A Canadian man has sparked outrage after insisting his pregnant partner have a drug-free birth — even arguing that female bodies were "genetically engineered" to go through childbirth without an epidural.

Former Entertainment Tonight reporter Matte Babel and actress Shay Mitchell are expecting their first child together in October, reports News.com.au.

The couple have been documenting their pregnancy through Youtube Orginals series Almost Ready, with this week's episode showing Matte and Shay going to a birthing class.

After the class Shay — most famous for her role in Pretty Little Liars — sat down Matte to talk about her birth plan and was quickly gobsmacked by his stance.


"I've been thinking a lot about this birth plan and I feel like we need to be more on the same page with this. You say no epidural, I say epidural," she said.

"Am I partial to no epidural? Yes. Why? Because I'm a hypochondriac. I'm afraid of drugs," Matte replied.

"My mum didn't use an epidural … I meet women all the time who didn't choose to use epidurals."

Appearing sunned, Shay likened no epidural during birth to having root canal without anaesthetic.

Shay's face said it all. Photo / YouTube
Shay's face said it all. Photo / YouTube

"Root canal isn't comparable because you're not born to go through root canal," Matte responded. "As a woman, your body is genetically engineered to give birth."

Shay was also on the fence about breastfeeding, saying she had heard it "really hurts" and wasn't for everyone.

Matte said while he understood some women couldn't physically breastfeed, he was against women simply choosing to use formula instead.

"Okay, well I'm against that and I'm sure there's a lot of women who are against it too," he said.


"I just think if you have the innate ability to breastfeed and the kid latches, why wouldn't you want the best for your baby?"

Unsurprisingly, Matte's stance was quickly condemned online, with people commenting that it was (a) not his decision and (b) really not his decision.


"'You were born to go through that pain' will someone PLEASE tell him about vaginal tearing and then ask if he would be okay without an epidural," one person wrote in the comments of the Youtube video.

"Genetically engineered for childbirth? My daughter had to have an emergency C-section when she was 2 weeks past due cuz the baby was too big to be delivered naturally. I had my oldest with an epidural and ended up with permanent nerve damage in my hip (sic)."

Shay also responded to the backlash, posting on her Instagram story a screenshot of Youtube comments in response to what Matte had said.

"Where can I find the MOST INTENSE birth stimulator?! HELP!" Shay wrote on her Instagram story.

According to a 2017 report on Obstetric Analgesia and Anaesthesia by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, giving birth causes "severe pain for many women".

"There is no other circumstance in which it is considered acceptable for an individual to experience untreated severe pain that is amenable to safe intervention while the individual is under a physician's care."