The REAL Reasons Moms Skip The Epidural

As a mama who wanted an unmedicated birth herself, I was curious why other moms took a similar path, whether a home birth or hospital birth. I surveyed the moms of Green Mama Life and here are the REAL answers!

Not Enough Time

Fast labor, also known as precipitous labor, is defined as labor that lasts two or three hours. Many women noted they had planned to have an epidural, but were unable to due to quick labor. When quick labor occurs, women may jump into the end phase of labor quickly or arrive at the hospital too close to delivery to receive an epidural.

Hospital Understaffed

The hospital being understaffed was definitely my least favorite answer. The epidural is a choice so I find it upsetting, as I’m sure many women do, that hospital staffing is a factor in women’s birth choices. Although women noted they were usually happy with the overall experience of not receiving an epidural, I do believe we need to do better to support women in birth.

Owning The Power of The Female Body

Some women mentioned their desire to really just see what their body was capable of. A few women who skipped the drugs found they felt more empowered after experiencing natural childbirth as they really saw how amazing and capable their bodies are.

What to know about epidurals and women's experiences

Wanted The Experience

Along with owning the power of the female body, women noted they wanted the whole experience. Women were curious about what birth felt like without numbing and wanted full control over their pushing and movement.

Previous Experience

Some women mentioned their previous experiences made them want to skip the epidural. A few women noted bad experiences with the epidural leaving them with no desire to do it again while others noted experiencing an epidural with one birth and not with the second and preferred the birth and postpartum recovery experience without the epidural.

Fear of Epidural

Many women, including myself, noted our fear of the epidural. Their fears ranged from a literal fear of needles, fear of it leading to a c-section, to fear of it harming the baby. All of these fears are valid. As mentioned in the “Previous Experience” section bad experiences with epidurals do happen.

Common symptoms from an epidural include itching, nausea and vomiting, fever, soreness, and a drop in blood pressure, while more uncommon, yet still prevalent, symptoms include difficulty breathing, severe headache, infection, seizure, and nerve damage.


Did you skip or plan to skip the epidural? What was your reason? Have you had an experience with an epidural?

You may also like: The Best Resources For Planning Your Ideal Birth, A Natural Mamas Guide to Postpartum Healing & Recovery and The Best Books To Read for Postpartum Wellness and Recovery

Skip The Epidural Women's Experiences

You may also be interested in Natural Home Birth Plan

This site contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

Check out our birth and postpartum recommendations!

10 thoughts on “The REAL Reasons Moms Skip The Epidural

  1. Most of my patients deliver at a freestanding birth center and epidurals aren’t available. Most of the time, the choice is made because birth centers are more homey and comfortable than a lot of hospitals and they are a fraction of the cost. That’s also why I chose this same birth center!

    But a lot of the birthing people I’ve talked to echoed what you said here. A good bit of them wanted an epidural but it was too late or there weren’t enough staff around. One even got the epidural but delivered before it had time to take effect!

    Thank you for sharing this! Lots of good information. 🙂

  2. I caved and got an epidural at the last minute with my first. I had a bout or five with preterm labor and the catheter added insult to injury. I wanted no part of that! But in the end the epidural saved me from a c-section as I was losing strength and baby was not a happy camper. Second was a c-section. Would’ve loved a natural birth.

  3. I agree with you. I had a completely natural birth with my daughter. And it was important to me to see my real power. I also think it’s important, for each woman to choose what’s best for them, and to not follow in other people’s footsteps!

  4. I received an epidural with both of my pregnancies. The first experience was great and I had very little symptoms (just some nausea), but my second experience was much worse as I experienced a drop in blood pressure and had a lot more soreness afterwards. I’m definitely considering not receiving the epidural if we are blessed with another pregnancy.

  5. These reasons are so true. I skipped it with my son because I wanted to experience natural childbirth and feel empowered by my body. My epidural with my daughter only worked on one side of my body and getting it wasn’t a good experience. I would choose natural childbirth all over again!

  6. I went unmedicated with all of mine. I wanted to see and feel what my body was capable of, it hurts like a mother but it’s so nice to have control of my legs. I was worry about side effects for my babies. And once things get going my babies come fast.

  7. I had a scheduled c/s as my son was breech. I don’t know how different the spinal is to the epidural – but for our next baby I will do everything safe (for me) to avoid all that and have a natural labor. I always wanted a natural birth, so when my son wouldn’t turn, I was pretty heartbroken. We will see this time!

Leave a Reply