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Epidural: Yay or Nay?

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  • Epidural: Yay or Nay?



    I must confess that I know very little about epidural except that 2 of my friends who took it ended up with severe back pain. Yesterday, DH's colleague whose wife had a baby recently told him to make sure I get epidural (I know it's a long time away) and I was a bit taken aback by the advice. What are your thoughts? Anyone here taken them w/o side effects? I'm hoping for a natural child birth, but hoping is different from reality, n'est-ce pas?


  • #2
    1



    Im a long way off from having kids, but I DO know that when I do... I very, very much want to do it med free.


    I would reccomend the movie "The Business of Being Born" it says a lot that I would like to but I dont have the patience to type out.

    Life on Earth may be punishing, but it includes an annual free trip around the sun!

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    • #3
      1



      Of course there are no guarantees in childbirth or life. However, preparing yourself goes a long way- just hoping for a nat birth usually doesn't do much in the hard part of labor. That preparation is different for different people. I took Bradley classes as they have a 90% success rate, lots of people love Hypnobabies, it depends on your personality but you need to work on informing yourself on the process itself and a myriad of different coping and support mechanisms. For me the big helps have been water, relaxation techniques I learned in yoga, and some massage techniques dh learned in Bradley.

      Mama to 4, wife to my love

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      • #4
        1



        And of course there are people who have had an epidural w/ no ill effects. But that doesn't remove the risk. The meds of course pass to the baby as well, which for me is even scarier than a big needle in my spine. Also, knowing that I didn't want to increase my risk for csec or risk compromising my bfing relationship.

        Mama to 4, wife to my love

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        • #5
          1



          the risk of something going *very* wrong with an epidural is higher than the risk of uterine rupture, and that's not counting back pain.


          if you can avoid it, you really should.


          autohypnosis works for a lot of women to manage the pain and having a strong core also helps with being able to push without problems.

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          • #6
            1



            I can only share my own experience, which was a labor/birth w/out epidural.


            I had a planned homebirth w/ an amazing midwife, and labored for over 50 hours (baby's heartrate/vitals were perfect the whole time). It was honestly hard, but not so hard I couldn't handle it, and I never once thought "I wish I had medication". I just thought "I'm really tired". I had lots of back labor (ds was posterior) and did not sleep enough in the early stages (when I could have/should have), but just walked/stood through contractions as dh pressed on my back (the only thing that helped--he was a trooper). I moved however I wanted to, and I think that really helped w/ everything. Standing/walking helped a lot. Getting in the warm bathtub was like heaven, I was able to sort of sleep in there. (I highly recommend bathtubbing it, and if I were to have another, I'd totally rent a birthing tub just for the extra room and plan to spend more time in the water.)


            Epidurals freak me out personally, but so does the idea of birthing in a hospital. I'm grateful I didn't get one, and I'm grateful I chose and was able to birth at home. If you really want a natural childbirth, I say go for it, and try not to listen to others' fear-based horror stories of how painful it can be. (I think fear increases the pain a ton--believing in your body and yourself can help you get through it all more smoothly IMO.) We really are made to do this, just like we're made to eat primally.


            Oh, here are some stats on epidurals you might find helpful: http://www.mothering.com/discussions/showthread.php?t=885975


            I've heard that getting an epidural rate doubles your chances for a cesarean as well, just fyi. (I don't know where that number came from, just recall hearing it--look it up to see whether it's correct or not.)


            HTH!

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            • #7
              1



              Oh, and I totally agree w/ soror--yoga helped me a ton (in terms of breathing through it, being in the moment, etc.), and I took Bradley classes as well which I found helpful. Would totally recommend them!

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              • #8
                1



                Thank you SO much for all your comments - appreciate every single one of them. I most definitely want to have a natural birth w/o any medicines whatsoever. My grandmums, mom, my sister, aunts, all had natural births and I'm hoping mine is too. I agree preparing myself goes a long way. I will look into the Bradley classes and yoga too. And look for that movie. The whole reason I got attracted to the Primal/Paleo lifestyle was after I read about a 40+ yo woman who had the easiest labor after she went paleo.

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                • #9
                  1



                  I've had 2 kids, no meds & the first was back labor. And like FairyRae said, giving birth is hard work. It is really hard but you can do it just like women have for hundreds of thousands of years. I don't know anyone who's had a natural birth that wishes she had the epidural but I know plenty of women who wish they'd passed on the epidural.


                  Definitely the risks of having the epidural outweighed the benefits for me. My first child was born in the hospital & the second at home, so there was no choice the second time. And once you have the epi, there's no going back and no changing positions since you can't move. I've known moms who've ended up having the spinal headache, too. I can't imagine having a migraine for 3 weeks after birth and having to take care of the new baby.


                  During childbirth classes at the hospital I asked the instructor, a maternity nurse at the hospital who had had 2 kids there, if she had an epidural during birth. She emphatically said she did not because she had seen the epidural cause a "cascade of interventions" ending in a C-section. That really drove the point home for me after all the research I had done.


                  For more info check out Mothering magazine's book on giving birth - Having a Baby, Naturally by Peggy O'Mara. Peggy was the editor of Mothering mag for years. Can't remember if she still is!

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                  • #10
                    1



                    Labor is beautiful, HARD work. (hence the name! lol) All of the advice so far is spot on.


                    I also think my choice to homebirth with midwives really made a difference to the outcome of both of my births.


                    I won't lie, there are points during labor where the feelings are so intense that you are out of control, out of your head and unable to do anything. But that's what it's suppose to be like. Learning to surf that feeling rather than fight it really helps, learning to embrace the intensity rather than gain control of the situation.


                    Read Ina May's Guide to Childbirth. And if you don't mind a bit more of a hippy read, get her older book, Spiritual Midwifery.


                    *hugs* YOU CAN DO IT!!!

                    The more I see the less I know for sure.
                    -John Lennon

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                    • #11
                      1



                      I had an epidural. It wasn't a terrible experience but it did take the guy like 5 attempts before he got it in the right place. That sort of freaked me out.


                      The problem with is was that when it wore off, I gradually felt worse instead of gradually feeling better. When it wore off I went from totally numb to feeling like I'd been hit by a bus.


                      I had been in labor for 8 hours when I got it and my son was born 5 hours later. I could have toughed it out.


                      I'm not having any more kids, but if I did, I'd do it naturally.

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                      • #12
                        1



                        I guess I will be the odd woman out and say that I wish I had the epidural. The pain is still fresh in mind after 20 years and it's a big reason why I only had one child (besides the fact that I'm not fond of kids in general). I thought I was going to die during the labor. I apologize if my different opinion offends any of you but I had to say something since my view seems to be so different. Labor is not to be sugar-coated. It's the hardest thing I have ever done. If, God forbid, I ever get pregnant again, I will take the epidural. Perhaps I'm just a wuss :-p


                        *peace*

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                        • #13
                          1



                          Thank you lil_EM! I'm intrigued by the idea of homebirthing and using the services of a midwife. DH made sure he found an OB at one of the leading women's hospitals in the country which happens to be in our city. Being a physician himself, he may not easily accept the idea of seeking a midwife's service. But I'm going to explore that option. Any links from the mothering forum that can help me in that direction?

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                          • #14
                            1



                            First, I'm GLAD I'm not a woman.


                            Second, what's a "DH?" I'm pretty sure it means your husband but I don't understand why you all seem to refer to them as such.

                            I began this Primal journey on December 30th, 2009 and in that time I've lost over 125 LBS.

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                            • #15
                              1



                              JamieBelle: Thanks for your comment. I've always wanted to do it naturally and still do but I was just surprised when this colleague of DH's suggested it. He said people are in general scared of epidurals but to just take his word and take it! I was shocked by the confidence in his advice especially when I've heard of the side-effest from 2 of my friends.


                              DCKMB: That's the reason I come here to the MDA forum. Because people are not afraid to give their informed opinions. Thank you for sharing your experience with me.

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