Honest question: Why no drugs/pain relief? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 151 Old 08-22-2006, 12:37 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Seriously, after having 3 children, one with an epidural, one with nothing, and one emergency C-section with a prolapsed cord, I can honestly say that I've experienced the entire gamut.

Please tell me why you think that having no pain relief is preferable.
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#2 of 151 Old 08-22-2006, 12:44 AM
 
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#1. It's best for the baby.

#2. It allows you to move around and birth more effectively.

-Angela
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#3 of 151 Old 08-22-2006, 12:50 AM
 
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Because I didn't want to expose my baby to high amounts of drugs after carefully watching everything I took in for the nine previous months. Because I didn't want to be confined to bed, unable to move. Because I didn't want to take a chance of developing a fever, which could then lead to a full septic workup being performed on my baby. Because I wanted to do everything I could to get breastfeeding off to a good start. Because I wanted to be able to listen to what my body was telling me, without 'noise' interferring with the 'signal.' Because I already have low blood pressure, and I didn't need to be lowered any further.

Kash, homeschooling mommy to Gillian (8/5/00) and Jacob (3/23/05)
and Brigid Eleanor (11/20/08)
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#4 of 151 Old 08-22-2006, 12:54 AM
 
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#1 I'm afraid of needles - specifically needles stuck in my back!!
#2 Sometimes epidurals can make it so you can't push effectively. Then I might tear or get cut, forceps, vaccum, c-section. After natural childbirth, I'm not injured, and I feel great afterwards.
#3 Sometimes babies can be affected - I wouldn't want to give the hospital any reason to separate me from my baby (if I can help it, they still find their ways.)
#4 I can't get drugs at home.
#5 I feel a sense of accomplishment, especially when I can use hypnosis and be comfortable without drugs.
...

I'm actually quite a fan of a little Stadol around transition. But I wouldn't birth in a hospital just to get it. (EFM, IV, not being allowed to eat or move around easily, pushing on a bed, not catching my own baby, the hospital treating my baby rough - things I did not like about the hospital). [1st baby at home, 2nd baby transport to the hosptial]
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#5 of 151 Old 08-22-2006, 01:00 AM
 
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- I want to birth at home- hospitals are NASTY

- Birth is not a medical event

- The pain is there for a reason- disconnect it and you're more likely to end up with damage.

Oh yeah, and #1. It's best for the baby.

-Angela
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#6 of 151 Old 08-22-2006, 01:02 AM
 
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Dangerous for mom and baby.

Increases complications including increased "need" for Pit, ineffective pushing, more chances of tears and worse tears, and ultimately increased risk of C/S.

Impaired breathing for baby.

Risk of injury to mother in injection area.

Increased risk of incorrect drug administration.

Risk of shock reaction to drug.

Etc.

Personally, I would never use it ever, but I'm very sensitive to drugs. Even stuff that most people like and consider extremely benign (Tylenol, etc.) makes me feel terrible. I'm unusual in that way I think. But I think it should be available, but I think the risks need to be well communicated and I really think it should be actually used RARELY (not even just LESS but RARELY). JMHO.

Homeschooling mama to 6 year old DD.

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#7 of 151 Old 08-22-2006, 01:27 AM
 
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with my first i had what the medical community calls a "managed" labor and birth with inducement, epidural, threatened c-section, etc

but what really made me want to go natural with the next one was the catheter they inserted b/c of the epidural. i said to myself never again

but then when i actually got pregnant again (6 years later) i started reading. i found out how much better it is for mom and baby. in terms of possible complications, in terms of avoiding a c-section, in terms of breastfeeding relationship, in terms of drugs passing to baby, etc

and then when i actually experienced natural birth (except for the damn episiotomy!: ) i found out how much more in control i felt, how much more in tune with my body i felt, and most importantly how strong i felt handling the pain. i think iwas able to birth more easily and ,more efficiently/effectively without the drugs.

and yeah i did mention demerol during transition but i was mostly being sarcastic and glad nobody gave me any.

next time i plan to remove myself from the hospital setting altogether and either birth at home or at a free standing birth center
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#8 of 151 Old 08-22-2006, 01:32 AM
 
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here's a great article that explains it for me:

http://www.mothering.com/articles/pr.../ecstatic.html

when women's bodies are left alone to their own devices, there are fewer complications and fewer issues for baby.
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#9 of 151 Old 08-22-2006, 01:35 AM
 
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1. It's best for the baby.

2. It allows you to move around and birth more effectively.

3. I prefer to birth at home.

4. I hate needles and pills.

5. I really dislike the huge bruise on my back I got after DS's birth from the epidural that should never have been given to me so late.

6. I like being in control of my own body.

7. With hypnobirthing I truly didn't need any artificial painkillers.
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#10 of 151 Old 08-22-2006, 02:09 AM
 
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I want to birth at home.

I do not want to be strapped to a bed.

I want to be in control.

with drugs so many more complications can arise because you are not laboring naturally and in control of what is going on- feelin git and moving.
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#11 of 151 Old 08-22-2006, 02:33 AM
 
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When I birthed my children... I couldn't really have told you all the reasons I wanted to go natural, except that :

I was meant to as a woman

Then, I had a friend who kept asking me why I didn't want epidurals with my births and after many questions, my answer morphed into:

Because I want to be completely present during the births of my children... I want to feel my legs, and my butt and my abdomen and all that is happening with my body. I don't want drugs to hide my children's births, and I want to be able to move freely when they are born.

Somehow, I could never imagine myself intentionally ignoring the sensation (as painful as it became) of my child's life coming through my body... I am grateful, and I want to do it again one day.
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#12 of 151 Old 08-22-2006, 02:33 AM
 
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If there were a way of getting pain relief that didn't affect the baby, didn't involve a needle, IV, EFM, being confined to bed (by orders or choice), kept me feeling like myself, and didn't lead to a zillion interventions, I'd be all for it.

I had an epidural with my first labor. It was a nightmare -- I had one of those "windows" where all the pain just concentrated into one spot on my leg and it was more painful than before. Plus I was cathetered, on my back, tore, and couldn't see my babies (I had twins) for about 2 hours after their birth because I was numb and in bed. I just swore I wouldn't do it again.

Second time, I had a shot of stadol during transition. YOW. Granted it took the "edge" off, but the feeling of being hazy and drugged and totally out-of-it for an hour during labor was NOT enjoyable. Cross THAT off my list too!

We plan to ttc #4 next year, and it will be a homebirth -- without drugs, ha. I think getting a woman into a comfortable environment where she's empowered and supported, and the pain would be completely manageable.

treehugger.gif Erika
mom of twins.gif (8)  blahblah.gif(5) thumbsuck.gif (3) and baby.gif born at home on Christmas day! 
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#13 of 151 Old 08-22-2006, 08:19 AM
 
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For me, the first and foremost reason is because of the negative effects on the baby. It's really amazing to me that mamas can have a completely healthy pregnancy, eat lots of healthy food, exercise, connect with their baby - but then when they're in labour they just forget about it and dope their baby up with extremely strong pain-killing drugs that affect their breathing and nervous system. :

Also extremely important for me personally is the experience of giving birth. I would not want to be numb to my body's efforts and hard work to birth the baby it has been growing for the last 9 months. Women need to work on not associating labour with "pain" in the traditional sense, and see it more as a purposeful physical experience. Giving birth naturally is an extremely satisfying and emotionally/physically empowering experience.

 Grateful midwife and peaceful mama to three blissfully birthed, amazing children: dd (10)dd (7) and  ds (5).
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#14 of 151 Old 08-22-2006, 10:39 AM
 
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#1. Like 1st poster, what's the use of not taking even a Tylenol for a headache for 9+ months if you're just going to drug them up at the end

#2. I've had a spinal for C-Sec., that was the worst experience of my life.

#3. I can't even stand to lay on my back in the tub (hurts my lower back), I don't know how I could stand to give birth that way.

#4. VBAC's aren't allowed at the hospitals close to me.

#5. I want to minimize my chances of a C-sec unless an emergency - I'm allergic to Nubain (the stuff they give you in the spinal). They'd probably knock me out.

#6. The more I learn the more I'm scared to death of hospital birth.

Kirsten, wife of Jason, mom to Anne, 7, and Orion, 5 (my HBAC baby!).  Owner of Bloo Kangaroo Carriers - bringing moms, dads, and little ones closer since 2007.

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#15 of 151 Old 08-22-2006, 10:44 AM
 
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Thank you to all who have posted with such honest answers...

I am pregnant with #1 right now, scared of labor (and not from lack of information--it's just a big unknown), and have been adamant about WANTING pain meds the entire time I've been pregnant. Of course, now, I'm wavering a little and thinking about natural childbirth.

We'll see what happens, but I appreciate the honesty and non-flaming of this thread.
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#16 of 151 Old 08-22-2006, 11:00 AM
 
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Honestly, it's REALLY not that bad. And this is coming from a woman who was in labor for 33 hours, and had been flat on my back for 10 days prior to going in to labor, save for sitting up to eat and going to the bathroom.

I chose to go pain killer free for several reasons (although I did get one mg of Stadol at hour 31 which lasted 20 minutes and got me through transition and then just stopped working... )

1) I didn't want my 30 week preemie to come out drugged and at any more of a risk than she already was

2) I wanted to experience everything my body was capable of

3) I'll do it again with this baby, because I felt like a complete and total rock star after delivering DD, and I was able to get out of bed and walk to the bathroom by myself immediately post partum

Honestly, it was mostly selfish reasons. The anesthesiologist told me he didn't think I could do it drug free, because it's "hard to deliver a baby", and I basically wanted to tell him to bite me, so I made sure not to ask for an epidural. And I was terrified of the spinal headache, blocks, and ending up numb from the waist UP like a woman I know.

Alright, I'm rambling. Sorry!

Sarah - Mama to Vic (1/19/00), Syd (4/06/02) Sam (4/20/06-born at 30wk2d), JackJack (2/14/07) and Charlie (4/30/10)
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#17 of 151 Old 08-22-2006, 11:15 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BetsyS
Thank you to all who have posted with such honest answers...

I am pregnant with #1 right now, scared of labor (and not from lack of information--it's just a big unknown), and have been adamant about WANTING pain meds the entire time I've been pregnant. Of course, now, I'm wavering a little and thinking about natural childbirth.

We'll see what happens, but I appreciate the honesty and non-flaming of this thread.
I fully admit that I've been blessed with really easy labor and deliveries both times, but I don't think it's that bad either. Before I had my DS people tried to scare me with all their horrible scary birth stories. I chose to tune them out and instead believe in my ability as a woman to accomplish childbirth. Afterall women have been giving birth since the beginning of mankind.

I do understand the fear of the unknown. I remember how it was when I was preparing to deliver DS. Even though I was confident I still ended up asking for pain relief right before pushing. I was 9cm dilated and they never should have given me anything, but my OB was a dope and didn't give a darn about my birth plan which stated that I shouldn't be given anything despite what I say during labor. Anyway, it was such a light dose of epi (I could still walk) that I didn't even need because DS came out right after. All it did was leave me with a huge bruise on my back that hurt like heck for months. Not to mention the headaches!

I highly recommend taking a natural birth course of some kind (i.e. hypnobirthing, bradley, etc...), getting a doula, and preparing yourself mentally. It really helps to be prepared and the more prepared you are the less you will worry. YOU CAN DO IT!
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#18 of 151 Old 08-22-2006, 11:29 AM
 
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I had an epidural for my first birth and it was awful (I had an open incision from an appendectomy three days earlier). Here I had carried this beautiful being in me, we were attached from the moment she first gained conciousness, and then I had to let go of her and I had no sensation of the experience. I wanted to feel that little being leave my body and come into the world. I felt totally disconnected and emotionally raw from the experience. For me, childbirth is the conclusion of an amazing journey and I want to be present the WHOLE time.

Add to that, epidural babies have a hard time nursing often. Epidurals do carry risks. I've still got pain in my back where I had one almost five years ago w/DD#1. Your body is desgined to deliver babies. God made you that way, biology made you that way, evolution made you that way; whichever way you choose to look at it, you are designed to get babies out. Is it *comfortable* uhhhh no, BUT I have to say I love giving birth. I get to be at home, where I'm in charge, and my body is allowed to do what it needs to. I'm totally connected to the experience and in the end, out comes a BEAUTIFUL baby, that I pushed out!

SAHM to four beautiful babes :
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#19 of 151 Old 08-22-2006, 11:34 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BetsyS
Thank you to all who have posted with such honest answers...

I am pregnant with #1 right now, scared of labor (and not from lack of information--it's just a big unknown), and have been adamant about WANTING pain meds the entire time I've been pregnant. Of course, now, I'm wavering a little and thinking about natural childbirth.

We'll see what happens, but I appreciate the honesty and non-flaming of this thread.
The single biggest tip I have is- Homebirth.

My labor was around 31 hours. With about 6 hours pushing. It was uncomfortable and I was tired, but it was never so painful I felt like I couldn't stand it. I was in my own space and no one was bossing me around or putting me in uncomfortable positions. I would never plan to birth any other way.

-Angela
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#20 of 151 Old 08-22-2006, 11:41 AM
 
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The first time there were no drugs available so I just got on with it

Second time I knew I could do it without drugs so I did.

Third time I was offered an epidural to go with the Pitocin drip but I was afraid that if I had the epi I would end up in theatre so I refused and made it through by vocalising horribly trying to take the pain out of my body and project it into the corner of the room.

The first two I had no intellectual reasons for not choosing drugs - I just didn't. We don't keep pain killers in the house and I don't worry much about everyday pain so I think I approached labour as an extension of that.

The third time I was well aware of the possible cascade of interventions and alreading having transferred from birth centre to hospital I was desperate to avoid any more complications and trauma.

This time I will be at home and although here in the UK you can have Entonox (gas and air) at home I won't choose to have it.

As for what is preferable - I have no wish to be anything less than 100% myself in labour and I feel that drugs would affect my judgement and perception of what is happening. I was a Demerol baby and my mum says I slept for days and was not very perky at all for about a week. Drugs can't be good for babies either.
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#21 of 151 Old 08-22-2006, 01:00 PM
 
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First off, by "no pain relief", I assume you mean pain relief from drugs. I will say that I am not totally opposed to drugs, but I certainly think a woman should do her research ahead of time and be aware of the risks/side effects before just getting an epidural the minute she steps into the hospital. In some cases, drugs can be very useful, but can also cause harm. Pain can be difficult, but it is also a useful tool for a woman in labor. Too much pain usually means something needs to change, such as your position. You need to be able to decide when the benefits of the drugs outweigh the risks. A woman also needs to be aware of the alternatives to drugs, such as a doula, labor tubs, hot/cold therapy, etc.

First off, I ended up with an epidural for my first delivery, but only because I couldn't tolerate the high dose of Pitocin after several hours and lost my ability to relax. (I had the Pit because I was "on the clock" after my water had broke the night before.) It came down to a choice between the epidural and a c-section for "failure to progress,", so I chose the epidural after much discussion with my midwife, doula, and husband. The epidural did its job - I took a nap and progressed rapidly after that (waking up and saying "I think I have to push!")

However, having the epidural placed was a total nightmare. It took the anesthesiologist almost an hour because, unbeknownst to me, he was trying to give me a spinal rather than an epidural. With my Pit-induced pain, I had a really hard time staying in position, especially for such a long time. I had some side effects from that epidural, including intermittent back pain that lasted for 6 months. I would rather avoid that side effect again. The only reason I ended up with an epidural for my second delivery was because I was obviously heading for a c/s (Cord around neck, baby refused to descend).

Also, I know way too much about the other possible side effects from the epidural (and the IV fluid they give you ahead of time to try to keep your B/P from dropping) to want to have another epidural unless I have no other option. Another side effect of epidurals include maternal fever, which can lead to lumbar puncture and antibotics for the baby "just to be safe". This is something I wouldn't want to subject my newborn to.

Another reason is that I know its best for the baby. I want to make sure my baby is alert so we can bond and establish breastfeeding ASAP after delivery. All pain drugs, even the epidural, cross the placenta and affect the baby.

Third, I hate needles. I can give shots to other people, I just don't do well when the needle is pointed at me. I may require a saline lock for this delivery since I am a VBAC, but I will take that over having to push a damned IV pole around.

Next, I LOATHE the EFM. I hate being stuck in bed, I hate having to constantly adjust the belts, I hate dragging the cords along to the bathroom (no telemetry here), I hate having that noise in the background. Once you get an epidural, you will have the EFM and all its accompanying annoyances. It really breaks my concentration.

Finally, I hated how long it took for me to recover from my c-section. I was in so much pain and it made it terribly difficult to care for my older child as well as my newborn. I would take a few hours of pain during labor over no pain and ending up with weeks of pain from an avoidable repeat c/s.

Overall, I want to avoid drugs for this birth. This is my last child. I want this birth to go the way I wanted my first two to go. I plan on staying home for most of the labor so I can be somewhere I can relax and feel comfortable. I have a doula for this birth as I did in my first two, and they have wonderful tricks and methods to relieve pain (my last doula did a hip squeeze that was heavenly). Once I do end up at the hospital, I plan on making use of the labor tub and different positions to lessen the pain. I want this birth to be a wonderful, memorable experience.
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#22 of 151 Old 08-22-2006, 01:05 PM
 
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best for baby #1
helps to avoid complications
it made me feel like a warrior
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#23 of 151 Old 08-22-2006, 01:10 PM
 
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Reasons for baby - like others said, why avoid taking pain relief during pregnancy only to drug up at the end. I do think any drug strong enough to numb a 130 pound woman has GOT to be bad for an 8 lb infant.

Reasons for me - the thought of being numb while going through something as physically traumatic for my body as childbirth scares me much more than the pain does. It is pain with a purpose; it is good pain, productive pain. The idea of giving birth while being numb means that if your body is tearing somewhere you won't know it; if the baby is bumping up against something and needs to be turned, you most likely won't realize it; if you are not pushing effectively, you won't be able to feel the muscles that you need to engage in order to push more productively, etc.

Best for both of us - fast recovery time, fully present, no epi headache or other side-effects.

I had all 3 of my babies unmedicated (12 hour labors, all) and I wouldn't change a thing.
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#24 of 151 Old 08-22-2006, 01:12 PM
 
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Dee east
Since you have experienced it all what were the differences you noticed? Did you have a lot more power during your natural birth?

I wanted to have completely unmedicated births because I thought it was better for my babies.

they were both such powerful experiences. I have a good feeling that drugs would have dulled the whole thing.
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#25 of 151 Old 08-22-2006, 01:30 PM
 
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It's a heck of a lot safer for mother and baby to let nature take her course. I'm a safety kind of gal! I wanted to do everything I coud to prevent a c-section and often that means just avoiding that first intervention (which leads to another and another...)



Quote:
It was uncomfortable and I was tired, but it was never so painful I felt like I couldn't stand it.
EXACTLY! Labor/Birth pain was tolerable because I knew it would be over soon (well, it lasted 17 hrs but I knew it wouldn't last forever!) and my baby would be alert and I would feel good afterward!
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#26 of 151 Old 08-22-2006, 01:37 PM
 
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I don't think all drugs are necessarily bad, but I'm not willing to risk all the other baggage that goes along with a hospital birth in order to get them. I know I would struggle to relax in that environment, no matter how many drugs they pumped into me, and I couldn't stand the even further loss of control at an already vulnerable time. I don't want my baby taken away "for observation." I don't want to be told when I can or can't pee or walk down the hall. I don't want to be told I can't leave the hospital for 48 hours after my baby is born. I don't want to eat hospital food.

I suppose it's a question of what I fear more: the natural pain of childbirth or the "helpful" interventions I'd get from hospital staff.

I also think every pregnant woman should be prepared to have natural childbirth, because the truth is, epis aren't fool-proof.
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#27 of 151 Old 08-22-2006, 01:39 PM
 
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My main reason was that I wanted to avoid having to have a catheter and being stuck in bed, and I had a c-section with my first so I was afraid that having an epidural might increase the chances of another c-section. Anyhow, the thing that made it manageable for me was that between contractions I didn't feel any pain, so during each one I would just think it'll be over soon, I had a doula who would help rub my back, remind me to eat my ice chips (which were remarkably satisfying), and tell me how great I was doing, and at the moment when I thought I couldn't take it any longer, I was ready to push so it was almost over and I figured it was too late for pain meds anyway...

Although with this baby (due in February) I am tempted to get the epidural just to see what it's like, but I don't know....
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#28 of 151 Old 08-22-2006, 02:07 PM
 
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The question really should be, IMO, why would anyone want to interfere with the process? The article Pam posted a link to is one of my favorites I've had both medicated hospital (1) and unmedicated home waterbirths (2). My first homebirth was the most empowering and amazing experience of my life, while my hospital birth was the most disempowering, violating experience of my life (and that is saying a lot). I didn't realize until I gave birth "naturally" all that I had missed out on w/my medicated birth. I think the current birth culture in the US does a complete disservice to womanhood, families and babies and society. Works out great for the medical profession and drug industry though

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#29 of 151 Old 08-22-2006, 02:19 PM
 
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In addition to avoiding drugs for the health of my baby I also did it because it felt good and I enjoyed feeling childbirth. If you prepare yourself ahead of time it isn't very painful. The way mainstream birth is set up in America causes the great majority of the pain. Learn to trust your body and ignore all of that mainstream bit and it really doesn't hurt that badly and the pain you do feel is part of the experience and is normal and good.
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#30 of 151 Old 08-22-2006, 02:20 PM
 
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Epidurals prevent release of endorphins. It doesn't matter for the mom with an epidural because she is numb, but the infant is going through the birth process without the benefit of the mother's endorphins or the epidural. We don't know how that affects them. They may need the natural pain relief provided by the mom's endorphins. I think the mother and infant need to share the experience, so the infant doesn't go through it "alone".
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