Welcome to the Birth Wishes series where we are working together to write our birth plans. In this step I'll be mentioning some things you may want to consider for pain relief during your labor. Because the main goal of this group is to have a natural birth those things will be emphasized but I will talk about other options you may want to consider in the event of induction or cesarean.
The most common drugs used in birth are pitocin (synthetic oxytocin) and the epidural.
Pitocin attempts to start labor or push labor along in an already laboring woman. If you are being induced this is the drug they will most likely use to try to get your body into labor. If you're already in labor they may use Pitocin to "augment" or control your labor in order to make it go faster. It can be declined, even in induction, if you so wish.
The epidural is a form of pain relief. They put an IV in a space in your spinal cord to numb you from the waist down. This is an ideal option if you end up with a non-emergent cesarean as opposed to general anesthesia which will make you unconscious for the birth and many hours after. Here is more information on epidurals:
Other pain relievers include Stadol, Demerol, Nubain, and Fentanyl. These are opiates and provide temporary relief. These can be given intravenously or in the muscle. More info on these drugs can be found here:
When deciding what to do when you are in labor always research the drugs and their side effects. A natural birth would be to try to avoid the above drugs if possible. In fact there are some natural methods of pain relief while persevering through a natural birth:
-bouncing on a birth ball
-swaying, rolling your hips
-getting on your hands-and-knees
-getting into a tub or shower
While these methods won't take away the pain entirely as an epidural would these methods can make it more tolerable. The best thing you can do is listen to your body and do what feels best.
You can include your drug/pain relief preferences in your LABOR section of your birth plan or you can create a separate section for PAIN RELIEF.
Do you know of any other natural pain relief techniques? What has worked for you (if you've had natural birth before)? Have you had drugs in previous births and how did those make you feel?
I just wanted to let you know i had a completly grug free labour with my first. Except for the huge needle they slammed into me to help the afterbirth out...
I found kneeling down beside the side of the best very helpful as when i kneeled down the contractions were tense then when i stood up they were mild. And i also swayed my hips in the shower with the shower head in my hand pointed at my lower belly.
I was mobile up untill it came to pushing and if i had the chance would do the same again.
Having the water pressing up against my belly i felt totally in controll and having my partner rubbing my back was great.
I have heard TENS works wonders if you are able to get your hands on one and so is one of those battery opperated massargers! you can controll everything about them.
For me, sitting on the toilet or a birthing stool was the most comfortable position. My legs could be wide open, but with each contraction, and being in that position did something to ease the pain. Even just bearing down a little bit helped ease each contraction as well. Also, taking a nice warm shower was relaxing for me. I find that if I just stay focused and remind myself that the pain will not last forever, I can somehow get through it easier. I've done it twice so far, and I have confidence I can do it again, but I always seem to freak out about labor long before it gets here.
Also, having my hubby rub my lower back helped as well. He is also a good distraction and just kept whispering to me positive things and that I was doing a good job, without him, I don't think I could do it!
TENS is something I don't know a whole lot about but have also heard of it. I have never been offered it nor has anyone ever brought it up to me during any of my pregnancies so I don't know if my hospital has them. BUT it is definitely a great alternative to the epidural based on what little I know about it.
For those wondering TENS is an electro device (the name is long and confusing, LOL) that sends shocks of electricity to your nerves to help with pain. That is a paraphrase but a quick search will result in lots more info!
I didnt see this in the Pain Relievers Part But, With my First the My Doctor gave me Morphine to take the edge off the pain. Just thought I would throw that in. I dont know if alot of other hospitals offer it or not, but mine does.
Before I opted for the epidural we used the double hip squeeze which felt fantastic for one or two contractions. I kneeled on the bed while my husband and doula each pushed in on one of my hips.
We changed positions very frequently. What worked for me would change every couple of contractions.
I tried aromatherapy but it didn't do much for me, I think the contractions were too fast for it to work.
I had stadol but it barely gave me any relief. I would have been better off just continuing to change positions. Not to mention the baby.
With the epidural I couldn't feel anything, no urge to push or anything. I had to lay on my back to push. They had to tell me when to push. I had to be on oxygen because the baby's heart rate was erratic. And then the doctor asked me to choose between the vacuum extractor and an episiotomy. Luckily I got her out before it came to that.
The pitocin was obviously not a part of my ideal birth but it was the epidural that lead to nearly abandoning my birth vision.
Ketona- Morphine is definitely something that some doctors use however in America they are not doing it as often anymore as it has some adverse side effects to baby such as fetal distress which can cause them to defecate (poop) while still in the womb which is dangerous and even deadly. I had Morphine my first birth. The doctor gave it to me because it will stop false labor or kick start real labor (or so she told me). When she broke my water it was full of meconium (baby's first poop). Because of this my husband couldn't cut the cord and I couldn't hold her right away. They had to deep suction her to make sure she didn't aspirate any of the meconium which can cause infection and even death.
Luckily my little one was just fine and I got to hold her not long after! Of course this doesn't happen to everyone but this is one reason many doctors resort to other narcotics and pain relievers in many places now.
I had no idea either, Ketona! I was 20 when I had my first daughter and I also just said, "They'll take care of me and baby at the hospital" but at the end of the day I was a number on a door and I had to be moved along the line as quickly as possible to empty my room for another laboring woman. It's very unfortunate. Not ALL doctors are like this whatsoever but I feel their training is very lacking. When they are in residency they are put through some of the most chaotic and serious cases, usually in inner cities where the poor population is high (meaning Medicaid or no insurance). They don't ever get to see 'normal' birth. It's all high risk, all pregnant women are ticking timebombs. It's just their training, unfortunately. I think that we need to fight for better obstetrics training in the US.
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