At mindbodygreen, we gravitate toward holistic healing and natural practices. But we also know that wellness isn’t one-size-fits-all. Whatever works for you, we support. Most of all, we don't think anyone should feel ashamed for the health choices they make.
Dr. Amy Tuteur, a Harvard-trained obstetrician-gynecologist, has long been in the spotlight voicing her opinions about childbirth and parenting issues. In her new book being released today, Push Back: Guilt in the Age of Natural Parenting, she encourages women not to feel guilty for their decisions, even if they aren’t considered the “natural” choice. In this piece for mindbodygreen, Dr. Tuteur takes on what she considers to be one the biggest sources of mommy guilt and a big topic of her book: the decision to have an epidural during childbirth.
Let’s get this straight: There’s no reason to feel guilty if you have an epidural to relieve pain during childbirth.
How do I know this? I’m an obstetrician-gynecologist and former clinical instructor at Harvard Medical School as well as the author of a new book on motherhood and guilt. Most importantly I’m a mother of four, all of whom were delivered vaginally—two with epidurals and two without.
Through all my professional and personal experiences, I've learned that the critical difference between giving birth with an epidural and giving birth without an epidural is … the pain!
I know that might come as a surprise to many people, especially because we're so used to hearing that “natural” is always better—but that’s what the scientific evidence shows. Here’s what else I wish more women knew about epidurals and childbirth: