To not understand why 'no pain relief' in childbirth is a source of pride?

(353 Posts)
bronya Fri 02-Aug-13 12:31:56

I accept that some people hurt more than others when giving birth, but surely, it's not clever to go without pain relief if you need it? If you want it and can't get it, I feel for you. If you choose one variety over another, that is your choice. Equally, if your body simply doesn't hurt enough to need it, then aren't you lucky!

How is the whole screaming in agony for hours on end, a GOOD thing? I just don't see it. Pain relief is available, why not have it?????

SoupDragon Fri 02-Aug-13 12:34:47

Perhaps because they don't want it?

Just thought.

LRDYaDumayuIThink Fri 02-Aug-13 12:37:14

Forgive me, because I haven't had children, but I just wanted to say something my mum told me that stayed with me. She actually had to argue like mad in order not to get the pain relief when she had me, and she didn't want it because she knew it made her feel spaced out and unpleasant. She said it was such an effort constantly arguing with the midwife while she was in labour, that yes, it definitely did feel like an achievement to have managed not to get it!

So might that be a reason?

I don't think she thought it was that she was somehow tougher than someone who felt more pain, it was just that there was immense pressure on her to have this stuff she didn't want.

Altinkum Fri 02-Aug-13 12:38:13

Some people think that it's a badge of honour, somethig to be proud of, some don't want drugs in their body/drugs affecting the baby, some simply can't cope with feeling "drunk" some people have high/low threashold etc...

Neither way is wrong, it's all individual.

youmeatsix Fri 02-Aug-13 12:38:18

I didnt have any, through any of my 3 births, never thought of it as a source of pride, more of a failing on my part. i never take any pain meds (ANY meds) as i am scared, and i mean genuinely scared of side effects, so i soldiered on through each birth. I didnt feel any sense of pride or achievement over it, just exhausted like any new mother who has just given birth, until i came on here, i never knew there was any stigma surrounding it. no one in my RL ever talked about it

Cailinsalach Fri 02-Aug-13 12:38:37

My Mum used to boast that she brought both my brother and I into the world without any pain relief. She crowed about it. She thought I was useless having an epidural and gas and pethidene....(I would have taken a bottle of hard liquor and bitten down on a leather strap if it had eased the pain).
I never got why she thought she was better than me at this mothering malarkey.

Crannog Fri 02-Aug-13 12:38:38

I suspect that people are proud of having not needed pain relief rather than struggled through when they did need it. People are proud of so many things that could theoretically hurt the feeling of people who did not do the same things.

Eg I am proud of conceiving my babies naturally, of pushing first baby out in a very few number of pushes despite an epidural, for giving up bf first baby, for producing one boy and one girl, for bf my second baby...

They list goes on and on and on. It had nothing to do with people who didn't do any of the above. Just happiness in what I did. That's allowed isn't it?

NotYoMomma Fri 02-Aug-13 12:39:02

I have an extreme needle phobia and had therapy and hypnotherapy and luckily a low risk birth

I still had gas and air and had said I would have other pain relief but not be pressured due to phobia.

I would never post about it on fb or anything though,

I think it just feeds into the myth that women who do have more pain relief or cs or epidurals have somehow 'failed' when they haven't at all

the harshest judge of women and mothers is sadly women and mothers

pro choice all the way

thebody Fri 02-Aug-13 12:39:32

its up to the person labouring and no one else's business is it.

what pisses me off far more are women unable to access good pain relief if they ask for it.

I think pain relief in labour is as valid as any other painful incidents.

'the level of pain is what the patient tells you it is' as our old nursing tutour used to say.

MrsLettuce Fri 02-Aug-13 12:39:43

Producing a child from ones body, regardless of method, seems like a reasonable reason to be proud hmm

I admire those who manage their pain naturally.
I would have loved to have a natural birth but was just too frightened.

Epidurals and other drugs increase the need for intervention, so medically, a natural birth is better. If I had managed labour without pain relief I would be extremely proud of myself.

I don't feel guilty for asking for the epidural, but I think women that manage without are very brave.

bronya Fri 02-Aug-13 12:40:23

Now you see, I get the bit about some people not wanting it. I just don't get why not having it is something to boast about iyswim.

ThePowerof3 Fri 02-Aug-13 12:40:33

I felt the most proud of my third pain relief free birth because I felt so calm and self assured that it turned out to be my best birth experience ever, do I go around regaling others with it, no but I'm always going to treasure the memory myself

JakeBullet Fri 02-Aug-13 12:40:47

It's more a case of "lucky you" as it was not so painful for you. I stor fly believe that labour is just less painful for sme women.

jumperooo Fri 02-Aug-13 12:41:00

Induced, back to back forceps delivery here. My DH had to BEG for me to have anything stronger than paracetamol and g&a.

dufflefluffle Fri 02-Aug-13 12:42:11

I firmly believe that some people consider it a badge of honour to go through childbirth with no drugs. I know plenty of them and some say how disapproving they are of mothers who use drugs to alleviate the pain. Years ago my neighbour had an emergency section and felt she had failed because of the medical intervention. I think that indicts how wrong our general attitude towards giving birth. A very good friend frequently boasts how she had no pain relief and never gave her dc a bottle (breastfed) - all in the one breath as in it all goes hand in hand!

PoppyAmex Fri 02-Aug-13 12:42:17

It's a personal choice and nobody's business (in fact, I don't understand why people should feel the need to share such intimate details, but to each their own).

The harsh reality is nobody (including your baby) gives a shit about how you choose to manage birth. Honest to god, they really don't.

jumperooo Fri 02-Aug-13 12:42:20

Beg the nurses, that is

CheeseFondueRocks Fri 02-Aug-13 12:42:29

Well, I decided for many reasons before the birth that I didn't want any meds in labour and I'm proud I managed to stick with my plans (with encouragement from the midwife) when things got very intense and I was doubting my choice.

I am aware that this needed some luck as if I had needed forceps or something lie that, I couldn't have avoided it.

I am still proud that I achieved the birth I wanted through luck and sheer determination. Why should I not be proud of myself?

Whothefuckfarted Fri 02-Aug-13 12:42:53

Oh god Yawn about this type of thread today..

You don't get a medal for not having pain relief so if you want it, have it. I had gas and air and 1/2 shot of pethidine during mine.

Some women want to do it without, and feel proud for achieving it.

Stop raining on their parade, and get over it. What's your problem?

maja00 Fri 02-Aug-13 12:42:53

Giving birth is really hard. Giving birth without any pain relief is even harder. Why wouldn't you be proud of avoiding drugs if that was important to you?

It's a bit like, some people are proud of running a marathon. I have no desire to run a marathon and think it's crazy to run 26 miles when you could get the bus, however - I still understand why someone would be proud to achieve something difficult.

Preggersandmelting Fri 02-Aug-13 12:42:58

Why shouldn't I feel proud? It's got nothing to do with you or anyone else. I had no pain relief because I knew I didn't want it-that was my decision but I am proud of myself for managing without it.
I don't care what other people do in labour and don't think less or more of them because of their personal choices.
But don't tell me I can't be proud of myself-mind your business!

sillymillyb Fri 02-Aug-13 12:43:59

I was desperate for pain relief but couldn't have any due to short labour - I don't feel I brag, in fact, I think I talked about it because I was so traumatised by the experience (episiotomy forceps and crash team needed as ds was in distress then got stuck) I feel that it was a pertinent part of my birth story because it made such an impact on me, if that makes sense? For the record, if I ever am brave enough to have another child I am doing it on the condition I can have the bloody drugs!!

sadlovedgirl Fri 02-Aug-13 12:44:04

I got to the hospital, was examined, was told I was 9 1/2 cm dilated, I asked for pain relief and was told no it was too late!
DD2 was born 1/2 hour later and I felt that I recovered better (and quicker) than I had done when I had DD1 and had everything under the sun!

That's just me tho smile

CheeseFondueRocks Fri 02-Aug-13 12:44:22

However, I wouldn't go around telling people they had failed if they needed pain relief. Everyone is different.

Wuxiapian Fri 02-Aug-13 12:46:02

With DS1, I took every drug offered. It was a horrendous experience and I only have horrific flashbacks about it.

With DS2, I was adamant to do it naturally, with no pain relief. And I did - faltering once or twice and asking for epidural, but I had a brilliant Midwife, who knew that wasn't what I wanted and, all in all, I had a very good birthing experience.

Individual choice, OP.

janey68 Fri 02-Aug-13 12:46:26

I answered this at length on a similar thread yesterday.

To summarise (on phone so can't cut and paste) :

Some women don't view childbirth as a medical event like having a tooth out or some sort of surgery where you would have anaesthetic. You may not ^ understand^ that, but you don't need to. It's just about accepting it.

The closest analogy I could think of is that of a marathon runner, you push your body to its limits, it's painful but brings a feeling of empowerment. No one has to run a marathon- it's not compulsory- but some people do.

Other people may have strong views about not wanting invasive pain relief which will get into the baby's body and could also lead to further interventions

For some people it's a mixture of the two things above.

My post yesterday was in response to that old chestnut about 'you wouldn't have a tooth out without pain relief so why have a baby ?' That's actually implying that women who have natural births are either morons, or masochosts, or somehow miraculously have pain free births and is as offensive as anyone who says women shouldn't have an epidural or an elective csection

I had my children with minimal pain relief- it hurt like buggery but I am happy with the births I had and felt empowered. And that is not a criticism of any other woman's birth experience.

Does that answer your question OP?

ClaimedByMe Fri 02-Aug-13 12:46:31

I decided that I wouldn't have any meds when I was in labour, I screamed and begged for pain meds when I was in labour, I was refused it as it was way too late, I feel kinda robbed. When I had ds I thought I will ask early enough for pain meds but got to the hospital 6 mins before he was born, robbed again!!

CointreauVersial Fri 02-Aug-13 12:47:04

Coz it means you're well hard, innit? wink

mrslyman Fri 02-Aug-13 12:47:33

I have carried two children to full term and given birth twice. I am amazed and proud of what my body and my mind has coped with during both of these processes (one with drugs and one without for what its worth).

Anyone who wants to judge me for being proud of my individual experiences can fuck the fuck off and when they get there they can fuck off some more.

Wbdn28 Fri 02-Aug-13 12:48:11

YANBU. It's not something to be "proud" of any more than a person who has pain relief has anything to be "ashamed" of.

intheshed Fri 02-Aug-13 12:48:49

There were various reasons why I didn't want any pain relief other than gas and air, and I was very pleased that things went to plan.

But the only thing I was proud of was giving birth, as any woman should be, regardless of the level of drugs and/or interventions. No.matter how you do it, it's bloody hard and bloody amazing!

PoppyAmex Fri 02-Aug-13 12:49:25

The harsh reality is nobody (including your baby) gives a shit about how you choose to manage your birth.

Honest to god, they really don't.

I wish I could spam threads like this with these words.... over and over.

ClaimedByMe Fri 02-Aug-13 12:49:31

Also I was given an episiotomy with no pain relief, just 'i'll have to cut you with the next contraction' 10 years later the feel of cold metal on my skin makes me shudder!

CheeseFondueRocks Fri 02-Aug-13 12:51:01

I love the "running a marathon" analogy. It's the best explanation ever.

oscarwilde Fri 02-Aug-13 12:51:35

Two labours - one that last 2 days with every drug going and finished with a CS; the second lasted a tidy 12 hours with some G&A for about 2 hrs. Had more pain relief after the second labour than during it sad

You take what you need or what you want. The days when we all had to bite down on a stick and get on with it are thankfully over. It's got bugger all to do with your pain threshold and a lot more to do with the size and presentation of the baby.

People who think it is some sort of personal achievement to take all or none of the drugs going are bonkers imo. confused

bragmatic Fri 02-Aug-13 12:52:09

I was quite chuffed with myself. I didn't bang on about it though. In fact, I never even mention it unless asked. Loads of people ask though. It's one of those things when you have twins. It's the question in between "did you have them naturally?" and "did you breastfeed?"

maja00 Fri 02-Aug-13 12:52:29

Wbdn28 - that doesn't make sense. If I say I am proud to have run a marathon, does that mean people who didn't run a marathon should feel ashamed?
Some people might be proud that they breastfed their baby, does that mean people who bottle fed should be ashamed?

Why on earth shouldn't you be proud of doing something difficult? I'm pretty proud of myself for getting through labour full stop.

janey68 Fri 02-Aug-13 12:53:04

PS I think to actually boast about your birth would be insensitive. But you can't stop people from feeling a sense of achievement - and why should you? I wouldn't tell anyone in real life about my births , unless they asked, and even then I would just give them the facts: that I had a few whiffs of g and a. If they specifically asked 'are you glad that you went without epidural ?' Then I'd answer honestly, yes- I ain't gonna lie! But there's a massive difference between boasting about something and feeling a personal sense of achievement .

PoppyAmex Fri 02-Aug-13 12:54:27

For the love of god; it's something ever single mammal does.

Now raising a human being, supporting them, being a good parent... now there's something to be proud of.

ShoeWhore Fri 02-Aug-13 12:55:34

All drugs come with side effects, don't they? So I suppose every woman has to weigh up the pros and cons of the different options open to them and decide what works for them. for some women some of the options may carry much higher risk which makes them not really a viable option. Everyone is different, that's why we have choices.

I wanted to feel in control and keep as mobile as possible, as I thought that would suit me, so I just went for G&A. I'm pleased I had straightforward deliveries and feel lucky to have had positive experiences as I know it's not always the case. I wouldn't say I'm proud though - there is an element of luck involved after all - can't say I did much different to my friend who had csections tbh!

maja00 Fri 02-Aug-13 12:55:59

Giving birth isn't something every single mammal does - it isn't even something every single woman does. It's hard and painful, why shouldn't you feel proud?

HarderToKidnap Fri 02-Aug-13 12:56:12

I'm not proud of having DS without pain relief cos I just didn't need any. It didn't hurt very much. It would be like being proud of doing the marathon when actually I'd ben helicoptered to the finish line.

However, I think being proud of not having pain relief when labour was hard, and sweaty, and a slog and you tried every technique in the book to avoid pharmaceutical pain relief, is totally valid. Its not everyone's cup of tea and lots of people will think you're bonkers, but that's your personal achievement and you have every right to be proud. Like some people are proud they spotted every plane in the BA fleet or whatever. If it took work and effort, you can be proud of it, whatever it is.

Wuxiapian Fri 02-Aug-13 12:56:37

Didn't make sense to me, either, maja.

Why shouldn't you be proud?! I am very proud that I had such a good, drug-free birthing experience. I certainly don't gloat about it, though.

stopgap Fri 02-Aug-13 12:57:14

I knew few friends who had given birth, and of the two who had epidurals, one lost the use of her left leg for two months afterwards, and the other was given too much medication, leaving her paralysed up to the jaw. Pethidine was a no-go, as I'd had an allergic reaction to that after a kidney operation, so I was terrified of doing the epidural and something going wrong, plus a lifetime of horrendously painful periods gave me the impression that birth would be much like my periods (and it felt exactly the same, and I knew what to do when the pain hit: just quietly zone out and lie on my side).

Personal decision, and I don't think I'm better than anyone else, and I will say that it was medication-free when prompted, but don't otherwise volunteer the information.

Velve Fri 02-Aug-13 12:58:01

Well all types of pain relief, other than paracetamol, available to labouring women makes me puke my guts out (exorcist style). So, if I were to give birth vaginally again, which I won't, I'd be damn proud I had survived without pain relief as I have quite a low pain threshold

maja00 Fri 02-Aug-13 12:58:53

I really think some women need to work on feeling ok about their own choices, then they wouldn't need to feel so defensive about other women's.

"think it's crazy to run 26 miles when you could get the bus, but even I understand why ..." grin

That made me smile (from page 1) - that's all.

Even I'm bored of this thread before it starts, but only because I was on the "Kate's natural labour" one the other day.

That one got quite interesting actually, so good luck with this one !!

ChunkyPickle Fri 02-Aug-13 13:00:00

I had the lot (except weirdly, gas and air), because I needed it I feel no lack of pride in it, but next time I'll skip the morphine (it did nothing for me) and I'll see how I go on everything else because I've recently had dental treatment with no anaesthetic and discovered how wonderful it is to walk out of the clinic feeling just as good as when you went in, rather than the slightly off/groggy feeling I have when I've had jabs.

Personally I don't see that there's anything wrong in being proud of what you've achieved, but don't crow about it as if those who did want pain relief are lesser (and ditto back the immediate epidural people - just because someone wants to try without, doesn't make them stupid for doing so)

DesperatelySeekingSedatives Fri 02-Aug-13 13:01:12

Personally I hated the Pethidine I had first time round when having DD. I felt out of control of my own body, unable to string a sentence together at all. Was pretty horrendous. I didn't like gas and air either. made me feel sick. I did ask for an epidural but it was refused due to there being no one suitable to adminster it and again because I was too far gone that point to have one.

The second time round I had decided on no Pethidine or g&a for above the reasons. I wanted to be in control and not puking my guts up. I also decided no epidural too because I wanted to be out of hospital as soon as possible after the birth and that isn't usually possible if you have an epidural. When I say as soon as possible I mean I was out within 9 hours of Ds's birth.

I made the best decisons for me and my then unborn babies. What other people decide for their's is up to them and nothing to do with anyone else.

PoppyAmex Fri 02-Aug-13 13:01:38

"It's hard and painful, why shouldn't you feel proud?"

You can feel whatever you want, but so is a root canal.

I wish all this pointless energy was harnessed into giving children the best possible parenting we can muster.

I had hypnotherapy, bullshit NCT sessions, read all the "right" books and not one of these very expensive courses/reading material focused on how to care for my baby once she was born - that's what I should've primarily focussed my energy on; educating myself as a future parent.

Anyway, I'm pregnant and my priority hasn't changed: most important thing is for me and my child to leave that hospital in the best possible mental and physical condition.

AidanTheRevengeNinja Fri 02-Aug-13 13:01:45

YANBU. I gave birth with no pain relief (because the anaesthetist was in theatre, couldn't have opiates, yadda yadda - not because of my innate sublime birthing skills) and I still - personally - don't get it.

For me, it was a means to an end, and you get through it as best you can. The experience just wasn't important to me - the outcome was. But I respect that other people feel differently and that is valid.

IfIonlyhadsomesleep Fri 02-Aug-13 13:02:19

The more I go on the less I feel entitled to feel proud as such of anything I've done that might be viewed as an achievement. Delighted, pleased, relieved, grateful for support and genetics - all of those. But anything I've done seems so much to be down to a bit of hard work, or even a lot, combined with huge amounts of luck in meeting the right people at the right time, having my choices turn out well (and being lucky enough to be guided to those choices) that it generally seems quite humbling. And then I also can rid myself of a bit of guilt for the things that haven't turned out so well as there is luck involved in those too.

janey68 Fri 02-Aug-13 13:02:46

Like I said on my thread yesterday, a lot of women who have an epidural with their first baby, are really keen to try to exerience birth without one for subsequent babies.
That tells us something. Among my friends who did this, many of them said that although the second birth was nore painful, it was a better experience overall .

It may not seem a logical thing, but there is definitely an innate desire among some women to experience natural birth.

Equally, there are many women who have epidural first time and are perfectly happy to have it for subsequent births too.

It's about respecting other women's experiences - without necessarily needing to understand them.

OddBoots Fri 02-Aug-13 13:02:52

The marathon analogy is an interesting one as it has long since confused me as to why anyone would choose to run a marathon/jump out of a plane/trek along the great wall of china and when they do choose to why they would expect not only to be admired for that choice but also in many cases for other people to pay out money in support of that decision.

Humans are all a bit strange, we all do odd things, I think it's much easier to think 'each to their own' when it comes to things that have no impact on us at all such as their marathon running or birthing choices and their discussions thereof.

IfIonlyhadsomesleep Fri 02-Aug-13 13:03:28

And for whatever reason, the people I know who had pain relief free births had straightforward, relatively short or at least well paced births-including me. Not sure quite how I can take pride in that.

I had no pain relief. The only people who express admiration are others, I don't personally feel it was a sign of anything other than how things went on the day.

Satnightdropout Fri 02-Aug-13 13:05:52

I've got a friend on Facebook who constantly boasts about not using pain relief to the extent she commented on Kate Middletons birth, saying "wonder if she went without pain relief like I did...doubt it". This is actually a very intelligent woman and usually modest. She has also said that whilst watching One Born Every Minute she hates the "drama queens who scream for England".

I went without any pain relief through both pregnancies, I sure as hell begged for it but was unfortunately too far along.
Have never thought to brag about it though. I only mention it when the topic comes up. But then it's not my biggest achievement tbh like it is for some people.

mrslyman Fri 02-Aug-13 13:05:57

I really think some women need to work on feeling ok about their own choices, then they wouldn't need to feel so defensive about other women's


Bear in mind that if you give birth without pain relief, you are likely, for whatever reason, to get comments along the lines of Well Done, thus perhaps giving you the impression that you have Done Well.

MiaowTheCat Fri 02-Aug-13 13:07:45

I never got much in the way of pain relief options - I don't dilate and go officially into labour until right at the bitter end (under 15 mins last time) so I get nowt cos the great cervix says no.

No brownie points or bragging - I just don't get much choice in the matter and with DD2 they only just about got the gas and air hose untangled in time for the "pushing" (well her just deciding to launch herself full pelt down the birth canal giving me no options in the matter) stage.

Doesn't make me better or worse - I've just got a slightly funnily wired body.

janey68 Fri 02-Aug-13 13:08:27

Precisely oddboots! I have no desire to run a marathon either, but I accept that for those who do, it's entirely understandable that they feel personal pride that they've pushed themselves through a pain barrier and achieved it.

But despite never running a marathon, I did very much desire to give birth naturally

As you say- we are all different.

Wbdn28 Fri 02-Aug-13 13:09:10

I'd like to hear people saying they are "proud" of using pain relief when giving birth, as well. They can be proud of making the right decision for them if it's purely by choice, or proud of reluctantly agreeing that it is necessary if it's the right thing to do in the circumstances.

Some people are going to end up needing pain relief and they can also be just as proud as the next woman smile

Satnightdropout Fri 02-Aug-13 13:09:28

No, tell I lie, had paracetamol the second time as that's what the midwife recommended when I called up, along with "try and get some sleep".
An hour later my daughter was born and the paracetamol did f all!!

Mutley77 Fri 02-Aug-13 13:10:14

I reckon I'd feel proud (the same way I feel proud that my DC are amazing and my DD is always top of the class!) - but it's how you handle that pride that I think is the issue.

WestieMamma Fri 02-Aug-13 13:10:54

Now I think about it I suppose I am a bit proud that I didn't have any pain relief. I don't think it's because it's better than having it though, more that I survived despite having no pain relief. If that makes sense confused

I didn't have pain relief because baby chose not to hang around long enough for me to have any. If there had been time, I would have had anything/everything available.

bronya Fri 02-Aug-13 13:14:17

Hmm, maybe I just don't get the pride thing? I was (and am) incredibly relieved that it all worked out ok and that I have a healthy child. I don't think that was as a result of anything I did - chance along with good hospital staff.

If my body co-operated better next time (especially if labour was significantly shorter and I hadn't gone several days without sleep by the time the important stuff happened!) so I didn't feel I needed pain relief then that would be beyond amazing, but I'd just feel incredibly lucky.

Different perspectives perhaps.

I was in a water-pool with DD, and had some gas and air with DS.

The water was probably more helpful, but wasn't available to me with DC2.

I listened to my favourite Chinese pan-pipe/flute music too - the Guo brothers. Would have had aromatherapy too but wasn't allowed in my NHS water-pool !

Agree with you IfIOnly - I'm getting to think more like that too with the wisdom of the years !

(I know I said I was bored earlier, but actually I never get that tired of talking about the births of my babies ! Am glad and grateful they went as well as they did - although of course they still both bloody hurt like hell !)

rowtunda Fri 02-Aug-13 13:16:06

I didn't really have time as it all progressed rather quickly and as a medic I was aware that the chance of me getting stronger stuff like an epidural had well and truly passed. It was just luck of the draw, as many of these things are. I was glad to have avoided medical intervention but I don't see it as a reason to be proud - its not something that you nessecessarily have control over at the time, the body does what the body does.

What I do detest is earth motherly types who see it as a badge of honour and do the whole FB bragging bit, congratulating other mums for natural birth etc etc as I know it does upset other mums who had to have epidurals and medical intervention etc

Charleymouse Fri 02-Aug-13 13:16:50

Obviously I'm really proud as I had only paracetamol for two of my births. It obviously means I am proud of having a fanjo like a bucket!
Tongue in cheek.

I am proud because I worked bloody hard and had 2/3 of my birth experiences exactly how I wanted them.

You will also find many people have different interpretations of pain relief. Eg
I had no pain relief except yoga and deep breathing
I had no pain relief except TENS machine
I had no pain relief except Paracetamol
I had no pain relief except gas and air
I had no pain relief except pethidine
I had no pain relief except an epidural

You tend to get people shouting about both extremes,
I am well 'ard only had a stick to bite on
I had everything I could

Me I am just so proud that my rather flabby mishapen body can produce such wonderful awesome children and by golly I am proud of it for that.

thebody Fri 02-Aug-13 13:17:16

personally I think it's an achievement to give birth with or without pain relief.

Thurlow Fri 02-Aug-13 13:20:24

In an ideal world, women should hopefully have the birth they want and if that involves no pain relief, water birth, hypnobirthing etc., great for them.

But I do know what you mean, OP - some women, and I stress some, act as if there's a bloody medal to be had for having a pain or intervention free birth, as if that somehow means that they are 'better' at giving birth than women who needed pain relief or intervention, as if it is a greater achievement.

And for the majority of women who use pain relief or end up having intervention, its not because of something they have done, it's just because of the way the birth has gone. So if they do feel proud of not having pain relief or intervention, it's a very misplaced pride. It just so happened that their baby wasn't in slightly the wrong position, they didn't pick up a bacterial infection, their baby didn't get tired or distressed or have the cord around their neck - all things massively out of the mum's control.

Thurlow Fri 02-Aug-13 13:21:04

Oh, yes, and to echo thebody, every woman who has given birth in whatever way should feel proud. Childbirth in itself is something to be proud of.

DuelingFanjo Fri 02-Aug-13 13:21:04

RE Screaming in agony. I was in agony - I never screamed.
I did have pain relief after a while though but even during the pain I didn't scream

WestieMamma Fri 02-Aug-13 13:21:12

I had no pain relief except the paramedic squeezing my hand and shouting at me to look at her, in an attempt to curb my hysteria as I cried like a baby and screamed to god to make it stop blush

Fallout1977 Fri 02-Aug-13 13:21:21

I didn't have any pain relief for the birth of my 3 children and that's because I can't have most strong painkillers without them making me throw up all over the place and I was too terrified to have a needle in my spine. Luckily I didn't need any as I'm well hard! ;)

Nacster Fri 02-Aug-13 13:23:55

I am proud of it because I had an horrendous first birth, induced and given Meptid without my consent. I don't like feeling "spacey" or drunk. All the "pain relief" did was make my experience worse, as I was no longer able to cope with the contractions.

So with birth two and three I had drug-free home births. The source of pride is not that I judge people who do choose to use drugs, just that I didn't want to, and had to really stick to my guns to get what I wanted. I'm proud that I fought for, and got, what was important for me and my children. In a different scenario I could have exactly the same feeling of pride for having an epidural and c-section!

LilacPeony Fri 02-Aug-13 13:24:25

I have no problem with anyone feeling proud of it, but crowing about it is yawnsome.

corlan Fri 02-Aug-13 13:27:32

I went into my first labour thinking I'm so hard that I wouldn't need pain relief. I ended up having every pain killer available and being told to stop screaming so much by the midwife!

I went into my second labour ready to accept every pain killer available. (Unfortunately, the labour went so quickly nothing worked and I got told to stop screaming so much by the midwife again blush)

Anthracite Fri 02-Aug-13 13:27:43

It's not just luck that women give birth without any pain relief. It takes a lot of psychological effort and drive. It is an achievement.

Many women prefer to deny their own comfort for the sake of their baby.

CheungFun Fri 02-Aug-13 13:27:56

I like the marathon analogy!

I said before hand that I didn't want an epidural as the idea of it scare me, I'm very ticklish and I don't think I'd be able to be still enough whilst they put one in tbh. I had 2 paracetamol at home and arrived at the hospital 9cms dilated, I had gas and air and delivered DS in the birthing pool.

I was proud of myself for not panicking and getting through, DH and DM were with me and DM and I both found it a very empowering experience.

I wouldn't judge anyone for whatever way they give birth, each person has different pain thresholds and sometimes things can go wrong which means medical intervention is required. As far as I'm concerned as long as the mum and baby are happy and healthy nothing else matters!

thebody Fri 02-Aug-13 13:28:05

it's not just childbirth though is it? some people just bang on about crap. marathon running, diets, home baking, DIY. who cares really.

raising kids is an achievement in itself.

Samu2 Fri 02-Aug-13 13:28:06

Well, I am proud of my 4 labours with just gas and air which lasted an hour from start to finish.

I am equally proud of my first birth that lasted 38 hours with an epidural.

I didn't like the epidural though and was happy I managed to avoid it with the others.

I once knew this woman online who claimed that women only have pain meds in labour because they don't know how to manage pain by breathing properly. She berated women for their choice of using pain relief then her husband came online spouting the same crap. Yeah, I grinned when it came out that 9 months later she had an epidural.

Notupduffedatpresent Fri 02-Aug-13 13:28:24

But it's really, really important. Your child's future health, happiness and life prospects depend on the sort of birth you have. When you're trying to get them into that great school, when they are applying for Oxbridge, when they go for their first job, how will you feel when you / they have to tick the box on the form which admits that mummy had an epidural.

(I'm personally very proud of how brave I was while they were giving me the epidural, and how very calm I managed to stay during my emergency section and when DS1 was in SCBU for a week afterwards. I'm also proud of my just lovely and completely pain free elective section, but mainly I'm just proud of the two children who I'm in the process of raising, and their births seem largely irrelevant now.)

SoniaGluck Fri 02-Aug-13 13:30:42

Jesus, I'm proud of all sorts of things that would be pointless / incomprehensible to other people.

I'm proud of the exams that I've passed. Should I not be because other people failed or couldn't take any?

I'm proud of my hardworking children. Should I not be because some other people's children can't find work?

And I am bloody proud of the fact that I had one birth with minimal pain relief and 4 without any pain relief at all. Why should I not be? I keep my pride to myself - apart from here and now. I don't boast about it. I never mention it, in fact. But, yes. I was proud of it at the time of the births, and I am still.

Being proud of something isn't the same as boasting about it in order to make other people feel inferior.

God knows, there are plenty of things that I've done or not done in my life that I'm not proud of.

I'm proud because for a variety of reasons I didn't want pain relief and I did without it 3 times.

I don't announce that fact to anyone, I don't act smug about it, I don't give a shit if anyone knows.... But I am proud of the fact that I did it.

And for the record... "Oh your labour must have been less painful than mine, that's why you didn't need pain relief" is just as twattish a thing to say tbh. You have no idea how much pain another person was in, and people respond very differently to similar pain levels.

I've known grown women who cry at a papercut... I'm never very surprised when they say they had pain relief but I do hmm when they then rant on about how much more extreme their pain must have been than women who had none.

I feel pain just as strongly as the next person, and the pain of labour was intense, like nothing I've felt before. Added to days of no sleep and complications during births it wasn't all gentle chanting, scented oils and out plops a baby. However I'm quite good at zoning out and dealing with pain. And I see nothing wrong with being proud of the fact that I didn't have to use pain relief which I was uncomfortable about. I wouldn't have been ashamed if I had needed pain relief, but I would have been disappointed.

Mandy21 Fri 02-Aug-13 13:33:14

I have run a marathon and I have had a natural birth grin - won't tell you which was harder and which I'm most proud of smile.

I did (probably) make a bit of a song & dance about my 2nd pregnancy (and it being pain-relief free) because I only got to 27 weeks in my 1st pregnancy and absolutely everything was out of my control when I went into labour. I felt guilty (still do) that I'd caused the premature labour / nightmare delivery / months in special care.

So when I got to 39+6 second time around, had a "normal" birth with no pain relief, I was immensely proud of myself.

Its a very personal thing.

JollyHolidayGiant Fri 02-Aug-13 13:36:35

I think I would be happy if I had the birth I pictured having. I'm sad about the way DS's birth went. But not because of having to have pain relief. The happiest situation for me would have been an intervention-free labour. Due to complications this didn't happen with DS and now I have been strongly advised to have a CS in subsequent pregnancies so I won't even get the chance to try again.

weeblueberry Fri 02-Aug-13 13:38:18

I think a lot of people confuse 'mentioning it' with 'boasting about it'. All you have to do now is say that you didn't have drugs while in labour and suddenly you're a boasting cow. hmm

Someone had a thread earlier where a FB status included that she'd had a drug free birth and the OP seemed pretty sensitive to this. It's pretty possible it was simply mentioned and never intended to be a 'look what I can do!!' type message.

Being (vocally) proud of something isn't the same as putting others down for doing the opposite. Why can't people get that?

Happens with all sorts really, "well I broke my leg and I still walked on it", it seems to be this weird idea that accepting help when you are in pain is weak.

janey68 Fri 02-Aug-13 13:42:25

Summerain- hear hear.

The thread yesterday actually shows how far things have swung, that its almost seen as somehow wrong to have a natural birth in case it offends someone who didn't! Or it's only acceptable if we say 'well of course my labour was quite short, not too painful...'

I remember on a childbirth thread some time ago, I mentioned that during my first birth I actually got to the point where it hurt so much I felt death would be preferable. I gather from what other women say that this isn't an uncommon feeling. One MNer actually wrote that she didn't believe me, because I gave birth without epidural and therefore in her opinion, my level of pain couldn't have been that severe! Unbelievable!!

It goes back to the point that if women feel secure that they had the right birth for them, why would they need to try to compare with other people's? If you can only handle the fact that you had pain relief by convincing yourself that another woman must have had it easy, then you need to take a look at why you feel uncomfortable with your experience.

Equally, if you Judge women who opt for epidurals or c section then you need to examine why it is you feel the need to do that.

Sparklysilversequins Fri 02-Aug-13 13:44:44

I had everything going and then ended up after a 43 hour labour having a c section anyway as ds was stuck and would never have come out naturally.

My Mum boasted about never having had pain relief with any of her dc. Her longest labour was 6 hours and no interventions required in any. It made me angry because as I said to her I am pretty sure I too could have managed a 6 hour labour without pain relief, but 43 hours? Not so much.

ThursdayLast Fri 02-Aug-13 13:47:15

I get what you're saying OP, and can relate.
I didn't necessarily want any pain relief, but in the end I had about four shots of pethidine, gas and air until it stopped working, and an epidural that I was screaming to have topped up countless times...
Because there's this perception that a natural birth is superior, I still feel a little sad about my experience if I think on it for too long.

RedHelenB Fri 02-Aug-13 13:53:07

Having a naturl birth, no pain relief birth with dc3 WAS far better and I actually DID feel my body telling me what to do BUT I had to have ventouse & epidurals with first two so it isn't really a matter of choice in a lot of cases.

As I said on the Kate thread I do think you have to recognise that different women have different experiences and different degrees of pain (eg SummerRain's post) - it's not a level playing field (if people want to make it a competition !)

thebestlaidplans Fri 02-Aug-13 13:55:36

Where do people boast or crow about it, do we have examples? Or is it just assumed that people who've had drug free births are smug and like to show off?
I can't believe these threads keep popping up, can we just agree it's each to their own?
I've had a drug-free home birth and I've run a marathon, very few people know either fact about me, because nobody would give a flying fig. And why should they? Live and let live.

SignoraStronza Fri 02-Aug-13 14:06:14

Fair enough if you're one of the few who manages a normal labour and straightforward birth of a perfectly positioned baby. For anyone induced, augmented, with a back to back baby then childbirth ceases to be 'natural' birth (vaginal maybe) and pain relief could be rather useful. wink

If you can do without pain relief then you're bloody lucky. My SIL banned on and on about her perfect drug free water birth over dinner once, knowing full well my first was a traumatic emcs following induction/syntocin and denied pain relief. I was in a heavily pg quandrary over vbac or emcs. She asked me what kind of birth I would like this time and it took all my willpower not to tell her to fuck off. grin

janey68 Fri 02-Aug-13 14:11:50

But you see, there we go again, 'normal' labour, 'perfectly positioned baby', etc etc.. It's almost as though its only ok to have a natural birth if it can be qualified with 'well of course I'm lucky, labour was quick, baby perfectly positioned...'

Look, childbirth hurts. Massively. (Remembers very long labour with awkwardly positioned and very big dc1...)

Can we just respect other women without having to qualify our statements. I wouldn't dream of telling a woman to 'man up and do it naturally like I did', but actually it's just as bad to suggest that women who had naturally births must have had it easy.

MiaowTheCat Fri 02-Aug-13 14:14:21

I'd be telling the SIL "I'd like a birth without you involved, commenting or evaluating it please"

People talk a load of shite and lie through their teeth. I had my cousin wittering on about her amazing birth and offering me all sorts of tips (she was blethering on and and on and on about how I should have a home birth because she wished she had) and in the end the only way I could shut her up was to make some intentionally superficial comment to stun her into silence for long enough for me to make my escape... I think I said, "No I won't be having a home birth - I have cream carpets" and then scarpered from the room while she stood there open mouthed with horror.

Later found out from her husband that she'd lied through her teeth about her "amazing" birth. It's like - why the fuck bother?!

MummytoMog Fri 02-Aug-13 14:14:27

I've done a forceps delivery with a spinal and a straightforward delivery with gas and air. I didn't feel like a failure first time round, but I did feel a bit pissed off that despite being 8cm when I arrived at hospital the little bugger still got stuck and had to be yanked out, resulting in a delightfully large number of stitches and a three day stay in hospital.

I feel proud of my body for getting with the programme second time round and squeezing out DC2 without a fuss.

MummytoMog Fri 02-Aug-13 14:16:33

Oh and after six hours of pushing on a stuck baby, when they took the gas and air away because they said I wasn't pushing hard enough with it, I thought I might actually die from the pain. I seriously thought I might die from it.

hoochycoo Fri 02-Aug-13 14:18:04

You've got little imagination or empathy if you can't imagine why anyone would want to push themselves to achieve something that was extremely difficult.

I had my second child drug free, despite five days of contractions, and her being brow presentation with the cord wrapped round her neck three times. I was not just lucky, it was a fucking marathon of pain, fear, endurance and mental agility to keep positive and keep going. And the euphoria and sense of self worth and power was so incredibly worth it! It's just a fucking shame I had a hemoerage 5 mins after and had to get a transfusion, catheter etc etc. felt like utter shit physically for a while after. But mentally was euphoric.

Being completely drug free as you have you baby is incredible. Feeling my daughter's body pass through mine was incredibly real, raw and visceral. I remember thinking I could feel every bone of her, even her ears. And I remember reaching down and feeling her eyes and eyebrows coming out first. It was an incredible incredible experience, one I'm glad to have had. My first birth I had a shot of pethidine and gas and air, and it was a spacey unreal adventure. Still memorable and amazing but not as incredible

PostBellumBugsy Fri 02-Aug-13 14:20:37

I have met some women who get a bit boasty about not having had pain relief but they'd boast about having licked their own envelope, so I ignore them! grin

OhDearNigel Fri 02-Aug-13 14:22:10

I'm not proud of my completely pain relief-free birth. I'm really happy that that's what I got but it was merely a mix of genetics and luck.

What I am proud of is breastfeeding. It was very, very difficult and I really had to soldier on through a lot of pain. I would have given birth every day in preference. I am proud because I stuck it out, I usually give up when things get difficult but I was determined to carry on. DD was exclusively BF until 7 months, has never had formula and I am still feeding her at 3.5 (although considerably less enthusiastic about it now !)

TobyLerone Fri 02-Aug-13 14:23:48

I am very proud of having given birth with no pain relief whatsoever.

I don't care what pain relief anyone else chose/chooses to have.

Having a baby with no pain relief doesn't make me better than anyone else. But it does make me very proud that I completed such an epic feat all by myself.

It also makes me all the more sad and disappointed that DC3 will likely be born via ELCS due to complications outside of my control sad

fishandmonkey Fri 02-Aug-13 14:26:00

i think some women work very hard at managing the pain and panic because they want a drug-free birth so it's not necessarily because they have a less painful birth that they don't use drugs.
i'd have felt very proud of myself if i'd managed it and i'm impressed when women do manage the pain without drugs.

hoochycoo Fri 02-Aug-13 14:29:10

I'm unlikely to ever climb a mountain, run a marathon or walk the gear wall of china. But I wouldn't think anyone who had and was proud of it was boastful, lucky or strange. I'd think they we're amazing, interesting and impressive.

TobyLerone Fri 02-Aug-13 14:29:47

YY fish. It really is quite belittling when people say "you managed a pain-relief-free birth so therefore yours must have been less painful than mine".

Personally, I worked really hard to stick to my wish of not wanting pain relief, despite almost giving in a couple of times.

I would never say to someone who did need pain relief, "I managed a drug-free birth so therefore you must be a bit pathetic", because it's just not true. Neither is it true that those of us who choose drug-free deliveries have an 'easy time' and just don't need pain relief.

Echocave Fri 02-Aug-13 14:30:35

Yes probably because for lots of women who do it it's really hard and they have to be brave to get through it. Some women have a harder time than others physically and mentally. There are so many factors at play in most birth scenarios that its a very individual experience.

However I had a planned C section for low lying placenta and being a virtual senior citizen(!) and I am thoroughly relieved that the baby was fine and I didn't have to go through agony to get it. I'm sure id be proud of myself if I'd done it the natural way but i dont feel cheated or slighted by pals who tell me their natural birth stories - I'm just delighted to have my dc!

TobyLerone Fri 02-Aug-13 14:30:40

Also, I don't expect other people to be impressed with me for a drug-free delivery. Oddly enough, it's not something I talk about much!

rowtunda Fri 02-Aug-13 14:35:16

yes but fishmonkey its your sort of comments that insinuate that women who did have pain relief or non natural instrumental deliveries etc didn't work 'very hard'.

Its not as black and white as that - I've seen loads of natural deliveries, instrumental deliveries, ventouse, forceps etc and believe me all the women are working bloody hard. I really think it is luck of the draw, how your baby is positioned, the shape of your pelvis etc as to what sort of delivery you get etc.

I didn't have pain relief but I was seriously fucked off when someone text me to say she was glad to hear of someone having a 'nice easy' delivery - it was not the right thing to text to someone after they had just given birth - EASY, EASY!!

Thatballwasin Fri 02-Aug-13 14:35:31

Second birth was g&a only, first was everything under the sun. If I'd had the experience I had with DD1 without pain relief there is no way I could have faced having DD2. As it was, the curcumstances were totally different- the second was bareable without pain relief (pain wasn't torturous, I'm sure most people could have coped, it wasn't me being brave), the other included a trip to the HDU and I couldn't have coped at all without the epidural.

Thurlow Fri 02-Aug-13 14:37:00

To me it's sometimes the implication that if you took pain relief, you did so because you were doing something wrong. I don't mean that to criticise anyone who is happy that they had a drug-free labour, but there from some people there is that implied sense - such as

Anthracite It takes a lot of psychological effort and drive... Many women prefer to deny their own comfort for the sake of their baby

How I read that comment, the implication is that people who accepted pain relief just didn't have the requisite drive and chose their own 'comfort' over how their baby might feel. On a bad day you can take comments like that to mean you were just being selfish and lazy.

The problem is no one knows how labour felt for anyone other than themselves, it is impossible to compare pain levels and tiredness, so really no one should be able to pass comment on anyone else's decision.

Though, of course, the real problem is that how a baby is born is considered something that women can either beat themselves up about or be smug about.

Beautyatethebeast Fri 02-Aug-13 14:37:31

Firstly noone should ever feel as though they've failed.

Some people strive to have no pain relief because we are told it makes things more straightforward, less likely for intervention and quicker recovery.

I had no pain relief and feel 'proud' for my own personal reasons.

'Friends' told me nothing but horror stories of birth throughout my pregnancy, they pretty much convinced me it was the worst experience in the world and I'd probably die or never get over the trauma, I then went into labour early and unexpectedly quickly

Hospital refused to believe I was even in Labour, refused me pain relief as it was too 'early' they put me on a ward with nothing after trying to send me home.

Ds was born 2 hours later after crowning for a good while.

I do feel proud in a way that despite everything, I managed to give birth to a healthy baby boy basically all on my own, because literally the only support I had was the last 5 minutes of pushing when they realised he was coming and rushed me to the delivery suite.

I'd never criticize anyone else for their choices or experiences, but we should all feel bloody proud and stop criticising other women, threads like this don't help.

BeCool Fri 02-Aug-13 14:38:09

I feel proud that despite being offered pain relief injections continually during both births, I didn't have any.
I don't want a medal, I don't want to shout about it, I simply didn't need it and was able to communicate that. I felt I could manage the pain/discomfort myself and this made me feel really positive.

Childbirth is often portrayed as screaming/pain/awful experience. Some people have this experience, some people don't. We can have lots of choices, or everything can be completely out of our control.

If I had decided to opt for a medicalised birth things my experience would have been quite different that the one I had following my chosen "natural" route, which I had prepared for. Yes I was fortunate that with both births medical intervention wasn't necessary.

I can feel proud of A) making my choices and B) sticking to them when the hospital staff were pressuring me to have drugs I didn't feel were necessary. WTF is wrong with that?

BTW for me "drug free" includes using air and gas. smile It's my own personal definition. Others might not class that as "drug free". I really don't care.

Again, people are assuming a drug free birth is only possible if the birth is short and easy. Thats not my experience at all and judging by other comments on this thread I'm not alone.

I don't make assumptions on other women based on their birth choices, why do some assume my births must have been easy as if they weren't I would have been screaming for drugs? confused I'm not going to list all the factors that made my births difficult, it's irrelevant really. But they weren't easy. I don't look for validation, I chose to refuse pain relief and am happy with my decision, I don't need praise or acknowledgment. However I can't understand the need to justify one's own choices by minimising the experiences of others.

So what if you used pain relief? It doesn't make much difference in the grand scheme of things, just be proud you gave birth by whatever means and don't feel the need to justify your choice by comparing your birth to anyone else's.

Fourwillies Fri 02-Aug-13 14:41:31

I'm just proud that after years of infertility and my body doing all it could to ruin everything, I got to be a mother.

And I had all three by planned Caesarian at my request. grin

EmmaBemma Fri 02-Aug-13 14:45:44

The alternative to pain relief needn't be "screaming in agony for hours on end". Some people experience pain differently, and some people have more straightforward labours.

I think it's understandable that a woman might feel inwardly proud that she managed to push out a baby without being medicated, even if that was due to stuff beyond her control. I do agree that it's not something one should bang on about to anyone except nearest and dearest though.

PostBellumBugsy Fri 02-Aug-13 14:46:13

Maybe it is the use of the word 'pride or proud' that is the issue. To be proud of yourself means that you are "exultantly aware of the credit due to or reflected on yourself".

Perhaps it would be better to say that it is fine to feel a sense of achievement if you wanted to be pain relief free during your birth & you achieve that - rather than you want to boast about it.

I had no pain relief for one of my DCs but I can honestly say that I don't feel proud or that I get some huge sense of achievement - it was just the way that particular birth happened. The only thing I feel about my births is grateful that I had healthy babies & a huge sense of relief I won't ever be doing it again!

FrogsGoWhat Fri 02-Aug-13 14:51:12

I desperately wanted a drug free birth. And for the first 48 hours it was....

BUT DD had other ideas and was back to back and also mal-presented. She needed ventouse to turn her so the top of her head was presenting rather than her ear, and then needed forceps when her shoulders got stuck (still back to back).

I couldn't pee for 3 days and even now still don't like to think about the tear I had on top of the episiotomy.

Drugs? I had the LOT! DD was then very very spaced out and shivery for a good week as a result I think.

Not my fault, not her fault, just luck of the draw.

handcream Fri 02-Aug-13 14:53:05

I must admit when I did my first NCT class there were a lot of unrealistic expectations about pain relief and people claiming they didnt want to be spaced out and it was better for the baby etc. Half of the group ended up having a C section

A very wise doctor said to me that the time to decide whether you want pain relief is when you are in pain. Of course there are circumstances when you are so far gone that you cannot have any but generally I thought that good advice.

Of course you could fib and say you didnt have any when you did......

Thurlow Fri 02-Aug-13 14:55:50

Good post, PostBellum, and that definition of pride has explained to me why something about the word was rankling with me. Obviously a lot of this debate is going to depend on your own understanding of the word 'pride'. Feeling very happy and glad that you had the birth that you wanted is amazing and I hope most women get to experience that. Using the term 'feeling proud' obviously suggests to some people exactly the phrase you've used, that extra credit is due to them.

Meringue33 Fri 02-Aug-13 15:00:41

I didn't have pain relief except G&A as it was a very quick labour and I nearly gave birth in the MAC! Afterwards in the post natal ward there was a v young mum who also hasn't been taken seriously and didn't even have G&A! She rang all her friends & family, loudly, on her mobile, to tell them "Yeah I had the baby raw. Caveman style!"

ThreeMusketeers Fri 02-Aug-13 15:10:05

Could not, no, would not want to even start to imagine a child birth without pain relief.

Women, who style themselves as Mother-Heroes simply because they refused pain relief are rather deluded.

Or perhaps they need validation so desperately that anything goes, anything that makes them feel slightly better about themselves.

Each their own, it doesn't matter an iota how the baby was born as long as it was born.

TobyLerone Fri 02-Aug-13 15:11:34

Each their own, it doesn't matter an iota how the baby was born as long as it was born.

And yet, ThreeMusketeers, your slightly snide and totally one-sided post suggests entirely otherwise.

ThreeMusketeers Fri 02-Aug-13 15:14:06

Having read pages of snide remarks about pain relief, it was to be expected hmm

TobyLerone Fri 02-Aug-13 15:16:32

Justify it however you like. Just don't lie and say it doesn't matter to you when it so clearly does.

SoniaGluck Fri 02-Aug-13 15:17:55

Women, who style themselves as Mother-Heroes simply because they refused pain relief are rather deluded.

Or perhaps they need validation so desperately that anything goes, anything that makes them feel slightly better about themselves.

Whatever. hmm

ThreeMusketeers Fri 02-Aug-13 15:21:19

It doesn't matter to me what other do with their bodies. It does not.
It irritates me if the choice to have a pain relief during birth is deemed as a 'failure'.
It irritates me because it is idiotic.

exoticfruits Fri 02-Aug-13 15:21:54

I had quick, easy births with no pain relief- it isn't something that I was 'proud' about- it was sheer good luck.

TobyLerone Fri 02-Aug-13 15:23:05

Has anyone on this thread called anyone else's birth a 'failure'? confused

exoticfruits Fri 02-Aug-13 15:23:18

It is idiotic , ThreeMusketeers, it makes women feel guilty and it really doesn't matter.

exoticfruits Fri 02-Aug-13 15:25:03

They start threads, Toby, saying they feel a failure. They plan the 'perfect' birth and are then disappointed when it doesn't go according to plan. Much simpler not to have a plan.

LynetteScavo Fri 02-Aug-13 15:31:09

I think people mentioning they needed no pain relief is more to do with relief, than pride.

Saying someone suffered during labour,screaming in agony, avoiding pain relief because they just didn't want it is just silly. When it hurts that much you need it.

I speak as someone who had the most painful labour ever. (I don't care what you all say, my pain was the worst any woman has ever experienced and I really bloody needed that epidural) and also a labour where I didn't need gas and air, because there was no pain.

Minifingers Fri 02-Aug-13 15:36:43

I went through the whole of my pregnancy not eating Brie or drinking alcohol. Not wanting to expose my baby to opioids so that it spent its first few hours in the world in a state of sedation was just a continuation of this. Ditto not wanting to increase the likelihood of having to need baby pulled out with instruments, hence not wanting epidural.

Labour pain is agonising but it's over when it's over, and I was well motivated and well supported to get through it without drugs once I'd made a decision to do this.

Minifingers Fri 02-Aug-13 15:43:00

As for deciding whether you want pain relief when you're in pain - err no. If you don't want pain relief then make birth choices which optimise your chance of getting through labour without needing it: choose a homebirth, get a doula or an independent midwife, go to a birth centre staffed by midwives skilled at supporting women through drug free births, try to arrange access to a birth pool. Statistically, choosing these options appears to increase your chance of a drug free labour.

fishandmonkey Fri 02-Aug-13 15:43:31

no one is MAKING you feel guilty if you have pain relief. those are your own emotions and you are responsible for them.
and some people do just want an easy ride during labour - i'm not judging but that is the case. i don't know what the deal is with the nhs because i had my baby at a private hospital, but there were plenty of women at my hospital that got their epidural as soon as active labour began and practically slept through the whole thing. they were not ashamed, did not feel like failures and don't feel the need to defend their choices. that's the birth they chose. it required very little preparation and effort compared to for instance my sil who practiced hypnotherapy for months in advance and managed to have a back-to-back birth after a 3 day labour with no drugs. i'm impressed by the stamina of the woman.
i say well bloody done to those of you who managed it without drugs (no hidden massages in that statement to those of you who didn't - but i'm sure some of you will read some into it anyway).

Thurlow Fri 02-Aug-13 15:46:28

Of course, not all women chose to have pain relief purely because of the level of pain they are in. If your labour is very long, and you've spent the better part of two days contracting, not resting, not eating and not drinking, exhaustion kicks in too and some form of pain relief can offer much needed respite.

I chose to have an epidural because after 36 hours with no rest or food and struggling to keep water down, I knew I was hitting a level of exhaustion where, with obviously still hours to go, I needed to try and get some respite and try and regain a little bit of strength before it got to the pushing stage. The level of pain was manageable. The length of time it had gone on was not.

jammiedonut Fri 02-Aug-13 15:47:27

I certainly don't feel proud about the lack of pain relief, I reserve my pride for the beautiful boy that I made :-) I got 13 hours into my labour and BEGGED for pain relief, in any form. The anaesthetist refused due to my past history of allergic reactions. They simply weren't willing to risk it. It was absolutely heartbreaking and took a good few hours for the panic to subside and for me to regain control. Any woman who can go through labour/ birth a baby/ deal with the recovery aswell as a newborn deserves to be proud, and no one should take that away from them.

rowtunda Fri 02-Aug-13 15:51:04

fishandmonkey I think you probably have a warped view of others peoples birth experiences based on your comments. I very much doubt that anyone 'sleeps through' labour even if they have an epidural. Oh, of course you can have general anaesthetic for emergency c/s but surely you wouldn't accuse those women of just 'wanting an easy ride'.

I find your comments very insulting and judgmental to a hell of alot of women.

Allegrogirl Fri 02-Aug-13 15:58:30

rowtunda I slept through my contractions when on an epidural. I got ripped to shreds when pushing as I had no control over what I was doing, numb from the waist down.

Just had G&A next. Syntocin induced and agony but at least I could walk afterwards.

fishandmonkey Fri 02-Aug-13 16:01:59

rowtunda these are women i know. one of whom skyped me whilst in labour, laughing and joking. if my view is warped then so is theirs because i'm basing my view on their personal accounts. i slept when i had my epidural. totally pain-free transition. it was a hell of a lot easier than the previous 12 hours had been.

maja00 Fri 02-Aug-13 16:02:11

I also know someone who gave birth privately and had a epidural from first twinge onwards. And why not?

I slept for a couple of hours at 8cm+ and they only woke me up to push.

fishandmonkey Fri 02-Aug-13 16:03:46

rowtunda i'm sorry that you feel insulted and judged. that was not my intention at all.

LynetteScavo Fri 02-Aug-13 16:04:00

Minifingers, I agree with you that choosing the options you mentioned Statistically, choosing the options you mentioned appears to increase the chance of a drug free labour, but when a woman finds themselves in an unfamiliar,scary hospital environment, with a terrified partner and uncaring staff by no fault of her own, she shouldn't feel bad for needing pain relief. You have just made me feel really, really bad about the labour I had 14 years ago. I did everything I could to ensure my baby had the best start in life. And I needed that epidural. I had nightmares afterwards about what would have happened if I couldn't have had it. I'm actually shocked at how bad your post has made me feel.

Hulababy Fri 02-Aug-13 16:05:40

I just treated the list of pain relief as a menu - tried the lot! :D Is that not what I was supposed to do then? ;)

Seriously though - I'm no wuss, but I was in pain. And the induction went on for 50 hours. Pain, with sickness - sorry, but there is no reason for me to be in that amount of pain - and so after a while, once I had thought straight, I had pain relief. It didn't cure it all but boy did it help! And meant that when I ended up with a cs not much more had to be done to prep me.

Hulababy Fri 02-Aug-13 16:07:58

"no one is MAKING you feel guilty if you have pain relief. those are your own emotions and you are responsible for them."

Can I point out - statements like that are a load of rubbish. People can and do make others feel guilty or unhappy. Normally the person using such a statement is the one saying something they know is hurtful Not necessarily in this case - not read it all - but pretty often it is. Yes, people have their own emotions - but others can most definite be the cause of bringing those emotions to the front!

ThisWayForCrazy Fri 02-Aug-13 16:08:11

Because I didn't need it??

PoppyAmex Fri 02-Aug-13 16:08:22

So now we're comparing inflicting conditions such as toxoplasmosis or alcohol fetal syndrome to pain relief? FFS

Yeah, no smugness or judgement there.

honeytea Fri 02-Aug-13 16:10:22

I think that it is fine if women feel proud about giving birth without pain relief. If a woman sets themself a goal and succeeds then she is entitled to be proud. It is her personal goal and it doesn't mean that those women who have a different goal are wrong/bad mothers but they shouldn't resent a woman feeling proud of herself.

I liken it to friends who have run marathons, I have neither the skill or inclination to run a marathon but I don't resent those who do. I had no intention to give birth with out pain relief ( I had gas and air and a mobile epidural) but I have huge respect for those women who manage a pain relief free birth.

fishandmonkey Fri 02-Aug-13 16:12:20

hulababy you are wrong

BeCool Fri 02-Aug-13 16:13:02

I can't believe I posted on this thread above - threads of this ilk are such a wind up!!

Everyone is different - there you go!

<<file with all the "all you breast feeders are doing it to make me feel bad" threads>>

figrus Fri 02-Aug-13 16:13:33

I had a birth with no pain relief. After I felt a sort of primal understanding of how millions of women before gave birth naturally. It made me proud. I was also up and moving about immediately after and felt wonderfully clear headed.

It wasn't by choice. I was begging for epidural. But the midwives were busy and wouldn't check how far dilated I was. There said I couldn't possibly be far gone because I was too happy looking sitting up in bed. When they finally, after much persuasion checked, they were shocked. I stumbled upstairs to delivery suite, lay on bed and pushed. Then all he'll broke loose cos ds got stuck but that's another story. Midwives apologised to me after.

My previous two births involved epidurals and gas. If, and I'm not, I was going for a fourth, I would have try and have no pain relief again because the recovery time was so short.

WeAreEternal Fri 02-Aug-13 16:15:44

I broke my wrist quite badly a couple of years ago, I refused any pain relief then, just as I did when I was in labour, in both instances I had to fight to refuse as I had medical professions virtually forcing drugs on me.

It's a personal choice, I never take any medication of any kind, no matter what the situation, that is down to personal choice and beliefs.

So yes I guess I am proud of the fact that I had a natural birth and stuck to my beliefs.

But I would never judge anyone for using pain relief, I don't feel better than anyone who used drugs.

figrus Fri 02-Aug-13 16:17:03

Also, midwives said I must have a high pain threshold, which on reflection, I probably do. So that might be a reason why some can manage it and some can't.

Hulababy Fri 02-Aug-13 16:17:09

fishandmonkey - I disagree. It is fine for us not to agree about this. However, I do believe that whilst we have our own emotions it is perfectly possible for other people to cause others to feel bad, sad, upset, distressed...and at the other end of the scale, happy, excited, etc. I know that is I have to tell off my child I will cause them to feel sad. I know that if I give my child some good news I cause her to feel happy. Our emotions are generally triggered by outside influences.

CuppaSarah Fri 02-Aug-13 16:21:57

I don't think I could judge anyone for wanting pain relief or not wanting it during labour. It's such a personal experience, all labours are incomparable.

Though I can totally understand people feeling proud they managed without pain relief. I think that's kind of missing the bigger thing they achieved that day. Which is having made a human being.

It is a total shame that women don't seem to be proud they managed to handle a EMCS , because that is as big of an achievement as a vaginal birth without pain relief. Or what about managing to keep composed during a forceps delivery? Or what about having every drug under the sun and still being able to push out a baby?

They're all bloody amazing things to have managed to get through, so why the hell don't women get bragging rights for anything but a natural pain relief free birth?

vj32 Fri 02-Aug-13 16:25:13

I was told I have a high pain threshold as I didn't have any pain relief for over an hour in advanced labour while the Doctors poked about, repeatedly took blood samples from DS and decided that I needed a section.

Not true.

I couldn't breathe in the gas properly, too late for pethidine and I didn't want an epidural because I would rather be screaming in pain than have a tube inserted in my spine.

ThreeMusketeers Fri 02-Aug-13 16:26:23

"... no one is MAKING you feel guilty if you have pain relief. those are your own emotions and you are responsible for them."..."

Eer, I for one am not feeling guilty, dear, just mightily irritated by blabbering eejits who pen brain-dead comments like the one above.

I don't like pain, not at all. Pain relief is a medical wonder for which one is most grateful for.
I wouldn't have a root-canal without pain relief, why on earth would I go through hours of pain during childbirth?

I find it a bit mad, really.

So not guilty, no.

Quite the opposite, proud for making the right (and only) decision for me which allowed me to enjoy every second of the birth of my children without even a twinge of pain marring the experience.

rowtunda Fri 02-Aug-13 16:37:58

Well maybe its my view that is warped then! maybe some women do sleep through labour (although surely your not sleeping through the pushing bit?).

I am not personally insulted as I had no pain relief myself (not through any hard work/ preparation on my behalf - just lucky to have a relatively quick and uncomplicated delivery) but my experience of people having epidurals is after induction which then led to instrumental delivery and a don't think that anyone can call that an easy option! And I do think it is insulting to those women to insinuate that they took the easy option and that they didn't 'work as hard'.

OddBoots Fri 02-Aug-13 16:39:43

"I wouldn't have a root-canal without pain relief, why on earth would I go through hours of pain during childbirth?"

There are reasons to avoid pain relief when giving birth that aren't a concern during your average root canal.

I am very glad that we have the choices we do and the ability to make the right choice for ourselves, I have no regrets about having the pain relief I did in labour but the decision was not the same as deciding about pain relief for any other surgery/treatment.

luckyclucky Fri 02-Aug-13 16:41:03

Doesn't it hark back to the age old human belief that being able to withstand pain & 'battle on' makes you a stronger/fitter (Darwin fit not physically fit or phwoar) human & more likely to ensure the survival of you & your own kind.

The ability to withstand pain is often something to be celebrated in cultures hence so many initiation/coming of age ceremonies involving something painful- ie fighting, cutting.

jeanmiguelfangio Fri 02-Aug-13 16:44:26

I had some lovely drugs when I have birth. I was induced so before I was in active labour I had some pethadine. Helped my forewaters to break. Then I had lovely gas and air when that wore off. Now that's good stuff. My DD is here and happy she doesn't care and neither do I. You do it the best way you can,

MrsDeVere Fri 02-Aug-13 16:51:44

It's ok to have pain relief
It's ok not to have pain relief

Not quite do ok....bitching about other women's choices re pain relief.


Minifingers Fri 02-Aug-13 16:54:24

"You have just made me feel really, really bad about the labour I had 14 years ago. I'm actually shocked at how bad your post has made me feel."

Sorry you feel bad. I also feel bad about my dd being exposed to these things in my first labour (which was in a hospital and involved pethidine, epidural and a forceps birth). Bad, but not guilty. Of course we feel sad about our newborns not having the best start in life. We wouldn't be good mothers if we didn't care. But at the time I didn't feel I had any choices as to how my birth was managed. Same as you. By the time I had my second baby I had wised up and chose a different birth environment and pattern of care so that it was less likely to happen again.

Secretswitch Fri 02-Aug-13 16:54:28

My first child was premature. He came too fast for me to be given any drugs. I chose a home birth with my second baby as I wanted to experience a calm labour and delivery. I requested an epidural and any other drugs in the arsenal with my third cold. I was 42 and tired.
I felt lucky and blessed to get a healthy baby at the end.

Secretswitch Fri 02-Aug-13 16:55:39

Obviously, should have read " with my third CHILD " as I doubt I could have received an epidural for a cold..

DinoSnores Fri 02-Aug-13 16:56:22

"How is the whole screaming in agony for hours on end, a GOOD thing?"

I had my first baby at home without any pain relief. I wasn't screaming in agony at all. Yes, it hurt but there was definitely no screaming.

maja00 Fri 02-Aug-13 16:57:08

rowtunda I was awake for the pushing bit but couldn't feel the contractions - the midwife had to tell me when to push grin

Minifingers Fri 02-Aug-13 16:57:27

"Well maybe its my view that is warped then! maybe some women do sleep through labour"

They do. It's very common for the midwife to have to wake the mother up to push, at which point they often turn the epidural down.

Remember that these days most epidurals contain fentanyl, which is a stonkingly strong opioid. It's used in small amounts (unlike pethidine) because it works locally, but what there is still leaks out into the mothers system eventually. Women are going to be a bit sleepier with an epidural in place.

Minifingers Fri 02-Aug-13 17:01:26

"Though I can totally understand people feeling proud they managed without pain relief. I think that's kind of missing the bigger thing they achieved that day. Which is having made a human being."

Yes - because women who come out feeling amazing after birth because they feel they were brave and strong have obviously forgotten about their baby and are just solely focused on themselves. hmm

ted or highly medicated often have a

Chunderella Fri 02-Aug-13 17:16:16

Anthracite actually anyone can give birth without pain relief, if they're not given any. This is what makes it different from running a marathon. I couldn't run a marathon- I could walk it, but am simply physically unable to run 26 miles. I assume so anyway, never felt the urge to try. Whereas if you're giving birth, that process is going to happen regardless of whether you get pain relief or not.

Most likely my own labour involved rather more suffering than the average, especially as I have a naturally very low pain threshold anyway. Massive wuss, me. I did have all the drugs I was permitted, but it had dragged out so long that by the time I dilated (within a couple of hours, natch) I couldn't have any more morphine yet it was too late for an epidural. I experienced the delights of back to back labour, going from 1-9cm on my back in 2 hours with shit hanging out of me, then pushing, with nothing. Gas and air just made me nauseous. I did get a pudendal block for the eventual ventouse delivery though, which took the edge off. But it is not an achievement that I went through that amount of pain over a sustained period without anaesthesia. It is simply something that was forced on me by a mixture of circumstances and medical negligence, and could be forced on any other woman. Everyone who gives birth is capable of an unmedicated delivery, if she has no other option.

Minifingers there are those amongst us who feel that denial of epidural led us to more risky forms of delivery- instrumental, emergency section etc- because we were so utterly exhausted. I've never actually seen any research on whether women who are not given the pain relief they need are more likely to end up with complex deliveries, but have often wondered if an epidural would've saved me mine. Oh, and deciding what pain relief you want before you experience labour is at best a choice made based on pure ignorance- can't be otherwise- and at worst deranged. If you know you can't have pain relief because of whatever reason, that's one thing, you have no choice. But not when you actually have options!

Lastly, the idea that babies are at risk because of pain relief during delivery is, at best, unproven. If a woman would rather do without because she's worried, that's nobody's business but her own, but it is no more logical than the woman who chooses pain relief because she knows exactly what doing without it will lead to- lots of suffering for her.

ThreeMusketeers Fri 02-Aug-13 17:24:54

Great post, *Chunderella.

Thurlow Fri 02-Aug-13 17:42:19

fully agree, chunderella, and I mentioned exhaustion myself earlier. in some cases pain relief is a much wiser choice when you know you will be just too exhausted to push. probably a less risky choice than getting to the pushing stage and being almost passed out.

Hulababy Fri 02-Aug-13 17:42:39

I couldn't have given birth without pain relief. Dd was c section as she was in an odd position and just wasn't able to be birthed naturally. Without pain relief for the c section I suspect I would have died on the operating table - probably though the trauma and stress.

Chunderella Fri 02-Aug-13 17:48:53

Thanks for the compliments.

You probably could've, Hulababy. Women used to have sections before the invention of modern anaesthesia, it's just that it mostly used to kill them. So yes, you'd very likely have been dead. You'd have had that all important drug free birth though. Giving your baby the best start in life!

PoppyAmex Fri 02-Aug-13 17:49:34

"Of course we feel sad about our newborns not having the best start in life. We wouldn't be good mothers if we didn't care."

Minifingers, accepting pain relief doesn't invalidate giving a newborn having "the best start in life".

I've seen breastfeeding mothers on MN claiming that your extreme pro-breastfeeding, along with militant (often unkind) posts make them feel like stopping breastfeeding.

Are you're trying to do the same disservice to the natural birth cause?

On a separate note, excellent post Chunderella

sweetiepie1979 Fri 02-Aug-13 17:50:13

I felt under pressure to not have any pain relief. I think a lot of it came from Nct. They were very pro natural labour and home birth and from reading all the hypno birthing material I thought I can do this without pain relief. I did but I wouldn't recommend it I was traumatised after I think from the lack of pain relief maybe or from the third degree tear and ending up in hospital anyway to get stitched up. I think all the hypnobirthing evangelists make it sound too easy. The reality is a lot can technically go wrong. I'm pregnant again this time no home birth, I wouldn't recommend it. I'm using the birthing centre this time I still feel I'd like to do without the pain relief and I'm stubborn enough to get through without but I'm more likely to ask for it this time and not feel like I've failed at the "most natural thing in the world"

Hulababy Fri 02-Aug-13 17:52:32

True - DD would hopefully have been ok, just not me. DH would have been left picking up the pieces I guess. Mind - then there'd have been no breast feeding - so that first good start would have been promptly follwoed by my failing her again - hmmm. Wet nurse perhaps?!

maddening Fri 02-Aug-13 17:56:03

I don't see it as a source of pride.

I do think that merely talking about your own birth and stating that you did it with little or no pain relief is taken as boasting when in fact it is just stating your own birth experience as much as someone who gives a recount of their own birth experience and they had epidural etc etc

Just as often saying you bf and why you do it is seen as an attack on ff - when a majority of bfers are not actually attacking ff but just recounting their own situation.

OnTheNingNangNong Fri 02-Aug-13 18:00:50

I had pain relief with my eldest, managed a few puffs of G&A with DS2 due to his speedy arrival. I'd rather have the pain relief myself, but if someone wants a pain free labour and to be proud of it, that's up to them. I'm sure we're all proud of something that someone could be miffed at

mirai Fri 02-Aug-13 18:02:07

I live in a country where no pain relief is allowed in childbirth; I'm dreading it!

Chunderella Fri 02-Aug-13 18:03:54

Is that the Netherlands mirai? If so, I've heard women there who don't want to be forced into the prescribed mode of delivery escape to less backward neighbouring countries where they're allowed a choice. Might be an option?

really mirai - where's that ? shock
Good luck !

Minifingers Fri 02-Aug-13 18:06:54

"Anthracite actually anyone can give birth without pain relief, if they're not given any."

This point is largely irrelevant to this discussion.

90% of women in the UK give birth in units where epidurals and opioids are available. Only 1 in 10 women nationally answers a categorical 'no' to the question 'did you get the pain relief you needed in labour?'. So most women have access to pain relief if they need it. Some women make an informed choice not to use it. Sometimes it's an easy choice as the women have straightforward and fast labours which they find manageable, and sometimes it's a hard choice to make as some women who opt to go without pain relief will have long, painful and difficult labours. The operative word is choice. To imply that there is generally no choice to be made as to how a labour is managed in relation to pain relief is usually false.

"there are those amongst us who feel that denial of epidural led us to more risky forms of delivery- instrumental, emergency section etc- because we were so utterly exhausted."

Given the number of women who opt for an epidural in the UK, I suspect that if there was evidence that it was linked to lower rates of c/s and instrumental birth it'd come to light?

"I've never actually seen any research on whether women who are not given the pain relief they need are more likely to end up with complex deliveries"

Epidural can be a useful tool in some complex births and may allow some women to avoid a c/s or perhaps even an instrumental birth by allowing the mother to get some rest and regain her strength to push her baby out. I have no problem with this idea. However, the evidence from the UK suggests that overall epidurals seem to cause more physiological problems with birth than they resolve.

"Oh, and deciding what pain relief you want before you experience labour is at best a choice made based on pure ignorance- can't be otherwise- and at worst deranged. If you know you can't have pain relief because of whatever reason, that's one thing, you have no choice. But not when you actually have options! "

Don't be silly. It's quite reasonable to feel that you don't want to use opioids of have an epidural. If women have a strong feeling that they don't want to use drugs in labour it's very helpful for this to be acknowledged beforehand so that they can organise the sort of care in labour, and access a birth environment, which will maximise their chances of not needing pain relief. If we went by your logic all women would be advised to book into a CLU 'just in case' they need an epidural!

Minifingers Fri 02-Aug-13 18:12:36

"Minifingers, accepting pain relief doesn't invalidate giving a newborn having "the best start in life".

Well, in my dd's case being born with extensive facial bruising from forceps following an epidural, and heavily sedated from pethidine, was most definitely not the best start in life for her. It would have been better for her and for me if I could have had a normal birth, and I suspect I could have had this with more skilled midwifery care, and without an epidural.

Minifingers Fri 02-Aug-13 18:15:32

"I couldn't have given birth without pain relief. Dd was c section as she was in an odd position and just wasn't able to be birthed naturally. Without pain relief for the c section I suspect I would have died on the operating table "

Yes - because people who feel that there can be strong benefits to going without pain relief in labour really think that this should apply to women having surgery too. hmm

waits for someone to come along with a story of breastfeeding advocates bullying women who've had double mastectomies into breastfeeding

Chunderella Fri 02-Aug-13 18:24:18

Minifingers said This point is largely irrelevant to this discussion.

No, it is entirely relevant. I wouldn't have made it otherwise. If you don't think it has anything to do with the topic, though, take it up with the person whose claim I was refuting- I think she was the one to introduce it.

Given the number of women who opt for an epidural in the UK, I suspect that if there was evidence that it was linked to lower rates of c/s and instrumental birth it'd come to light?

Not if nobody researches it, which I've not seen any evidence of. Obviously there might be some that I've not found. Do you know of any? Does anyone else?

However, the evidence from the UK suggests that overall epidurals seem to cause more physiological problems with birth than they resolve.

This is debatable, particularly in the context of the 10% of women who don't get the pain relief they wanted being underresearched. This cohort amounts to an average of 65,000 women annually, a colossal number. We would need extensive research on the psychological effects on those of us in that cohort too. It ain't all about physiology.

Don't be silly. It's quite reasonable to feel that you don't want to use opioids of have an epidural. If women have a strong feeling that they don't want to use drugs in labour it's very helpful for this to be acknowledged beforehand so that they can organise the sort of care in labour, and access a birth environment, which will maximise their chances of not needing pain relief.

Yes. This is not the same as having decided beforehand, though.

If we went by your logic all women would be advised to book into a CLU 'just in case' they need an epidural!

Only if you have fundamentally misunderstood the point. All women who have not yet given birth are making ignorant, not fully informed decisions. It cannot be otherwise, as they've no experience of labour- so I do hope you don't think any first timers are included in your group of women who make informed choices to do without. For this reason, unless a woman has particular reasons why she must have a particular labour (inability to cope with pain, phobia of hospital, allergy to anaesthesia etc) it is sensible for her not to make a firm decision beforehand however much research she's done. There is no substitute for experience. Incidentally, this is why women need much more choice in labour than our current care model offers.

mimitwo Fri 02-Aug-13 18:30:11

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

mimitwo Fri 02-Aug-13 18:30:32

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Chunderella Fri 02-Aug-13 18:33:21

Oh to clarify above, I'm suggesting that women who are denied the pain relief they need may be more likely to have instrumental delivery or EMCS, not that epidurals lead to fewer complex births. Two very different arguments.

xylem8 Fri 02-Aug-13 18:39:10

It is ridiculous
2/3 of the world's female population wouldgive their eye teeth for the pain relief we have.

Minifingers Fri 02-Aug-13 18:45:02

"I'm suggesting that women who are denied the pain relief they need may be more likely to have instrumental delivery or EMCS"

No sure about this Chunderella. Don't know how you'd design research for this, given that women not being listened to in labour tend to go hand in hand with short staffing and general poor care, which then also tend to be linked to higher rates of c/s and complicated birth. Not sure how you could 'control' for poor care and short staffing, and isolate the factor of pain relief being denied. Can't imagine any woman agreeing to take part in research where they stood a chance of being randomised into a 'no pain relief no matter how much you need it' arm!

According to Birthchoice UK the hospital with the highest number of women answering 'no' to 'did you get the pain relief you needed' is Ashford and St Peters hospital trust - more than DOUBLE the national average has a rate of emergency c/s slightly below the national average. Their normal birth rate is just below the UK average. Don't know how much that signifies. It would be difficult to know without comparing it to a hospital which serves a similar demographic.

Minifingers Fri 02-Aug-13 18:47:06

"It is ridiculous
2/3 of the world's female population wouldgive their eye teeth for the pain relief we have"

You're wrong. Women the world over want a safe birth and a well baby.

Newly immigrant women (going by the experience of women at my local hospital which serves a very high percentage of immigrant mothers) in my experience are LESS likely to request an epidural in labour than UK born mothers. A lot less likely.

Minifingers Fri 02-Aug-13 18:50:10

Sorry - that should read: "According to Birthchoice UK the hospital with the highest number of women answering 'no' to 'did you get the pain relief you needed' is Ashford and St Peters hospital trust - more than DOUBLE the national average. It has a rate of emergency c/s slightly below the national average. Their normal birth rate is only very slightly below the UK average. Don't know how much that signifies. It would be difficult to know without comparing it to a hospital which serves a similar demographic.

xylem8 Fri 02-Aug-13 18:57:14

That is probably because due to innorance.They are alien to their cuklture and they are suspicious of themi

Chunderella Fri 02-Aug-13 18:59:30

No sure about this Chunderella. Don't know how you'd design research for this, given that women not being listened to in labour tend to go hand in hand with short staffing and general poor care, which then also tend to be linked to higher rates of c/s and complicated birth. Not sure how you could 'control' for poor care and short staffing, and isolate the factor of pain relief being denied. Can't imagine any woman agreeing to take part in research where they stood a chance of being randomised into a 'no pain relief no matter how much you need it' arm!

Well the 10% does not comprise solely of women who had no pain relief- I had lots, just not enough and not what I needed. And as nearly everyone has gas and air these days, I'd have thought most of the women who have nothing at all are choosing to do so, and therefore unlikely to be in the 90%.

But otherwise, yes, possibly. That may well be the reason why us 10% are under-researched. One of many reasons why we cannot reliably claim that epidurals cause more problems than they solve, or even that research indicates this.

Additionally, the epidural group includes some women who were effectively railroaded into having one, and would've preferred to be supported to cope with the pain. They would also need to be specifically researched. I'd hypothesise that they might be more likely to have experienced complex births and to have been negatively affected psychologically.

HiggsBoson Fri 02-Aug-13 19:25:42

Some people are just LUCKY.

I tried my level best to go without for DD's birth, but I had very powerful contractions for 28 hours and without Entonox I would never have managed. I was in a whole World of pain.

Turns out she was frank breech, which made it a leetle more lenghthy/uncomfortable than a straightforward presentation, so sure, if baby is in the right position and you have an easy birth good for you, but don't try to make others feel bad :-/

DD was born by emcs in the end and I couldn't feel anything from the chest down by then - t'was bliss grin

MrsCampbellBlack Fri 02-Aug-13 19:29:14

I've had 3 C-sections but I am always very impressed by women who give birth with no pain relief. Its a massive achievement.

It didn't work out that way for me but there you go, 100 years ago, I'd have died in childbirth so I am grateful for the advances made.

But just because I didn't do it, well it doesn't mean I don't admire people who do it. It really isn't a competition and you're not less of a person if you needed pain relief or intervention - as many have said, luck does play a big part.

bloodynurseries Fri 02-Aug-13 19:30:43

Anthracite It takes a lot of psychological effort and drive... Many women prefer to deny their own comfort for the sake of their baby!

Oh do bugger off, what a silly, smug thing to say. Yes, that's right. Ladies who have pain relief don't care about their babies. They should just submit to the pain.

Quite a lot of smuggery on this thread - the faux wide eyed bewilderment at why anyone wouldn't want a 'drug free' birth.

Anyways, I had a FORCEPS DELIVERY with no pain relief. Do I win?

(Was screaming for an epidural but it was an emergency and there was no time!)

bloodynurseries Fri 02-Aug-13 19:33:18

Actually, I've just remembered, I had a section with no pain relief. It was twins. I had a CD of some Tibetan monks chanting in the background, and obvs it was AGONY but as I am such a good mother and wanted to give my baby the best start in life I just gritted my teeth and got on with it, you just do, don't you, for your baby's sake.

I didn't boast about it after though, just posted it on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and comment whenever a friend gives birth about what a shame it is they had a drugged birth and how much better it is to do it drug free.

janey68 Fri 02-Aug-13 19:36:42

I'd be interested to hear any responses to my earlier point, about how a significant number of women who have epidurals for their first baby, are determined to achieve subsequent births without one. To some degree this may be explained by the fact that subsequent labours tend to be shorter and not as painful in that your body has gone through the process before. But I don't think that entirely explains it: I would hypothesise that many women feel an innate desire to give birth as naturally as possible .

That's Not a value judgement. Many women are quite happy to have pain relief with all births and have no wish to ever experience natural birth and that's fine

But I do get the feeling there are quite a large number who find that while epidural offers the relief from pain, it also has downsides which they want to avoid. I've regularly seen posts under the childbirth section where women had epidural with dc1 but not for subsequent births and that although the subsequent births were more painful, they felt better about the experience overall. So the logical conclusion I'd draw is that however satisfied they were from a pain relief point of view, there are aspects of their first Birth which they wish to avoid. Sometimes this may be things like the lack of control over their body, the necessity for continuous monitoring, ie not unhappiness with the epidural per se, but unhappy with what comes with it.

MaryKatharine Fri 02-Aug-13 19:37:22

I haven't read the whole thread but what I'd like to know is why midwives think having a baby without pain relief is something to be proud of.
Fine and dandy if you don't want it for whatever reason. However, I cannot for the life of me understand this mentality of midwives that encourage women to get by without an epidural if they want one and then afterwards try to paise them saying 'oh see, I knew you could do it without.well done.' angry I just turned to her and said, ' I don't care that I could do it without pain relief, I didn't want to.' She looked most put out but I was angry for a long time. Just because I'd have 3 previous quick straightforward vaginal births before. I knew this one was also likely to be quick with no tearing but I actually didn't want to o through the pain of labour again.

Turquoisehat Fri 02-Aug-13 19:39:48

Not all of us scream for hours while giving birth. I have had 2 very quick births without pain relief. Dd1 was born within minutes of getting to the hospital and my labour notes say dd2 was a 13 minute labour.

Why does it bother you if I am proud of that?

Bonsoir Fri 02-Aug-13 19:42:08

I didn't want pain relief - I wanted to know what giving birth felt like. I feel that I extended the range of my human experience by giving birth naturally.

MaryKatharine Fri 02-Aug-13 19:45:52

But why is that seen at the 'right' way, turquoisehat? It's not wrong and if its what you wanted then that's great and def something you should be proud of.

I'd like to know why midwives think all women feel like that. I've given birth quickly and naturally with no pain relief whatsoever (dc3). For dc4, I wanted and epidural and went early to get it. They said no as wasn't in established labour. But of course as my births are quick, established labour is minutes really then 10min max of pushing. Unsurprisingly, they then said too late. This was all bad enough but for the midwife then to think I'd be proud to have gone through that unwanted pain for 10minutes was offensive.

MaryKatharine Fri 02-Aug-13 19:47:26

Like, 'well done for going through that 10minutes of pain totally unnecessarily.' hmm

MrsPercyPig Fri 02-Aug-13 19:47:39

I had a c section and had the full range of pain relief! grin

I'm not remotely impressed by anyone who gives birth without pain relief!

NOBODY I know in RL ever talks about this, it's only on mumsnet that it's such a big deal.

Nobody is really interested in how someone gives birth as long as the baby and mum are healthy.

Chunderella Fri 02-Aug-13 20:02:51

Some women clearly do want to experience labour without pain relief, that's very obvious. Whether this desire is innate or not is a totally different issue.

soapysam Fri 02-Aug-13 20:03:53

I've had 5 kids, and 3 epidurals. Horses for courses. I'm not having any more, but if I did I'd definitely have another epidural. 9 months growing a baby, the rest of your life loving, caring and worrying. Whats a bit of pain relief?! The important thing is not to judge others by your own standards. My first birth was a dream, just a few slugs of G&A in the pool, like shelling peas. Last one was practically dynamited out grin

Way too many mums spend way too much time feeling inferior. Why inferior? Look what you made! Who cares how it was evicted wink

soapysam Fri 02-Aug-13 20:06:55

...and as a total cynic, I reckon its a conspiracy by the NHS to save a few quid on the drugs hmm

HiggsBoson Fri 02-Aug-13 20:10:57

Turquoisehat it bothers people because it's a ridiculous thing to be proud of.

You had quick labours because you were LUCKY ffs, not because you are some higher form of human being or because you did things differently or better.

NOT something to be proud of. Something to be grateful for smile

Minifingers Fri 02-Aug-13 20:13:09

"Some people are just LUCKY."

And some people are more stoical, or have better or more skilled care which enables them to go without pain relief.

There are lots of factors, but stoicism is one of them.

Turquoisehat Fri 02-Aug-13 20:13:20

MaryK - I didn't say it was the right way. It is my experience. I don't get how it bothers the op that I, like millions of other women, didn't use pain relief.

I feel bad for women who had horrendous labours - do I care if they used pain relief? Ummm, no. If it works for you, who am I to judge?

Minifingers Fri 02-Aug-13 20:15:54

"I'd like to know why midwives think all women feel like that."

They don't.

I'm not denying that some midwives are insensitive and don't listen - in every area of health care there are people like this But most know that women's needs in labour cover a very wide spectrum.

HiggsBoson Fri 02-Aug-13 20:20:07

more stoical


No, the word you are loking for is LUCKY dearie.

If DD hadn't been upside down and my labour hadn't been 28 hours long resulting in an emcs, I'd have considered myself LUCKY.

To be fair to myself all that on just G&A ain't too shabby, but to be proud is just friggin' daft grin

staceyw1988 Fri 02-Aug-13 20:20:37

I had no pain relief for mine, induced and forceps delivery, but I would say i'm proud of just giving birth! especially as i delivered her just as they put me to sleep to give me an emergency c-section as they said she was stuck! my last memory before they put me to sleep was someone saying 'wow shes a good pusher'!!! so if anything, i want a 'good pusher' medal, it doesn't matter that i didn't have pain relief! haha!

Capitola Fri 02-Aug-13 20:20:39

I felt very thankful that I had no pain relief when I had my dcs because that is what I had hoped for. Not ashamed to say I was quietly proud, too.

I would never boast about it though.

Luck or different phsiologies is a factor too though Mini - and I can completely see how annoying it is when some people don't give due credit to that - and like Higgs says be grateful for that.

Thurlow Fri 02-Aug-13 20:24:46

MrsPercyPig, one of the women in my NCT group actually went through and grilled all of us on our births and pretty much passed judgement! We had a ridiculously high rate of emcs's and she was one of the only ones to have a VB. She was practically rating us - "oh, your baby was ill? That's alright then..." shock Sadly I'd had a glass of wine too much to really notice at the time, I wish I had so I could have picked her up on it!

MrsPercyPig Fri 02-Aug-13 20:29:30

Thurlow you really should have! I think I would have asked her why she needed to know!

All this competitive giving birth makes me think of teenagers who have yet to grow up!

I wouldn't be remotely interested to ask how someone had their baby!

Minifingers Fri 02-Aug-13 20:30:42

"more stoical


No, the word you are loking for is LUCKY dearie".

Are you assuming I had straightforward labours?

I didn't.

MrsDeVere Fri 02-Aug-13 20:32:32

I had basic pain relief with DCs 4&5 because I didn't want to go to hospital.
I weighed up what was more important to me and being at home won.

Would NOT have wanted to o it without G&A though

snowlie Fri 02-Aug-13 20:33:40

I knew 2 midwives who didn't feel labour pain - they were very quiet about it with their patients. Go for it if you want suck up all that pain, feel empowered, a martyr...whatever it is gets you through, alternatively you could just get some pain relief - your kids won't give a shit either way.

janey68 Fri 02-Aug-13 20:34:55

Like I said earlier, any woman who has used pain relief who can only deal with that fact by denigrating other women and saying they were 'lucky' or must have had an 'easy labour', a 'perfectly positioned baby', a short labour or a 'better anatomy' need to examine why they feel insecure about their own experience. Not try to put other women down about theirs.

janey68 Fri 02-Aug-13 20:35:57

Ooh and we've just had another put down- we must be martyrs! This is a bit like bingo isn't it!

Rangirl Fri 02-Aug-13 20:41:04

Surely it is up to the individual Why do some people treat birth as a competition Mind you I am probably a bit biased Was once told by a vague acquaintance that she would have felt cheated if she had to have a CS She said imagine having the baby without the labour I had 2 CS She knew that I also had a stillborn child She knew that Felt like saying try having the labour without the baby But didn't smile

snugglesnook Fri 02-Aug-13 20:43:03


MrsPercyPig Fri 02-Aug-13 20:43:49

I finding this thread really bizarre!

I honestly didn't know such competition existed! confused

SuperiorCat Fri 02-Aug-13 20:44:09

How sad that some women feel judged for their choices, and some other women judge them for their choices (either way).

First birth - gas and air, pethidine, epidural, local for episiotomy, forceps delivery

Second birth - c/section

Why should anyone else care what I did? I have two wonderful children

SoniaGluck Fri 02-Aug-13 21:02:01

This is a bit like bingo isn't it! Isn't it, janey?

Anyway it's got very silly and competitive,now.

I had 4 babies with no pain relief and I could probably have done without it for my first, too, if I hadn't been forced on to the bed and not allowed to move about. hmm

I'm not advocating it for everyone but that was what I wanted and I'm very happy it was how it worked out. Yes, and a little bit proud too.

ThreeMusketeers Fri 02-Aug-13 21:08:59

"... Anthracite It takes a lot of psychological effort and drive... Many women prefer to deny their own comfort for the sake of their baby!

Oh, I win then as I denied my own comfort for the sake of my babies - I had a ECS.


Where's my medal?


ThreeMusketeers Fri 02-Aug-13 21:13:40

The Most Smug idiotic Comment of the day:

"...That's Not a value judgement. Many women are quite happy to have pain relief with all births and have no wish to ever experience natural birth and that's fine..."


snowlie Fri 02-Aug-13 21:15:27

Do I get a badge for having laser surgery whilst pregnant without pain relief? I don't even get to boost sad....the things we go through and then shame ourselves by resorting to pain relief during labour. hmm

sweetiepie1979 Fri 02-Aug-13 21:19:00

Ladies stop stop stop the more you say this isn't important followed by your birth story makes it sound like you think it is important! This thread is sad! The Nct and the hypno birthing evangelists are to blame for all this!

janey68 Fri 02-Aug-13 21:23:27

If you're happy with your birth experience why would you give a shit about women who have natural births!

Lucky hmm one of my babies was born blue and had to be resuscitated. Another was in scbu for a week. They weren't simple straightforward births... Why is it so important to prove a natural birth is only feasible under ideal conditions and suggest those of us who had them are 'just lucky'.

I couldn't give a shit what other women choose, I know drug free birth isn't for everyone by any stretch of the imagination and I don't think anyones birth should be tainted by pain they can't manage. But it was my choice and I had to put effort in to achieve it. I ask no acknowledgment of that nor do I expect anyone to give a crap, however it would be nice if others didn't feel the need to insinuate I just had an easy ride of it and didn't feel much pain.

Rufus43 Fri 02-Aug-13 21:28:30

Whenever my friends get together to chat about birth they tend to go for the worst horror stories, I'm not sure I have ever heard one about a normal quick trouble free birth. Except on mumsnet

scraggydoodledo Fri 02-Aug-13 21:32:51

I'm proud of only having G&A during all of my labours and two of them were the wrong way around. I'm proud that I coped relatively well with the pain. Of course, I was mostly proud of giving birth to a baby each time.

Yes, some people are more stoical and cope better with pain. There is definitely a psychological element to pain. I know a couple of people who were very anxious about the prospect of pain and told me that they were having an epidural as soon as they stepped on to the labour ward and another who insisted on having a CS as she was too anxious to give birth.
It isn't just luck. One factor, yes but not the only one.

Those of you branding people 'martyrs' for having no pain relief as being just as unpleasant and judgemental as someone who had no pain relief branded calling you a wimp.

Frankly, I don't see why you care what choices other women made during their labours. It's a personal choice not a competition and not something to get so het up about.

mrslyman Fri 02-Aug-13 21:35:18

Have we decided what the right way to give birth is yet?

From various threads including this one, I've provided a handy summary

ELCS - too posh to push
Instrumental delivery - ravaged fanny
No drugs - overly smug lentil weaving
Drugs - lack of nerve and backbone
EMCS - failure

It would seem there is no approved way to give birth,
I think I'll grow my next DC in the cabbage patch and have it delivered by stork.

wine cheers and hope you all have a lovely weekend that involves no fretting at all about how you gave bieth

ThePowerof3 Fri 02-Aug-13 21:36:41

Oh Rangirl, what an insensitive cow of a friend so self centred.

mrslyman Fri 02-Aug-13 21:36:44

Birth even

I have no idea.

My Mum always says you don't get made a saint for putting up with pain.

ThePowerof3 Fri 02-Aug-13 21:43:58

I think Rangirls post should put things into perspective

MissBetseyTrotwood Fri 02-Aug-13 21:47:00

In my case the concept of choice in childbirth was rather theoretical.

DS1: Student midwife, I was her first solo delivery. I went as long as I could without any pain relief and by the time I was begging, pleading for it it was too late apparently. More fool me.

DS2: Problematic birth, MW went from 'everything's fine' to literally, 'Get me the fucking crash trolley NOW' in minutes. DS2 forcepsed out, no pain relief for me. I was in physical shock after his birth, I literally couldn't feel my face, I was numb. I can't even remember much about it, just odd sort of snap shots and another student midwife standing by my head tapping my cheek and calling 'We're losing mum, come on stay with us.' Birth 'plan' clearly stated pain relief but in the event there was no time again. DS has significant SN, perhaps as a result of this last stage of his birth, perhaps it was there already, we'll never know.

So what I thought I wanted and would get was not what was available at the time. Even in my most straightforward of births with DS1, chance and circumstance took the lion's share of the outcome.

Lovingmybabiesbottom Fri 02-Aug-13 21:51:53

First birth, every pain relief option going.

Second birth, none. The midwife and DH kept going on about how proud they were of me doing it 'all on my own' with no pain relief.

If I had been able to, I would have taken an epidural right up to the last possible moment. I didn't give a flying that I was doing it 'all on my own'.

However, afterwards, I was bloody glad, because I felt awesome. Whereas after my first, I felt sluggish and, well, a bit weird.

Wbdn28 Fri 02-Aug-13 21:58:23

> Maybe it is the use of the word 'pride or proud' that is the issue. To be proud of yourself means that you are "exultantly aware of the credit due to or reflected on yourself".


countingmyblessings Fri 02-Aug-13 22:00:49

1st - epidural
2nd - natural

For me it's nothing to do with pride. I far preferred my 2nd birth experience. I'm so glad I had a natural birth. It was an awesome, sacred experience.

MaryKatharine Fri 02-Aug-13 22:01:11

I guess I felt the opposite of you then, loving. I didn't feel proud at all, just angry. Partly that they refused me pain relief other than G&A and partly because she acted like, 'yeah, you've done it without, you must be so proud.' But I'd already done 2 of the previous 3 with just G&A and I knew what I'd wanted. I felt like I hadn't been listened to and it had been assumed that I wanted to get through it without pain relief simply because I could. angry

TondelayoSchwarzkopf Fri 02-Aug-13 22:08:20

Choice is such bollocks.
It was my choice to have a drug free water birth for example but it was my body's choice to haemorrhage so what I wanted in my birth plan didn't enter into it. I don't feel happy about my labour as an experience but the outcome was and is brilliant.

There is such an industry built on Natural Childbirth and the gap between that and the realities of the NHS and of giving birth itself - which can be a dangerous and distressing business - causes a lot of angst and guilt and upset. Saying it is down to women's choice - is disingenuous.

Cheerymum Fri 02-Aug-13 22:13:00

My first birth I tried hypnobirthing. (Opioids make me feel too swimmy, and at that time, evidence pointed to epidural a increasing the chances of a chain of interventions, and as I wanted several children, I wanted to give myself the best chance of an uncomplicated birth to facilitate having more.) It gave me some tools that really helped my to cope. I got to practically fully dilated with no pain relief except water, and I felt calm and in control. However, everything then slowed right down, they think my daughter was back to back and 10 hours later after a lot more pain and 32 hours in and still no sign of being ready to push, they wanted to give me synto and I asked to have an epidural first as I was done in.
This time it's MCDA twins, and the epidural will be going in pronto as the chance of a crash section for one/both is significant.
I think desire/motivation, stoicism, support, and luck all feed into the chances of whether you are successful at having a drug-free birth. Those who achieve it can feel proud if they like, but should be sensitive to those who wanted it and didn't get it, as well as those for whom it isn't important. And anyone who loses sight of the one important thing (healthy mum, healthy babe) in what is an inherently dangerous game is off their rocker.

Cheerymum Fri 02-Aug-13 22:20:27

And as far as I am aware, the evidence has since changed and there is no longer thought to be an increase in intervention/c section rate with epidural use. As that was my reason for trying to avoid one last time, I wish the current evidence had been the status quo and I would have saved myself and my husband a pretty terrible (second) night of labour.
I wish I knew why (some) midwives ignore women's pleas for adequate pain relief, place weight and pride on women managing without, or why resources are not in place for women to have what they need at the time. I think this is a feminist issue actually - if men were the birth-givers, do you think for a moment they'd expect/be expected to just put up with it for lack of resource?

ThreeMusketeers Fri 02-Aug-13 22:36:08

"... I know drug free birth isn't for everyone by any stretch of the imagination and I don't think anyones birth should be tainted by pain they can't manage...."

Nope, not 'can't manage', dear, don't want to manage.

There's a huge difference.

MaryKatharine Fri 02-Aug-13 22:44:26

Yes, threemusketeers, I think that was the issue with me. I knew I could manage the pain as I'd had 3 previous straightforward vaginal deliveries, 2 without any pain relief. But I didn't want to manage the pain. I'd been there and done that and I wanted a bloody epidural!

FreudiansSlipper Fri 02-Aug-13 22:48:31

i am sure if i had no pain relief i would be telling everyone who showed vague interest

but i didn't and i had a very long difficult labour then ended in an emergency csection so i tell everyone who shows even the slightest interest, even if they don't i st ill like to tell the story of ds birth smile

in other words we talk out our experience of childbirth as it is so important to us

janey68 Fri 02-Aug-13 22:49:57

Surely we all agreed pages ago that there is a massive difference between feeling an emotion such as pride, and actually boasting about something.

No one can legislate against what people feel. I have never talked about my feelings about my birth unless invited (and on here of course which is an anonymous forum). But I can feel proud/ amazed / empowered or indeed any other damn emotion about my births

snowlie Fri 02-Aug-13 22:50:29

We can always manage pain when there is no choice....we just get on with it. When there's a choice why wouldn't matter?

snowlie Fri 02-Aug-13 22:51:15

Would it matter grr bloody predictive text.

scraggydoodledo Fri 02-Aug-13 22:53:25

Threemusketeers- Some cases are 'can't manage' and others are 'don't want to'.

People are different. I have seen a lot of women in labour and people cope differently. Obviously, those with obstetric complications are a totally different category.

No need to be patronising and use the word 'dear' by the way. It isn't hard to understand what you are saying.

Sorry, you're right, I should have said 'don't wish to endure'. My bad, I'm on my phone and tend to cut corners with my expression which leads to misunderstandings.

My point was, I don't think drug free birth should be the ideal for anyone. I had pain relief written into my birth plans as I knew if it came to it I would take it. I preferred not to as it was important to me to do it without but that's an personal choice. Its not a better choice.

MaryKatharine Fri 02-Aug-13 22:56:43

Well mine was certainly a case of not wanting to rather than being unable to and I felt that because of that I wasn't given a choice. I also felt that my midwife didn't seem to understand my POV, hence me asking why midwives seem to think it's something you'll be proud of if they can just get you through with minimal pain relief?

JosiePosiePuddingAndPie Fri 02-Aug-13 22:58:29

It's cause it makes them "hard" isn't it?

janey68 Fri 02-Aug-13 23:02:56

Yeap I'm well 'ard smile

PeriodMath Fri 02-Aug-13 23:03:53

I don't believe for a minute all these posts saying no-one cares how you gave birth. I think the number of posts on this thread is testament to just how very much women care. They savour every detail of each other's birth experiences and "did you have an epidural?" always comes up in the post-birth visits.

By the way, the majority of women I know who didn't have epidurals desperately wanted them but were refused.

That, I think, is an absolute scandal.

JassyRadlett Fri 02-Aug-13 23:07:54

I'm proud of pushing DS's ginormous (barely on the charts) head out despite being on my back with continuous monitoring with gas and air for pain relief (which they whipped away when I started pushing, bastards).

For me the no epidural/no pethidine decision was partly concern over increased likelihood of other interventions, and partly because so little of my 'ideal birth' (eg in water, moving around, certainly not surrounded by half a dozen people watching his heart rate) was happening that it was a way for me to exercise control and choice.

So yes, I'm proud of myself for achieving that. Don't reckon I'm superior or inferior to anyone else, but I think I did pretty well all thinks considered. (It was a VERY big head.)

Plus, drugs that make others sleepy/relaxed have a history of sending me hyperactive. I once ended up standing on a chair singing the Star Spangled Banner after medication. I am not American.

LynetteScavo Fri 02-Aug-13 23:08:25

Oh, for heaven's sake I couldn't manage the pain during my first delivery, despite wanting to. For some reason, I thought I may well to die or at best be paralysed when I had the epidural, but it seemed the best option at the time. The midwife told me if I hadn't had an epidural, and my body allowed to rest, I would have ended up with a c-section.

I was refused an epidural during my second labour. Thank God it was only 2 hours of pain. My way of coping was to be on all fours on the floor, and shouting, despite being shouted at to get up strongly advised not to be on the floor due to the possibility of broken glass, and being told to keep the noise down because I was disturbing other women. If I'd had to suffer that another 10 hours, I'm not sure what state I would have been in.

I know I managed my 3rd labour better, due to being at home, and being alone, but blaming women for not managing their pain efficiently when they have been advised the safest place for them to give birth is in hospital is ridiculous.

I wouldn't dream of saying anyone who hasn't at least tried hypnobirithing and a home birth before going to hospital and accepting pain relief isn't doing the best for their baby. But that seems to be the opinion of quite a few MNetters, but hey ho.

LynetteScavo Fri 02-Aug-13 23:11:17

How big a head, JassyRadlett ? <<gets competative>> grin

Xmasbaby11 Fri 02-Aug-13 23:11:35

I suppose everyone's experience is different, but I was in labour for 24 hours before I was given an epidural and my only regret is not getting it sooner. Most of those 24 hours were increasingly unbearable pain, I was crying, throwing up, and too weak to push during contractions. Ultimately forceps were needed, but because the labour was so long and the midwife did not want to intervene, I have been left with a severely prolapsed uterus.

I am very happy for and envious of women who did not find it so difficult and got through labour without pain relief. It's not for me to say whether my contractions were more painful or whether my pain threshold is lower than others' - but either way that is luck more than anything.

MaryKatharine Fri 02-Aug-13 23:13:49

I want to know why the midwife gets to decide whether I can have an epidural or not. Why is that not my decision? If its cost, then why don't they just come out and say this costs too must so we're going to try and avoid giving it to you unless absolutely begging for it and nothing is happening anyway.

JassyRadlett Fri 02-Aug-13 23:37:23

VERY BIG. grin It didn't quite make the 99.8 line, though.

resists temptation to go and check red book for exact dimensions.

Poor little thing had a huge circular bruise on his crown for a week because his poor head got so squeezed. It was such a perfect circle one midwife refused to believe I hadn't had a ventouse birth.

Fefifo Sat 03-Aug-13 01:02:59

I don't really get the whole pride from having no pain relief in itself thing at all.

My first labour, I had an epidural. I had been contracting for four days at nothing less than twenty minutes apart, so hadn't slept in that time, the baby was back to back and absolutely massive. The epidural had actually completely worn off by the time she came out (after pushing for four hours) but I thank God I was given it (after my DH, sister and Mum had to fight tooth and nail) because if my body hadn't been given the chance to rest that it got before the pushing phase, fuck knows how on earth my daughter could of come out. Oh and bollocks to 'not want to manage'. I was slipping in and out of consciousness before I was given that epidural, my body wouldn't manage full stop.

My second labour I had absolutely no pain relief, wasn't against the idea but was already bearing down by the time any midwife had gotten round to examine me, having been sat on a hard plastic chair labouring for the past two hours in the waiting room hmm. It wasn't a particularly easy labour, but nor was it hard, normal sized baby, right position all phases lasting a textbook amount of time.

The second labour was obviously a much better experience and I actually have some good memories of it, however I feel immensely proud of the first one. That that baby managed to come out of my body at all, by any method is to me a minor miracle and that my body got landed with that shite set of circumstances and still managed to produce a child, regardless of whatever help it was given, makes me proud all day and night long. Like a pp said, the labour you experience is fuck all to do with your mental state and everything to with the presentation of the baby, it's size and your physiology.

FloweryOwl Sat 03-Aug-13 01:29:16

I had no signs of labour with my first until my waters broke in the kitchen, I was holding her 28 minutes later in the back of an ambulance. If It had been slower I'd of definitely of had something, even though I didn't have drugs I don't really remember it.

With number two I was shitting myself that it would be similar but it wasn't at all. Waters broke when I wasn't in labour and I ended up being induced. When the pains started I got on the gas and air and decided I'd get something stronger when it really kicked it. The next thing I know I was pushing my son out, I couldn't tell my midwife I was pushing because I was sucking the gas and air and my dh was snoozing on a chair.

Luckily the midwife noticed and whipped my knickers off, dh woke up and after six minutes of pushing he was born weighing 9lb 12oz. IF I have another I've definitely learnt my lesson and I'll be getting dosed up at the first instant.

justanuthermanicmumsday Sat 03-Aug-13 01:48:10

I agree with poster preggersandmelting, minus the mind yor own business part ;)

I don't think there's truth in the idea that women who choose no pain relief actually feel less pain, where's the evidence for this? Perhaps some of them have a higher threshold for pain, whilst others have a low threshold but still soldier through it because they don't want to deal with the side effects of mediation on labour. I.e it can slow the labour down.
I do think I am of the former group but I swear with each labour the pain has either increased or I am losing my memory in between and imagining it was a more pleasant experience than it actually was. I'm sure the pain is increasing though.

I do feel proud of myself because whether you have meds or not when giving birth it's really surreal it feels like its just you against the world and you have to deliver this baby come what may. So yes I did feel great when all 4 of my children were born, for many reasons not just the non pain relief. I didn't brag about not using pain relief. If loved ones asked I told them otherwise I didn't think to mention it.

ZingWidge Sat 03-Aug-13 02:02:10

I've had 6 kids. epidural & laughing gas are my best friends!

another puzzle - the bigger the baby, the prouder you are. I was. I don't know why, its weird!

MrsMook Sat 03-Aug-13 06:01:36

With DS1, I never wanted pethadine but was talked in to it after my waters were broken and the intensity of the contractions went beyond my ability to cope. I can't consider pethadine as pain relief- it just locked me into a fucked up world of pain for 8 hours leaving me unable to ask for an epidural or accept/ refuse the second round of pethadine. I was left pushing a jammed back to back baby on gas and air only before the spinal block for an emergency CS.

For DS2, my birthplan had in bold lettering not to offer pethadine under any circumstances because of my previous experience. That left me with gas and air and an epidural as my options. I didn't really want to be beached up on my back with an epidural, but was aware that that priority could change. In the end I laboured on the birthing ball, despite the monitors and just used gas and air and a hypnobirthing CD. Things were pretty intense as dilation progressed quickly and baby was back to back. A spinal block was used at the last moment as baby showed signs of distress and we were whisked off to theatre for what was borderline between forceps or CS. Fortunately forceps did the job 3rd time lucky.

I am proud that I lasted so long using minimal pain relief as I feel that I have fulfilled a natural function of my body- I'm proud that baby came out of the right exit, particularly as he was big and awkwardly positionned, but it's all personal. I'll talk about it if that's the conversation. I have no judgement on anyone else for the method in which their baby entered the world. You do what you do in your own circumstances. I was pretty chuffed when the community MW said I was made of tough stuff though. Birth is a primal thing and it can stir up deep emotional responses that aren't particularly logical.

my2centsis Sat 03-Aug-13 09:56:19

Didn't read thread. But if a women is proud they she was able to have a drug free birth as it is better for baby why the hell should they not feel proud?

ThreeMusketeers Sat 03-Aug-13 10:01:57

Ahem, the best for baby would be elective c-section, no risk of having any birth traumas etc.

Read the tread.

MrsLettuce Sat 03-Aug-13 10:09:18

Erm, elective c-section is not best for baby. They receive a lot of vital bacteria on the way out through the fanjo.

MrsLettuce Sat 03-Aug-13 10:10:53
CoteDAzur Sat 03-Aug-13 10:32:58

Elective section is safest for a baby at term (~39 weeks), since you are eliminating all risks of shoulder dystocia, cerebral palsy, suffocation by umbilical cord, etc. There is of course a small risk for the mother because you are cutting into her.

This is not something hospitals will shout from rooftops for obvious reasons, but ask an obstetrician and see what he says.

CoteDAzur Sat 03-Aug-13 10:37:02

OP - YANBU. I find the smugness around refusing pain relief in childbirth puzzling, too.

It is no different than being proud of having had a root canal treatment without anaesthesia. Why?

HugAMoo Sat 03-Aug-13 10:42:41

I had pain relief in mine because, for me, it was absolute agony! I do admire women who get through it without anything, through that level of pain. However, not those who would actually avoid pain relief just so they can wear the 'badge of honour' and tell everyone that they didn't need it. That's ridiculous.

I do think some women have a higher pain threshold than others but it's absolute nonsense to make it into some kind of competition. Who really cares, as long as there's a healthy baby at the end of it all.

PiratesMam Sat 03-Aug-13 10:47:59

I've had an epidural birth and a no-pain-relief birth and can see there are pros and cons to each; what annoys me is the Stealth Boast Facebook Announcement: "Baby X, born at home in water after 50 hour labour, midwife couldn't believe I didn't even want gas and air! LOL! Dried off and then did the school run" type-thing!

People are rightly proud of bringing a baby into the world however which way, but I know many people who have had birth experiences so far removed from their original plan that declarations such as the above don't go down well.

janey68 Sat 03-Aug-13 10:48:36

Well I have local anaesthetic for root canal but had no pain relief for giving birth. To some women, the two things aren't comparable. Doesn't matter if other people understand that or not- it's just how it is, so I don't know why people who have had pain relief worry their heads about it!
I don't agonise over why some women choose an epidural so it makes no sense for them to worry about why some women don't!!

PeriodMath Sat 03-Aug-13 10:54:21

CotedAzur, you are right about that being the view of most doctors.

Doctors and doctors' wives have a remarkably high incidence of c-section. I know rather a lot of medics and am always struck by this.

CoteDAzur Sat 03-Aug-13 11:06:12

janey - The two things are obviously comparable, since they both involve high levels of pain and the choice of pain relief. And you don't get a medal at the end of either for refusing local anesthesia.

Whatever personal achievement you felt when you stood the torture of childbirth without pain relief, you would probably feel it after a drug-free root canal. Maybe something to think about before your next trip to the dentist? wink

If not, why do you think birth is so different? I'd be interested in your answer.

DayOldCheesecake Sat 03-Aug-13 11:10:09

OP YANBU. But the ones which make me laugh are the ones which claim to have had no pain-relief yet sucked down half a can of gas & air.

"Yeh, in the end it was all natural for me. Just 5 pints and 10 afterburner chasers, didn't feel a thing".

janey68 Sat 03-Aug-13 11:12:18

I explained at length earlier on the thread why some women don't find childbirth comparable to root canal or surgery, so I guess if you're interested then you'll read the thread smile
Yeap, I might feel the same about having root canal without anaesthetic; however I don't feel any desire to do that , and I did feel a desire to experience natural childbirth which in itself tells you that to me, the two things are different. Maybe not to you, but you aren't me. I think your the 'mistake' you are making is in trying to apply your own thought processes to someone else decision about their body and their baby. Like I said, I wouldn't worry my head about why some women choose an epidural or elective csection- I can just accept that it's their experience not mine

Btw, a significant proportion of doctors and nurses smoke, so I wouldn't be too quick to assume what they do is actually best at all !!

Cote, but after a root canal you can go home and fall asleep. After birth you have a new baby to learn to feed and to bond with. For many of us it is the possible effects of pain relief on our ability to think clearly and function which drives the need to go without. I was told by several people g&a makes you feel drunk.... The thought of feeling drunk while in labour was terrifying to me. And as for and epidural, for me it was important to be mobile, mobile epidural was not available, so no epidural. Opiates I would never consider as they transfer to the baby and I've heard horror stories about their effects (even on this thread actually)

Theres also the fact that a root canal is just pain, birth is a different sort of pain.... For me it was a positive, constructive pain... Every contraction is one step closer to the end and for most of labour the pain comes and goes, its not constant so you get a break to regroup. I personally found it didn't affect me mentally in the same way pain of that degree normally would.

For me comparing a root canal and birth is nonsensical, they're not in any way similar experiences.

janey68 Sat 03-Aug-13 11:32:40

Actually summers post gives some other very practical reasons why women may choose to avoid particular types of birth. Another example is that a woman who already has a couple of toddlers at home and no one on hand to drop everything, lift , carry stuff and drive her around for the following 6 weeks, is probably going to be less likely to opt for an elective cs

I still come back to the point summer makes about childbirth not being comparable to medical procedures though. I totally accept that not all women feel like this and do compare the two. Seems some of them find it hard to accept the other point of view though

spotscotch Sat 03-Aug-13 11:34:41

This is such a first world argument. There are women all around the world who would give anything to access the pain relief we are lucky enough to have here, and would take it in a second, if they felt that they needed it. I'm pretty sure there would be no judging, no smug comments about 'giving up your comfort for the sake of your baby' or 'martyrs' at the other end of the argument.

SoniaGluck Sat 03-Aug-13 11:37:44

This is such a first world argument.


janey68 Sat 03-Aug-13 11:56:09

Actually as a bit of an aside, since having my babies, I've never bothered with injections for ordinary fillings at the dentist- I just do the breathing techniques I learned. No medals, badges of honour or martyrdom- just a simple decision which means I'm not numb afterwards, which is quite practical for me as my dentist is near my work so I usually have appointments in my lunch hour. And also thinking about it, many people have different responses to ailments- eg some will reach for painkillers at the first sign of a headache or belly ache and others won't. There isn't a right or wrong - it's called choice
I believe some people also have surgical procedures done using hypnotherapy. Not saying this is for everyone- I'm just responding to cote d'azures point which implies that all other examples of painful situations have a 'standard' answer in terms of pain relief, which clearly they don't

CecilyP Sat 03-Aug-13 12:15:56

Cote, but after a root canal you can go home and fall asleep.

I went straight to work after mine - do I get the medal?

Where I think think pain relief in labour and pain relief in dentistry is different is that pain relief in dentistry is just more staightforward and does the job - you have a couple of injections that numb your gum so you dont feel anything where the dentist is going to work. Whereas all forms of pain relief in labour have a downside:

Gas an air - a lot of effort and not always terribly effective, though reports of feeling drunk perhaps a little exaggerated.

Pethidine or diamorphine - neither give total pain relief and can make you feel totally spaced out and do transfer to the baby - though I haven't heard any horror stories and my local hospital used to use a lot of opiates because it didn't offer epidurals until about 20 years ago (way later than any other hospital I have heard of).

Epidural - huge needle in your back and numb from the waist down. Not terribly appealing, though I would imagine the appeal becomes greater the longer labour goes on.

So I do understand why women refuse pain relief. I don't, however, understand the need to crow about it (I don't think I have ever met such a person in real life, though I have seen on TV etc) so OP, YANBU.

SoniaGluck Sat 03-Aug-13 12:42:47

I've been wondering why this thread is so divisive. I think it could be that some people have forgotten the fight that had to happen to reverse the increasing medicalisation of childbirth from the 50s onwards.

Once pain relief was available it was routinely administered. Home birth from being the norm was phased out. Breastfeeding was discouraged. It took a lot of lobbying from the NCT, AIMS and the SSHC to reinstate the right of women's right to choose how they gave birth. The work of people like Michel Odent, Janet Balaskas and Sheila Kitzinger amongst others was very important in demonstrating that the "flat on your back, stirrups and medication" way to give birth was not the only, or even the best, way to labour and birth.

It's fine if you want pain relief in labour but not everyone does. We should all be able to choose how we do it.

And I do think that it's overstating it to say that women brag about not having pain relief. I can honestly say that I've never heard anyone do so.

bragmatic Sat 03-Aug-13 12:47:24

Cecily, I just read that last sentence as "...don't understand the need to crown about it.." grin

mrslyman Sat 03-Aug-13 12:51:05

I think this thread is decisive because some women feel incredibly put out that others dare to make different choices to them and feel happy about doing so.

Delatron Sat 03-Aug-13 12:53:13

All labours are different and it is not down to individual pain thresholds! My first labour was back to back and 40 hours of agonising contractions. Ending in a 3 hour pushing phase/episiotomy and forceps. The doctors practically forced an epidural on me after 40 hours, I was exhausted!

My second labour I barely felt a thing till I was fully dilated.
I am the same person with the same pain threshold! That is why I don't think people should boast too much about drug free many variables come in to it.

janey68 Sat 03-Aug-13 12:55:56

Sonia- that's a really interesting post and puts this into context. I also agree that this idea of bragging is a bit of a myth. I've never heard anyone in RL brag, just simply report what their birth was like if asked. I've also never seen a thread started by someone asking 'why on earth do people have pain relief in labour', yet the recent glut of threads which seem to stem largely from reports that the duchess of Cambridge had a natural birth, seem to suggest its ok to criticise women who forego pain relief.

On another note, thinking about the doctors and nurses thing. When I had dc1, the lovely midwife who'd delivered her used to sometimes sit on my bed and chat while I was doing a night feed (yes- they really did have the time to give proper support in the MLU) She had worked at our big regional hospital until she'd managed to get a job a couple of years previously. She described the experiences of working in each set up as quite different. In a large hospital, things tend to be more medicalised, and the doctors tend to see more births where things go wrong , and more high risk women. They also see the very rare once in a lifetime things (eg a baby being stillborn or damaged by forceps) and this sort of thing is likely to colour their view on how they give birth themselves. She told me that women in the MLU tended to labour a lot longer before requesting any pain relief (obviously epidural not available but gas and air. In her experience of working in a busy labour ward in a hospital, there was a different culture and women tended to progress to pain relief much quicker.
I think this goes some way to explaining why a higher proportion of doctors and nurses seem to opt for medicalised births. They are coming at it from a different perspective, having seen different things which are bound to affect their view.

Wbdn28 Sat 03-Aug-13 12:56:58

> It was my choice to have a drug free water birth for example but it was my body's choice to haemorrhage so what I wanted in my birth plan didn't enter into it.

Exactly. Some people do end up having pain relief even if they were adamant they weren't going to, because of the way things turn out. By all means choose to have no pain relief, but that doesn't mean you wouldn't have ended up having it in other circumstances. Someone who's birth takes a different route such as yours can be just as proud.

SoniaGluck Sat 03-Aug-13 12:57:26

mrslyman Yeah, that too. sad

Perhaps we could just accept what people do and stop attacking each other for perfectly reasonable choices.

Wbdn28 Sat 03-Aug-13 12:59:50

Well said Delatron.

CalamityJ Sat 03-Aug-13 13:07:20

I started a very similar thread when I was due.

I did NCT classes and was hacked off at the 'use aromatherapy' for pain relief. When I did go into labour I begged for an epidural from 1cm dilated! Aromatherapy wouldn't have touched the sides! grin

I was on gas and air when the contractions first started, then had the epidural while I was on the syntocin drip, then they refused me the epidural an hour before I started pushing and I pushed for 2 hours until they ended up taking me to theatre.

All but one of the others in my NCT group had interventions and/or drugs. And none of us felt able to talk about it with the NCT teacher as she was so anti-drugs/intervention. We shouldn't have had to feel ashamed about what we'd been through.

CalamityJ Sat 03-Aug-13 13:08:34
SoniaGluck Sat 03-Aug-13 13:10:08

janey On your final point, my community midwife when I had DD1 said exactly that. She more or less said that hospital HCPs (especially doctors) are expecting things to go wrong. She also said that many doctors had never seen a natural, straightforward birth during their training.

I know my GP when I had DD3 really wanted to be at the birth because he'd never seen a home birth. I think the midwife gently discouraged him.

As it turned out, it was so quick that the midwife didn't make it, either. grin

MaryKatharine Sat 03-Aug-13 13:32:19

But everyone is talking about it being individual choice. Yet it only seems to be individual choice if you don't want pain relief. I wanted an epidural and was refused one simply on the grounds that it was my fourth baby and I'd have 3 previous vbs that were straightforward and quick. With the last 2 being done without pain relief at all. I just don't see how that can be morally justified.

I felt demeaned and as if I had no control. I couldn't refuse to have the baby, could I? I just had to put up with it and her condescending attitude afterwards.

So if its all individual choice and we accept that not all women want to do it without pain relief, why dare to assume I'd be proud of doing it pain free?

mrslyman Sat 03-Aug-13 13:45:10

Deviscive even

SoniaGluck Sat 03-Aug-13 13:53:27

MaryKatharine Yes, I agree with you. If you wanted pain relief and weren't given it then that is just as much of a problem as having it forced on you.

It is wrong that you had to experience that. Everyone should be able to have the birth they want unless there are medical reasons against it.

I had the opposite arguments for my fifth baby - having already had 4, all straightforward, a midwife told me that my uterus would be stretched and I shouldn't risk giving birth at home because I would definitely need intervention and pain relief. hmm

MaryKatharine Sat 03-Aug-13 15:31:33

I was offered pain relief albeit reluctantly, just not an epidural.

My anger is part not getting the pain relief I wanted and part her assuming afterwards I'd be proud to have got by without it. That's my issue and that's what I don't understand. Just because some women want to do it without pain relief that doesn't mean all do nor does it mean that all women should strive for that if at all possible or that midwives should be of the POV that least amount of pain killers the better.
Where does that mentality come from?

Mary, what happened to you was unnecessary and unfair and I for one certainly do not agree that pain relief should be withheld. You wanted it and absolutely should have received it.

However, that has nothing to do with the op really. Her issue was with those of us who did choose to go without being proud of the fact that we managed to do without it. You didn't want to go without but were forced to. Which is wrong, and of course you're not happy about your treatment during the birth. However that still doesn't mean that those of us who are happy we managed drug free birth have no right to be pleased about it.

MaryKatharine Sat 03-Aug-13 16:28:14

No, of course not!
I had my first with a bit of pethidine. DC2&3 were both drug free with one at home and I was also very proud of my body for managing it.
However, for dc4, I felt I'd done all that and I actually didn't want to go through the pain of labour again. I wanted an epidural but as I'd had my previous 2 without drugs, nice and quickly with no tearing etc then they wouldn't accept my request. I just don't see how this can be justified and I'd really like it explained to me if its a cost issue or an ideological one because I struggle to understand.

imademarion Sat 03-Aug-13 16:52:32

I am having some major dental work done next month.

My plan is to avoid all and any drugs because it will make me very pleased to be able to wank on ad nausem for years to come tell everyone afterwards that the dentist I did it naturally.

I'm going to chant, and I've got some lavender oil packed.

If it gets too much, I have a CD of whale song and an Evian spray to hand.

I might grunt too.

Pain relief is for pussies.

ZingWidge Sat 03-Aug-13 17:02:11

imade remember to put your lucky knickers on - and by that I mean shit proof

imademarion Sat 03-Aug-13 17:11:19

Zing, I've been stitching a hessian pair with the date on and everything. Good tip tho, I'll craft a gusset from kapok.

Eldestoffive Sat 03-Aug-13 17:20:48

I can honestly say first baby was hell!!!!! It took me six years to get over it...I took everything and the epidural didn't work!
Baby two, 13 weeks today hurt like hell but apart from guzzling gas and air,and a couple of codeine...not too bad!
No pain relief = bloody mad!

janey68 Sat 03-Aug-13 17:27:56

Summerain sums it up: it's about choice.

I couldn't give a shiny shit if other women choose epidurals or csections- because I can manage to get my head round the fact that they are not me. They are separate people who might actually do things differently to me. The above posts show that sadly, some women are unable to get their brains around any other woman who - shock horror- does things differently, and can only cope with it by mocking other people's choices . Makes you wonder how happy they really were with their choices..
Reminds me of the old WOHM/ SAHM threads actually grin

TondelayoSchwarzkopf Sat 03-Aug-13 19:40:02

It's not about choice though is it?
As I said earlier, many women do desperately want a natural, drug free birth but their experience is very different. How many women genuinely had the labour of their choice?

a) because birth is different for every woman and a lot can go wrong, and the signifiers of severe risk versus the signifiers of a normal healthy birth are not always that clear.
b) because our health service is not set up that way - many women on this thread have told stories of not getting any say in how their labour was managed
C) because there is a whole antenatal industry promoting 'natural birth' and setting women unrealistic expectations or minimising the risks of a non interventioned birth

Many women are extremely upset and traumatised by not getting the birth they envisaged so please stop dismissing it as a "choice" they made.

wharrgarbl Sat 03-Aug-13 19:47:47

she was able to have a drug free birth as it is better for baby

Highly debatable, except in the very short term.
I was made to feel absolutely like a failure for even considering medication during labour by my hippy fucking dippy ante-natal educator, who was so awful I left every class saying 'I don't know how we're going to do this. I can't do. I just can't'.

I felt like a complete and utter failure with an EMCS. Baby was fine, it was me that was falling paprt - blood pressure through the roof, could hardly eat or breath, vision starting to blur (yes, I was an old bag).
I still have a lingering sense of having done it 'wrong', and this has been emphasised by all those comments like the ones above, about 'giving my baby the best start', giving up my comfort for the sake of the baby, all of which imply that I was too self-involved and a wimp to give my son the best start.
The basic facts are that if everyone is alive and well afterwards, everything else is relatively temporary.
I always think these evangelists for natural everything should spend six months working in a fistula hospital. Those girls and women all had natural births.

janey68 Sat 03-Aug-13 19:50:55

Yes, some women are unable to have natural births and I think that's been acknowledged on this thread. My point was in response to the ones above which criticised women who do give birth without pain relief. Most pregnancies are medically normal, and 'some' women in this situation choose to have pain relief and some don't. Just because choice isn't always possible, doesn't mean it's never possible.

janey68 Sat 03-Aug-13 20:07:35

sorry, extra inverted commas crept in there!

FobblyWoof Sat 03-Aug-13 20:08:07

I think a lot a lot of things during childbirth warrant pride (in ourselves an others).

I had an epidural and I'm proud of myself for it. I made the right choice for me in the circumstances I had, and I managed to make that choice in a difficult time when I was in a lot of pain. I didn't go in to hospital thinking I'd have an epidural and I went a long time coping on g and a but in the end it was right for me (it even meant I got some much needed sleep before the pushing stage and that helped with not needing assistance).

So if no pain relief (for whatever reason) was the right choice for someone else they absolutely they should be proud. smile

eragon Sat 03-Aug-13 20:09:10

I didnt so much as write a birth plan but write down a drug list.

sadly only got gas and air, used a tens for early stuff. didnt get very far down the drug list.

was the same for all 4 of my birth. dont think I even got a paracetamol for the stitching/embroidery with my first (forceps) got a ice pop wrapped in a blue (very rough) paper towel to numb the pull of stitches after birth. was grim.

am a total wimp, didnt pluck my eyebrows until I had my first baby.

ZingWidge Sat 03-Aug-13 20:14:04

with my 6th my birth plan had "I want an EPIDURAL!" written with a red pen on every page.

when on labour ward the midwife quickly looked through it, the shot me a grin and said something along the lines of "you want an epidural then?" grin

Openyourheart Sat 03-Aug-13 20:14:54

Because it is like an endurance test. Think of the Japanese game shows. Those guys are proud when they have endured all sorts of pain and nasties. Same as giving birth without pain relief. It means you are hard.

internationallove985 Sat 03-Aug-13 20:20:52

I didn't experience any pain in giving birth. My D.D was an emergency c/section. (general athesthetic)
However had I not needed a c/section I would have had every pain relief going as you don't get any medals for being brave.
Well done to all of those who did give birth without any pain relief but that's just would not be me. x

Minifingers Sat 03-Aug-13 20:31:53

"Same as giving birth without pain relief. It means you are hard."

What, like using pain relief means you're 'soft'?

There are two people whose welfare needs to be considered when using pain relief. Mothers who have strong feelings about not using it generally feel this way because they're concerned about the side effects of pain relief for their baby.

"Highly debatable, except in the very short term."

It's not 'highly debatable' that babies are more likely to need resuscitating at birth if the mother has had opioids. And more likely to struggle with breastfeeding. It's a fact. It's also a fact that mothers are more likely to experience fetal distress if they have an epidural. Babies born after an epidural are more likely to need a forceps delivery, which in some babies results in severe bruising and an increase in jaundice in the first week. You may think these things are trivial and not worth considering, but most mothers I know would be really bothered by them. As to there being long term consequences from exposing children to opioids at birth - we don't know, the studies haven't been done.

I'm not judging people who use them labour is tough and I've had an epidural and pethidine myself. But it's utter bollocks and very wrong to try and make yourself feel better about your choices in childbirth by denying something that it staring you in the face: that drugs used in childbirth can have consequences for babies which are undesirable.

noddyholder Sat 03-Aug-13 20:32:49

It is hugely painful and if you get through it without you would be proud! I didn't btw but can see how you might

Minifingers Sat 03-Aug-13 20:34:57

"I am having some major dental work done next month."

If you were pregnant and your dentist offered you pain relief for dental treatment which was known to cause fetal distress, would you use it and not think twice about it?

Stop comparing drug use in labour with drug use in situations where only one person is involved. It's pointless.

IfIonlyhadsomesleep Sat 03-Aug-13 20:57:03

Brilliant-now I feel as if I shouldn't have had bloody gas and air during what I had considered three births I had breathed hard through and managed calmly and well. I know damn well that I'd I'd had particularly difficult births with less brilliant support I'd have needed more. So pride never actually came into it. But I certainly felt okay about the consequences for my baby. Perhaps I should also have thought more carefully about having gas and air for a serious unjury I sustained whilst pregnant. Or refused morphine. And used hyonotherapy durung tge surgery. Or been better prepared so i didn't get hurt in the first place. Because a stronger, more stoical, more baby focused woman might have. I wasn't cross at the start of this thread but none of the justifications for feeling proud of pain relief choices has held water for me. And then to go into questioning women's care of their unborn child. Enough.

scraggydoodledo Sat 03-Aug-13 21:08:55

Giving birth without analgesia and having a root canal without analgesia are totally different to me too; I would have to agree with Janey. It is interesting to talk to people from other countries because, whereas an epidural is typical here, it isn't in many other countries. I doubt that there are major physiological differences.

Lots of reasons for that, a lot of which have already been mentioned.

More doctors opt for CS not because if is better but because doctors only get called in when things go wrong and see the post natal complications of difficult births. They therefore have a v skewed experience.
Overall, uncomplicated vaginal delivery is safest but there is no guarantee of that.

I have never bragged about not having an epidural nor commented on other women's choices and have never even experienced anyone else bragging either. I wonder if certain antenatal organisations and the media are responsible for the guilt that some women feel about their birth choices rather than individuals.

Minifingers Sat 03-Aug-13 21:13:36

Oh for goodness sake, be an adult. We can't all make optimal choices in relation to every aspect of our parenting, we just can't. Circumstances just conspire against it sometimes. No need to have a hissy fit and start blaming other people for your negative feelings about your parenting decisions.

MaryKatharine Sat 03-Aug-13 21:16:30

minifingers, those correlations are slightly skewed because women are rarely given epidurals as and when they want nice and early. So the foetal distress is often there anyway or caused by a long and difficult labour which is fen the only time. The effect of opiates are a different matter but rarely dangerous to baby. They are more likely to need help because they are so sleepy.

The pregnancy in which I wanted an epidural was my 4th. I had had 3 other straightforward vaginal births. All quick, no distress and two without any pain relief. Not sure an epidural would have led to foetal distress in my case.

So not sure I buy into the cause and affect with regards epidurals.

LaGuardia Sat 03-Aug-13 21:18:17

They didn't require pain relief because they have fannies like buckets.

wharrgarbl Sat 03-Aug-13 21:20:02

*"Highly debatable, except in the very short term."

It's not 'highly debatable' that babies are more likely to need resuscitating at birth if the mother has had opioids. *

Excellent not reading for content there.

janey68 Sat 03-Aug-13 21:24:12

Women don't require pain relief because they have Fannies like buckets? LMAO - anyone who makes that sort of comment sounds like they have issues with their own experience frankly

By all means have pain relief if you want or need it. Just try not to make pathetic put downs to women who don't.

Actually LaGuardia, it's the stretchiness that's key, and width of the pelvic opening. If you're going to comment on my anatomy at least be sure you have some idea what you're blathering on about first smile

Minifingers Sat 03-Aug-13 22:25:45

"minifingers, those correlations are slightly skewed because women are rarely given epidurals as and when they want nice and early".

Because most women in the UK aren't admitted to hospital before they're in active labour.

The majority of women who request an epidural in active labour get one within an hour of request.

"So the foetal distress is often there anyway or caused by a long and difficult labour which is fen the only time."

No - epidural CAUSES many cases of fetal distress. It's the physiological effect of a big drop in the mother's blood pressure, which is what can happen as the epidural starts to work. Women with an epidural are also more likely to run a temperature in labour which can lead to tachycardia in the baby, and (if the mother has had prolonged rupture of the membranes) a suspicion of infection which can result in a baby being separated from its mother and even being subjected to lumbar punctures - because doctors can't always tell what is causing the temperature.

"The effect of opiates are a different matter but rarely dangerous to baby. They are more likely to need help because they are so sleepy."

Why should you have to prove long term harm to a baby as a justification for being cautious about a drug (which is actually a shit analgesic anyway, hence a number of hospitals deciding now not to make it routinely available for labouring mothers) which is known to impair breastfeeding and sometimes result in a frightening situation where a baby needs to be bagged and masked at birth? I don't want my children to be sedated with a strong opioid, not if there is no benefit in it for them, and not, especially, for the first hours they spend outside the womb and interacting with me! I appreciate that other people think sedating a newborn baby is no biggie, by for me and lots of other people it is!

Chunderella Sat 03-Aug-13 22:26:13

Are you 12, LaGuardia? I would've hoped we might manage a sensible discussion without derogatory remarks about each other's vaginas.

wharrgarbl Sat 03-Aug-13 22:29:58

Good-oh, then Minifingers, I'll keep right on giving myself a hard time about what a shit mother I am because of having an EMCS. Job's done.

Minifingers Sat 03-Aug-13 22:32:33

"So not sure I buy into the cause and affect with regards epidurals".

Well I go by the evidence presented in the Cochrane index, which is what the NHS bases its patient information on.

35 of the 38 studies in the Cochrane review look at outcomes associated with epidural use women taking pethidine as the control group. They are not comparing women having complicated labours who opt for an epidural with women having straightforward births where they don't need pain relief. The studies compare two groups of women who are having labours difficult enough to warrant the use of sedation or an epidural. And even given the fact that opioids are associated with higher rates of non-reassuring traces in labour, epidural STILL resulted in more cases of fetal distress than pethidine.

janey68 Sat 03-Aug-13 22:35:44

I think to be fair that last post was defending against the sneering comment about women who give birth naturally having fannies like buckets. I mean why on earth would anyone even think that in their head? Unless they have their own issues and can only deal with it by imagining such things

wharrgarbl Sat 03-Aug-13 22:35:49

And after the fetal distress, what happened then?

Minifingers Sat 03-Aug-13 22:36:30

"I'll keep right on giving myself a hard time about what a shit mother I am because of having an EMCS"

If you want <shrugs>

I have no intention of giving myself a hard time about my forceps birth following having an epidural. But hey ho, each to their own.

MaryKatharine Sat 03-Aug-13 22:36:53

Yes but I didn't have an hour!
I was in labour for 42mins and I pushed for 9mins. I wanted a bloody epidural so as not to feel pain having had the lat 2 pain free. I was denied it because the midwife decided I could do it without pain relief so I should. I think that is a disgrace.

wharrgarbl Sat 03-Aug-13 22:37:59

Then I have no idea why you're pushing the ideas you are.

MaryKatharine Sat 03-Aug-13 22:40:43

Epidural takes a max of 20mins I believe to take effect. I requested it immediately and was ignored. But as I posted previously, the worse part was the midwife had the audacity to give me the speech about being proud and how she knew I could do it all without one. Spectacularly missing the point that I knew I could do it. I ad one it before. The point was I didn't want to. angry

IfIonlyhadsomesleep Sun 04-Aug-13 00:09:44

On balance, I think most people on this thread actually are saying that birthing a baby, by any means, is an achievement. And acknowledge the role of many factors in the route that baby takes. I still find difficult the congratulations or awe new mothers receive for having a relatively intervention free birth. But I have a bit of a weird perspective on achievement generally because I believe in being grateful for any achievement and the advantages it brings rather than being proud as such. Was it Newton who said the "standing on the shoulders of giants" line? I feel that sums it up really. Every straightforward birth involves the prerequisites of at least some of these:genetics, access to good information, a supportive partner, good midwifery care. So in terms of sense of achievement - we should all have that for birthing our babies. In terms of pride? Why should I feel more pride in my gas and air and breathing birth than my friend in her crash section birth? I don't see why someone who goes drug free should feel less-the posters suggesting that aren't helpful but more? Can't see it. And, hissy fit or not, I still find it very unpalatable to then bring caring more for the child being born into it. How about those mothers who found it hard to bond after a traumatic labour because they are so messed up by what happened? We are fast returning to a time not so long ago where women are terrified of labour because they have few options for pain relief available. Previously it was because epidural and the like weren't routinely available. Soon it will be because women feel its such a dangerous thing to do for their baby.
Isn't there a bit of middle ground?
Oh and by the way, mini fingers, you are so wrong about me blaming others for how I feel about my parenting decisions. It's just that actually, gas and air in labour was one of my better ones. My second and third births where the midwife didn't deny me it during pushing were even better.

IfIonlyhadsomesleep Sun 04-Aug-13 00:12:52

Wouldn't bother reading the above post-it's late, it's long and I just feel better for having typed it! As you were!

ShadowMeltingInTheSun Sun 04-Aug-13 00:32:06

Not sure I'd call not having pain relief in labour a source of pride.

I didn't have any pain relief in labour with DS (unless you count the one dose paracetemol & codeine I threw up within 15 minutes of taking them) - this was mainly because labour progressed much faster than the midwives or I expected it too.

If anything, when I was going to baby groups with DS, I felt almost ashamed to talk to other new mums about this because I was worried that they'd think I was bragging or something for having had a fast (almost) drug-free labour. Although I'm pretty sure that if I'd been in labour for the average length of time, or longer, I'd have been demanding pain relief.

BellEndTent Sun 04-Aug-13 00:47:42

My first labour, I begged the horrible midwife for drugs only to be told it was too late, I didn't need it, baby would be born sleepy etc. I was in agony (horrible 22 hour labour which started off back to back) and insisted. Was given pethidine, made little difference to the pain and I felt terrible for not being "strong enough" to cope and having to argue.

jammiedonut Sun 04-Aug-13 19:45:32

Haha my fanny has certainly never been bucket sized, pre or post baby and I still managed to squeeze out thr 99th centile head circumference of a 9lb+ baby without pain relief. It fecking hurt though and I begged for pain relief through the last 9 hours of my 23 hour labour but was refused as I've said before because of allergies. Am shuddering thinking about it

Fluffy1234 Sun 04-Aug-13 20:27:35

I had my 3 DS's without any pain relief, I've never thought of it as something to be proud of. I'm just proud to have had 3 lovely boys.

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