Can Women Actually Have Pain-Free Births Without An Epidural?

Hypnobirthing seems to be the answer to having pain-free births, and even allowing women to experience joy in the birthing process.

7 min readFeb 9


Photo by Isaac Quesada on Unsplash

If you’ve ever sat down with a circle of women who are mothers and a new mother comes along, I can guarantee you would have heard the inevitable question — “How was your birth like?”. Following that new mother’s sharing, each mother would volunteer their own story, and the chatter would become more intense and excited as each mum offers an even greater horror story they experienced while birthing — all until they take what most mothers consider the Holy Grailan epidural.

When Holy Grails Fail

However, what happens when Holy Grails are discovered not to be all that magical, and gasp, they actually fail?

Sadly enough, I was one of those mums who actually experienced the horror of the purported holy grail failing when I needed it the most. Apart from suffering from the usual side effects of an epidural — the uncontrollable shivers, chills, and fever — it provided absolutely no pain relief, made my son’s heartbeat slow down to worrying levels, and left me with a $5900 bill for just the anesthetist’s fee. In the end, a medical decision was made — an emergency c-section was conducted. While my son and I were safe, it left me in a lot of pain and took me a year to recover physically.

2 Shocking Facts Doctors Don’t Tell You About Epidurals

My experience, while uncommon in my circle of friends, is not a unique one. The anesthetist will usually tell you about the side effects of epidurals — however, as these “briefings” are usually when women are already in labour, and honestly probably already screaming for the doctor to administer the dose, the doctors can’t give you the whole lowdown on epidurals.

These are some things that most women don’t know about epidurals:

  1. Epidurals actually slow down labour

Horrors of horrors, epidurals are actually known to slow down labour. Dr Sarah Buckley shares:

With an epidural, your labour sensations will usually be completely abolished…




Linguist. Writer. Mum. Currently navigating life with intense sleep deprivation, and learning how to still do what I love - teaching and parenting.