I’ve personally had two births with some pain medication, and two completely natural births with no pain medication (one was a hospital birth and one was a home birth.) I can honestly say that the natural births were MUCH more pleasant and less painful than when I had pain medication.
Arm yourself with resources
A great book that I found quite helpful is Having A Baby, Naturally. Seek out a natural birth and parenting group in your community. I found one in my area by asking around at a La Leche League meeting. Take a natural childbirth class like The Bradley Method. Learn about herbs and supplements that can be beneficial during pregnancy and birth.
Visit the hospital or birth center early for a tour, and get information about the routine procedures done to Mom and baby, and then know what your options are.
Have a birth plan
Make a list of everything you want to happen or not happen to you and baby during labor, delivery, and after baby is born.
Hire a doula
A doula is someone who offers knowledgeable wisdom, emotional, and physical support throughout your childbirth and delivery. She acts as your advocate while you focus on birthing your child.
Have a support system
Let your partner and family know your wishes regarding your pregnancy and birth. Don’t allow negative remarks or jokes about wanting a natural birth. I shared copies of The Business of Being Born with my family and had them watch it to have a better understanding of why it was important to me to have a natural birth experience.
Go with your gut
Don’t be pressured by doctors, nurses, or friends to do anything that goes against what your instincts are telling you.
Go with the flow
Something I share with everyone when I talk about my birth plan- at the bottom I wrote and highlighted: “I reserve to change my mind at anytime!”
While none of this can be a guarantee- as no one can predict exactly how labor and delivery will go- being prepared and understanding your options offers an excellent advantage to having the birth experience you desire.