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 and 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.


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  • I had an epi 3 times- did not get rid of all the pain. I couldn’t care less. Best decision for me at the time


  • Mine was drug free, I tried the gas but couldn’t get it out and the midwife kept pushing me to use it and it was too late for me to have any other of the drugs because I endured for so long.


  • Shouldn’t the thing that matters most is that us powerful women gave birth, no matter how the labour went.
    It doesn’t matter how anyone has given birth, as long as both mum and bub are doing well.


  • I had an epidural with my first after being in early labour for 36hrs without much progress so i was exhausted but I did feel like I missed out on the birthing/pushing p experience. My second help me experience it a bit too quickly by being born at home, thank God for the ambulance lol


  • I did three natural births.But all of them painful.


  • All births are special whether it is a natural one or you need drugs to help you cope. As long as your child is born healthy that is all that matters. If you need drugs don’t try to be a martyr and go without as it might turn you off having any more children. In my eyes all Mum’s have superpowers when they give birth.


  • My first baby was natural birth and although I had hoped for a natural birth I was open to assistance. I only had a natural birth as by the time I’d got to hospital I was too far gone for an epidural or any other pain meds other than gas that I can’t stand. There is no Superior birth – they’re all amazing in their own way and what ever works best for the mum

    • Yes, there’s no superior birth indeed !


  • No birth is superior. Delivering a healthy baby is the end game and it should not matter how a baby is brought into this world.


  • Seems to be the judgment for women who are able to do it this way, and to be honest if someone needs to feel good about them selves for something that They can do it says more about them and people I don’t need around me.


  • With my first I wanted to have a water birth. When I booked myself in for the water birth at wk 30, I needed to stay and became an emergency section right then, as my daughter was struggling and the flow through the umbilical cord was in reverse. Her birth weight was 880 gram. And looking back my desire to have a water birth made that we had to go to the hospital at wk 30, she wouldn’t have made it when I would have gone for the scan at 32wks. I was grateful she was alive and well, although her birth weight was 880gm, there were no complications and she had an Apgar score of 9-9 ! I was 40yr when my first arrived, all with all lots to be thankful for

    • And a drug free birth is certainly not superior. Every birth is different, we should not compare.
      Although I’m a bit proud of my mum who had 5 home births. She’s blessed that all went well.


  • I had a drug free birth. I sure as he’ll don’t Bragg about it. I asked for an epidural for 3 hours!!! I wasn’t even given gas during labour. I got nothing. I was treated as a covid patient even though I did not have covid. I had a natural but traumatic birth which resulted in forcep use and my baby being in ICU ICU a week and myself being admitted for a few nights. Then offered panadol and nurofen for the pain after birth….. after using forceps! It was a mess. If you need the drugs, you need the drugs.

    • AW poor you, that sounds awful !


  • I take my hat off to anybody who gives birth, no matter how they bring their little one(s) into the world! I don’t feel like anybody is bragging. We ALL share our birth stories. And everyone should take pride in bringing a new life into this world! I’ve had 3 babies, 2 were induced. All 3 I had morphine for and two I had gas and air for also (boy did I regret not having it with the 3rd!). We all have our own journeys and we share them just as we would a holiday story. Two or more people might visit the same place (and even at the same time) but have totally different experiences… the birthing suite (or home/car etc) is no different!


  • I did it natural and it was so hard that’s for sure


  • I’ve never heard anyone boast about this. And all my births were so traumatic that I don’t talk about them for fear of upsetting other people.


  • Go with the flow. Trust your midwife and doctor and most importantly listen to your body. Do not try to impress anyone on that table. You need drugs you need drugs! Period! We are all different and have different bodies. If a woman start to brag about her drug-free episode walk away!


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