Here is a breakdown of why I support natural labor (without an epidural):
1. There are risks involved such as headaches, backaches, loss of feeling to you bladder and possible paralysis.
2. You are stuck to the bed. You may not be able to feel pain, but you can't move either or feel your legs. I can't imagine my back hurting from the pressure of contractions and sitting in one spot. You wouldn't be able to feel it then, but you would for several days to come.
3. Labor generally lasts longer because you can't feel anything. Also, because you must stay lying down which doesn't allow gravity to give you favor.
4. When the pushing stage comes, it could also last longer because you cannot feel what you are pushing. More often than not, you end up straining yourself, but the wrong way because you cannot feel the push in your abdomen.
5. There is a greater chance of c-sections. This is for several reasons, if you stop dilating your body isn't going to be stimulated adequately by anything but potocin, which could possibly cause your baby stress. Prolonged labor can cause your baby stress. Also, not having the ability to push your baby our can all lead to a c-section.
6. You may feel less pain, but your baby is taking in those drugs as well. You spend 9 months watching what you eat and not taking pain medications just to give in at the last minute when it really matters. This can leads to more "sleepy" babies and less response to parents and breastfeeding.
7. The recovery time is shorter and easier. I was up using the bathroom within the hour. I didn't feel hardly any pain in my abdomen. I had no cramps in my legs. I felt great and was able to move around easily even after birth. (This was my first child.)
*I want to put a disclaimer here that the drugs doctors give you are as natural as they can prescribe; however, they are still synthetic and have side effects. The problem with drugs is that it puts you on a slippery slope - once you have one, you need another. [Having an epidural can lead to pitocin or having pitocin can lead to an epidural].
I am weary of all drugs and rarely use them, thus I would not want to use them even in labor. Different options are right for different people, but this is my opinion on them. My goal here is not to talk down the epidural, but to let women know it is an option, not an necessity. Women have been giving birth without drugs for centuries. It is possible to do and doesn't have to be as painful as it is talked up to be. Some women have a honestly hard labor, but some talk it up so you feel for their pain. I didn't have an epidural and I'm not complaining at all.
Read my previous post for my birthing story.