Is a natural childbirth right for you?

Answer the questions below to get an idea of whether or not natural childbirth is right for you.
Scoring: a = 1; b = 2; c = 3

1. Giving birth is an experience that is:
a) an important life event, in which I want to be a fully conscious participant
b) a necessary adventure that I would like to experience, if not too painful
c) a frightening, barbaric event I would prefer not to endure

2. My attitude towards pain in childbirth is:
a) that it is a healthy, temporary pain that I can deal with
b) it is only painful if you do not use correct techniques in labor
c) It probably will not be painful for me

3. Being alert and with my baby immediately after birth is:
a) important to me and healthy for the baby
b) desirable, but not necessary
c) not necessary and I would like to rest before being with my baby

4. A natural childbirth is:
a) a powerful experience and something I have always visualized for myself
b) an interesting possibility, if the pain is not unbearable I'd like to try it
c) a negative, humiliating experience

5. When I experience pain, such as cramps during menstruation, I:
a) take rests and slow down, but continue through my day
b) stop my usual activities and go to bed
c) immediately use drugs to stop the pain

6. I find a strenuous physical workout:
a) rewarding. I exercise regularly because I enjoy the process.
b) stimulating, but hard to endure. I exercise irregularly but enjoy it when I do.
c) unrewarding. I avoid it.

7. Are you willing to put in time to practice and prepare for childbirth?
a) I will attend preparation classes and practice in between class
b) I will be able to attend some classes, but have little time for practice
c) I only have time to read a bit

8. My feelings about drugs and my baby are that drugs are:
a) not healthy for my baby during labor
b) a manageable stress on my baby during labor
c) will not affect my baby during labor

9. Do you plan on having a doula, childbirth assistant other emotional support available at your birth?
a) I want a doula and my husband present for support
b) I want only my husband present for support
c) I don't want anyone but the doctor and nurse present

10. I trust my body's natural processes:
a) implicitly
b) most of the time
c) rarely

11. The women in my family experienced childbirth as:
a) a natural, positive experience
b) not something to talk about, but a neutral event
c) a negative, traumatic event

12. I want a natural childbirth because:
a) I feel it is optimal for my family and myself , both emotionally and medically
b) I am afraid of having any medical intervention
c) it will prove my womanhood and make me a good mother

Score of: 12-16
Congratulations! A natural childbirth is right up your ally. Your beliefs and attitudes are in line with realistic expectations for labor and birth. Your motivation is high. Go for it!

Score of: 17-26
Your heart is in line with a natural childbirth, but your motivation may be a bit weak. Take childbirth preparation classes to help educate yourself to the process. During this time, you will be likely to become more highly motivated, especially as you get closer to your due date. Give yourself a chance. You may make significant gains in your confidence and motivation, after learning techniques to help you relax and cope with normal, labor contractions...nothing ventured, nothing gained!

Score of: 27-36
By all means take classes to help educate you to the childbirth process. If during classes and talking with other pregnant women, your attitudes or feelings change, consider an unmedicated childbirth. If not, consult your obstetrician about an epidural for effective pain relief during labor. But remember that an epidural is usually only available once labor is in full swing, and analgesia is effective for some women, and not for others. So, it wouldn't hurt to learn some handy techniques for pain management for use in early labor, even if you plan on using pain medication to help you on your way!

Courtesy of Gayle Peterson, MSSW, LCSW, Ph.D., founder of *

*The appearance of external hyperlinks does not constitute endorsement by Beaumont Health System of the linked websites or the information, products or services contained therein.