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Why are women with partners more likely to opt for drugs in labor? - Page 2

post #21 of 62

Dr. Michel Odent has spoken out against men/husbands being in the delivery room FOR MOST CASES.

 

Now, this is not referring to our DH's who are awesome birth partners.

 

But I can tell you, that for many men, their nature, as men, is that when they see their loved one in pain, they want to DO SOMETHING to help.  For some, who have been properly prepared with a Bradley class, or read "The Birth Partner" they will step up to the plate and put their energies to facilitating an active labor.

 

For other men, they will look at their wife in pain, look at the doctor, back at the wife, and say "Doctor, she's in pain - DO SOMETHING!"  and then the epidurals and interventions begin...

post #22 of 62

Back in the 1970s, when having your partner in the delivery room was a novelty, most natural birth advocates felt that having the husband there would be an advantage for the women who otherwise felt alone and abandoned in her labor room.  Obviously this has backfired since obstetricians will try to manuever husbands into procedures and surgery to move things along.

post #23 of 62

I agree with the "young, single mom gets poor care" approach (that it happens, that is, not that it's a good thing).

 

I have a friend whose first birth was as a teen mom - induced, but without pain medication at any point and of any kind.  It was a fast labor (her then-boyfriend was with her for the labor, she never took a birth class).

 

Her second baby was a longer labor, with a husband who'd never been at a labor before.  She wanted a natural birth, they did classes, and he was just overwhelmed with how much it seemed to hurt her.  She opted for the epidural because, she said, he was so worried about how much pain she was in.  She ended up with numbness in her legs for several weeks, headaches, etc.  If they have another, I think the plan is to have a doula there too and kick the anaesthesiologist out of the room.  . 

 

It's not that her husband wished her malice, he was overwhelmed by her pain and wanted to fix things. I think it's a combo of men thinking that they should 'fix' things (and not wanting to feel guilty about 'causing' this pain), and women wanting to please others (especially a panicked spouse).  Plus, we trust them.  If they think it's that awful, and we feel that awful, then we must need medicine.  The fear of birth we have as a culture plays into this, because men and women are both afraid that birth is earthshatteringly painful and catastrophic - that's what they see in the movies, on TV, talked about among friends....

 

I've another friend who told me that if she ever gets pregnant, she doesn't want her husband in the delivery room at all - she doesn't want him to see her "like that." 

 

When we were teens, we found the love letters my Dad had written my Mom while they were engaged.  He wrote about worrying about how much pain she'd be in when they had babies.  Mom had all 7 births with no pain medications at all, Dad was one of the first dads allowed into the delivery room at that hospital.  He fainted during the first birth (not surprising, the doctor cut a horizontal episiotomy on Mom). 

 

I think the real factor, then, is a combination of how strong the woman's knowledge and goals are - and how willing her spouse is to educate himself and support her in labor.  Dad didn't go into it confident; but he became confident in Mom's capabilities over time.  Likewise - my uncle has said more than once that he'd LOVE to be a doula.  He and his wife had five babies, all natural births, and he loves birth.  He's in awe of what women can do (the best part of this is, he's a crusty old rancher, totally incongruous I suppose). 

 

My husband went to birth class with me, and I read passages aloud to him while I was preparing.  Went over the plans, and told him, "Don't suggest drugs, and if I ask for them, tell me NO, because I don't really want them."  He was kind of on autopilot for our first birth -- scared.  He told me, he was so afraid that something awful would happen to me and the baby that he just couldn't really think.  Seeing his first birth calmed him down - he was very competent for our second birth.  The advantages I had with our first birth were that every woman in my family has had natural births, so I was confident - and we birth quickly, so there wasn't time for the hospital to intervene and muck things up. 

 

post #24 of 62

Quote:

Originally Posted by Juvysen View Post

I've heard a theory that the woman is reading the face of the partner and seeing any worry, whatever, there and women are more likely to be, sort of, trying to make others happy (despite being the one in labor)... so it's sort of a theory of people pleasing - you don't want other people to seem uncomfortable with your pain, so you accept drugs, I guess?

This is basically what I was going to say. If you see that your partner is distressed or uncomfortable with your pain, it may make it harder for you to cope and accept the pain as just part of the process. You may feel the need to "feel better" so that your partner can feel better. And so many men don't want to know anything about the birth process before it happens, I don't think they are really prepared for it, and they can't understand why you would choose NOT to get the drugs. And some voice that opinion. My DH doesn't even want to hear the words birth or labor before I'm in labor. Seriously. But I am planning a home birth so no drugs are going to be around for the pushing. And he is supportive of my choice to do whatever the heck I want to. As long as we don't have to talk about it in detail first. lol

 

post #25 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by elanorh View Post

I agree with the "young, single mom gets poor care" approach (that it happens, that is, not that it's a good thing).

 

I have a friend whose first birth was as a teen mom - induced, but without pain medication at any point and of any kind.  It was a fast labor (her then-boyfriend was with her for the labor, she never took a birth class).

 

Her second baby was a longer labor, with a husband who'd never been at a labor before.  She wanted a natural birth, they did classes, and he was just overwhelmed with how much it seemed to hurt her.  She opted for the epidural because, she said, he was so worried about how much pain she was in.  She ended up with numbness in her legs for several weeks, headaches, etc.  If they have another, I think the plan is to have a doula there too and kick the anaesthesiologist out of the room.  . 

 

It's not that her husband wished her malice, he was overwhelmed by her pain and wanted to fix things. I think it's a combo of men thinking that they should 'fix' things (and not wanting to feel guilty about 'causing' this pain), and women wanting to please others (especially a panicked spouse).  Plus, we trust them.  If they think it's that awful, and we feel that awful, then we must need medicine.  The fear of birth we have as a culture plays into this, because men and women are both afraid that birth is earthshatteringly painful and catastrophic - that's what they see in the movies, on TV, talked about among friends....

 

I've another friend who told me that if she ever gets pregnant, she doesn't want her husband in the delivery room at all - she doesn't want him to see her "like that." 

 

When we were teens, we found the love letters my Dad had written my Mom while they were engaged.  He wrote about worrying about how much pain she'd be in when they had babies.  Mom had all 7 births with no pain medications at all, Dad was one of the first dads allowed into the delivery room at that hospital.  He fainted during the first birth (not surprising, the doctor cut a horizontal episiotomy on Mom). 

 

I think the real factor, then, is a combination of how strong the woman's knowledge and goals are - and how willing her spouse is to educate himself and support her in labor.  Dad didn't go into it confident; but he became confident in Mom's capabilities over time.  Likewise - my uncle has said more than once that he'd LOVE to be a doula.  He and his wife had five babies, all natural births, and he loves birth.  He's in awe of what women can do (the best part of this is, he's a crusty old rancher, totally incongruous I suppose). 

 

My husband went to birth class with me, and I read passages aloud to him while I was preparing.  Went over the plans, and told him, "Don't suggest drugs, and if I ask for them, tell me NO, because I don't really want them."  He was kind of on autopilot for our first birth -- scared.  He told me, he was so afraid that something awful would happen to me and the baby that he just couldn't really think.  Seeing his first birth calmed him down - he was very competent for our second birth.  The advantages I had with our first birth were that every woman in my family has had natural births, so I was confident - and we birth quickly, so there wasn't time for the hospital to intervene and muck things up. 

 



love the mental image of a crusty old rancher as a doula...

 

talking to my midwife for our second she was amazed that I had my first with no epidural because we hadn't taken any birth classes. I think it really helped that both DF's family and mine believe in natural birth, that both DF and I were home births, and I had done a tone of reading and had told DF a bunch of the possible side-effects of an epidural. but I think if I had had a longer labor there would have been a much greater chance of me ending up with one. 

post #26 of 62

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chavelamomela View Post

Dr. Michel Odent has spoken out against men/husbands being in the delivery room FOR MOST CASES.


Hm, I can see the logic in this, I guess. I mean, just this week I was advising a friend to consider not having her DH in the room for her birth because he is, in her words, "squeemish about blood & medical stuff."

 

But on the whole, my DH is my partner in life. He is my partner in this parenting adventure - and birth is the commencement of parenting. (LOL, but "beginning" just doesn't seem to be a powerful enough word to convey the seriousness of this onset of parenting.)


I love him, trust him, & feel comforted by his presence. I like having him to take care of me if I am sick or worried. He reassures me. I can't fathom my laboring being anything but better for his presence.

 

Again, I totally see the logic in NOT having a partner attend birth, but I'd have to guess it's more likely than not that the presence of a well-educated partner would be beneficial. (Of course "well-educated" being crucial.) Isn't that exactly what Dr. Bradley found? That when husbands were allowed in, the outcomes were better?

post #27 of 62

I wouldn't have felt comfortable not having DH in the room, even though he tells me now he wished I had an epidural, and he was kind of a deer in the headlights for all three births. Because the baby is his child, too, I feel he should be in the room to see the entrance.

post #28 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by buckeyedoc View Post

I wouldn't have felt comfortable not having DH in the room, even though he tells me now he wished I had an epidural, and he was kind of a deer in the headlights for all three births. Because the baby is his child, too, I feel he should be in the room to see the entrance.



That's how I feel too.  DH was FANTASTIC during labour.  A superman.  I'd hired a doula because I expected him to be crap, but it meant I had two fantastic supports.  I did have an epidural in the end, but I was in labour for 36 hours first - I needed to sleep.  And the epidural freaked my husband out far worse than me being in labour did.  That's when the doula went from being my support to being my husband's support - she explained all the equipment they were using and what it was for.

post #29 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by Juvysen View Post

I've heard a theory that the woman is reading the face of the partner and seeing any worry, whatever, there and women are more likely to be, sort of, trying to make others happy (despite being the one in labor)... so it's sort of a theory of people pleasing - you don't want other people to seem uncomfortable with your pain, so you accept drugs, I guess?



This is what I would guess.  That Michele Odent article about partners not being present is the first thing I thought of when I read the title of the thread.

post #30 of 62

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chavelamomela View Post

Dr. Michel Odent has spoken out against men/husbands being in the delivery room FOR MOST CASES.

 

 

Wow, that is interesting. My hubby is a bit on the lame duck end for labor support. Yeah, he did well at telling me that I was doing great. No, he didn't suggest pain relief (we'd previously discussed this). But he didn't know really what to do. He's not really into birth as some dads may be. I did end up opting for an epidural with my first birth. I was augmented with pit, the contractions were practically on top of each other and the nurse at the time was not helpful. If I'd had a doula or a different nurse or someone with more birth knowledge, perhaps that person could have helped me find another way to cope.

 

I'm due with my second and am planning a homebirth this time to avoid pit and lack of support. I suspect that my hubby will end up spending much of my second labor watching our toddler since he feels it's unnecesary to hire someone to watch our son. I'm beginning to feel that it's not such a bad thing...
 

post #31 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chavelamomela View Post

Dr. Michel Odent has spoken out against men/husbands being in the delivery room FOR MOST CASES.

 

Now, this is not referring to our DH's who are awesome birth partners.

 

But I can tell you, that for many men, their nature, as men, is that when they see their loved one in pain, they want to DO SOMETHING to help.  For some, who have been properly prepared with a Bradley class, or read "The Birth Partner" they will step up to the plate and put their energies to facilitating an active labor.

 

For other men, they will look at their wife in pain, look at the doctor, back at the wife, and say "Doctor, she's in pain - DO SOMETHING!"  and then the epidurals and interventions begin...


This is a HUGE assumption to make - that only the partners of good crunchy MDC members are worthy birth partners and honestly, is a bit offensive.

 

My husband, who was by my side for both of my labors, had no part in making my decision to receive an epidural and I highly doubt that a doctor or midwife would act on the demands of a dad to "do something" for his wife/partner's pain.

post #32 of 62

I haven't read the other responses yet, but here's my theory:

 

Even if a birth partner (spouse or SO) is totally prepared and educated about labor, there's still some helplessness that creeps in. My DH is (imo) super prepared and aware of what to do and expect during labor and delivery, but he still talks about how he'll "freak out" if he sees me in pain. In a hospital setting (where interventions are a quick and easy option), I can see how any sort of cracking of the facade/lack of confidence in the process could also make me start to doubt myself and my abilities. If my normally strong DH is "freaking out," it might make me quicker to opt for drugs.

 

We're having a home birth, so if any freaking out does go on, my plan is to send him to the basement so I can concentrate :P

post #33 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by TCMoulton View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by Chavelamomela View Post

Dr. Michel Odent has spoken out against men/husbands being in the delivery room FOR MOST CASES.

 

Now, this is not referring to our DH's who are awesome birth partners.

 

But I can tell you, that for many men, their nature, as men, is that when they see their loved one in pain, they want to DO SOMETHING to help.  For some, who have been properly prepared with a Bradley class, or read "The Birth Partner" they will step up to the plate and put their energies to facilitating an active labor.

 

For other men, they will look at their wife in pain, look at the doctor, back at the wife, and say "Doctor, she's in pain - DO SOMETHING!"  and then the epidurals and interventions begin...


1) This is a HUGE assumption to make - that only the partners of good crunchy MDC members are worthy birth partners and honestly, is a bit offensive.

 

2) My husband, who was by my side for both of my labors, had no part in making my decision to receive an epidural and I highly doubt that a doctor or midwife would act on the demands of a dad to "do something" for his wife/partner's pain.


1) I honestly don't think she meant it in that fashion, just that Michael Odent's words weren't meant to say that NO HUSBANDS/PARTNERS should ever be allowed in the delivery room, and that those of us with husbands/partners who were really awesome in the delivery room shouldn't take it to mean they shouldn't be there. Has nothing to do with being on MDC or being ultra crunchy or anything.

 

2) You would be surprised by how many Drs./Nurses would act on a father's demands...maybe not by straight up giving the wife meds, but putting serious effort to convince her she needs it/wants it and falling into consent. Happens more than you'd think.

post #34 of 62

 

Quote:
2) You would be surprised by how many Drs./Nurses would act on a father's demands...maybe not by straight up giving the wife meds, but putting serious effort to convince her she needs it/wants it and falling into consent. Happens more than you'd think 

 

I agree. I have seen nurses really work on moms to try to get them to get pain medication.

post #35 of 62
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by phathui5 View Post

Quote:
2) You would be surprised by how many Drs./Nurses would act on a father's demands...maybe not by straight up giving the wife meds, but putting serious effort to convince her she needs it/wants it and falling into consent. Happens more than you'd think 

 

I agree. I have seen nurses really work on moms to try to get them to get pain medication.



Why is that?  I mean, what is the motivation for a nurse or doctor to administer medical pain relief to a mother?

post #36 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by fireHC11 View Post

Thanks for the replies, ladies!

 

It looks like there are two different, but compatible theories:

 

1) Single women are treated more poorly in the birth environment.  I will have to see how much this has been documented, but this is not surprising and a very likely explanation.

 

2) Women (and mothers) aim to please those around them, and to shield them from the discomfort of seeing them in distress.

 

Oddly enough, there were no other correlations between having other support people (mothers, sisters, friends, doula) and whether women chose drugs in birth.


I think for this to mean anything at all to me, I would need to know how many birthing women have partners with them during labor.  My first thought, is that most women giving birth have partners with them at the birth, and so most women who get pain relief would be the ones that have partners with them - right?

 

Or were the stat's normalized (is that the right word?) so that it just shows the % of each, and factors that in?  I'm not sure if I explained that very well.  IDK, I just think that most people get pain relief - might not necessarily have any relation to partners being present.

post #37 of 62

That Michel Odent study was the first thing I thought of. He suggests that women need to be able to go to that other-wordly place during labor, and it's harder to do so if their male partner is around. I know it's kind of an unpopular view, but I actually sort of agree with it, at least for my own personal situation. I found it a lot easier to get into laborland when my partner wasn't by my side.

Really, I found that any intrusion into my little bubble actually made things hurt worse, even if the person was trying to be supportive. I just needed to be alone and zone out and as long as I could do that, everything was cool. I didn't want the midwife talking to me or my partner rubbing my back or anything.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by JamieCatheryn View Post

Dr. Michel (sp?) Odent would say it's because laboring women have a harder time getting into the groove and a functional labor and can-do mindset if men are around. Except he'd say that in French and more professionally. For some that might actually be true, I do tend to feel more self confident with DH's support from afar than right there with me.

post #38 of 62

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by fireHC11 View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by phathui5 View Post

Quote:
2) You would be surprised by how many Drs./Nurses would act on a father's demands...maybe not by straight up giving the wife meds, but putting serious effort to convince her she needs it/wants it and falling into consent. Happens more than you'd think 

 

I agree. I have seen nurses really work on moms to try to get them to get pain medication.



Why is that?  I mean, what is the motivation for a nurse or doctor to administer medical pain relief to a mother?


Thats an easy one - insurance pays for interventions, they don't pay for people not to get interventions - Birth is a business, hospitals make more money off of birth, than anything else (I read that somewhere, don't know where).  But they wouldn't make money off of it if they weren't getting paid by the intervention - a woman who gets no epi, no pit, no IV, has her baby and walks out 6-8 hours later, well, they don't get much in the way of $$ for her birth.

post #39 of 62

I didn't want DH at my first birth, and I don't want him at my second.  It definitely would distract me if I was worrying about him seeing me in pain.  

 

We got a lot of flak for my decision the first time around.  In fact, even the midwife didnt respect my wishes, and kept trying to get him to come.  

 

It bothers me that men at births is seen by so many as the only option, while only 3 years ago no men at births was the only option.  Wasn't the point to increase options?  Not change one for another?

post #40 of 62


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Super~Single~Mama View Post

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by fireHC11 View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by phathui5 View Post

Quote:
2) You would be surprised by how many Drs./Nurses would act on a father's demands...maybe not by straight up giving the wife meds, but putting serious effort to convince her she needs it/wants it and falling into consent. Happens more than you'd think 

 

I agree. I have seen nurses really work on moms to try to get them to get pain medication.



Why is that?  I mean, what is the motivation for a nurse or doctor to administer medical pain relief to a mother?


Thats an easy one - insurance pays for interventions, they don't pay for people not to get interventions - Birth is a business, hospitals make more money off of birth, than anything else (I read that somewhere, don't know where).  But they wouldn't make money off of it if they weren't getting paid by the intervention - a woman who gets no epi, no pit, no IV, has her baby and walks out 6-8 hours later, well, they don't get much in the way of $$ for her birth.


It's not even that necessarily:  a woman with an epidural (snoozing in bed or chatting with her support people, hooked up to monitors that read out at the nurse's station) is a lot less work for the nurses than one who is up and walking, feeling every contraction, moving around so the monitors slip, and asking for help with comfort techniques.  Keep in mind, too, that many hospitals are undersupplied with nursing staff.  If you have four nurses working an L&D unit with eight beds, and all of those beds are full on a given night, those nurses have a problem.  They can manage it by having two nurses circulate on the floor and two ride the monitors and respond to patient calls... but if more than one or two of those women are having natural births, the staffing problem is critical.

 

On top of that, nurses and doctors generally aren't fans of seeing people suffer.  They have this tool which could make the patient comfortable, and their training is to approach pain as a problem that should be fixed ("the fifth vital sign" and all).  I don't think that's a flaw in most medical training, although I can see where it's an issue in obstetrics.

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