realities of labor and delivery (thank God), and I wish it was all pleasant experiences for everyone. I agree with less intervention for labor and I love to aid moms with their ideal delivery, but many interventions are genuinely for the safety of mom and baby.

    2. Pitocin is given after the delivery of the placenta. That is standard of care, because there are graveyards full of women who did bleed to death. If you want to talk to your doctor about not having it you can, but excessive bleeding is noted even in women who are able to get the baby to breast feed immediately. If you don’t get it you risk the chance of a blood transfusion or needing other drugs to stop the bleeding that have worse side effects than Pitocin.

  23. I often wonder if a c-section (which means I had antibiotics), no breast-feeding, and getting every ‘standard’ whatever from the hospital contributed to my son’s food allergies! Never know and of course that leads to some mommy guilt 😉 My daughter is also a c-section but was exclusively breastfed and has no allergies that we are aware of yet has atrocious eczema.

    1. I’ve actually studied the connection between breastfeeding and childhood allergies for nursing school and there is zero connection!

  24. Great tips if you live in a state or city where you are allowed to refuse. In NYC it was against the law for me to refuse antibiotic eye ointment or the vitamin K shot (and no oral vit K was offered). The only thing they allowed was a 59min delay so that we could bond and snuggle with our baby before she was poked and her eyes were gunked up. My midwife said that we were allowed to gently clear the antibiotic ointment from her eyes but man that was hard to do on such a tiny and fresh from the womb baby. Anyway, know your state laws. In many cases it is an automatic call to social services if you try and refuse some things.

    1. I have heard of that, and it’s such a shame that parents aren’t allowed to choose what they want for their own children. I refused it because we don’t have STDs and my daughter was a c-section so my OB agreed it really wasn’t necessary. I think it really irritates their eyes!

      1. Also, erythromycin ointment is to prevent blindness in the baby caused from Chlamydia or gonorrhea not to prevent the spread of those diseases ????

    2. I agree – you need to check your state laws. In Ohio it just states an antibiotic needs to be put in the newborn’s eyes, it does not say which one. This gives leeway to be able to put colostrum in the eyes, which is a natural antibiotic.

  25. Artificially induced birth twice as painful? Not for me! My second was induced. I was nervous about it because I too, am reluctant to put drugs into my system, but after a 9lb.3oz first child who made a rapid exit, I was eager to not repeat that experience. I won’t go into more detail. My second was so much easier I actually declared I would happily do it again. Half dose of stadol for the first, not proud of that; it caused me to lose focus.

      1. These aren’t things I keep in my head. That it could be more difficult or painful may have been part of my trepidation, in addition to not knowing what to expect/ how it would affect me. You may be right that my body was ready to go, since it was over in about 3 hours. I did listen to soothing instrumental music that time around as well.

    1. Yep! Totally agree, same for me. I went into labor naturally with my first and was induced with my second and third. My first was the hardest and most painful labor. My Pitocin induced contractions weren’t any more painful — in fact, I found them less so. My third was my easiest and he was 9 lbs.!

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