View Full Version : the book's advice
I have always recommended your books (baby bargains and now Baby 411) but I must say I was not happy to read such strong opinion on going for drugs (epidural) during labor! This is very much a personal issue and your own opinion. I have chosen to do it naturally after talking with MANY MANY (women including my sister who would be honest with me) who do not agree with you that labor requires drugs (ie is THAT painful) ....a lot of it is perception and opinion and I was not looking for "advice" on personal/very subjective subject matter.
There are down sides to getting drugs during labor....it's not that I'm trying to be a hero I'd just like to avoid a prolonged labor and possible c-section due to not feeling/pushing. And many more issues....
All this chapter did was scare me into believing your opinion...not medical facts or even the majority of women's opinion. Most people who go natural have no regrets!
06-14-2004, 09:21 PM
Yes there are downsides to an epidural during labor-one thing no one ever tells you is that it is cut off before you push so you go natural for the most painful part of labor! What's the point of the epidural? To get you through contractions?
I tried to go natural with first son, didn't quite make it and had 2 shot of a narcotic in the 6 hours before he was born. Oh well, better luck next time! Now that I am having 2nd son in September, I will not be trying an epidural this time either. The catheter, possible Pitocin use or c-section just don't make the epidural worth it to me personally. It was great that my ob and hospital didn't push the epidural issue with me like I have heard of happening to too many women. It seems many of them want to control your labor to fit their schedule.
Do whatever works for you!
07-11-2004, 10:47 PM
I have always thought it was very admirable when women went through labor without using pain medication :), especially because of the benefits to the baby, but the truth of the matter is that most women don't make it, leaving them feeling guilty and less brave/couragous than their mothers and counterparts. What the book purported to do, I surmise, is rid women of feeling they are less of a woman if they DON'T go through child birth naturally. Epidurals allow many women to calmly progress through labor without some of the horrible and debilitating side effects of pain. As with any drug, the numbing agent in an epidural affects everyone differently. Some women are numb until the end, while others regain sensation so much that they're screaming before they get a chance to push. In the end, I think the authors of BABY 411 did a good thing by encouraging women to embrace the epidural, if nothing to lessen the stigma.
Think about the comment you made: "it's not THAT painful." Well, you'll see soon, won't you...and think of how bad YOU will feel if you "cave in" and get an epidural ;( . Instead, leave your options open. I think it's best to tell yourself and others that child birth is still one of the hardest things women have to go through, and that no matter what method you choose for delivering, your child will be brought into the world surrounded by love and tolerance, with an eye towards his/her health interests. I guess it's kind of like breast-feeding. Doctors and advisors have the obligation to be honest about BF's positive effects and benefits for infant development over formula, but they shouldn't make women who CANNOT breastfeed feel guilty about not being able to x((if her milk doesn't come in-like my friend's situation). So, yes, it's best if a woman delivers without drugs (insert numerous benefits here), but it's also important to allow women to feel they are still heroic, noble, and brave for carrying their children for 9 months and doing the work to get their children into the world. :D
07-15-2004, 08:34 PM
I will second the PP's advice to go into birth with an open mind. That's exactly what I did, because I wanted as natural a birth as possible but I wasn't going to feel bad if it was too much for me. Seeing how I'd never given birth before, I had no idea what it was going to be like, and I didn't want to set myself up to be disappointed if I did go for the drugs or shocked when it was really painful.
I'll be honest with you, it was unbelievably painful. More painful than I could have managed. But I did it without any pain medications, and that was with being induced (usually produces more painful labour) with Cervidil and having a sunny side up baby (ridiculously painful back labour). But you know what? It was doable, and I'm really glad that I went that way, but I wouldn't have felt bad if I needed the use of drugs to get me through it. The fact is, everyone's pain tolerance is different, everyone's labour is different. So, while some women can give birth and say "yeah, it was hard, but it wasn't that bad" others will say "I was begging for the epidural in the lobby of the hospital". That doesn't make the second woman a wimp at all, her labour was just different than the first woman's. KWIM?
I'd also like to say that pushing was NOT the most painful part of labour. Actually, it was blissful relief from the pain of the contractions. Transition labour was the worst, but pushing was ok, because my body just kind of took over. I was pretty zoned by the time it came to push that it really wasn't that painful at all.
Good luck with your natural birth!
07-20-2004, 09:22 AM
Please, PLEASE, PLEASE go into labor and delivery with an open mind. I was certain that I could get through without an epidural. That was not the case for me and I would have been in an emergency C-section without one. After 12 hours of hard labor, it enabled me to get through the next 7 hours until my baby was born (the epidural did not slow me down...there were other factors).
It's great to think that you are going to "go natural", but sometimes the help is necessary! I went as long as I could until everyone...doctors, husband, nurses...agreed that it was best to have the epidural. I'm glad that I did considering the time frame between the epidural and delivery (and the retained placenta issue). Trust your medical staff and yourself. Don't try to be a hero...your baby needs you.
If you can get through without medication, go for it. Just know that it's okay if you can't.
05-31-2005, 11:03 PM
Congratulations on the impending birth of your baby! It is a joyful event and truly one you will never forget. If I could weigh in with my two cents on the drug vs. non-drug issue.........yes, keep an open mind. Your goal is to bring a baby into the world safely. Delivering a baby is hard work - the hardest you will do in your life and probably the very most important. It also hurts in a way that you really cannot even fathom or understand until you have experienced first hand. It is also highly emotional and it is hard to make good decisions when you are in pain, tired, scared, and desperate to both see your new baby and to sleep. I have delivered four babies - the first two were natural, the third was a shot of stadol narcotic, and the fourth was an epidural type drug. I was very set against any medications in my first two deliveries and proud (at the time) that I did them drug free - but they really really hurt. Baby #3 was a loooooong labor and she was born sunny side up. The narcotic did nothing for me but make me crabbier (if this would have been possible). As a result of this tenancious delivery, I was quite anxious for baby #4. I had intrathekal (sp?)morphine and her birth was the most peaceful of all of them. I didn't have to work against that intense pain and I felt so relaxed in delivering her. My advice is to approach your delivery with a plan in mind of what you'd like, but remember that your goal is to bring the baby into the world. There are no prizes offered for taking pain medication or not taking medication. Pat yourself on the back for the way your nurtured your baby in-vitro for nine months and cut your self some slack if the event pain medication gets that beautiful baby into your arms soon.
Good luck to you!
06-01-2005, 09:03 PM
Agreeing with the PPs. You must have an open mind re: the epidural. I developed pregnancy induced hypertension in my 37th week and was on my way to pre-eclampsia. Therefore, my OB induced me at 38 1/2 weeks. My labor was going fine, then hard labor started. As the pain increased, so did my blood pressure. I decided the epidural was the safest for me and my baby - after all, how can you be a good mommy if you have a stroke during labor? After my epidural, I dilated 2 cm an hour because I was so relaxed - it actually sped up the process for me. And, the epidural is not turned off when you are pushing. If you have a good epidural, you can feel to push, but don't feel the pain.
The breastfeeding example is a good one. I was planning on breastfeeding only and of course, it was driven into me how important that is. It was not successful for us and we now EFF. I was, and still am, very disappointed because NOT breastfeeding was never an option for me. If I had been educated in the possible reasons to not be able to breastfeed, I may have been more prepared and less stressed/emotional when it wasn't working out for us!
I think the book does a service to women in telling them that this option is ok. More books need to do that with breastfeeding and let you know that formula is ok and you are not a failure if you can't do it - just as they are doing with the epidural.
07-13-2005, 12:17 PM
EDITED: I just checked the date of your post and see it's a YEAR old. Did you end up getting an epidural?
I had to be induced, so I was on pitocin. When the contractions FINALLY began, they were very strong and very frequent. I didn't even think twice about getting an epidural.
Although I didn't feel pain, I did feel intense pressure in my legs and,er,rear that let me know when to push.
I also delivered within a couple hours of getting my epidural though, so I'm not sure if I would bother next time. I probably could have done it naturally if I knew it would be over so quickly.
At any rate, it made me much more comfortable, I knew on my own when to push, and I had no ill effects in regard to breast-feeding. I thoroughly enjoyed my daughter's birth.
The choice is yours. If you really want a natural birth, go for it, but don't count on it so much that you'll be upset if it doesn't happen. Labor is unpredictable. FWIW, my mom delivered with an epidural, w/o one, and by c-section. She says once you hold your baby, it makes little difference.
07-17-2005, 09:44 PM
While I don't share your contempt for the opinion expressed in the book I agree with you in one sense. I think it is important that you go into labor to both experiences. If you go in desperate to have a "natural"i birth you may find yourself incredibly dissapointed, ashamed, and let down if you end up needing an epidurral. But, if you go in sure that you will need one, you may have an unnecessary procedure. In my personal experience, the epidurral was a lifesaver. I was in a lot of pain from the contractions and was not making a lot of progress, but once I had my epidurral my body relaxed and I went from 4 to 10 centimeters in only a few hours. I credit the epidurral with getting me through labor safely and comfortably. Overall, once I had the epidurral labor became more of an enjoyable and exciting experience than an intensely painful one.
Keep an open mind.
09-04-2005, 10:13 PM
I really don't like the advice to "go with an open mind." If you really want an uumdeicated birth then tiy need to go in with more than "good intentions." You need a plan. You need support. You need solid personal reasons. You need to understand labor and know the common physical and emotional hurdles so you can work through them. I like the "20 minute method": once you get to the point where you don't think you can go further then try something new- move around, change positions, try water, eat, drink...do something. If you still feel like that after 20 minutes (that you want pain meds) then you shouldn't feel guilty at all (not to say you should in the 1st place but many moms seem to echo that). You tried and things weren't better. An internal exam at that breaking point is a great idea too since sometimes it is a signal of transition and you are almost done.
I think that many moms go into birth ill informed. They don't understand labor. They also don't really understand the role of common interventions. They don't know their options and if they do they don't always feel like they can or should advocate for them. Yeah, they might have read that continuous monitoring isn't necessary or advised for a low risk birth but if "hospital" or care provider "policy" wants it then many moms just accept that on the opinion that that rule must be there for a reason.
Doulas are highly underutilized. Their presence has been known to reduce the request for epidurals by 60%.
I don't know...I think if you go in with an open mind and simply make it a matter of pain tolerance (if the pain isn't too bad then no meds, otherwise go for the meds). It's so much more than that. No one should feel guilty if they don't have an unmedicated birth and had wanted it. But I do think that people should be accountable for some of it. Some times there are things they could have done differently or they could have been better prepared (hired a better care provider, used a doula, birthed at a mother friendly place, read more) and sometimes there aren't. Only individual moms know where they fall.
I do think there are a lot of moms that never bother to read anything or get prepared at all and decide from day one they will have an epidural. Now, to them I might say "go with an open mind." There are more than enough moms out there that couldn't get pain meds for reasons like the anesthesiologist was busy with a c-section, labor progressed too quickly, there was a medical reason they couldn't get an epidural, or their epidural didn't take completely (15% of moms). Everyone should have some fall back skills (beyond patterned breathing!) and know that an epidural isn't a given. The moms who have unplanned unmedicated births are usually the ones who have the hardest time.
09-23-2005, 09:50 AM
hi, i'm a new mommy, my daughter Madisyn will be 8 mos in a few days...i was reading your reply about epidurals.. i must tell you, it was the best thing ever invented...ive had no problems with getting it. it helped my contractions go along smoothly. i got it bout 12:15 in the afternoon, started pushing at 3;30, had my daughter at 4:50 and thats when they cut it off from me...i felt NOTHING!!! during the delivery and she came right out. i would definately recommend one to anyone who wants it. the only thing i felt was when they sewed me up, if that was the worst, bring it on :)
07-16-2006, 05:15 PM
Why would anyone want to experience one of the most dramatic moments of their lives, while FEELING NOTHING? What a strange idea that is to me.
I believe that most women don't really research the epidural, what the risks are (MUCH higher rate of c-section, for one), what the complications can be, what is IN the epidural, what your options are. You have options! Aside from just "lie there and suffer!"
I have not noticed any women feeling guilty for getting one. In fact I feel much more pressured TO get one than not to; luckily I'm having my baby at home and it won't be an option. But most people who find out I'm expecting respond literally with the words "GET AN EPIDURAL!" Considering what a personal issue is, I find that really wierd!
I think the pain varies from woman to woman and if you have good support and guidance you are better able to handle it, based on all accounts I've heard. Certainly strapped into a hospital bed with nurses shoving their hands up my &*!)#@! every five minutes isn't going to be helping me relax and move through the pain!!!!!
I believe in options for women for birth so that they can make informed decisions; not last minute decisions made under extreme duress while in a hospital bed. It's worth it to ourselves and our bodies to take some time ahead of time to try to get as much information about our options as we can; and "Get an epidural" is really not good information in and of itself. It's opinion, and that is all.
My SIL had three unnecessary c-sections due to a total lack of information about birth ahead of time. She had no idea that epidurals can slow labor and increase the odds of getting a c-section. Her body has NEVER recovered (youngest is now 8). To me it seems worthwhile to investigate ways to allow your body to birth naturally, ensuring a much easier recovery and taking better care of your body for the long run.
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