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Epidural?
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Epidural?

So initially i wanted to get an epidural because i didnt want to feel too much pain lol, BUT after talking to my sister, a couple family members and a few of my co-workers im having second thoughts. I heard from every one of them that after they had their babies they felt no pain! Thats without the epidural. So now im debating on getting it. It'd be nice to push him out and then not feel any pain!

Any advice ladies?
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676912_tn?1332816151
I think it depends on the person. I got the epidural, and my back was sore for a day or two, but I tore in three places, so I was in a good bit of pain, plus my entire back and neck were stiff from pushing. I don't take pills, and I asked for pain meds.
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951898_tn?1296137943
I have had three kids with no pain meds or epidurals...I tried with my first and it didnt take and then with my second they tried again after I said no, and come to find out, I am allergic, thats why the meds dont work, and it almost paralyzed me..I had to have a transfusion of fluids in my spine...But its not like that with everyone..I know I still have pains from it in my back from time to time....

But that being said everyone is different...I had no pain pushing or after...I think once it gets to the point of needing to push, once you do, it is a relief..It takes away all the painful contractions... The worst part is the contractions honestly, if you can survive those, by the time your ready to push, you will be so relieved and happy and know there is an end in sight..

But, it also depends on your pain tolerance.....GOOD LUCK
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676912_tn?1332816151
OH! When I was pushing I didn't feel anything...it only felt like I was going to poop, lol, sorry tmi. My epidural didn't work on half of my body, so I felt all of the pain on the left side.
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187316_tn?1386360282
I applaud anyone that can go without an epidural. Against my will my last pregnancy I had to go without an epidural until 20 minutes before she was born and I was already dilated to a 10. If I had to have gone even those 20 minutes more dealing with that pain I probably would have gone crazy. I have never experianced anything like the pain I felt during child birth and when I have another child I am making sure I get the epidural as soon as I feel the first contraction.
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1035252_tn?1371343440
Well I'll tell you my story and see if it helps....I got an epidural with my daughter. I had worn off by the time that I had to push, so I felt 95% of everything. I don't know if you remember my story, but I tore in just about every direction and had to be transferred to the OR with the doctor kneeling between my legs on the bed sewing as we went because I was losing so much blood (the blood loss was due to something wrong with me, the tear wasn't life-threatening but for some reason I bled out and almost died...so don't worry about tearing, MOST tears aren't as dramatic as mine was, even if they are as severe)...they injected some more medicine into the epidural and were able to numb me for the procedure. So I'm glad I had it with that one, even though it didn't work for the last hour and for the 20 minutes of pushing.

With my son, I got it...and it didn't work. The anesthesiologist had such a hard time sticking me that he said after the 2nd stick if it wasn't in right that I just wasn't getting an epidural. Luckily, it went in, numbed my hips, and then wore off immediately. They ramped it up and I got a little bit of relief, but again I was able to feel almost everything. It wasn't that bad.

With my 3rd, I will be doing NO epidural. Because the first two barely affected me I have a pretty good feeling for what natural labor is like...and it's totally doable. Tough, but doable. I don't see anything wrong with getting an epidural, although there are some people who say it increases your risk for tearing..I got it the 2nd time around because my first delivery was so traumatic that I was afraid of a repeat, but if I had it to do over again I would've not gotten the epidural....the sticks were worse than the actual labor for me, but I was a VERY difficult stick.

I would say...go natural if you can. try as long as you can. if you can't, get the epidural with no guilt.
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1222635_tn?1366399886
idk about not feeling any pain? that doesn't sound right . a friend of mine didn't have the epidural and said that labor was so hard and painful that pushing was a relief when she got there. i had the epidural and labor was a breeze and i was bored, but pushing hurt like a *****.
i would still have gotten the epidural. im sure pushing hurt for her too, i think it was just relieving to be able to push. she said she felt being cut. :/
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1222635_tn?1366399886
oh and like ashelen my epidural had worn off by the time i was pushing. it continued to wear off during labor but i had it boosted 3 times. they didn't wanna boost it during pushing so id be able to feel what i was doing, but by the end i was crying and begging for a boost. so they boosted it right as her head was coming and then of course it didn't take affect until she was out.
either way i still will be doing the epidural. why not get some relief even if its minimal? theres a reason God gave us the medical advancement for things like epidurals, i believe.
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1035252_tn?1371343440
Rachel: actually there's a scientific explanation for what she meant about relief when pushing. If pushing were the most painful part, babies would never get born, LOL. So our bodies release a FLOOD of endorphins and "feel good" hormones when we push, and it actually numbs the pain and gives the mother a mini sense of euphoria. Women with epidurals experience it too. But it's an actual scientific fact that our bodies release a bunch of chemicals to make pushing feel like a relief and feel good so that we're eager to do it and get the baby out. :-)
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1222635_tn?1366399886
oh im not doubting it was a relief, just saying im sure it was still painful.
but idk about the euphoria even with an epidural. there was nothing feel good about my pushing lol. i never felt a rush of anything except joy when she came out. but pushing was a *****.
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1035252_tn?1371343440
I agree Rachel that medical science exists in order to make things easier for us. The only reason I will go without an epidural is because I think that, for me finding labor not to be too overwhelmingly long or painful (i'm lucky in this respect, not all women are that lucky when it comes to time or pain tolerance), being able to get up and move and switch positions would be more beneficial than an epidural...HOWEVER...I do believe that pain relief during labor is important because a woman should enjoy her experience, no matter what birthing plan she has....so I think if you're afraid of the pain of labor, there's absolutely nothing wrong with an epidural...it DOES exist to make the experience more enjoyable and less painful, so if that's what you want by all means GET it....but for me it made such little difference that I Might as well have not gotten it and spared myself the stick in the back, haha. However with that being said...I'm still a big supporter of epidurals.
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1222635_tn?1366399886
yeah i have a very high pain tolerance as well and i still do not think pushing was at all the most painful thing ive ever experienced. i just got the epidural because i like the lazy & easy way out of things and tend to take it if i have the opportunity :P
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676912_tn?1332816151
I agree Ivy, I could have gone the whole labor and delivery without the epidural, and would have if I hadn't had such a long labor. 21 hours after only an hour nap in 36 hours...I only wanted the epidural to be able to sleep. I chose not to do IV meds because they made you sleepy, and even though I wanted the sleep I didn't want to be sleepy cause of meds and not be able to do what I needed to when the time came.
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1123420_tn?1350564758
I dont remember what I got was called. but unlike the epideral that u can get boosts, all i got was one simple shot in the back that lasts 2 hours.. which worked perfect for me.. I had back labor the whole time. I was in traumatic pain.. I got that shot when I was 6cm dialated.  and i got to relax and talk with DB and family for 2 hours.. then at midnight I started pushing and 20 minutes in, the pain meds were gone and i felt everything, which they say is good, cause they want u to beable to feel pushing.,. I pushed for 2 hours pain med free.. and for that i was proud of myself.. give after and hour I was ready to give up. I was in so much pain and so exhausted from being in active labor for 12 hours.  and no food... so they did end up using the Vacuum..  But its completely up to you., If you dont want to keep getting doses and just want a moment of relaxation to enjoy yourself. then ask them about what I got,, Im sure someone who reads this might know what its called.. but everyone is different!!!
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Avatar_f_tn
Thank you for responding ladies! Im gonna go in with an open mind and when the time comes, im gonna see if i can take the pain...if not i will definitely be getting an epidural. But id like to atleast try to go without the meds.
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676912_tn?1332816151
Ammanda it sounds like you had a spinal block, same thing I got when I had my c-section. No iv line in your back, just one shot and that's it. I don't think there is anything besides an epidural or spinal that they do in the back...but anyhow that's what I had, a spinal block. It lasted for a couple hours and was gone.
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Avatar_f_tn
Oh and yeah all the ladies that ive talked to that went with no epidural told me that after the baby was born they felt no pain.

Ammanda: I wonder if you got a block..?? My cousin said she didnt get an epidural she got a shot called a block. So i think maybe thats what you got too.
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1123420_tn?1350564758
Maybe thats what it was.. haha it slipped my mind.  that was a long day...  I didnt feel any pain after Cole was born other then the Cut for the Epidiosomy.  I actually felt alot better, as long as i was laying down lol..  and honsestly the second he came out I felt a huge relief.. for a bit, then it was time fo the placenta and stiches. so it came back lol.. but after that i went into shock from losing soo much blood.. I litterally froze and shook for 2 hours straight under a heating lamp and 8 blankets.. it was bad, especially cause I couldnt hold Cole and had to watch everyone else with my lil baby :( lol
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Avatar_f_tn
With my first baby I had an epidural and pain meds. I was so groggy and tired when it came to pushing that I had no energy left and could not feel the urge to push at all. I pushed for 45 minutes the first time and was in pain afterward because I was so swollen down there from pushing. For my second baby I decided that I wanted to have my baby at home. I felt every contraction and while they hurt like hell I was able to manage through them. Once it got to the pushing stage my body took over and in 3 pushes which lasted about 5 minutes he was born. After he came out I I had a HUGE rush of endorphins and was on cloud nine. I felt no pain at all. It was AMAZING to give birth without drugs or an epidural. Yeah it hurt BUT I could actually feel my body doing what it was meant to do which was awesome compared to the first time when people had to tell me when it was ready and when to push. If I could hit rewind I would so go back and have my first without the epidural and pain meds.
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280369_tn?1316705641
I delivered both of my boys with no pain meds. (but I also did not have the option either since I was at a birthing center) I do NOT have a high pain tolerance, BUT I was able to do it and survived and I am even willing to do it a third time. lol I don't feel much pain until my water breaks and I'm usually around 8-9cm by then. Had about an hour and a half of pretty bad pain but once it was pushing time, it was a major relief to push! For me, as soon as the head comes out, all of the pain is completely gone. Then the rest of the baby comes out and I felt no more pain at all! It's amazing. With my second I had him out in 4 pushes and was not in much pain at all. A support system is key! I always tell myself it won't last forever and as soon as that baby is out, no more pain. Plus, you are so in love, you forget what you just did to get that baby here. :)
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Avatar_f_tn
Thank you ladies! I love reading everyones stories! I am gonna try and go without the meds! I dont know if i have a high tolerance for pain or not lol but im gonna try!
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1194973_tn?1385507504
Good luck! As long as you go into it with an open mind you should be set. I had initially wanted no pain meds and a full natural labour, but I had never expected back labour and the horrible pain that came with it. With each contraction I got dizzy and things turned black for a few seconds and I was really close to getting sick with each one. I got the epidural and it was the best thing I could have done. With it I was able to get a little bit of sleep and then by the time I went to push it had wore off 15 minutes in. It's good I got to rest too cause I was pushing for an hour and a half - I couldn't get her nose out. It burned like nothing else.
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Avatar_f_tn
Yeah im gonna keep an open mind and if i cant handle it ill get the meds lol.
And my sister called that burning feeling the ring of fire LOL!
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376739_tn?1317669990
I have a few resources to recommend to you. For a book I recommend Pushed by Jennifer Block. For a video I recommend The Business of Being Born. I wouldn't just go in with the mentality, "Well if I can handle it then I'll handle it" because for some women preparation on what to expect and ways to cope are necessary. My first two births I wanted to go natural and I ended up having epidurals, Pitocin and everything else.

I had epidurals with my first two and I was pretty much tied down to the bed, on my back (which decreases oxygen to baby, btw) and I had these tight bands around my contracting belly and an IV in my hand and blood pressure cuff on one arm constantly that would turn on every 10 minutes, a catheter and finally I had a heart monitor clip on my finger. WHY? I mean thinking back I'm just thinking, "WHY?!" Why on earth would they treat a laboring woman like she had a disease to cure and have her tied up to all these machines and things? Our bodies KNOW what to do. About 90% of the time, when a woman is left to birth without all those interventions, she will give birth without a problem. The other 10% are a low minority of premature labors, breech babies or other women who need to be treated or birthed due to problems with their personal health, accidents, etc.

You must also realize that having an epidural requires a catheter because you won't be able to get up to pee. An epidural increases the risks of needing Pitocin. Because epidural causes you to lay down it can slow down contractions so doctors will start Pitocin to speed them on so now you're having hard contractions that aren't very effective. Pitocin can also cause fetal distress if cranked up too high, too quickly.

Epidurals increase the risk of needing an episiotomy or forceps as you may not be able to feel to push. And epidurals restrict the release of a special mixture of natural hormones that are released when your baby is born that many people call a "love concoction" because the hormones give you this overwhelming feeling of love and protection for your baby.

There are pros and cons. I'm not saying pain medication is bad; just sharing the risks with you because I can bet you that your doctor WON'T even though they are required by law. Like I said my first two births I had the epidural. But my last birth? I had her in a hospital but under the direction of a midwife (would have had birth at home but Daddy was uncertain of that). I didn't have an IV at all, no BP cuff, no heart rate monitor, no bands around my belly. I was free to move, free to eat and drink, free to get in the tub. I was also free to push at my own discretion (called "mother-directed pushing) instead of holding my breath and counting to ten (called "purple pushing"). And I was also able to push in a position other than lithotomy (on your back) which is the worse position to push in; you're pushing against gravity and your pelvis isn't able to open up very well when you're on your back.

It hurt but I got into a rhythm and before I knew it I was pushing. I was even dozing between contractions. So while there was pain and loads of it I got through it using some techniques my midwife taught me. Plus my midwife was with me throughout it whereas doctors only come in when the nurse says, "She's 10 and it's time to push".

If you TRULY do not want an epidural then have a midwife, a doula or a birth coach there to help you because they'll be there to encourage you the ENTIRE time. I was begging for the epidural at one point and my midwife, so calm, told me, "Let's try this instead" and I moved my focus to something else and didn't ask for it again. Even though in the moment I wanted the epidural I am SO GLAD she didn't give in because I was speaking from a completely emotional point of the labor. Once I got over that hump I was golden. Still in pain but POWERFUL.

I think pain is a part of the process that we are very capable of dealing with and if you truly want to go natural I believe in you. ;-)
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376739_tn?1317669990
PS If you have Blue Cross Blue Shield they have a program in some states that offer doula services to women. Just call and ask. ;-)

And I want to clarify that at my last birth, even though I didn't have a BP cuff and continual fetal monitoring (the bands around the belly) my midwife was there and used a handheld doppler to check on baby intermittently and I hardly noticed her doing it. It was great to not be TIED down!
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Thank you for the info Joy! It is extremely helpful! I am gonna look into getting that book AND watching the video lol! I do have a midwife now, i just switched to one at my 32 week check up and im so glad that i did because shes awesome and is very personable with me!
And thank you for the encouragement...it really helps! (:
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376739_tn?1317669990
You can check the library and I've also watched the video online for free. I actually ordered the movie on Amazon so I have a hard copy but you can also find it on Netflix (we have instant watch on XBOX and I saw it there while browsing one night; under documentaries I believe).

OMG you're going to do awesome! AND just know this- if you DO get an epidural you're NOT weak. And you can still push in a position that will open up your pelvis. If you have the epidural just ask that they lower the bed so you're semi-standing using the support of the bed. Use a squat bar to hold yourself up.

I have many other resources for natural birth. I just love reading stories! I also watch the natural birth videos on YouTube all the time. Some women are quiet, some women yell and some women SING (crazy, I know, but so beautiful). Just do what feels right to you. You'll do great!
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376739_tn?1317669990
I want to add that that's so awesome you switched to a midwife. I'm not anti-doctor at all. I just don't feel doctors have place in the birth room, they are surgeons and they treat diseases. Pregnant, laboring women need someone to coach and support them through labor and those people are called midwives and they are highly trained in the area of birth. They know what to do in emergencies and how to get a woman to a doc stat (which is when docs are needed; in emergencies!).

ANYWAY all of that is to say I was 37 weeks my last pregnancy when I switched to my midwives. My OB was scaring me so badly that I wasn't sleeping and eating. He kept threatening to induce me 2 weeks early (increases risks of complications, including cesarean) and kept saying, "We'll probably end up with a c-section". The reason being my 2nd daughter's collarbone broke during delivery because of something called shoulder dystocia (she got stuck and doctor pulled and her collarbone snapped) which happened because I was pushing on my back; my pelvis was open up wide enough.

I said HECK NO to his induction/cesarean offer and found the midwives, had my baby naturally and didn't tear. She was perfectly whole without a broken bone.
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1240706_tn?1331605711
Well I had epidurals after the contractions started getting painful with all three of my births. Worked great with my son (2001), I felt nothing after it was in and we laughted and had a great time during the whole pushing process :o). With my first daughter (2006) I only felt it when she was crowning, but still nothing too bad. The last one (December) I felt EVERYTHING when she started down the birth canal. Guess those endorphins didn't kick in for me lol. The anesthesiologist was a mess, though. He hit a blood vessel the first time, then tried to insert the epi cath for a second time and hit a blood vessel again. The third attempt worked... but only on the left side of my body. So he came in again and did a FOURTH attempt. Worked great until she started decending, by then it had mostly worn off. The pelvic pressure was pretty painful and the pushing phase as well. When they pulled her out my exact words were "Thank the Lord!" lol But it isn't so terrible. You strike me as a strong woman, so by all means go natural if that is what you want! You go girl! When it is all over and the epi wears off you will still feel it anyway if it is going to hurt at all (I guess some people don't, but I have never been amongst the fortunate :o) I never wanted to try without the epidural just for my personal complications during pregnancy (hydronephrosis causing severely swollen and majorly painful kidneys. I couldn't bear the thought of having that pain in addition to labor.) But if you are having a problem-free pregnancy then go for it!
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280369_tn?1316705641
Joy, you give such great info and advice! :)

Question: When your daughter's collar bone broke, did they know immediately that it happened and what do you do in a situation like that for the baby? Does it heal quickly?
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376739_tn?1317669990
Chantal- they did not know it happened until the next day when the pediatrician came to check out baby. He frowned and said, "Did you know her collarbone is broken?" I could tell he was very angry because I think doctors get in a hurry and just start pulling on babies to speed things along. My MIL had a front row seat to the show and said she (the doctor) was pulling really hard on Abby's head for seemingly no reason. I know I said shoulder dystocia in an above comment but when the midwives went over my birth history, written by the doctor, they saw no indication of shoulder dystocia and don't understand why her collarbone broke. And not all shoulder dystocias lead to broken bones or injury to baby; just takes gentle coaxing sometimes which my doctor obviously didn't have the patience for.

Healing- it does heal fast. They don't cast it or do anything for it. Just hold baby gingerly. Takes about 2 weeks to heal up. This is definitely NOT the norm and I feel had I had the natural birth I wanted and was free to push in a different position it never would have happened. It hurts me every time I think of her birth and how I didn't even know why she was crying so so so hard that first night (harder than newborns typically cry; my MIL said the same thing and said she sounded like she was in pain but everyone brushed her off).

Anyway that's kind of a scary story and I do NOT want to scare anyone. It's one of the reasons I had my natural birth and why I'm a huge advocate for it for other women so they can avoid something avoidable. This is also NOT a common thing at all which is why you don't ever hear about it.
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1222635_tn?1366399886
im sorry to hear about your daughters collarbone!! i think i might have known that but forgot.. anyways im not trying to start an argument, but i really dont think that its really fair to pin that on having a birth with a doctor and/ epidural. any doctor or midwife can make a mistake.

i think doctors are for FAR more than just emergencies. i think doctors are there to PREVENT emergencies/problems. i had my daughter delivered by an OBGYN and i wouldn't have had it any other way. when her cord was being compressed by my contractions, my doctor was quick to respond and very careful to do the right thing. she, in my case, PREVENTED an emergency and prevented a c-section. i was told later that her and my primary OBGYN (who was not on call) were concerned i would need to have a c-section if ariana's heartrate didn't stop dipping and taking awhile to come back up. but by taking the necessary actions that she did, that scenario was prevented, and i cannot even tell you how grateful i am that she was the one who delivered me. if it had been a midwife periodically checking her heartrate with a doppler, those dips might not have been picked up until an emergency was already underway.

i think midwives are fine if you are in a hospital. and natural births are perfectly fine as well. as are epidurals and doctors.
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Avatar_f_tn
Thanks for posting this question.  I have been thinking alot about this lately too.  I am only 24 weeks along,  but starting to think about the labour already.  I am not the best with pain, and dont know how i will handle it on the day.  It is great to hear other people experiences.
Good luck with your birth whatever you chose to do.
Take Care.
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1240706_tn?1331605711
I agree mom2ariana. Each case is different, and every doctor/midwife is different. My December baby was delivered by a midwife and I found that she was the worst experience of all my births. In fact I would deliberately ask to be scheduled for my Ob appointments with others just to avoid being seen by her. She had the worst attitude and bedside manner of anyone I have seen during my pregnancies combined. My DH didn't even like her at all. She did not seem to listen or care during the appointments. She was the only person we hoped would NOT be on call the day of my delivery... well, sure enough... :o(

During my labor she came in and said to the nurse "Do you think we can get this one done quickly?" She was not very helpful during the delivery, she was very agitating and seemed to be in a hurry. I feel like if she hadn't been so in a rush to get the baby "done" quickly I may not have torn so badly. Never once did she check on me after delivery (I have always been checked in on by the doctors in the post partum room in the past). So, everyone is different, and every birth is different. I'm sure the other midwives in the practice may be great, but this one was not. Some of the doctors in the practice were not top of my list, but in this case I would have prefered any of them to her.
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1330108_tn?1333680904
I had the epidural and it only lasted an hour then j felt everything for the next 5 hours (all of active labor pushing and transition) honestly it didn't hurt without an epi!  Never cried or even made a noise the whole L&D
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1510919_tn?1298828667
I was pretty stuck on some kind of pain meds but reading all of this has made me think I want to atleast try without the meds and if in the end im exhausted or can't take it anymore then ill resort to another option. I really don't like the thought of being help down to the bed and with the epi I know thats what ill get.
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719902_tn?1334168783
Wow, so many great comments already!  I've had 4 babies w/o an epidural. I'm not that tough, just terrified of needles, LoL   I wanted to add that, like some of the others mentioned, I had NO pain after delivery AT ALL.  I mean, I literally could've taken my baby and walked out within 5 minutes of the birth.  My early visitors were shocked to find me sitting cross-legged on the bed, getting in and out of bed, etc.  And the baby and I were both perfectly alert and able to bond w/each other. :
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1123420_tn?1350564758
Most people will argue the fact that OBs are all about C sections.. as aposed to Midmives.. which is not the truth.. I BEGGED for a c section.. just as I begged to be induced and my OB would not do either, he refused with me.  he kept telling me I can do it and I need to let Nature take her course on the whole labor thing...  

and when it came down to the labor, my OB was in and out of my room checking on me the whole time..  But after teh labor he only checked on me maybe 3 times.  but I was okay with that, because i had amazing nurses and Coles Ped. was there the whole time.  
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1276121_tn?1356763827
I know this post is a couple days old but im sure you will value my story as well. When i had my oldest son in 04 i was 16 and did not want to feel any pain at all. Mind you i was admitted and induced due to being in a car accident at 39w5d. I remember getting patocin at 6:30pm and was 1 cm, moved to birthing room about 9pm and given epi was about 4-5cm. I remember i kept feeling pain on my left side and asked for more meds and they boosted it twice. At that point i was told i could not have any more but i still had pain on my left side. When it was time to push about 1:30am i could not feel my contractions, down there, or anything at all from my waist down. I had to have my family hold my legs and the nurse tell me when to push. My son was born at 2:10 am and i was numb until 7am ish...
Then my second son i went to the hospital at 33w5d having contraction only to find i was 4cm and they could not stop it. I did not get an epi until it was almost to late i think i was about 7cm. then with in an hour i was at 10cm and ready to push. I was happy because i did not have any pain but could feel everything down there and my pushing. So in my opinion if you do decide to get on id hold off as long as you can.
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1561668_tn?1347417463
I delivered all 4 of my children naturally. I had my first baby in less than 6 hrs and only pushed for 21 min. Then when my 2nd one came along my water broke at home at 3am and he was born at 5:16am after 60sec of pushing. My 3rd the dr broke my water at 9:30pm she was born at 11:57pm now number 4 was a little different the dr broke my water at 7:30am and I expected to have him in 2 hrs like the last to and because I didn't go to the bathroom my bladder prevented him from dropping and he was born at 1:21pm about 15 min after finally going to the bathroom. What I tell most women is you have to realize it is pain with a purpose and it will end and it will bring about a beautiful new life into the world. My dr actually commented after I had my 3rd that I needed to teach women how to have babies, because I make it look so easy. She said she had never seen a women with such control without an epidural. It is also benefical for you baby, they are much more alert and have less problems with nursing if they are not groggy from the drugs. I wish the best and most wonderful experience no matter what you choose.
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689528_tn?1364139441
I delivered my son without any type of drug whatsoever! I don't have a high pain tolerance and wanted to go natural but wasn't sure what the pain was like so I went in with an open mind too.
I read up as much as I could about how to cope with the pain during labour and watching "The Business Being Born" is what got me started in educating myself. I also read a book about The Bradley Method (amazing method, helped me a lot) and another book called The Birth Book by William and Martha Sears.
The biggest thing that got me through was that I would actually tense up when a contraction came and I relaxed right away and breathed through it. The more you tense, the more it hurts. And I agree with the others. Pushing doesn't hurt until the infamous burning ring of fire but it only lasts mere seconds and is gone. I tore a lot, not on the outside but on the inside so I can easily say that the worst part was after he was born and  I was being stitched up. It took her about 2 hours to do it and that's what HURT! Imagine! LOL and I don't think you'd still have the epidural for that! I had a 9lb baby so I was walking funny and was in pain for like 2 weeks!!
Good luck!!
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ammanda- I don't think all OBs are all about cesareans but when our country has an average cesarean rate of 40-50% there is something wrong. WHO (World Health Organization) states that the cesarean rate should NOT exceed 15%. So anyway all that is to say that there are gems of obstetricians out there who are more genteel and into natural birth than others. That is why it is important to "shop around" for your health care provider. Just as there are great OBs there are not-so-great midwives who push interventions just as much as many obstetricians.

I don't want anyone to get the wrong idea that I'm making enormous generalizations (which I did mistakenly do above) but I do get that there are good OBs; many of them backup midwives and are on-call for emergencies. The most important point is that women need to find someone they trust, who listen to their concerns and who also have a record to backup what they say because many OBs tout that they are great but then they cut your perineum and tie you to a bed when you're finally in labor.

My feeling is that if an OB wants 9-5 birth where s/he can control when women deliver then s/he needs to find a new profession. Because evidence shows births are happening during the week, during business hours and most of them are inductions and cesareans.
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mom2ariana- nah, I don't think you're starting an argument. I think that there are just so many factors. I was making general statements because the vast majority of obstetricians aren't very good. But like another poster said her least favorite person she saw was a midwife. I was trying to get so much information on natural birth out that I made broad, sweeping generalizations but I do hear you.

I think it is also important to note that midwives can and do prevent many dangers as well. They're just not as recognized for those instances. A midwife rushes a home birth mama to the hospital in an emergency and yet the doctor who sections her gets the credit when in fact the midwife's quick and decisive judgment got that mother to the hospital where she needed to be for her specific situation. Midwives are HIGHLY trained professionals in one area and that is birth. They know what to do if a mother is hemorrhaging, if there is cord prolapse, if baby is breech, etc. Most midwives do not take high-risk patients; they leave them to OBGYNs. Midwives usually only take low-risk women, as it should be.
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You mention some good points to think about as usual, Joy. Like I said...because my first 2 deliveries were essentially epidural- and pain med-free, I might as well avoid pain meds/epidural during my next one. However, I have and always will be a supporter of using OB's...just...the RIGHT OB. My worst experiences have always been with midwives, but there are GREAT OB's and GREAT midwives..and not-so-great of both.

I've also said before and will say it again...you have to take the obesity rate of American women into account when you're looking at the c-section statistics. I think you can meet halfway between the obesity rate and the rate of OBs pushing c-sections for selfish/inappropriate reasons and probably the average out of "unnecessary c-sections" to be closer to %30....which is still unacceptable.
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Ivy- do you mean that obese women need more cesareans than non-obese women? Hey you like to read, right? I recommend the book Pushed by Jennifer Block. She is a woman reporter/researcher who has never been pregnant herself. But she has used her amazing researching skills to delve deep into the issue of childbirth in America and all of these statistics from an unbiased point-of-view (though her point-of-view after research becomes very biased as I'm sure mine seems pretty biased, LOL!). I think you might find it quite interesting! I don't think obesity is making the rates that much higher but that is my opinion. It is hard for me to truly articulate everything into a short little comment here because birth is so complex and will be so different for each woman.

But many obstetricians that are pro-natural birth (not necessarily birth without epidurals but vaginal birth without unnecessary interventions like Pitocin) have stated that 9 out of 10 women would give birth without a problem if we left them alone to let their bodies do what they need to do. When the cesarean rate reaches HALF there is something very wrong- when did someone decide womens' bodies didn't know what to do anymore? I don't think that is the case.

Jennifer Block outlines the history of birth and how it has changed over the years. In the 70's there was a HUGE natural birth and midwifery movement and if you check that out you see the lowest cesarean rates ever. Not saying it's the ONLY way but definitely saying that we need to take a step back and see WHY women are lying down and letting their doctor (or even midwife) tell them how to birth and when and where.

I'm not anti-drugs or even anti-OBs. I know there's bad midwives and bad OBs just as there are good ones. It just makes me sick how many women are given cesareans when they don't NEED them. It is major abdominal surgery (and the number 1 surgery in American right now) that carries risk to the woman but more importantly to her newborn baby.
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PS I'm totally not trying to argue with anyone at all! I totally see everyones' points and agree with many of them. ;-)  Very good discussion we're having here and I think a discussion women do need to have. Just sharing my own points and opinions and I hope it is coming off respectfully. If not I do apologize as that is NOT my intention.

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I'll definitely look into it! Well I think, like you said, it's a far more complex issue than just any simple explanation of cause/effect...the reason I think that the obesity rates affect the statistics on c-section is because of this....it's very unlikely for a woman who is obese to be in peak physical condition. That does not MEAN she will require a c-section, but let's face it...delivery is the ultimate marathon. So there are more chances that something alarming is going to crop up along the way...statistics prove that obese women (especially morbidly obese, a group which has been on the rise as far as pregnancies go because of the ability to defeat weight-related fertility issues) have a much higher risk of complications....(of course, they also have a significantly higher risk of complication during surgery!) so I think that doctors very often perform c-sections out of fear. You know what I mean? it's not that they want to hurry the delivery, and it's not a selfish choice...but sometimes they see something occurring that is worrisome and not currently life-threatening so it APPEARS to be an unnecessary intervention, but in reality it's just the OB's knee-jerk to something that could become a potential problem.

Now, I don't necessarily think this is the right way to handle it. I really don't. It's just that obesity has become such a serious problem and it's really quite a new epidemic and I don't think statistics have adjusted yet to the whole issue.

To me, the whole crux of the issue comes down to these two things:
1)OB's or midwives who push unnecessary c-sections, WHATEVER the reason
2)women who choose elective c-sections. we have to remember that there is a significant portion of women who actually CHOOSE to have a c-section. I've even heard the excuse "I want to just get it over with and recover" because they don't realize how very quickly you can recover from a natural birth (I was sitting up within 10-15 minutes of delivering my son, and moving around in about 20-30 minutes...peeing, changing my clothes, stretching my back etc.)

So i think that while, yes, the statistics say 40-50% of women are having c-sections..I think that the number is including a significant number of necessary c-sections, and it's also including a great number of c-sections that are performed in a prophylactic sense (which like I said I don't necessarily support, but I understand the logic behind)...and I'm not sure it's fair to include those 2 types of sections in the statistics, because they inflate the numbers. I think we need a comprehensive understanding of how many are performed entirely unnecessarily; either by the doctor's pressure or by the woman's choice..and those are the ones we need to focus on. But I'll definitely look into that book :-)\

sorry for the hijack andrea LOL
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I agree 100% Joy I think this is a conversation that needs to be had, in public, where people can understand the issues involved...otherwise I'd message you in private and we can talk about our dislike for unnecessary medical inventions and debate good-naturedly about everything else...but this is SUCH an important education for women contemplating delivery types to understand...and I can not emphasize enough...

You. Can. Always. Call. The. Shots. Every woman needs to understand her body, it's capabilities, and learn to be an advocate for herself...that's the big thing here. We're expected to advocate for ourselves with regular doctors, and we can't stop just because we become pregnant..it's more important than ever to take charge of your delivery experience!
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Poor Andrea, LOL! We did pretty much hijack.

I think the book touches on the statistics when you take out the unnecessary versus necessary but I'd have to find the quotes. Let me see if I can find something. I just think this is an interesting (and sad) topic about cesareans. A family on my Facebook, someone I was friends with long ago, just had a baby yesterday via repeat cesarean and the poor baby had so much fluid he's been in NICU and his family didn't get to hold him until today. The birth canal is the perfect suction for getting all that fluid out of baby and cesarean just can't mimic it no matter how small the cut they make.

Anywho I'll go see if I can find any quotes. I got the book on Amazon and so far it is absolutely AMAZING and comprehensive. She just presents the facts which is what I respect and she talks about the history of birth which is so interesting. Wish you lived closer and I could just let you borrow mine! Library near you might have a copy, too.
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thanks, girl :-) I would be really interested in the statistics...it's what's always bothered me about the c-section "rate" numbers. I agree that it's sad. My SIL had a necessary c-section for her first, (I'm no doctor so maybe I'm wrong!) but an ABSOLUTELY unnecessary one for her 2nd...elective (turned down the VBAC she was offered) because she didn't want to go through the pain of labor. I won't judge anyone or say anything rude, but in my humble opinion....I truly disagree with that reasoning, for the baby's health AND the mom's health.
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I don't think a lot of is only doctors though. I've seen women who get c-sections because they're proud of it down there and don't wanna make it look bad. You are right though Joy. When the c-section rate is over half (or close to half) there are huge problems. I read an old post on another forum on here and was shocked by some of the reasons women gave. I mean, to each their own but it is just shocking why some do it. My midwife told me that with the rate things are going c-sections will be done as standard labour and vaginal will be a option. That's scary to think about.
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Okay I found the quote I was thinking of by WHO (World Health Organization; which is the health organization for the United Nations). It says, "The World Health Organization maintains that in a developed country, the proportion of cesareans should not exceed 15%; beyond that, the maternal injury and death consequent to major abdominal surgery begins to eclipse the lives and health saved."

A CDC study of 5.7 million babies born in the US found infants born by cesarean with no medical risk factors were nearly THREE TIMES more likely to die within the first month than those born vaginally.

Another quote, from an OB actually, says "This is not the way to practice medicine [talking about the high cesarean rate]. Why do women put up with this? I have no idea. You know, back in the 80's when I was in residency there was a feminist movement [lots of natural birth]. The women back then would never have tolerated this."

When an OB was asked what worries him. "I know that we should not be inducing so many patients; I know that we should be giving patients more time to be overdue; I know that as we speak somebody pregnant with twins is being told that she can't have vaginal birth and someone else is being told she can't have a VBAC, " he said clearly frustrated. "Meanwhile the insurance company is 'teaching me how not to get sued,' which means not taking vaginal twins or VBACs... and wheeling more patients to the OR at the first sign of difficulty."  

One of the same OBs above was also quoted to say, "You want to know why the c-section rate is so high? Right there. The electronic fetal monitor."  (*Which she talks about in great details and how studies have proven it does not prevent any problems but actually increases the likelihood of needing interventions, such as cesarean.)

Garber, an MD in maternal-fetal medicine is not like the typical cesarean-pushing OB. He says the solution to the problem is this: "This is my answer. The American system in my opinion is faulty. It tries to get physicians to be in two places at once. In the European system midwives run the labor floor. And they call the surgeon when they feel a patient needs surgery. Midwives are committed to labor. They't not committed to c-sections. They will spend 8, 10, 12 hours with a patient. And that allows me to go back to the office, see patients, take care of my life. The [cesarean] numbers are out of control. I think the medical community is not taking this as seriously as it should."

Okay Ivy I didn't see anything in the cesarean chapter on obesity and how it factors in but that doesn't mean she doesn't touch on it in another chapter. I'm only halfway through the book. Anyway thought I'd share the above quotes.

We're totally on the same page on the c-section rates. It's just so unnerving to read all the quotes and read all the birth stories and wonder how we can get from this place of fear (malpractice) and money. I've followed so many L&D nurses. Many of them have home births and when asked why, when they see everything that happens in L&D they respond, "EXACTLY! I do see what happens here and that is why I'm having birth at home."
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I'm due in 7 weeks with my 2nd child...I had an epidural with the first, and I'll have one this time too. I don't know what contractions or labor feels like, and I pushed 3 times and he was out! I never had to feel any pressure from the baby coming either. It was the most pleasant experience...I hope this time will be just as easy.
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Clysta- that is a HUGE reason for our cesarean rate. I saw many, many quotes on that in the book but didn't post any. Most women want to preserve things "down there" but the truth is that a cesarean doesn't prevent anything from happening; most of it is genetics. More than one doctor is quoted in this book as saying, "In 20 years from now I can see every birth as a cesarean birth." They were very disheartened by that fact but that is the road we're on right now.
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Yikes Joy! thanks for sharing!

You're right Clysta, I remember seeing that too...

but my thought is...more people are going to see my lower belly than are going to see my hoo-ha (I do wear bikinis when my belly is flat enough!) and so if I were doing it for vanity...I would totally choose to have the battle-scarred hoo-ha over the battle-scarred belly. and kegel exercises really do work wonders..or so my husband tells me ;-) LOL
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Ha ha ha ha ha ha! Exactly, Ivy. No one is going to be checking out my hoo-ha and saying, "Gee look at the horror vaginal birth did to you!" Which it hasn't, btw. Things are just peachy and wonderful down yonder, not that anyone cares to know. LOL!
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Well I was talking to my husband about it (and for some reason my mom and grandma) and honestly, unless you show it off for a living I don't see the point of caring. I highly doubt your partner is going to sit down there staring at it, and I don't know many women who sit in their house staring at themselves with a mirror either. I know some women have botched stitching down there and blame the birth, but in that I blame the doctor. At the end of the day, that stuff is made to push out a baby, not look pretty.
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I had epidural with my son. He came 7 weeks early so he was small but it was great! I had no problems with any of it & didn't feel pain when pushing. They had to tell me when I was contractions to push. The epidural actually helped slow down my labor. They tried other meds to stop the progress to no avail & gave me the epidural to help easy the pain & it almost made the contractions stop. So it gave my son a little longer to cook & let the steroids shot work to help his lungs.
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