Truth about epidural? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 14 Old 08-23-2011, 05:40 PM - Thread Starter
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I've heard a number of different things. I've heard it's bad for the baby, and I've also heard it can paralyze me. But is it true?

I don't handle pain well at all. If you wouldn't suggest an epidural, what are some other options for pain relief that helped you through it?

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#2 of 14 Old 08-23-2011, 06:20 PM
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For me, the biggest con is that it can lead to other interventions just because you can't move around, etc. Granted, there are lots of other risks, some of them more common and some of them rare, but to me that's the #1 for avoiding one.


I would at leat encourage someone who thought they "needed" one to try without as long as possible- you may be surprised how strong you are!


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Now we are growing the family with chickens, ducks, and dairy goats.

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#3 of 14 Old 08-23-2011, 06:26 PM
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Not in this DDC, but I would recommend a doula.  I had an epi with DD1 and really was disappointed with the whole thing.  Had a home birth with #2 and that was such an amazing experience.  If I was to have another hospital birth, I would get a doula for sure.  

SAHM to Chloe«- 6/2008 (10 lbs, 5 oz), Hannah- 9/2010 (9 lbs, 12 oz), Liam- 2/2013 (9 lbs, 6 oz)

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#4 of 14 Old 08-23-2011, 06:28 PM
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DDC crashing to say... this is why I studied so hard on natural childbirth.. the whole needle near my spine thing. yikes2.gif Plus, I ran a new mom's support group for many years and so many new moms complained of headaches and pains near the epi site.. on top of caring for a new baby.
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#5 of 14 Old 08-23-2011, 06:29 PM
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I suggest a wait and see approach.  Honestly, the epidural itself is pretty painful to have put in.  In a normal labor, I don't think it is necessary, and breathing techniques/showers/counterpressure are enough to cope (or they were for me in normal labors.)


In some cases, pain will get in the way of labor progress, however this isn't common at all and there is usually a cause for that.  


I *much* preferred my epi-free deliveries, they were easier and I felt much more in control and bounced back to myself faster.  However, I later developed scar tissue and adhesions and my labor would stall because the pain was enough that a good labor pattern could not be established.  In those situations, my choice was to allow the epidural or have a c-section.  The epidural was a great help and we turned it off soon enough that I could push effectively.   


Oddly, I didn't mind the pain of childbirth, but when you have complications and interventions, it can be completely different.  


Set some goals to aim for, but be willing to do what you need to to have a positive end result.  

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#6 of 14 Old 08-23-2011, 10:24 PM
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I'd rather feel pain then have no feeling at all. I would hate to not have control over part of my body. 

Water helps with pain, whether you are in the shower or in a tub, it can help relax you and relieve some of the pain. 


Also, pain is not the only feeling you have while giving birth. You also feel elation and euphoria, among other things. Birth really puts you in touch with your own primal nature, your instinctual nature. Many sensations and feelings can come up. After it is all over, you feel like superwoman. You have just conquered an amazing challenge. 

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#7 of 14 Old 08-24-2011, 05:43 AM
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About the epidural:  When I was pregnant with my first, the local chiropractor informed me that a growing number of mothers who'd had epidruals during labor were coming in with chronic back pain.  I decided to hire a doula and give natural childbirth a try.  I was so glad that I did!


I highly recommend hiring a doula!  For more info on that and to find one near you: 

I had a doula for my first birth, which was at the hospital.  Luckily, there was a garden tub available to labor in. 

I find warm water soothing, so that was helpful to me. 

Sitting on an exercise ball and rotating my hips was helpful, sometimes while resting my head on the hospital bed. 


Holding my DP's hands and looking into his eyes during contractions while I swayed on the exercise ball and listened to music.  There has been some research into this idea...


James A. Coan, an assistant professor of psychology and a neuroscientist at the University of Virginia :
"Both instances of hand-holding reduced the neural activity in areas of the woman’s brain associated with stress. But when the woman was holding her husband’s hand, the effect was even greater, and it was particularly pronounced in women who had the highest marital-happiness scores. Holding a husband’s hand during the electric shock resulted in a calming of the brain regions associated with pain similar to the effect brought about by use of a pain-relieving drug."


I'll include a link to photos from my homebirth.  The ball helped me a lot!  There is one photo of DP massaging my back while I sit on the ball and a couple of us holding hands. 

read.gif+dp_malesling.GIFreading.gifmoon.gifblahblah.gifjog.gif(All waterbirth.jpg. 3 @ homebirth.jpg30stork-suprise.gif*31*32*33*34*35*36*37*38*39*40?41*42?h20homebirth.gif 
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#8 of 14 Old 08-24-2011, 01:00 PM
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For me, what kept me going was really just the positive feedback and praise etc. from DH and my nurse.  The breathing exercises probably did help with pain for me somewhat.  For me, the best pain management was having "cheerleaders" aka DH and the nurse.  Everyone is different though, and I think it is hard to know what will help you get through the pain until you're in the situation.  For instance, I had planned on not laboring laying down, but by the time I got to transition, even though my nurse was encouraging me to stand up, move around, use the ball, whatever, I literally could not get up, not even so DH could massage my back.  I just couldn't.  I think the main thing that helped me keep the focus on not getting the epidural was knowing breastfeeding would be easier if I didn't (LC had mentioned that they can always tell what moms have the epidural because the babies tend to bobble around at the breast a lot more), and also knowing the chances of having a c-section would be greater if I did get the epidural.  I tried to keep in mind that the pain was temporary, but if I ended up with a c-section, I was going to have a long tough recovery and might have really regretted having the epidural for those reasons.  And...knowing apgars are typically lower for baby when mom has an epidural and breathing, etc can be slower requiring baby to have additonal medications. 

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#9 of 14 Old 08-24-2011, 01:12 PM
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I agree with the wait and see approach... my contractions didn't get more than about 5 minutes together when I was having DS, so there was time between them to relax, and when I was having one I knew another little rest was coming after. I tried to remember that pain meant progress and that each contraction was moving me closer to seeing the baby.

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#10 of 14 Old 08-24-2011, 01:28 PM
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I had an epidural that did not work properly with DD (birth no 1) - I had continuous contractions, meaning without any stop between them, and they gave me drugs to stop them, and than drugs to get the stressed baby out quickly (which did not work to well either) - they did not even ask me if I want one, I was told I need one, for the massive oxytocin dose they wanted to give me (and did give) 

It did not work. I am not totally sure if it did not work on the right level or something, since I did not feel any pain once I started pushing and none with the episiotomy or the stitching afterwards, and I was not able to pee or to move my legs properly for a couple of hours. I did not feel this "ring of fire" with DD at all. But I felt the contractions really, really bad. 


the whole birth story was pretty traumatic, so that I decided to go completely natural with DS. No interventions at all, no routine procedures. I did prepare with Hypnobirthing, and it did take my fear away and gave me something to work with, it did not work too well during labour though. But I did not need any drugs for pain. Did not need them, did not want them and did not ask for them. In my experience there was no real pain once I started pushing. Relocating to the hospital was tough, but the pain was not to bad, esp considering the excruciating pain with DD. Labour was not quick or easy or something, 12 hours of labour, 3 hours of pushing, but a very peaceful and beautiful experience. 


I hope I will get a Doula for No 3 :). I would really love to have one. 


I would not want another epi.

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#11 of 14 Old 08-24-2011, 02:25 PM
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I had breastfeeding struggles with my epi babies and then later found out there can be a link between the use of fentanyl (commonly used in epidural cocktails) and breastfeeding. I also agree with the others who said that a doula can make a world of difference!

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#12 of 14 Old 08-25-2011, 05:54 AM
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I have fibro, and therefore tend to have a LOT of pain issues that hit me earlier and harder. I had both of my kids without medications and didn't want the meds. 


I was thinking about it tonight, and honestly? I have more wariness about my daily lovenox shots than I do about labor. Labor is work. Sometimes it hurts, sometimes it hurts a lot, but it's active and doing and I can't imagine doing it numb. I wouldn't want to.


There are so many different kinds of pain, and with labor, if you can keep fear out of the equation as much as possible, it's just not the kind of pain I need to drug. 


Now, dental work? Knock me out. 


Jenrose, Mama to DD1, born 1993, DD2, born 2005, and DS1, Jan. 2012. Babywearing, cosleeping, homebirthing mom with fibromyalgia and hashimotos.  DD2 has a rare chromosome disorder. 

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#13 of 14 Old 08-25-2011, 06:18 AM
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Also DDCC.


I had two kids without Epis.  it was an amazing experience. I did have nubaine administered introvenously, but all that does i cause you to nap in between contractions.  You still have complete feeling everywhere, and none of the pain is dulled.  It just forces you to rest in between.  Its not for everyone, and it only lasted about 3 hours.  ONce i was transitioning, it didnt matter anymore. 


My fear of epidurals extends back 17 years ago when my mother had my sister.  She wa 41, and had a schedule c sec.  They ended up having to put her completly under because they could NOT get the epidural to work.  The pain that woman endured was catastrophic.  Then, when they dicharged her, she had a spinal cord leak from the where they had been trying to stick her with the epi needle.  The poor woman coudnt lift her head or openher eyes.  SHe had to be rushed back to he hospital to receive an epidural patch the day after she came home.  It was awful!  She was beside herself leaving her 1 week old baby and 14.5 yo daughter home alone.  (My father drove truck and was out on the road when this all happened.  He came home as soon as he could) KInda scared me off of anything happening near my spine.   

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#14 of 14 Old 08-25-2011, 07:08 AM
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IMO I totally suggest going as long as you can without it, you may really suprise yourself!



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