“It was like a big vaginal burn.” 16 women on their stories of giving birth drug-free.

As someone who has never given birth, I find the whole topic of labour and pregnancy absolutely fascinating.

One of the many conversations women tend to have around this subject is the point of drugs and medication: simply put, have you chosen to have a drug-free birth, or opted for pain relief.

Of course, it’s important to note that no option is better or worse than the other, they are just simply different. 

So, whether giving birth drug-free was a choice, not an option or not considered, 16 women have shared their childbirth experience with Mamamia

Read on to hear their stories.

Watch: questions about childbirth (answered by mums and non-mums). Post continues below.

Video via Mamamia.

“I had to have my waters broken manually at 2cm dilated. And can I just say, the manual breaking of the waters was by far the worst pain.”

“I had my third baby with zero pain relief: I arrived at the birth suite and it just so happened that it was time to push!”

“My second birth was drug-free. The nurses did not believe me when I said I had previously went from 3cm to 10cm dilated really quickly. But boy, did I prove them wrong! My hubby had to help deliver and my baby’s head came out with the sac unbroken. They had to pop it with a big crochet hook-looking thing. The birth was essentially like a big vaginal burn… my son also came out with his hand up at his head and his fingernails tore me quite badly. A very rough doctor then decided to jump straight in, inject me with some good ol’ numbing needles right into my torn hoo-ha so he could stitch it all back together. It was hell.”

“I had an accidental home birth with my first as contractions were never 'painful enough to be real labour' according to the hospital. It’s funny, as I have zero pain tolerance and even faint at the sight of a needle or blood normally. I guess the pain I experienced wasn’t as bad as I expected.”


Image: Getty.

“I’ve given birth three times without pain relief. The last time was the worst and I thought I was going to die, quite honestly.”

“Two births, no pain relief. The first one wasn’t by choice. I’d already told them to call for an epidural but my baby just came too quick. The second one: didn’t even have time to ask for pain relief! Not bragging, it was just my experience regarding quick, pain relief-free births.” 

“I had no pain killers while giving birth to both of my sons. They’re respectively 17 and 22-years-old now. It wasn’t that I chose not to be medicated, rather I was all for it: I just found I didn’t need it. Personally, the Lamaze method of breathing worked for me.”

“I gave birth with no pain relief twice and not through choice. I went from 4cm to 10cm dilated pretty quickly and was pushing in 30 minutes with my son. So, no time for pain relief. It’s almost like you know you can’t stop and say ‘okay, I don’t want to do this now’ so you just have to get on with it.”

“It was definitely a choice for me. I planned on having my first child drug-free. I throw up quite easily, so gas wasn’t an option. I didn’t want to take morphine and also thought an epidural carried risks that I didn’t think was necessary. But for the first child, I did end up having to be induced and have an epidural after hours of intensified labour. I was a little disappointed as it was not what I planned. The second time around, I was determined to avoid induction. Weeks leading up to the birth, I had chiro and acupuncture and was able to go into spontaneous labour at home for as long as possible, before arriving at the hospital, kicking off my thongs and having the baby 17 minutes later. I then went home after four hours. The chiro was great, as it helps to get your hips and pelvis open. The acupuncture is commonly used to soften and dilate the cervix later in the pregnancy.”


Image: Getty.

“My first baby was a surprise breech. The second baby was 4.54kg with a head like a bowling ball.”

“My third baby was without pain meds, because he was too bloody quick. I asked for them, but there was an emergency c-section happening at the time so by the time the doctor was free to provide pain-relief, my bub had already been born.”

“When giving birth, I got to 9cm dilated and was yelling for the drugs: but they wouldn’t give me any.”

Listen to The Delivery Room: Prue didn’t realise she was pregnant until she went into labour. Post continues after audio.


“All my babies were born drug-free. I had a TENS pain support machine, but that was it. My kids were huge ten pounders, and they ripped me a new one too.”

“I had both babies as Syntocinon inductions and no pain relief. It hurt a lot. I’m sure I blacked out with each contraction, but they were quick labours at 4.5 hours and 3.5 hours.”

“I gave birth to my four children without pain relief, one of which I had a manual removal of my placenta (once again without pain relief). The OB figured that because I had birthed without relief, the removal would be fine. But unfortunately it wasn’t, it actually felt worse than giving birth. I lodged a complaint with the hospital and a while later I found out that it’s actually extremely rare that the procedure I had wouldn’t be performed in theatre.”

“I’ve given birth twice without meds. I aimed to clear my mind, lean into the pain and let my body take the lead. I got used to not fighting pain because I used to be a dancer. The first two weeks [after birth] were hard. Sometimes I was so sore I could hardly walk.”

Feature Image: Getty + Mamamia.

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