Pain relief - why is there stigma against using it?

(169 Posts)
CalamityJ Fri 15-Feb-13 20:34:12

39+6 so seriously beginning to think about the actual birth process (probably about time!). A few NCT friends have given birth already and have a few RL friends who have also given birth in the last few months. The general gist has been that they've made it through childbirth with as little pain relief as possible. One posted on Facebook that he was 'really proud of his wife as she'd done it all without pain relief'. And that made me feel a bit hmm as before then I hadn't thought that people would think worse of me if I went for whatever pain relief I felt was necessary. Speaking to the midwife last week she mentioned the birth plan which has that I want to know when it's becoming too late for an epidural so I can make a decision about if I need it. She basically tried to say I should not bother with one and I should just try for gas and air. I'm not sure why I should feel the need to be a hero and go without pain relief? Would it make me a 'better' mum? Why wouldn't I want to make it as easy as possible on me?

Phineyj Fri 15-Feb-13 22:45:49

Oh, meant to add, TENS did nothing for me at all -- I felt like one of those elderly ladies in the ads with the home emergency alarms hanging round their necks (she knows help is coming...do you?). Getting my foot stuck in the hospital doors while being rushed up to the labour ward in a wheelchair was much more effective at distracting me from the contractions though!!

Purplecatti Fri 15-Feb-13 22:47:16

I didn't have anything other than gas n air. But it certainly wasn't competitiveness on my part.
I'm allergic to opiates and was frightened of an epidural as the idea of not feeling what was happening to my body freaked me out. But some people find that reassuring.
I was told I could be given anti sickness drugs for the painkillers but I was too scared incase it didn't work.
I think it's each to their own really and no one should be judged. Everyone's ability to handle different pain in differing situations is different and every labour, woman etc is different anyway.

CalamityJ Fri 15-Feb-13 22:51:42

PhineyJ yes I've said I definitely want an epidural if I'm induced. Again, the midwife said 'well we'll see how it goes'. I just don't feel taken seriously. I'm so pleased I have such a supportive DH. He's been great all the way through & he knows me inside out so I know he'll fight my corner.

weblette Fri 15-Feb-13 22:56:49

With my first I had a mismanaged back to back labour with an epidural which only partially worked. I felt so disorientated and out of control.
For that reason I had minimal pain control for the next three. Yes they hurt but I knew that for me pain was easier to deal with than having a medicated birth.
I was very lucky in that there was no need for me to have anything, one was domino the other two at home.

Mehrida Fri 15-Feb-13 23:01:07

I had all the best ideas about just using gas and air. Well I found that totally useless and was in gut busting agony due to SPD (and labour obviously) and I can still remember that moment when the epidural started kicking in and the relief it brought.

Since then if any of my friends have asked, I've said there's no shame in taking the pain relief. You don't need it? Fine. You do need it? Fine. You do what you need to do to get through it.

All the best for the birth.

EnjoyResponsibly Fri 15-Feb-13 23:04:59

Do you take Neurofen for a headache? Antibiotics for tonsillitis.

Epidurals are an invention to prevent pain. If YOU need one, TAKE one.

But it's YOUR choice. Keep it up your sleeve, along with all your other antenatal advice.

ps they're wonderful, and one should get one as standard if one is travelling in economy too grin

Mollydoggerson Fri 15-Feb-13 23:05:35

I had pain relief on one, and none on the other. My ds1's birth was much more difficult despite the epidural, much more painful and the after effects were worse. I should have got a medal for that!

Each birth experience is different, I suppose if you can avoid pain relief and suffer short term pain there may be longer term gains. All births are different.

EnjoyResponsibly Fri 15-Feb-13 23:08:01

BTW a Nintendo DS would have been more effective than an utterly pointless TENS machine. You have contractions whilst you're asleep. So you have to wake up to adjust the pulse. Fucking stupid, put a heel through it piece of shit.

poppy283 Fri 15-Feb-13 23:19:29

I put on my birth plan, I will probably want an epidural and do not wish to be persuaded otherwise.

Didn't have any problems getting one. Just be confident and assertive.

grin EnjoyResponsibly they really are pieces of shit. Like a cat's claws inmy back I thought - just what you want!

auntilin Fri 15-Feb-13 23:21:55

I did not have a birth plan, i had a back to back baby with no pain relief, gas and air made me feel sick, i'm terrified of needles so an epidural was out of the question, thankfully i did not need any other interventions.

My pain thresh hold is nil, but i don't think you can compare any other pain to childbirth. I did what i wanted/needed for me.

Everyone is different, do what you want to do..

ThePathanKhansAmnesiac Fri 15-Feb-13 23:28:43

Be open to all eventualties.
You,re giving birth, that in and of itself is amazing.
What you need, to get through your particular pain thresh hold, tbh, is neither here nor there, once you have a healthy mother and child.
I suppose most would want a birth without emergency intervention, but if it,s needed, it,s needed.
I hate all this fucking birth mompetition, is it just not enough that we,ve grown a whole human being inside us, without judging others choices?
Wishing you all the best.[ thanks]

thunksheadontable Fri 15-Feb-13 23:31:21

I have had one birth with epidural and one with no pain relief and if I had another I would prefer an epidural free birth if possible. It was amazing and I often visit it in my memory the way you pore over, say, wedding photos. I couldn't have given birth first time without the epidural but I never feel that way about it as an experience. It was a means to an end. Neither makes a difference to my relationship with either son but the pain relief free birth felt like a huge achievement, like running a marathon or skiing down a scary hill and was a rush for me.

thunksheadontable Fri 15-Feb-13 23:33:18

I liked the tens before the epidural though! We are all different!

Jac1978 Fri 15-Feb-13 23:40:31

I had the same with my NCT class - I wish I'd never gone to it because the mums were and are so competitive. This is about your body and your baby and you don't know how you are going to feel on the day or how your labour will be so don't feel you have to decide now - keep your birth plan fairly open and don't rule anything out. Do what's right for you. Childbirth is extremely painful - I didn't have time for an epidural but I would have jumped at the chance - frankly if they'd offered to taser me I would have kissed them!!! There are no medals for it and frankly I wouldn't believe all the heroic tales if I were you - focus on your own needs - you will drive yourself crazy comparing yourself to other mums now and in the future!

Arseface Fri 15-Feb-13 23:46:53

Had no pain relief for first birth (was waiting till I needed it and it was all over before I got to that point).

Second time around I needed inducing. Was agonising and the midwife was being weirdly cagey about an epidural. Got assertive (asked for the time of my request to be put on my notes) and she gave in grumpily. No idea why she felt this way but it was wonderful! Went on to give birth vaginally with no further interventions/stitches etc.

Currently in hosp after my waters have broken with twins waiting for labour to start. If nothing has happened by the morning I'll probably be induced and will demand an epidural as will have to deliver in the operating theatre on my back with both babies being constantly monitored!

Do not feel remotely proud of my drug free birth. Was the easiest and least painful so far.

Do what is best for you. Be firm about what you want and be proud of bringing home a baby.

Best of luck!

EnjoyResponsibly Fri 15-Feb-13 23:53:17

Ah NCT. Hated me-epidural was my birth plan -- pain wuss, can't deal with period pain let alone full blown labour--.

GrandPoohBah Sat 16-Feb-13 04:43:36

I had an epidural - it was fabulous.

I had wanted a birth in the MW led unit with a pool so I could wander about, move to make myself comfortable. I ended up with an induction 10 dais early due to preeclampsia and constant 1-1 monitoring on a consultant led ward. I had an epidural and was happy with my choice.

CalamityJ Sat 16-Feb-13 09:42:33

EnjoyResponsibly until I discovered the pill & it's magic period reducing properties my periods were so painful they would make me sick. I only came off it 2 months before conceiving & was terrified of getting them back at full force. So this 'mild period pain' I've been experiencing off & on this past week is bearable but it's not the real thing & when it gets worse I'd like to opt out of the full force as soon as possible!

MyDarlingClementine Sat 16-Feb-13 09:48:37

Its a load utter rubbish and pathetic and nasty and horrid.

Can you imagine explaining attitudes to child birth to an alien?

Yes its horrific pain but we like to encourage women to do it pain free.

No - nothing else requires this attitude - everything else you do - you get pain relief without a second thought, its just women in labour!

MyDarlingClementine Sat 16-Feb-13 09:59:22

Alot of NCT hogwash sounds like brainwashing really.

When I hear ladies say things like " I had to give in and ask for pain relief" or " I did so well I got to bla bla then had to beg for relief" or " I expected to much of myself and feel so upset I needed pain relief"

I always say " why do you think this? Is this what people say when they have a tooth absess? Oh I am such a failure I had to ask the dentist to anthetise me? "

Its a background culture that creates these thoughts and its that back ground culture that must be de constructed. Its there for those who want it - but shouldnt be pushed as the only way.

JackiePaper Sat 16-Feb-13 10:00:25

You have to do what is right for you no matter what anyone else thinks, it's your birth noone else's and that's what's important. The reason midwives discourage epidurals if at all possible is because they significantly increase your chances of having an assisted delivery (forceps/ventouse) and they do slow down your labour.

GraceGrape Sat 16-Feb-13 10:01:00

I've had two back labours with just tens machine and g&a. Excruciating! Begged for the epidural both times but was apparently too far along. I did manage to get one eventually as DD1 was EMCS and the relief was bliss. It took 2 hours to push DD2 out as I was too distracted by the pain in my back to focus on pushing. I seriously think I'd have managed it better if I'd had an epidural. If you want one, have one (but make sure you ask for it early!).

MyDarlingClementine Sat 16-Feb-13 10:24:50

"The reason midwives discourage epidurals if at all possible is because they significantly increase your chances of having an assisted delivery (forceps/ventouse) and they do slow down your labour. "

sorry but that is total bollocks.

Many a MW has been on here and admitted its cost driven, its not conveinent - down to anethetist being round, but many women who have threatend and got really nasty seemed to have made that busy anethetist materialise confused.

Much simpler to make you get on with it - get the baby out and whatever else you suffer =- physical trauma or mental - wont be their concern, as you will never go back to them.

your on a production line.

Depending on who you speak to you will always get a different opionon on whether they do actually slow down labour.

GraceGrape Sat 16-Feb-13 10:33:37

And people still have assisted deliveries that haven't had an epidural. DD2 was a ventouse delivery - and I'm sure it would have been more pleasant with the epidural!

Faxthatpam Sat 16-Feb-13 10:51:20

Absolutely do what you want/need. Women who have straightforward births with no pain relief aren't "better" they are LUCKY.

I am personally rubbish at childbirth grin, lots of messy complications, inductions and for DS4 was encouraged to have ELCS due to DS3 getting completely stuck. Each time my midwives were nothing but supportive of my choices and I took their advice to have epidurals with my inductions. DS2 was the only one I went into labour spontaneously for and pushed out myself, after a 30 hour labour. I did have an epidural for him too as it had gone on so long and I was exhausted, but by the time I was pushing it had worn off. You just don't know how it's going to go, so you go with what you need according to your situation. Its also great to have a supportive DP.
Its the end result that matters, ignore the fools on FB! grin.

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