There has been debate for years about a newborn’s ability to feel pain. Here’s an interesting video from Dr. Sanjay Gupta speaking to Dr. Whit Hall at Arkansas Children’s Hospital.
I have quite a few friends who never considered birthing without pain management. They share stories of playing card games and reading magazines until it was time to push. Their births were a big ‘ol party. Heck, I have attended many such births when I worked in Women’s Services at St. Vincent Hospital. On a 12 hour night shift, I would be lying if I didn’t say that sometimes I though epidurals were a blessing. As a nurse, it’s not nearly as hard to attend an epiduralized labor. You can leave the room, and usually the birthing woman could care less.