Why You Should Say Yes to an Epidural

Photo: Shutterstock / The Bump Photo: Shutterstock / The Bump

This is the fourth of a five part guest blog series by Susan Patton, a.k.a. “The Princeton Mom,” who found fame (and a recent TIME 100 nomination) from her controversial views on marriage in her book, Marry Smart. While you may not always agree with her, you’ll definitely want to hear her (often surprising!) stance on parenting’s hottest topics. 

Any kind of childbirth is natural, and how you handle it is up to you. I understand the idealistic desire to go completely natural, i.e., without any medication to expedite labor or manage labor pains. It makes you feel like a SuperMom! But realistically, drugs can be a very good thing, and you shouldn’t be so quick to refuse them. It’s not good for you or your baby to be in an over-extended labor. At nine months gestation, the baby is done. And sometimes under doctor’s orders you need to get him out of the oven before complications arise.

If your doctor wants to induce labor, it’s because it’s time for the baby to be born. Don’t argue with her. And as for pain medication… yes, by all means you should accept any and all recommendations by your doctor to lessen the pain. Suffering to the max in childbirth is no badge of honor, and honestly, even if you are medicated, there is still plenty of pain that will stay with you for weeks. Don’t be such a hero! Save your strength whenever you can. You’ll need it in your first few weeks after delivering your baby.

When I was an expectant mother for the first time, natural childbirth without drugs was considered the only way to deliver your baby. Thankfully, my best friend had her baby boy six months before I had mine, and she shared with me this most important of all advice for pregnant women. “When they wheel you into the labor and delivery room at the hospital, and the doctor asks if you want an epidural, the answer is ‘yes, yes I want an epidural. Please give me an epidural.’” She was so right. Since then, I’ve shared this sage advice with every pregnant woman I’ve known.

Do you plan on getting an epidural?

Plus, More from The Bump:

How Does and Epidural Work?

Shocking Confessions From the Delivery Room

Natural Birth 101