Difference Between Epidural and Natural Birth

An epidural is a spinal injection used to alleviate severe pain, such as that experienced during labor. When a baby is delivered vaginally without the use of pain relievers, the process is considered natural.

What is an Epidural?

The injection used to relieve discomfort in the lower back is known as an epidural.

Procedure − Before getting an epidural, patients should wait at least 6 hours without eating or drinking anything. Prepare the area where the needle will be put by washing it with an antiseptic. It all starts with a shot of local anesthetic. After the epidural space has been carefully needled, medication can be administered there.

Benefits − Sometimes, pregnant women have an epidural to alleviate the discomfort of labour. One such application is relieving the discomfort caused by spinal stenosis or a herniated disc in the spine. A nerve block known as an epidural.

Drawbacks − Bleeding in the epidural area, infection, low blood pressure, back discomfort, and headache are all possible side effects of an epidural.

What is Natural Birth?

Natural birth is defined as childbirth in which the infant goes via the vaginal canal.

Procedure − When labor begins naturally, the uterine wall muscles tighten. As labor progresses, the frequency of contractions increases, assisting in the baby's progress toward and through the cervix and vagina. In order for the infant to exit the body head first, it must be positioned with its head pointing downward.

Benefits − While making its way through the birth canal, the baby picks up antibodies and helpful microbes from the mother's body. In addition to the obvious health benefits for the mother and baby, there may be a shorter labor period without the use of an epidural

Drawbacks − Vaginal, natural delivery is substantially more painful than birth with a nerve block (epidural). However, there are circumstances in which a natural delivery is not recommended for safety reasons. It may be unsafe for women who are carrying many kids or who have diseases like preeclampsia to give delivery naturally.

Differences between Epidural and Natural Birth

The following table highlights the major differences between Epidural and Natural Birth −



Natural Birth


An epidural is an injection administered into the epidural space of the spine to relieve pain.

When a baby is born through the mother's vaginal canal, it is considered a natural birth.


After cleaning the region with antiseptic, a local anesthetic is administered, and finally, the epidural medication is injected into the epidural space.

During a vaginal birth, the infant descends head-first into the uterus, passes through the cervix, and emerges out of the vaginal opening.


With an epidural, the laboring woman feels no discomfort.

Babies benefit from acquiring protective microorganisms and antibodies from their mothers during a natural delivery.


Hypotension, a greater risk of infection, chronic back discomfort, and headaches are all possible side effects of an epidural.

Pain during labor is only one of the many issues that might arise during a natural delivery, and high-risk pregnancies may rule out the option altogether.

A hospital/medical setting is needed

Patients receiving epidurals must be in a clinical environment, such as a hospital

Situations permitting, a natural delivery can be performed somewhere other than a hospital.


In this article, we explained in detail how Epidural is different from Natural Birth.

Updated on: 23-Jan-2023


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