There are many different definitions for the word drug, only one of which applies to this post- When I say there are some drugs you SHOULD choose for your labor I am not referring to chemicals injected or absorbed from the outside of your body in, rather to the looser definition of drug,
1. a chemical substance that affects the processes of the mind or body. (Found here.)
Which drugs should you choose for your labor?
Natural oxytocin, known side effects are-
"Oxytocin is the hormone that causes the uterus to contract during labour. Levels of oxytocin gradually increase throughout labour, and are highest around the time of birth, when it contributes to the euphoria and receptiveness to her baby that a mother usually feels after an unmedicated birth. This peak, which is triggered by sensations of stretching of the birth canal as the baby is born, does not occur when an epidural is in place. Administration of an epidural has been found to interfere with bonding between ewes and their newborn lambs." Sarah Buckley
Hey, that sounds kind of nice! Euphoria and loving that baby!
Or synthetic Pitocin, known side effects are:
"The following adverse reactions have been reported in the mother:
Anaphylactic reaction Premature ventricular contractions Postpartum hemorrhage Pelvic hematoma Cardiac arrhythmia Subarachnoid hemorrhage Fatal afibrinogenemia Hypertensive episodes Nausea Rupture of the uterus Vomiting
I could go on, but you can find the rest here, the official FDA guide to Pitocin.
Maybe you would enjoy the effect of the drugs known as endorphins in your labor. They can,
"In addition to decreased feelings of pain, secretion of endorphins leads to feelings of euphoria, modulation of appetite, release of sex hormones, and enhancement of the immune response. With high endorphin levels, we feel less pain and fewer negative effects of stress." Via medicinenet.com
Decreased pain IN LABOR?! Release of sex hormones....this sounds good. Of course you could always opt for an epidural....
Bupivacaine, a drug common in epidurals can do this:
"Spinal anesthesia may alter the forces of parturition through changes in uterine contractility or maternal expulsive efforts. Spinal anesthesia has also been reported to prolong the second stage of labor by removing the parturient’s reflex urge to bear down or by interfering with motor function. The use of obstetrical anesthesia may increase the need for forceps assistance."
(Don't worry, there are actually more side effects than this, you can find them here.)
Or maybe you would like the side effects from chloroprocaine, another common epidural drug.
(From the manufacturers package insert no less. You can read more, here.)
"Adverse reactions in the parturient, fetus and neonate
involve alterations of the central nervous system, peripheral vascular
tone and cardiac function.
Maternal hypotension has resulted from regional anesthesia. Local anesthetics
produce vasodilation by blocking sympathetic nerves. Elevating
the patient’s legs and positioning her on her left side will help prevent
decreases in blood pressure. The fetal heart rate also should be monitored
continuously, and electronic fetal monitoring is highly advisable.
Epidural, paracervical, or pudendal anesthesia may alter the forces of
parturition through changes in uterine contractility or maternal expulsive
efforts. In one study, paracervical block anesthesia was associated with
a decrease in the mean duration of first stage labor and facilitation of
cervical dilation. However, epidural anesthesia has also been reported
to prolong the second stage of labor by removing the parturient’s reflex
urge to bear down or by interfering with motor function. The use of
obstetrical anesthesia may increase the need for forceps assistance.
The use of some local anesthetic drug products during labor and delivery
may be followed by diminished muscle strength and tone for the
first day or two of life. The long-term significance of these observations
Remember- you will have drugs during labor. The question is, do you want the ones your own body produces during an undisturbed and euphoric birth, or do you want the drugs that have package inserts and warnings? It is up to you.