Sure you can! However, if you change your mind or choose to use pain medications from the start, that’s OK too.
It’s true that women have been giving birth for thousands of years without any sort of pain medication. However, with modern medicine, many have since chosen to make the process slightly more comfortable. If you choose to forego pain medications, there are lots of other ways to cope. Prepare ahead of time and have confidence in yourself that you can do this, but know that if you change your mind, you are not a failure! You should talk over your pain management plan with your obstetric provider ahead of time, as you may find that some are very supportive of unmedicated labors (both midwives and doctors alike) while others are not. If you get the sense you might be pushed into using pain medications or your plans won’t be supported, you may want to reconsider the provider with whom you are delivering.
Reviewed by Dr. Jen Lincoln, April 2020