I'm 35+4 and am hoping to give birth at my local midwife led unit where the strongest pain relief they offer is pethidine. At our NCT classes pethidine didn't score very highly when we were assessing the risks and benefits to both mother and baby but the midwives at the unit have said that it can be really good at relaxing you and helping you dilate when administered at the right time and that there's very little to no risk for either mother or baby.
Does anyone have any experience of taking pethidine, especially at a midwife-led unit?
The problem with it is that it's an opiate and can make the baby drowsy, which can make the first feeds, for example, difficult. It depends how you feel about giving an opiate to your baby - I think it does help some people but others would rather not use it and use gas and air/water alone if they can. It's up to you really. On my birth plan (also hoping to be in a MLU) I've asked them not to offer it to me as I don't like the sounds of the effects, but I suspect if it was in labour and offered it I'd end up taking it!
My experience of pethidine is that it makes women drousy and out of it. I strongly suspect some midwives prefer women to be like this as they are easier to manage. I avoided it myself, preferring to feel more in control with Entonox. Pain only felt overwhelming when I got a wave of panic. Pethidine might be an option if you cannot get on top of panicky feelings in labour. A soothing birth partner that you trust is the best remedy for panic in my experience. Don't forget you can always transfer to a unit that can offer an epidural if you feel you cannot cope on the day.
I feel it spoilt my birth and first day with DC3.
It just made me feel and act drunk. My husband couldn't understand what I was saying because of the slurring, which panicked me more.
Baby struggled to feed, unlike my other children who didn't have pethadine at birth
I had it late in labour, an hour or so before birth, possibly less. Didn't experience any downsides as such, didn't feel drowsy, baby wasn't drowsy, no feeding problems etc. But it had no pain relieving properties at all for me. I can't unpick whether it had a calming effect as administering of it coincided with midwives suddenly agreeing I was in labour and stopped trying to make me go home.
I had meptid in subsequent labours, which is supposedly very similar. Again I had it very late on (If there were any future babies I should learn my asking for pain relief tends to occur about 40 mins before the baby turns up). There were no issues with sleepy babies or feeding or anything and I did feel a reduction of pain.
It was fantastic when I had it with dc1.
I'd been having painful contractions for 24hrs by that point, the birthing pool had no effect, the gas and air was no help, and, quite frankly, I was exhausted. The pethidine did calm me down / relax me and it was wonderful. Absolutely what I needed.
I had it with dc2 too. I snoozed my way though the next couple of hours and then gave birth with about 10 mins or work. Wonderful stuff.
Both dc were fine.
Some mw led units offer diamorphine instead which does the same job of relaxing you but has far fewer side effects for you and baby.
I had pethadine with ds and it just made me sleepy. It didn't help with the pain.
I had it with dd fairly far into labour. It was a good middle ground as the G&A wasn't quite doing it but it wasn't as full on as an epidural. It doesn't take the pain away but it makes you not care about it iyswim.
I acted drink for maybe half an hour then was 'normal'
as you can be in labour
However, it very obviously crossed the placenta as dd slept for about 48 hours when she was born and it was very, very difficult to wake her. Getting bfing established was really hard and I ended up in for 5 days before she would feed properly.
It worked well for me as a pain killer but in not sure if have it again. I'd have to think very carefully.
Sent me to sleep, had worn off by the time I could have done with it's pain killing abilities.
I had it with DC1 and 3. Both times it let me sleep off a couple of hours of painful labour.
No issues with me or DC.
What a mixed response! I wonder if it's all to do with the timing of when it's administered? The midwife who showed us round the unit mentioned another drug that they can give to make sure the baby isn't drowsy on arrival but I can't remember what it was called (or if it was given to the mum or baby). I think I'll need to read up on it a bit more before making a decision.
Had it with dc1 hated it
Swore never again
Asked for it with dc2 hated it
Swore never again
Dc3 just gas and Air, much better!
I had it and like some of the others found it great. I slept for a couple of hours and was awake and alert for pushing. I had no problems with dd being drowsy or bf, in fact the mid wives commented that she was a natural. I think it absolutely depends on being given it at the right time, our NCT teacher said it was effective if used at the right time.
I had it twice in the space of a few hours, then went on to have to deliver my DD ASAP as she was struggling so perhaps if it hadn't been so close to delivery things would have been different but she was very drowsy, very uninterested in feeding and ended up back in hospital for weight loss. I'm so sure it was the concoction of drugs I was given (and obviously asked for, so my fault) that contributed to that. Next time, it's just gas and air for me (if there is a next time!)
It's not a pain killer, it is a sedative, technically, though I was in too much pain for sedation so for me it did neither, except make it difficult for me to express my pain causing me psychological trauma which I suffer from 8 years later.
On account of the realisation that it does nothing for the pain if you are REALLY in pain, and neither does gas and air, and the discovery that you can be ignored for 6 hours whilst screaming for an epidural so that is also not reliable, - I went on to have two subsequent babies with nothing which was far the better experience.
I feel my first birth would have been so much better if the midwives had been honest with me and simply said:
Pethideine rarely touches the pain but it shuts you up.
Gas and Air might help a bit but only if it doesn't hurt that much, but otherwise it is nothing more than a bit of a distraction, though good for being stitched up afterwards.
Epidural is unreliable but can offer full pain relief, however your chances of getting it are minimal if we're busy.
TENS can help, but only when it doesn't hurt that much in the early hours.
Pool is fantastic if you've not reached a hysterical state by then because you've been denied and epidural that you had been led to believe was an option and if you haven't already been persuaded that pethedine is a good idea and therefore forfeited your chances.
Reading these responses is quite sad actually. The quality of care could be so much better.
Did absolutely nothing for me. Had it with DD1 and thought it made me spaced out so vowed not to have it again. With dd2 I got a bit panicky and asked for it again but realised after that it was the G&A that made me spacey, not the pethidine and the pethidine did nothing, was completely pointless.
I had it as couldn't have G&A as it made me vomit, and had used my TENS for hours right up to the highest point. I wouldn't have it again. It was great for me, I fell asleep and it made me far more relaxed, I think I might have been given it twice?? But it could have been something else. however DS stopped breathing after he was born and I think it may have been to do with the drug. Never want to feel that panic again.
I had Pethidine about 40 minutes before giving birth and my god did it help! My boy wasn't drowsy and I was completely with it. I will definitely have it again with the next one.
I had it twice with my first dc, well it just made me feel drunk and sleepy, did bugger all for the pain!! Funnily enough my bosses (i was a nanny) are in the medical profession (surgeon and anesthetist)and they both said to me on separate occasions to skip the pethidine as it was shit
roughtyping how strange - I was given it twice, and my DD stopped breathing when born. They had to resuscitate her. They told me they didn't know why it happened. I did wonder if it was linked. I'm sorry you went through that too
averagemom yes they told me they didn't know why. He was crying and alert when he was born but stopped breathing after a couple of minutes which to me, could be linked to drowsiness. It's horrible. Sorry to hear the same happened to you.
I had it as I was getting exhausted. Amazing stuff! Dd was a little sleepy but nothing major x
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