This mum says she is sick of women bragging about their drug-free births…

A frustrated mum has taken to Mumsnet to ask if a drug-free birth is really any better than choosing to use pain relief. The mum says she has noticed that many women who have a baby without any intervention feel the need to brag about their ‘natural births’, making others feel bad about their own birth experience.

The Best-Laid Plans…

The mum says that despite having a detailed birth plan for her first daughter, things didn’t go to plan. “I was quite relaxed about my birth plan, didn’t want pain relief or anything if I could manage it,” she wrote. “After three days of labour with a back to back baby and not progressing, I had to have an epidural.” Though the experience wasn’t exactly what she imagined, the mum says she was just grateful to have had a happy and healthy baby, but began to notice a disturbing trend on social media that made her feel that she had somehow failed.

“A woman on Facebook announced her babies birth with the line ‘total natural birth, I am a lioness’…am I being unreasonable to think that this is a bit ridiculous?” she wrote. “Do we really need to make people feel bad about how they gave birth? Do you secretly feel better about yourself knowing you’ve done it with no pain relief?”

No Other Option

Some commenters admitted that having a ‘natural’ birth gave them a sense of achievement. “I am (secretly) proud of myself for managing the second time ’round with gas and air,” wrote one mum. “I gave birth to my son with gas an air,” said another. “I have just read previous comments about how only gas and air is good! Yippee! I feel quite smug now.”

Other mums were quick to point out that many women don’t get a choice. “Giving birth is mental however you do it,” one commenter said. “Any woman who does it is entitled to feel proud.” “You can plan as much as you like but no one has any idea what will happen during labour,” said another.

While every mum would love a straight-forward, complication-free experience, nature often has other ideas and no two births are ever the same. We think whatever ensures a happy and safe experience for both mum and bub can only result in a birth story to be proud of!

Did you feel disappointed because you couldn’t have a ‘natural’ birth? Share your story in the comments.


  • If you care about the health or your child then you would. It’s doable, calmbirth classes etc it’s an important part of the process and one to be respected

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  • Just do what feels right for and is applicable at the time. If you don’t put everything out there on social media no one would know about it in the first place. Live your own life and stuff social media.

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  • It really grates me how some mums go on & in about having a ‘natural, drug free birth’. If it worked that way then great, but doesn’t make u superior or more of a warrior than a mum who had pain relief for had a c section or any combination that happens during birth.
    I found it was an almost silent but passive aggressive approach from mums who didn’t have pain relief. Like they were better & their babies would b healthier because they ‘chose no pain relief’. Births happen all sorts of ways and even with pain relief- it still hurts like hell!!!
    And seriously no one cares & it doesn’t matter the older ur bub gets. But then it turns to breast v formula, who slept thru the earliest age, teeth….goes on & on.

    Mums need to support each other & not make it a competition or a passive aggressive ‘better than you’ thing.
    And trust me – when ur kid starts primary school there’s no discussion about who’s kids more advanced cos they had a drug free birth lol! (By then it turns into competition about parenting styles/daycare/working v staying home….that’s a whole other rant!!)

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  • i don’t think there should be bragging rights about having a drug free birth. All births are different, some are more painful than others, there are different pain thresholds etc. I went into labour thinking that i would just see how it went. I was going to try and do without drugs – purely because I thought it may have been better for the baby. In the end I had an emergency c-section, so definitely had to have drugs for that one!

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  • I am surprised they allowed some of the Mums to be in labour for more than 24 hours. Sometimes there is problems when labour takes that long. I know of a few cases where long labour have resulted in emergency c-sections. One, her body went to shock. I also know one Mum whose pains were so strong until she was given pain relief that she was actually fainting during some contractions when the staff weren’t in with her at all. Because of other medication she was having to take they gave her pethidene. Epidurals don’t work if they aren’t inserted in exactly the right spot. I know a Mum who was given 3 and none of them worked at all. She never had back discomfort at all until then, and she still does occasionally.

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  • my first son was 8lb 10oz and I had pethidiene, my daughter was 6lb 12oz and drug free only because she was so fast (and two pound smaller) and my last two were both emergency caesars (plenty of drugs there!) all of them were born good and healthy (all earlier than their due dates too).If you need drugs for pain take them, don’t be a hero

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  • No disappointment because we had healthy babies.
    Seriously it is not a competition – if pain relief is needed then take it!

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  • I had two natural births. My first was an undiagnosed breech tho, so they had to intervene with pain relief. My second, I was so far along in labour, too far for pain relief to have an effect. I don’t know why mums to be even attempt a birth plan because mostly, it never goes to plan

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  • You can’t compare births things happen, mums have different life styles and there are too many differing factors


    • And…it is just so pointless to compare and label births.

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  • It’s definitely silly comparing, some births are so much more painful and long than others! I’ve never had paint relief other that anti nausea, but my labours are usually quick and straight forward. I would never look down on anyone else for using pain relief! At the end of the day we are all going through a super hard and painful time and everyone does an amazing job getting through it at all! Pain relief or not!

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  • I’ve had one of each. I know they were leaning toward c-section with my first because my labour was days long and even once they started the drip I wasn’t progressing. I wouldn’t have got him out without the sleep I managed to have after the epidural. I felt the whole experience of pushing him out so that made me feel a little better. With my daughter I waited until I was 8cm before going to the hospital so she was born within the hour. I was very happy to experience the birth I wanted.

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  • No use to compare your birth story with that of somebody else.
    Yes, back then I felt disappointed not to have the birth I desired and had in my head, but it became less and less unimportant as baby baby had arrived safe and grew well and I was happy with what I had.


    • And no it’s absolutely not superior !

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  • I didn’t want to be brave or strong and not have drugs I just wanted to do it as natural as possible because I wanted to be in the moment. Unfortunately that moment took 40 hours and I had to have an epidural because I was exhausted and Baby was becoming distressed, and I needed an emergency c section. The main thing is that the Mum is healthy and baby is healthy. It doesn’t make you a better person if you give birth naturally with no drugs.

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  • It’s so difficult as it is going through pregnancy and labour, we dont need to shame those who get epidural etc.

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