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epidural question
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epidural question

I am 20 years old and 38 weeks pregnant.  I was wondering if anyone had any thoughts about an epidural.  I know I won't beable to handle the pain of labor naturally, I don't deal with pain at all!!! lol.  I was just curious if an epidural is the way to go or if I should look into something else.  I would love to get some opinions on this.
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I can tell you my experience.  I was induced on a friday evening (with some sort of gel).  Then at about 8 am they started with pitossin.  I am also a big baby, but I found out that the pain was bearable.  Then at about noon and I was about 7 cm dilated they broke my water.  At this point I was under the impression that I was going to rough it.  About 10 minutes later the pain started.  I felt that my insides were being pulled out from my vagina.  So the epidural was my next option.  We called and he came.  He was my best friend after that.  I think that if you have a technician that is thorough with the explanation and is constantly letting you know that he is here to help you the experience should be great.  My biggest pain was when he numbed the area.  Later I was told that that was the smallest of the needles that went in my back.  Ask the hospital where you are delivering or your ob.  Knowledge is power and you never know you might be able to withstand the pain.  Please do not let anybody tell you that you are a wimp for taking an epidural!!!!
Maria
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I tell you, the epidural was my best friend when I had my son. Don't get me wrong, I still had a very difficult delivery, but with the help of the epidural it was made better. My epidural stopped working while I was in the midst of 3 hours of pushing and the pain was unbearable. The anesthesiologist actually came in and gave me a couple additional doses only to find out the reason it had stopped working was that the catheter had shifted. Once it was adjusted, I felt much better.

I am lucky they got it to work, I wound up with a 3rd degree episiotomy and a catheter because I was so swollen, so I didn't have to endure feeling the 45 minutes of stitches or the agony of the insertion of the catheter. Pray for a smaller baby : )

If you don't want to go natural, don't. Please don't let anyone pressure you into it, that is a very personal decision. It does not make you any less of a mother and it is going to save more problems in the long run if for some reason they need to do a c-section.

I am sure you have heard a bunch of ladies say "women used to do it all the time without drugs" well, they didn't have the option for an epidural and quite a few used ether! And a lot of women didn't survive childbirth. Medicine has come a long way. You wouldn't get a root canal without novicaine, this isn't much different.

I am a huge supporter of epidurals, but it is always the woman's decision. Some women stick it out and do just fine. Some don't. For this pregnancy, I am definitely getting another one. As mig as my first was, I am afraid to see how big this one is going to be!

Good Luck!

Andrea
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I agree that you shouldn't feel like less of a woman or mother for getting an epidural.  However, I think that people should be educated about the fact that getting an epidural does increase your risk for complications in labor and birth. For example, according to a study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control ("Safe Motherhood: Preventing Pregnancy Related Illness and Death" CDC Atlanta, 2001) having an epidural doubles the risk of death in childbirth.  I think that is really scary and certainly worth discussing.  Yet, so many doctors never bring up these issues with pregnant women.  

In planning for my own birth I have done a lot of research and have decided against an epidural, not because I feel like I have some need to prove that I can do it without one, but because I have serious reservations about the increased risk to myself and my baby that comes with getting one.  Good luck!  Annie
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I agree that you should get educated about all your options and you may surprise yourself by how much pain you can actually handle. Although epidurals come with risks, so does driving your car everyday, going up and downstairs and even eating certain types of seafood. In my opinion, the benefits of being in clam control of your labor insted of being blinded by pain far outweigh the minimal risks. The intervention is utilized by thousands, maybe even millions and if it wasn't safe, it wouldn't be offered. Childbirth classes will help answer many questions - keep an open mind and use the technology our generation was lucky to recieve. I had my daughter at age 21 with an epidural and I was sittin in the same boat. Feel free to contact me personally at ***@****.   Enjoy your delivery - you've worked so hard to get this far!!      ~Jessica~
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My intent was to have a beautiful, completely natural birth.  I figured since my mother was able to do it 5 times, drug free, why couldn't I?  However, after laboring at my midwife's office for 16 hours, and being in labor for a total of 39 hours at that point, I was transported to the hospital.  It was considered a "failed midwife delivery" and after not sleeping or eating for almost 2 days, along with being in hard labor, let me tell you, that epidural was my best friend.  It allowed me to rest and it felt wonderful.  I ended up having a c-section a few hours later, so I would have needed one anyway.  If you don't think you can handle the pain, I say go for it.  Good Luck!!
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My cousin had both her children without pain medication.  She said she was alarmed at how blythly the doctors give out epidurals without informing the women of possible risks.  She kept having nurses showing up to give her epidurals when she hadn't even asked for one.  Certainly they are an option, but shouldn't be considered the rule IMO.
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If you have a epidural you are not a wimp but if I was you I would try and do without it.
With my first I had an epidural because I was induced and was conected up to everything they could find because of my high blood pressure and I thought it was best to have the epidural. With my second I had wanted to not have one but in the end asked but it ended up to late. I delivered a 8lb2oz boy with no epidural and with the epidural I had a 5lb12oz girl and the boy was the easiest of the two.
Im 23wks with my third and Im not having an epidural unless things are not going like they should.
The pain was bearable and I felt so much better afterwards than when I had the epidural. After the epidural my bladder didnt work well and I had to have the catheter in a couple more times.
I did use the gas with my son and that was good. Also if you can choose your own position helps. I was on my knees with my son and that makes it easier.
Look into it and make sure you make the choice that is right for you.

Good luck
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Hi, I am a 23 yr old female from VA., USA. I had my daughter last year vaginally w/ an epidural. I had told myself that I wasn`t going to take it, and my husband and I took birthing classes to try to avoid it. But when it came to having her, I needed the epidural. I had total back labor pains, and she was a big baby. She weighed 9 pds 7 oz! I didn`t have sugar w/ her or anything like that, just genetics, I expected she would be big. But anyway, I told my mom and husband who were w/ me at the birth to get the anasthesiologist (spell check) and they did. It was an RN who gave me the epidural, who was also certified in anasthesiology (spell check). Well, the first time she put it in, it stung a little and seemed like it went in ok. I laid down, and she asked if the pain was better. I said no. She said well "I`m afraid we`re gonna have to do this again". I was like DAMN IT! So she put it in again, and it finally worked. I was in labor a total of 13 hrs., & active labor (pushing) 2 hrs. The epidural caused me to shake all over like I had the chills, throw up, and I was more numb on one side than the other. I also felt kinda out of it. After I had her, I also lost a lot of blood because of an exhausting labor. After the hospital stay which was 3 or 4 days because I was weak, I finally went home. Then more problems arose. I started having tingling, numbness, twitching, and strange sensations in my arms and legs. I thought it was from losing a lot of blood and that it would go away, well, it didn`t. I went to a neurologist and he ran a bunch of tests including MRI of the brain, and everything came back normal. But now, finally a year later, I feel much better. All of the symptoms are almost completely gone. They seem to flare up during my menstrual cycle, so I don`t know it it was hormonal or epidural related. So anyway, the epidural helped w/ a lot of the pain, but it slowed my labor, causing me to lose a lot of blood after the birth because my placenta delivered slow. And I threw up and shook w/ chills while taking it. But every birth is different. I`ve heard some women take it and do fine, and others not. My aunt Teresa took it, and she went numb all over. They had to tube her during the birth to get her to breathe! I didn`t like it all in all, but it did help the pain, and that I liked. No matter what you do, think about it carefully, and don`t let me or anyone else scare you. Do what you think is best. I was not trying to scare you either, just telling you about my experience. I hope the birth goes well! Take care.........
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I agree, most of those s/s aren't related to the epidural itself but are all part of normal labor. Don't get me wrong, if the epidural is given too late or not "backed off" during pushing, it can make delivery very difficult. You do need to be able to feel the pressure to be able to push effectively.

Ideally the epidural is to help you through active labor, not so much the actual delivery. I personally fo think getting one is a good idea, even if you don't want the full dose of meds. They do offer a "walking" epidural that is just that. It allows for pain control, without causing you to be bedridden. You can move around as you would like and keep your pain in check.

As every pregnancy is different, so is every delivery. Some women push a baby out in 4 pushes with an epidural, som go naturally and push for hours. Depends on many factors including the size of the baby, the width of your pelvis, effectiveness in pushing, etc.

I was exhausted by the time i was starting to push. I hae been in active labor for more than 24 hours, hadn't had anything to eat in 24 hours and was in an incredible amount of pain even with the epidural. All of those things contributed to my long delivery. Yet many of my friends had epidurals and pushed their babies out in minutes.

Do what feels right and educate yourself. Speak to your OB, get in touch with the anesthesiologist at the hospital you plan to deliver at and research. While asking for advice from us is great, as you can see none of can really agree. You have people who either loved them or hated them. It is ultimately up to you, do not let anyone else pressure you into making a decision you are not comforable with.

Good luck and let us know how it goes!

Andrea
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To the best of my knowledge, having an epidural doesn't have many side effects. I'm not saying that TabA wasn't experiencing chills, vomiting excess bleeding etc. but those are not characteristics of epidurals or spinals. I've personally never heard of any long term numbness or twitches. Typically women will have to be catheterized (sp?) because obviously there's no control of anything below your waist, I had to be and it wasn't bad (you can't feel it anyway!). I have heard of being more numb on one side or the other, but even that can be pretty much eliminated if your nurses are "rolling" you (where you switch laying on one side to the other like every five minutes) like they're supposed to. I thought it was annoying when they were doing it, but then they explained to me it would help the medicine disperse evenly. A very small amount of women get really bad headaches following the birth due to an epidural but any other symptoms can be attributed to a stage of labor called transition. Things are really moving along quickly and I also experienced chills at this stage. Some women vomit, others doubt they can carry on. It's all very very normal part of transition. I realize everyones experience is different but education is key in making such an important decision. Listen to your heart, do what's comfortable for you and enjoy!   Jessica
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I don`t know if the epidural caused my long term twitching and numbness, but I am not the only woman I`ve met w/ these problems who has had an epidural. My friend Sondra had problems w/ the epidural w/ her 2nd child. She had a long exhausting labor, and the baby was over 9 pds. Well, after the anethesiologist (spell check) gave her the epidural, she felt a numb place on her back... she asked him "is this going to go away?" He was like "yeah you`ll be fine"... well, that was 12 yrs ago! She still has that numb spot. It`s located in her back where her bra fastens together she told me. I`ve met many women who have done fine w/ the epidural, and I have met many who haven`t. I don`t care what people say about it not effecting your arms.... it does... it did me while I was being administered it. I felt weird all over. Taking the epidural is a decision to be made within ones self. Everybody told me "take the epidural, you`ll be fine!" Well, I have to admit it helped my pain, but I can`t help but wonder if it is the reason I`m plagued with annoying neurological problems. Another thing to keep in mind, is if there wasn`t any risks in epidurals, then why do hospitals make you read a 4 or 5 page explanation of risks and make you sign it before taking it?? All of my neurological & blood tests have been normal, so I have no answers as to what caused this. I just know it happened right after the birth.
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