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Epidurals don't affect the baby? - Page 2

post #21 of 68
I just saw an episode of a baby story where the mom was having a natural birth center birth wiht her second baby because with her first she had an epidural and could not walk for six weeks That doesn't sound like "no side effects" to me! There is always a risk with meds, the epi is no exception.
post #22 of 68
I really don't know why it's seen as such a godsend. Some women I've talked to say that it actually made the pain worse, and others say it barely helped them at all.

I like to keep foot-long needles away from me! It sounds like they would hurt.

One midwife I knew said she's had a lot of homebirth clients transfer to a hospital only for pain relief. I don't get it...didn't they know it would hurt?
post #23 of 68
I know I'm going to get flamed here, I just know it, but I had one epidural birth go horribly wrong and I had one that was wonderful. I don't regret getting the epidural. Both my babies had APGARs of 8-9 and nursed wonderfully within minutes of birth. My only side effect was itchiness, and it really wasn't that bad. This baby I am going to do a UC so I will tell you how it goes without any drugs :LOL
post #24 of 68
Quote:
Originally posted by Greaseball
I really don't know why it's seen as such a godsend. Some women I've talked to say that it actually made the pain worse, and others say it barely helped them at all.

I like to keep foot-long needles away from me! It sounds like they would hurt.

One midwife I knew said she's had a lot of homebirth clients transfer to a hospital only for pain relief. I don't get it...didn't they know it would hurt?
Giving birth HURTS, at least for me. I got an epidural with my first, way too early, and there were undesired side effects. Came very, very close to a c-section. I would change a lot about that birth experience, but I can't say that I wouldn't end up with an epidural again. I had my last two with no pain relief at all, but they were fairly quick, relatively easy births. I don't know if I would endure twenty hours of back labor without any meds. I know women that have, but I don't know that I would.

I think that we start off with the epidural as the norm and go from there. I really think it should be the other way around. I think that epidurals, like most medications, have a place and I'm glad they are available to the women that need them. I just wish that women weren't told that we ALL need them, because I don't think we do.
post #25 of 68
Quote:
Originally posted by Mothra
I think that we start off with the epidural as the norm and go from there. I really think it should be the other way around. I think that epidurals, like most medications, have a place and I'm glad they are available to the women that need them. I just wish that women weren't told that we ALL need them, because I don't think we do.
I think this is right on. In my town, the epidural rate is about 95%. I think it's safe to say that the average ob in my town attends about 5 or fewer unmedicated births per year. The average L&D nurse probably attends fewer than one per month.

Hospitals here really push epidural anesthesia. By and large, they are very concerned with their patients perception of pain. On another floor, where pain relief for gallbladder surgery doesn't affect the outcome, I think that makes perfect sense. On the L&D floor, where pain is fleeting and the use of medications [i]do[i] affect the outcome, of course it would be prudent to explore non-pharmacological methods of pain relief.

I'd like to think that healthcare professionals look at the evidence when giving information to their clients, but from what I have seen, clinical trials mean nothing and personal experience means everything. Given that most ob's in my town have very little experience with unmedicated birth, I take their words with the proverbial grain of salt.
post #26 of 68
I loved my epidural, and I'm looking forward to it this time. My baby was not born limp or floppy, though we were both sick. Pain medication is a funny thing: if you get too much of it, it can affect all kinds of things adversely. If you dont' get enough, it doesn't do any good.

My plan was to deliver all naturally, no drugs or interventions. Yes, I knew that giving birth would hurt, and probably hurt a lot. I was well aware going in that it would be painful. What I wasn't aware of was that I would spend the better part of a week in active labor, unable to rest or relax, barely able to move. Hell yes I think epidurals are a Godsend! I'm eternally greatful for mine. It was the only part of my labor & delivery that was bearable.

Yes, I think that women should have accurate information about medications during labor. (I'm a big believer in accurate information about everything.) What they don't need is to be placated by doctors (and I'm still trying to figure out where these people are practicing, because I haven't met them) or to be terrified by natural birth zealots. I would encourage your friend (SIL?) to do some research of her own on the subject, and to come to her own conclusions. There's plenty of information available, and even though some of it is confusing, once you wade through the jargon and the scare tactics there's a lot of good, useful information out there. Heck, I'll even help. I'm up for a good research project!

About the nursing problems: From what I can tell, nursing problems seem to be more closely associated with how close to/far from term the baby was born than with medications or lack thereof during labor. Eli did have some problems, but not until my milk came in. I became engorged and my breasts were so big that he just couldn't latch on anymore without major help. His little mouth just couldn't open wide enough to get enough of my nipple. It had nothing to do with the drugs at all.
post #27 of 68
nak
I tell my clients that an epidural can be a good thing but make sure you are educated in the pros and cons. I also tell my clients that an epidural surpresses endorphines and actually causes a little harder recovery. When you go natural you get such a natural high after giving birth. I personally would rather have a natural birth with a better recovery than a drugged birth and longer recovery.

When I put it like that, my clients agree, natural birth would be much better.

One of my last clients is a post pardom nurse and she called me asking if I could help her achieve a natural birth because she wanted a recoevery like a natural patient. She's says the difference is night and day.

I think the recovery is the worst part of giving birth and if going natural will make that better...its so worth the pain.
post #28 of 68
Thought that this was some good info. These are off of La Leche League's website

http://www.lalecheleague.org/NB/NBSepOct99p167.html

Quote:
Most of the research didn't study problems with breastfeeding associated with epidurals, so Riordan developed a study to focus on epidural anesthesia 's effect on the baby's suckling and the duration of breastfeeding. She explained the methodology of her study and its results. It clearly showed that medication during birth did negatively affect babies' suckling during the first 12 hours, and that combining medications increased the effect. Demerol was especially harmful to the baby's suckling ability. The duration of breastfeeding was not shown to be affected.
http://www.lalecheleague.org/ba/Nov99.html

Quote:
Fortunately, it is now possible to measure feedings at the breast using a valid breastfeeding assessment tool. In a recent study on epidural analgesia and breastfeeding, (25) the investigators used the Infant Breastfeeding Assessment Tool (20, 24) to assess breastfeeding scores in 127 babies. The 92 infants whose mothers had analgesia were compared with 37 babies whose mothers had an unmedicated labor and delivery. Lactation consultants in three hospitals with at least two years experience with breastfeeding dyads scored the feedings on their daily rounds on an as-they-come basis. Scores ranged from 0 to 12. Mothers were also asked to score the feeding at the same time as the lactation consultant. Not surprisingly these women evaluated the breastfeedings about the same as the LC.

Infants whose mothers had no labor analgesia scored higher (x=11.1) on the breastfeeding scale than mothers who had epidurals (x=8.5) or intravenous narcotics (x=8.5). Despite higher breastfeeding scores in neonates of unmedicated women, no difference in the duration of breastfeeding at six weeks was found between the medicated and the unmedicated mothers. The lack of a positive relationship between epidural labor analgesia and weaning before six weeks postpartum was surprising but reassuring in that the use of epidurals did not seem to be associated with early weaning.

Three other studies, all conducted before 1982, examined labor epidurals and general neonatal behavior with differing results. All used a control group of unmedicated mothers but did not measure breastfeeding as an outcome. Murray et al. (19) studied the effects of epidural analgesia on neonates whose mothers had 1) epidurals with continuous infusion of 0.25% bupivacaine (n=20); 2) epidurals in combination with oxytocin to stimulate labor (n=20); and 3) little or no medication during childbirth (n=15). Over half of the 15 mothers in the little-or-no-medication group briefly inhaled nitrous oxide and 11 received lidocaine for perineal infiltration. Infants in both epidural groups performed less well on the motor, state control, and physiologic response clusters of the Brazelton Neonatal Behavior Assessment Scale than the little-or-no-medication group. On the fifth day the babies in the epidural groups continued to show poor state organization.

Abboud et al. (1) compared fetal, maternal, and neonatal responses following epidurals that infused regional anesthetics (lidocaine, bupivacaine, or chloroprocaine). No narcotic was used. Fifty infants were in each epidural group, and 20 were in an unmedicated control group. The Early Neonatal Neurobehavior Scale was used at 2 and 24 hours of life to evaluate the babies' behaviors. Compared with the epidural groups, more infants in the unmedicated group scored lower in suckling and rooting at both 2 and 24 hours postpartum. Abboud later repeated the study (2), this time using a larger dose of lidocaine. Again, the average suckling and rooting scores were higher for the neonates in the lidocaine group at 2 hours postpartum, but the findings reversed at 24 hours postpartum and unmedicated neonates had higher suckling scores. United Kingdom babies whose mothers had no labor analgesia of any kind actually scored lower in rooting and suckling ability than infants whose mothers had epidurals, (8) but the differences were not statistically significant. Although these earlier studies are instructive, it is difficult to compare studies that were done over a decade ago with current investigations because of changes in epidural techniques and medication dosages.
post #29 of 68
I wonder if the blue floppy babies result more from the pitocin than from the epidural?
post #30 of 68
I had pit too. :LOL

Greasball, earlier you mentioned that you were born awake, looking around, but not crying. What makes you think you would have received a low apgar score if you'd been born in a hospital? As long as you weren't retracting or hyperventilating, you would have received a 3 in the breathing column. Niether of my nieces cried, and they both scored 10's.
post #31 of 68
I've have had both a natural, un-medicated birth and one with an epidural (and also a c-section in between - but that's a whole other story )

Anyway, my epidural birth was harder. Less painful maybe, but harder.

When you have an epidural you can't move and you can't feel your baby move. What this meant for me was that my son got in an odd position and I couldn't move around to get him unstuck.

Additionally my contractions weakened and I was given pitocin to increase them. I ended up with 3 1/2 hours of pushing, attempted vacuum extraction and finally delivery by forceps.

As for side effects of the epidural, I got very sick to my stomach and couldn’t stop throwing up. I was told (afterwards) that isn’t an uncommon side effect from the epidural. Also they put the needle in incorrectly and it had to be reinserted. After they reinserted it I got a horrible pain (like someone shoving a cold knife in my spine over and over). I have no idea why this happened, but it was so painful. It hurt so bad to be lying on my back, but I was unable to move off my back because my legs were numb This was going on while I was trying to push.

My natural birth was wonderful. Yes there were moments of intense pain, but nothing being in the tub while my dh and doula massaged and talked to me while I grunted and groaned couldn’t get me through.
post #32 of 68
Quote:
Originally posted by eilonwy
Greasball, earlier you mentioned that you were born awake, looking around, but not crying. What makes you think you would have received a low apgar score if you'd been born in a hospital? As long as you weren't retracting or hyperventilating, you would have received a 3 in the breathing column. Niether of my nieces cried, and they both scored 10's.
If hospitals are no longer doing the "crying=healthy, serene=unhealthy" thing, that is good. It used to be that a baby had to cry or it meant it had something wrong with its lungs.
post #33 of 68
Quote:
Originally posted by nakagain
nak
I tell my clients that an epidural can be a good thing but make sure you are educated in the pros and cons. I also tell my clients that an epidural surpresses endorphines and actually causes a little harder recovery. When you go natural you get such a natural high after giving birth. I personally would rather have a natural birth with a better recovery than a drugged birth and longer recovery.

I loved that 'natural high' feeling after my first unmedicated birth. The nurse had to tell me to lie down for a few minutes, I was starving but at the same time felt like I wanted to run up and down the halls :LOL. I was sore the next day a bit but otherwise I felt really good.

After my 2nd and 3rd unmedicated birth (well 3rd time I got pitocin yuck! but no pain meds) I was tired because my labors hurt more and were more intense but the second day I felt better. The natural high kicked in a day late.

Greaseball, my son was born looking around the room and only cried when I tried to put a hat on his hugh head. He stuck his thumb in his mouth and sucked on it so hard he got a little blister! Got a 10 on apgar btw.

My girls were both born crying, but I wonder if that wasn't because their labors were harder on me and they somehow 'felt' my stress before they came out. They both got a 9 and a 10 and if I remember right none of them were blue or floppy .

But I do remember reading some older stuff that it used to be if they didn't cry right away they didn't score as high or something. That's funny your brother was born asleep! I would think the pushing would wake up a kid.

As far as epi's go I wouldn't do it but that's me. I know most people are fine but the few bad experiences I heard about were enough to keep me from wanting one! Plus in general I have low blood pressure, actually I only ever hit "normal 120/80" while pregnant; so I was afraid of bottoming out if I did go for one.
post #34 of 68
Quote:
Originally posted by Greaseball
I wonder if the blue floppy babies result more from the pitocin than from the epidural?
I'm wondering where you are getting this "blue, floppy baby" bit. Where I work now, we have a between 98-99% epidural rate and almost that many get pitocin. Blue and floppy is rare, rare, rare. So what are you basing this on?
post #35 of 68
Quote:
Originally posted by Mom2six
I'm wondering where you are getting this "blue, floppy baby" bit. Where I work now, we have a between 98-99% epidural rate and almost that many get pitocin. Blue and floppy is rare, rare, rare. So what are you basing this on?
Hospital birth videos that we were shown in childbirth class. And the instructor seemed to think it was normal - she explained that after birth, that was what babies looked like.
post #36 of 68
OK, said it once, I'll say it again. I have seen literally hundreds of births - at home, in a hospital birth center and in a hospital. The overwhelming majority (like well over 90%) of term babies have APGAR's of 8 or 9 at birth (it's a hospital thing that they don't give 10). Limp, blue and floppy is like a 5 or 6 tops. The last time in recent memory that I had a baby with low APGAR's was in Jan (so 4 mos ago) and the baby had genetic anomolies. I'm just really puzzled that you are making sweeping generalizations based on a birth video and extrapolating that to entire populations. Many babies are born rather bluish looking - until they breathe and pink up. But there is a big difference between the look of a newborn that hasn't taken his'or her first breathe and one that is "limp blue and floppy". Anyone who has been around more than a few births can tell the difference right away.

Oh - and my first (natural childbirth) *was* born quite blue (though not floppy). Had to do with the cord that he was wrapped in multiple times. As was my 5th with her tight nuchal cord and bruised face from 50 minute labor (delivered unattended). Anyway - I'm still puzzled.
post #37 of 68
The following came from Joy In Birthing - Doula website (blue, floppy babies aren't on the list!) I have to agree with Mom2six here. I did not have an epidural, but I did have the last 2 hours of my labor (after I reached 10 cm on a low dose of Pit. I HATED it. I knew that it was decreasing oxygen from the baby... but I felt (at the time) it was either that or opt for a C-sec, which I did not want. My son came out screaming and furious! Hardly blue and floppy. I think he had a much harder time coming out of the birth canal because a) I was lying flat on my back and b) on the stupid pitocin.

Quote:
I UNDERSTAND THAT THE EPIDURAL :
Will require an IV to be inserted prior to receiving the epidural.

May increase the chance of a cesarean birth instead of a vaginal birth.

Will require a urinary catheter because I may not be able to urinate with the epidural. I also understand that the catheter may increase my chances of a bladder infection or urinary track infection, requiring antibiotics, which may cause me to have a yeast infection and cause my baby to have thrush.

May increase the possibility of a vacuum of forceps delivery if I am not able to effectively push the baby out.

May increase the chance of an episiotomy because the IV may cause my perineum to become engorged and therefore not able to stretch to allow the baby to deliver easily.

Will severely restrict my mobility during labor.

Will severely restrict the position in which I can push.

If done too high mom can feel like she can’t breath.

Potential allergic reaction.

May lower my blood pressure requiring more medical intervention.

May slowdown or stall my contractions, usually requiring additional medical intervention (pitocin.)

May cause extreme itching, requiring additional medical intervention which, in turn, may cause nausea and dizziness.

May increase maternal temperature especially when given early in labor, requiring additional medical intervention for the baby after birth, which may result in the baby being away from mom for a period of time.

May cause or increase nausea vomiting and shivering.

May strip me of the self-confidence that I can give birth naturally, painlessly using my God given ability.

May take away my natural ability to produce endorphins which are my body’s way to naturally and chemically cope with labor pressure.

May take away my clear recollection of the birth and the first time I held my baby.
post #38 of 68
It sounds like limp babies can be a result of oxygen deprivation, which can be caused by pitocin, among other things. (Or keeping the mother on her back.)

I wonder what is the norm for babies in other hospitals? Books written by midwives, doctors, activists and medical researchers also mention the weak babies/epidural connection, although other drugs may be involved as well.

Feminist author Adrienne Rich writes that in one city hospital, black women had babies that were healthy and alert, while white women had limp babies, even though black women were not likely to have received prenatal care. When the black women requested pain medication, they either did not get it or they got a much smaller dose than the white women got. So they ended up with better babies...although I can't say I support the reason why.
post #39 of 68
Quote:
Originally posted by Greaseball
Feminist author Adrienne Rich writes that in one city hospital, black women had babies that were healthy and alert, while white women had limp babies, even though black women were not likely to have received prenatal care. When the black women requested pain medication, they either did not get it or they got a much smaller dose than the white women got. So they ended up with better babies...although I can't say I support the reason why.
I've read this as well. The women that were getting drugs were getting IV narcotics - which can lead to depressed (read "limp, blue, floppy") babies. One of the scariest videos I've ever seen was a childbirth education film from the 50's. In it twilight sleep was still common, as was spinal for delivery with routine forcep use. THOSE were some limp, blue, floppy babies.

I would hate to think that someone is going to tell a mom "if you get an epidural, your baby won't be vigorous and alert" or worse that they will be "limp, blue and floppy". They will most likely give birth to a vigorous, alert baby and then those "natural childbirth extremest that tried to scare me out of an epidural" will have lost all credibility in their eyes.
post #40 of 68
It's true, some epidural babies come out "just fine" even when mom has been warned of the risks. Some formula-fed babies even turn out fine, or at least they appear to be fine. Sometimes the mother uses illegal drugs, and the baby also appears to be fine. So if such a mother hears all the stories and her baby is allright, she will probably discredit us, but I don't think it hurts to warn her.

Instead what we are doing is telling these women that there are almost no risks (consent forms do not always explain risks) and then blaming the baby's condition on the mother or baby instead of the drugs.
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