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?

ChoudeBruxelles Fri 15-Feb-13 20:36:01

Epidurals can slow down labour.

LBsBongers Fri 15-Feb-13 20:38:26

Because pain is ennobling, and they give out medals

you do what you need to do

didireallysaythat Fri 15-Feb-13 20:39:51

I don't get it at all. A month or two later and you can't remember how much your baby weighed at birth, let alone if you followed a birth plan. I think I am in the minority though - I don't get the appeal of OBEM either. The birth thing last hours to days max. Being a mother lasts a lifetime.

I hope everything goes smoothly for you, with or without drugs.

PoppyWearer Fri 15-Feb-13 20:41:22

Do what you need to do, definitely!

Every labour is different. I didn't need pain relief beyond gas and air/TENS for my two, but the pain of the contractions with each was different to the other. With the first the contractions were cramps, like period pain, but with the second they were sharp stabby pains.

And if either had been back-to-back, I'm sure I'd have been begging for an epidural!

EldonAve Fri 15-Feb-13 20:41:46

if you've done nct you should be aware of possible downsides to pain relief in childbirth

nothing wrong with people feeling a sense of a achievement for getting through it without it

Scroobius Fri 15-Feb-13 20:42:25

My midwife said that basically it's because the more you want them to intervene with regards to pain relief, the more likely they end up having to intervene with other stuff like forceps, syntocin drips etc.
Having said that she then said but there is absolutely no reason for you to be left in more pain than you can handle. My thinking is that I'm going to assume all will be ok with g&a, birth pool etc then if it does get bad enough I'll escalate through the options as needed.
Basically it's got sod all to do with anyone else what pain relief you need or don't, all that anybody really wants to happen is that you end up with a healthy mum and baby when it's all over!

FayCorgasm Fri 15-Feb-13 20:43:34

It's one day - just do what you need to get through it. My labour was really fast and there was no time for pain relief. There is absolutely no way I would have been able to do that for long without pain relief. If you broke your leg no one would congratulate you for not taking any painkillers. Do what you need to do. Good luck!

marilynmonroe Fri 15-Feb-13 20:44:26

Do what you have to do. When your kids are older you won't be thinking about the birth but what amazing human beings they are.

I hate all this competition about a pain free birth. Some people have a higher pain threshold than others. You might surprise yourself that you can do it without pain relief but don't feel that you have failed because you have pain relief.

A happy mum makes a happy baby.

It's not relevant in a child life how they came out etc. as long as that baby is healthy. Good luck!

HandMini Fri 15-Feb-13 20:45:57

Epidurals and other pain relief can slow down labour, mean you are more out of it so you can't "be in the moment" when your baby is delivered, and may inhibit the natural urge to push when you're fully dilated.

But that only matters if it matters TO YOU.

i used epidurals for both my births..LOVED them. Lots of my friends have had births without pain relief and yes, I'm "proud" of them in a way for being so focussed that they could get by without, but I know that's not me.

LynetteScavo Fri 15-Feb-13 20:46:16

As someone who had an epidural for 12 hours, then pethedene, then a pain free pain relief fredd birth, I can tell you people look at you just as scathingly if you say you needed no pain relief, as if you said you were screaming for an epidural.

Having an epidural, can have the knock on effect of needing intervention, and I suspect that is why your MW suggested trying to go with just gas and air.

There are no prizes either way. You are not big and clever if you give bith without and epidural, just lucky (or very unlucky if you had a first brith like mine.)

CalamityJ Fri 15-Feb-13 20:46:21

Thanks for the reassurance. Am I allowed to say I'd rather have a long less painful labour than a shorter agonising one? confused I had an operation about 2years ago (I know there's that thing where your body releases hormones to help you forget the pain in childbirth) under local anaesthetic and I can still remember the noise that came out of my mouth when I found out the hard way the anaesthetic hadn't numbed the area properly.

I took it all! G&a, pethidine and epidural and feel proud that I managed to give birth to a healthy beautiful baby. I think u need to do what you want and to he'll with the rest. U won't remember or care about it in a few weeks time!
Congratulations and good luck

saycheeeeeese Fri 15-Feb-13 20:48:53


Pure and simple.

I had an epidural and it was the single most bestestest decision I made during my 13 hours of labour. I was actually laughing and joking with the MW between pushes! smile

OddFrog Fri 15-Feb-13 20:57:06

Wait and see how you feel at the time. If you need it, use it! I didn't need any this time, because it wasn't painful. Damned hard work, but not sore. Exhausting, but not unpleasant. Everyone is different, depends on so many things. I did use the pool and the water was lovely, supported my weight and helped me relax. For dc1 I had a cs and was totally out of it for ages afterwards. I preferred the clarity of thought this time with no drugs.

GoldenGreen Fri 15-Feb-13 21:34:36

But one can say it's possible, maybe preferable (obviously this is debatable) to manage the pain without pharmalogical pain relief without also "stigmatising" the use of that pain relief.

I didn't want to use anything other than gas and air and water, and was lucky in that the circumstances, environment, position of my babies etc. were conducive to that, so my own ability to cope was enhanced and I got what I wanted. (I know though that if my second labour had gone on longer or if I'd not been able to use the pool, that I would have needed something more and would have had no hesitation in using it).

I did feel empowered by what I'd done and it was lovely for me that my partner recognised that.

But I'm sure you have gone through all the advantages/disadvantages of all your options and I hope you get whatever it is you want/need as it all unfolds.

CalamityJ Fri 15-Feb-13 21:41:46

I think it's that I don't necessarily see the disadvantages as such. Getting through it is my aim & I don't like the idea of the midwife telling me I'll regret having pain relief when actually I'm the sort of person who's more likely to regret NOT having it & being made to go through something unnecessarily. Does that make sense to anyone else?

ivykaty44 Fri 15-Feb-13 21:48:16

The general gist has been that they've made it through childbirth with as little pain relief as possible

Thats there issues and concerns - not yours.

I had pethadine with my first, never fancied an epidural (keeping still and long needles were a worry to me at that time in my life) and ended with a emergency c section and so was out all together - so just a tad of chemical intervention.

with dc2 I didn't want epidural again as wanted to go home asap and new that would hinder getting out, so had as much gas and air as I possibly could.

You do what is write for you it is not a competion

ShowOfHands Fri 15-Feb-13 21:55:39

I was in labour for a v long time both times round. First time round I thought that I MUST avoid all pain relief and for myriad reasons. Thought I would be failing, risking intervention, risking the baby getting the drugs across the placenta etc. I spent 30hrs (8hrs at fully dilated) in absolute excruciating pain. I was gripped by the terror of feeling like I was splitting in two. And I don't think it's anything to do with thresholds of pain. No two labours feel the same and what I know now is that the baby was in a v dodgy position and stuck rigidly and the pain was a warning sign. I was so bloodyminded though that I didn't listen to my body.

Second time round I swore that I would do what I needed to do in order to feel in control and not at the mercy of hideous, unrelenting pain. Turns out that even though I was in labour for 38hrs second time round, it was utterly painfree. But I would have had no problem whatsoever with accepting some kind of help 2nd time round because I didn't feel empowered or like I'd achieved a flipping thing for enduring a long, painful labour first time round. I felt traumatised.

nailak Fri 15-Feb-13 22:07:07

you dont see the disadvantages?

well i suggest you do some research.

And then come to the decision that is right for you.

I did find births without pain relief an incredibly empowering experience.

CalamityJ Fri 15-Feb-13 22:10:51

As in I don't necessarily see prolonging labour as a bad thing if it's less painful overall. I get the risks of drugs on baby (pethidine), potential paralysis (epidural) etc. I did listen in my NCT classes. I just think the psychological damage of a traumatic & excruciating birth and therefore potential PTSD should be equally considered.

QTPie Fri 15-Feb-13 22:13:16

Honestly, you are the only one who is feeling the pain when you give birth - your decision and nobody else's (and nobody has the right to judge - before or after).

Do what you feel you need to do and keep your options open.

I did everything natural and hippy to prepare for birth (I am not hippy!) - to cover all the bases - then had an ELCS for breech. Took all the pain relief available and was a very lazy cow - no pain whatsoever... Am I guilty or ashamed - certainly not! wink

Look after yourself.

TransatlanticCityGirl Fri 15-Feb-13 22:33:09

In my NCT class, I was the only person who definitely wanted an epidural. One was older and therefore had an open mind - she just wanted her baby however it happened. One was planning a home birth. All the others (5) were booked in for a natural birth in the midwife led unit and reminded me on several occasions about the 'cascade of interventions' - some seemed even a bit evangelical about it all.

Not a single person out of 8 had the birth they wanted or planned for and many felt disappointed as a result. The lesson I learned: birth plans are nice to have (it lets the midwives know what you'd prefer and they will accommodate that as much as possible) but you really can't predict what YOUR labour will be like.

I also wonder about the cascade of interventions hype. Does having an epidural really CAUSE additional interventions? Or is it just LINKED to other interventions because the kind of person who tends to have an epidural is someone who is having a long labour, who are finding the pain unbearable & getting tired... factors that might lead midwives to believe a little extra assistance is needed.

As for me, at 42 weeks I was induced. First they tried the gel (2 applications)... nothing. then they broke my waters.... nothing. then they put me on the syntocin... pretty much nothing - never made it past 6cm. And finally my DD was born 3 days later by EMCS. So definitely not the birth I was planning.

HOWEVER, the good news, is that I had a pain free childbirth. Literally zero pain, because nothing was working, and when they finally put me on the drip, they gave me the epidural too (I was advised there was no point not having it, it wouldn't slow the syntocin down).

So I was happily reading magazines, chatting, sleeping, and even dialing in to conference calls at work all while 'in labour'.

And while I would have preferred to not have a c-section, I have to admit, I couldn't have had a better birth experience. And if anything, in my case I'd say it was being induced that caused the cascade of interventions, not the epidural.

FrustratedSycamoresRocks Fri 15-Feb-13 22:37:26

I can't have g&a for medical reasons. So after tens it's straight to the pethadine option.

With my 1st I wrote no epidural, and ended up having one anyway.
With my 2nd I didn't write anything down. I had tens and pethadine and asked for an epidural (which I didn't get because it was too late)
Looking back I'm glad I didn't have the epidural for the simple fact that I could get up and have a bath straight after instead of being sponge washed by a midwife.

I've had friends have had bigger babies, with no pain relief, and one with a back-to-back who only had g&a, and thought nothing more than "bloody hell I couldn't do that"

I'm currently pg with no.3, and will use the pain relief that I need. I know my pain threshold and how much pain I can take, and if I feel I need the drugs I'll ask for them. I don't see why there needs to be any competition about it.
And I've never had the community midwife who I saw throughout pregnancy at the maternity unit anyway.

Of you want the pain relief when you are in labour then theres no shame in asking for it.

Phineyj Fri 15-Feb-13 22:43:26

I understand the research shows that an important factor is how well supported you feel during birth, as part of pain is subjective. I felt well supported during birth (had an independent midwife who I'd been seeing for six months by that point) and so I didn't need any pain relief for that part (I also found the birthing pool and being able to move around as I wanted very helpful)-- but I ended up having an EMCS and I have to say the spinal block was absolutely brilliant!

One tip I was given (but did not need to use as went into labour naturally) was to demand an epidural if you are induced by drip as the pain can ramp up very quickly.

Don't be a hero...the main thing is you and the baby come out safely and that the labour doesn't overshadow you becoming a mum.

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 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.

Shagmundfreud Sat 16-Feb-13 11:02:12

For the same reason you avoid eating and drinking things in pregnancy that may affect your baby.

I personally didn't want my baby sedated with pethidine for the first few hours of her life outside of my body, nor did I want her to be born with a massive bruise across her face caused by forceps. Sadly as my labour was long and the midwifery support I got was shit, I ended up having pethidine and an epidural, which resulted in both these things.

Had a homebirth next time around to reduce the likelihood of it happening again.

Shagmundfreud Sat 16-Feb-13 11:09:52

FWIW - midwives working on maternity wards don't give a shit about the cost of epidurals. Neither do anaesthetists or doctors. Hospital managers and politicians care. People who're in charge of how the NHS buck is spent care. Midwives generally want women to have uncomplicated births if at all possible, which is why they have concerns about epidurals.

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

Which is why it's not a good idea to ask individual opinions about whether they slow labour down, but to look at what good quality medical studies have to say on the subject, particularly REVIEWS of the evidence, which take lots of studies into account and not just one.

If you're interested, this is the evidence that NHS patient advice is based on: here

"The review identified 38 randomised controlled studies involving 9658 women. All but five studies compared epidural analgesia with opiates. Epidurals relieved labour pain better than other types of pain medication but led to more use of instruments to assist with the birth. Caesarean delivery rates did not differ overall and nor were there effects of the epidural on the baby soon after birth; fewer babies needed a drug (naloxone) to counter opiate use by the mother for pain relief. The risk of caesarean section for fetal distress was increased. Women who used epidurals were more likely to have a longer delivery (second stage of labour), needed their labour contractions stimulated with oxytocin, experienced very low blood pressure, were unable to move for a period of time after the birth (motor blockage), had problems passing urine (fluid retention) and suffered fever. Long-term backache was no different. Further research on reducing the adverse outcomes with epidurals would be helpful."

JackiePaper Sat 16-Feb-13 11:10:02

Mydarlingclementine - sorry but it's not bollocks at all. Have a look at cochrane (gold standard research in healthcare) epidurals increase the risk of assisted delivery by 38%.
They relax the pelvic floor muscles and hinder rotation of the baby into an optimal position for birth. They also reduce the urge to push thus increasing rates of assisted delivery. The research is quite clear.
Having said that I don't think I dont think anyone should stop someone having an epidural if they want one.

CalamityJ Sat 16-Feb-13 11:16:52

MyDarlingClementine & others. So true regarding why people think you're a hero if you don't have pain relief in labour when you would for a tooth extraction. Men get pain relief for vasectomies & that's fiddling with their most intimate part! I've read the Marie Mongan Hypnobirthing book. Listened to 3 different natal hypnotherapy CDs & whilst they've calmed me down a bit they haven't 'worked' in the sense that the last 2 times I tried listening to them I had to stop as my back ached so much just from sitting down! I think labour's going to be a bit more painful than that! grin

SignoraStronza Sat 16-Feb-13 11:20:19

Because some people treat it as a competition? I had an induced (pessaries then syntocin drip) back to back 24 hour+ labour with no pain relief whatsoever. This was in a bloody Catholic country that believes women should suffer. Thequacks doctors were quite happy to make references to 'natural' birth being the be all and end all whilst conveniently forgetting that an induced, augmented labour is anything but natural! I ended up with a section after failing miserably to progress.

I was a fucking mess to be honest. Don't think there's anything to be proud of about refusing pain relief. If go as far as saying that if it's available and you're suffering you'd be a fool not to take it. Had a lovely elcs for the second dc as was not risking vbac, despite the fact I'd be in a lovely compassionate nhs hospital.

My SIL bangs on about her lovely natural waterbirth at every good given opportunity and BIL writers on about what a bonding experience or was. I just grit my teeth, smile, nod and remember that every birth is different. wink

MyDarlingClementine Sat 16-Feb-13 11:59:38

My section was a wonderfully bonding experience because I hadnt had to go through labour.

It was bliss to just have the baby there and out, and not have had three days of tiredness and torture to get through.

I loved every minuete of being in hospital with her - feeding, cuddling...gazing.

It was bliss.

Shagmundfreud Sat 16-Feb-13 12:46:31

Have you ever gone through labour Clementine?

Meeting your baby is the best thing in the world (as long as you feel well enough to enjoy it) however they've arrived.

Shagmundfreud Sat 16-Feb-13 13:01:26

Signora - I suppose it depends whether you think there's any benefit to you or your baby from going without drugs in labour.

Given that some people won't have a single glass of wine in pregnancy, it does strike me as odd that so many people have absolutely no misgivings about exposing their baby to a fairly large dose of opioids just before they're born. In the long distant past women would drink alcohol in labour to help with labour pains. We'd be appalled at the thought of a baby being drunk at birth, but we think nothing of babies being so heaving sedated with pethidine at birth that they can't breastfeed, or that they risk needing naloxone because their breathing is depressed.

Also - babies born by ventouse and forceps are more likely to have seizures, scalp abrasions, bruising, cephalhaematoma. All more likely for mums having an epidural because of the higher rates of assisted delivery.

I'm not saying that people shouldn't have pain relief in labour - god knows I've needed it myself - but can we all stop comparing it to having a tooth out? Using pain relief in labour may have implications for mums AND babies.

MiaowTheCat Sat 16-Feb-13 13:11:05

Our local hospital I now know has a great habit of intentionally pratting women around procrastinating about pain relief so they don't get any.

Just wish they'd quit running their highly hypocritically named "birth choices" classes when basically the actual matter boils down to who you get on shift, and if you get a particularly vindictive one you're screwed.

I got no choice (until they got the salad tongs out anyway) - doesn't make me superwoman for doing the vast majority of it on paracetamol alone - before being forced into a spinal/forceps anyway... and the nightmares of it still haunt me now.

But hey - I kept the natural birth brigade (keep yer nose out of my uterus please) happy.

Shagmundfreud Sat 16-Feb-13 14:03:04

Yes. Because the 'natural birth brigade' (whoever they are) really WANT women to suffer as much as possible, because they're basically sadists. hmm

Any pregnant woman reading this thread and worrying - find out here what percentage of women at your local hospital get the pain relief they request: here (click on main index of national statistics, then go right to the bottom of the page and click on 'Survey of what women thought of their maternity care'.

There's a question 'During your labour and birth, did you feel you got the pain relief you wanted'. On average 1 in 8 women in the UK said 'no'. The lowest percentage of women saying 'no' was 0% at the Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Trust. There were loads of others where only 1 in 20 said that they didn't get the pain relief they wanted in labour. The highest by a long way was 22% at Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals NHS Trust.

MiaowTheCat Sat 16-Feb-13 14:22:13

When they're wanting to bully women to make it fit their ideals - yes they are. And yes, my local hospital I now know (amazing what you discover after the fact) is very very fond of doing it. But hey - it's ok - cos after three hours of being fobbed off and in agony - someone will offer you some aromatherapy and that'll make it ALLLLLL better!

I get REALLY fucked off with competitive parenting - especially the competitive birth olympics crap that goes on (I keep waiting for C4 to install a voting system for OBEM on the red button cos we seem to have everything BUT)... and the utter denial of things like birth trauma which is absolutely shattering to have to live through.

babraham Sat 16-Feb-13 14:23:27

I quite fancied the idea of a low intervention labour and considered spending some of it in water and then delivering on dry land... trying to stay mobile throughout.

What I got was slow labour for days, a distressed baby from the start and an induction where they didn't bother with gels or pessaries- they put me straight on the synto drip which took no time at all to get me into full blown labour with contractions on top of eachother.

Any thoughts of staying mobile/getting in water had to be forgotten as I spent the rest of the labour and delivery on constant monitoring stuck to the bed.

I worked my way through all the pain relief options and can honestly say I loved the epidural. It was the last thing I said I wanted in my birth plan but my God it works! The pain went from unbearable to non existent and I had a little nap! When I woke the mw examined me and it was time to start pushing.

It was so far from the hippy birth I wanted but at the end of the day they did what they had to to get baby here safely and I did what I had to to deal with the pain. I don't regret a thing.

Good luck for the birth, you'll be fine. If you're getting on well you may not need much pain relief but it's there if you need it.

GoldenGreen Sat 16-Feb-13 14:30:31

I can categorically say I could absolutely not care less what anyone else chooses to do (though I do care, very much, that women get what they want during labour and birth - that's different).

I refuse to believe that anyone goes without pain relief in order to win some kind of competition. Does anyone here seriously believe that a woman would go through an extremely painful and frightening experience just to be able to gloat that they did it? Or might it just be possible that those women who prepared for and managed without pharmacological help (and yes,of course luck is a part of it) might have had some other motivation to do so?

Shagmundfreud Sat 16-Feb-13 14:34:12

What hospital is this Miaow?

If you feel you're being 'fobbed off', then ask to see the midwife who's in charge of the shift. Ask for it to be written in your notes that you've requested an epidural.

Re: competitive birthing, the aspect of this that affected me was women competing to tell the worst birth stories.

Who denies that birth trauma exists by the way? I don't know anyone who's had a baby or who works with women who have babies who doesn't acknowledge that some women are traumatised by the experience of labour.

Narked Sat 16-Feb-13 14:36:33

I don't get it either. Would you feel proud of having a wisdom tooth out without pain relief?

Shagmundfreud Sat 16-Feb-13 14:37:11

"Does anyone here seriously believe that a woman would go through an extremely painful and frightening experience just to be able to gloat"


It's very unsisterly to ridicule someone's motives for wanting to go without pain relief, just as it's unsisterly to ridicule someone for wanting an epidural.

Women generally have very sound reasons for wanting a particular type of birth, and we ought to show some respect for this.

Shagmundfreud Sat 16-Feb-13 14:40:03

"I don't get it either. Would you feel proud of having a wisdom tooth out without pain relief?"

There are no benefits to going without pain relief to have a tooth out, other than not being dribbly afterwards.

But there may be benefits for some women and babies in not using pain relief in labour.

Thingiebob Sat 16-Feb-13 14:53:59

It's just another stick to beat women with, and often it is other women doing the beating.

Personally I think if you managed without pain relief and claim afterwards you found it 'easy' then clearly you were lucky enough to have a straightforward birth which wasn't very painful in the first place.

Lucky you.

Thingiebob Sat 16-Feb-13 14:56:22

"Does anyone here seriously believe that a woman would go through an extremely painful and frightening experience just to be able to gloat"

Erm... Yes. I know of two in particular.

TondelayoSchwarzkopf Sat 16-Feb-13 14:57:25

I agree with what MyDarlingClementine says.

The link between the increased risk of assisted delivery and epidural is there but it's not necessarily a cause. Labours that require more pain relief are all too likely to be ones that need assisted delivery - back to back, suspected abruption, foetal distress that requires continuous monitoring. In other words, you need an epidural because of the type of labour you are having, not the other way round.

Let's not forget there are also advantages of epidurals - lower risk of postnatal incontinence and prolapse being two. The risk of an epidural not working is significant but possible paralysis is absolutely tiny and it is pure scare mongering to keep telling pregnant women about that risk without context. Epidural might slow labour down but it can also calm things down and give you some rest and thinking time.

If I ever met again the Anaesthetist who did my epidural I would give her a hug. It is shameful that the Anaesthetists were excluded from the recent consultation on childbirth and pain relief.

PetiteRaleuse Sat 16-Feb-13 15:02:51

In France epidurals are standard - they are surprised when women don't want one. Means the OBEM equivalent on French TV is a far more peaceful and quiet programme to watch than OBEM in the UK.

Thingiebob Sat 16-Feb-13 15:04:09

I was coping with a tens machine, then DD got into v scary fetal distress. I had no choice but to have an epidural to slow labour down. So sometimes it is not always the woman's choice.

Shagmundfreud Sat 16-Feb-13 15:19:43

Tonde - I have rarely seen the risk of paralysis mentioned anywhere in relation to epidural use, except in passing when pointing out how very rare it is. It's really not something that's commonly mentioned in the UK to dissuade women from using pain relief.

Thingie - I managed without pain relief (which was what I wanted to do - I had good personal and clinical reasons not to have it) during two difficult and in one case exceptionally long and augmented labour. It was having brilliant care that made it doable, not luck or a stiff upper lip.

Shagmundfreud Sat 16-Feb-13 15:21:37

I've not heard of an epidural being used to resolve fetal distress. Epidurals are more likely to cause fetal distress than resolve it AFAIK.

KatieMiddleton Sat 16-Feb-13 15:28:33

I think like all things you take a pragmatic approach. For me, I decided to aim for a birth without interventions because of the greater potential for complications but I decided that if, when I was actually giving birth, I decided I needed pain relief I would take it. Gladly.

So, I planned to be at home because it's a less stressful environment and I thought that might help make labour a bit easier if I was tense from being in an unknown environment.

I did a bit of natal hypnotherapy. Not because I really thought it would work, but on the off chance it might it wouldn't do any harm.

I got a birthing pool because there is strong evidence it helps with pain.

I got a TENS machine (because everyone else did).

I bounced on a ball prior to labour to help get the baby in an optimum position.

I looked at birthing positions and decided it would make sense to use gravity to help so I'd try to be upright as much as possible.

I didn't know any of this would work. How could i? So I also had a plan for what would happen if I went to hospital or had to be induced (although I wanted to avoid induction as much as I could):

If I needed to be induced I would want an anaesthetist on stand by for an epidural. If there was unlikely to be an anaesthetist available i would want to wait until there was. Nobody else is having potentially painful procedures without anaesthetic so neither am I. I would also expect to be catheterised and have continuous monitoring plus a cannula in my hand and other wires trailing off me - that's ok. I would knew that just having an epidural would mean I was at greater risk of other intervention. For me, that's ok too.

If I had a c-section or ventouse or forceps I would be accepting serious pain relief afterwards. Demanding if necessary.

If my baby was breech I would have an elective c-section.

Only a sadist would deny a woman pain relief and only an idiot would criticise somebody for how they had their baby. Natural is not easy and neither is a birth with intervention of any kind. I was lucky I was physically healthy, baby was healthy and my body is the right size and shape to give birth under my own steam and my babies were not too big and in a good position at point of delivery (second was back to back so labour took a bit longer while she turned). I had a much easier time than my friend who tried to do it the "natural" way, had every intervention attempted and ended up with an emergency section. Not that it ever feels easy at the time!

Any woman who gives birth deserves respect and awe. She is amazing.

oh and I'm a big fan of NCT I feel empowered by the information they provide and I had great antenatal classes

TondelayoSchwarzkopf Sat 16-Feb-13 15:53:21

The OP mentioned risk of paralysis. This was also a risk that was discussed in my NCT & NHS classes.

I've not heard of an epidural being used to resolve fetal distress.
Me neither and that's not what i said. 'foetal distress that requires continuous monitoring' means that the mother can't move freely during labour and manage her own pain through labour positions - so epidurals are more commonly required.

Rooneyisalwaysmoaning Sat 16-Feb-13 15:55:30

With the gloating thing I think it's often insecurity.

I felt like I'd failed/cheated when I had ds1(8 hours) with an epidural - friends had had 30 hour labours, caesarean sections, etc and people just looked at me and said 'blimey you lucky cow' and I felt awful. Butthen I felt awful anyway as he was born to me on my own with no partner. So I already felt like I was cheating to have him. I hadn't donethe whole, be loved by someone, get married, have a baby together. I didn't deserve him. It as complicated.

So to have ds2 at home with nothing, not even G&A (which was available but I declined as I don't find it helpful) felt like an experience I was glad to have - in a way - though it bloody hurt, and was traumatising, I felt like I'd 'achieved' something, I knew what it really felt like and for once I had done something 'properly'.

That was my own, personal, screwed up self feeling that way. Six years on and having just had my third and final baby, I went for the epidural. I knew what the pain felt like and didn't want to have it again, and by the time they agreed to it I'd done most of it - he was born about half an hour later. But thank God for that epidural.

Now I've come full circle. I'd say unless you are a masochist with something to prove, like I was before, then take the pain relief - just blooming take it! It is not shameful, or wussing out, those are constructs we create in our own minds from our own feelings of inadequacy. Labour is horrifyingly painful, unless you're very lucky/know how to manage the pain (I didn't, at all) and I've hidden the conception topic on here because every time I see someone TTC, all I can think of is 'are you INSANE?!'

The only down sides I know, for me, are the side effects and the being strapped to a monitor when you want to be on all fours. Nothing else - in fact the improvement in the epidural in 10 years was astounding. I could feel everything.

Rooneyisalwaysmoaning Sat 16-Feb-13 15:56:17

Oh and I haven't gloated btw. I don't think so anyway - tell me if I have! I kept all these feelings very much to myself IRL.

Shagmundfreud Sat 16-Feb-13 16:07:45

"I'd say unless you are a masochist with something to prove, like I was before, then take the pain relief"

But what about those of us who don't want pain relief because we don't want our babies exposed to opioids?

Or don't want to risk needing instruments?

That was me - I didn't want to give birth to a sedated baby (as I did first time).

I also wanted to have a normal birth if it was possible for me to have one, and I knew that this was less likely if I went into an environment where epidurals were available.

As for labour being 'horrifyingly painful' - well yes, I found it to be the case. Not all the way through but for some of it. However, not everyone is traumatised by experiencing extreme pain. I wasn't. I know other people who will say that at times they wanted to die from the pain in labour, but chose to do the next one at home without an epidural. I don't know why one woman is traumatised by the pain of labour and another isn't. In my personal situation having a midwife look after me who I knew well and trusted made the difference to how I felt about the birth before, during and after.

Shagmundfreud Sat 16-Feb-13 16:27:48

You might be interested in a book I've got, which is a study of women's expectations and experiences of childbirth. here

Two things that interest me from this study - the more painful women expected labour to be, the more painful they were likely to find it.

And that women who did not expect to have their preferences met in labour had consistently worse psychological outcomes for birth, independent of whether they got what they wanted or not.

GoldenGreen Sat 16-Feb-13 16:31:25

katiemiddleton sounds like just how I went about things, and like you it worked out for me - and also like you, I know people for whom it didn't. I feel bad for them only because I care about them and I wish it had gone the way they wanted. Not because I think I am superior to them in any way!

Thingiebob I am curious - why slow labour down if the baby is in distress? What is the benefit of doing that? Genuine question - just not heard of that before.

Chunderella Sat 16-Feb-13 16:32:12

Personally I found the TENS quite helpful for the earlier stages. It's worth trying, if it doesn't work you lose nothing.

As for epidurals increasing the odds of instrumental delivery, let's also consider the fact that some women manage to get some rest when they have one. I have wondered, if I'd got mine when I'd asked for it, perhaps I'd have been able to get some rest before the pushing stage and not have had to have ventouse because I was too knackered to get DD out. It seems within the realms of possibility. And frankly, I'd have taken the possibility of a risk to DDs health from an epidural to the certainty of the pain I experienced and what it did to me. I said this during the birth when I wanted some diamorphine but couldn't have it, and they all looked at me like I was an arsehole. I didn't give a fuck.

Chunderella Sat 16-Feb-13 16:34:20

I should add that women being pushed into pain relief they don't want is just as bad as women being denied it. Neither is acceptable!

Shagmundfreud Sat 16-Feb-13 16:52:19

"I should add that women being pushed into pain relief they don't want is just as bad as women being denied it. Neither is acceptable!"

In countries where 95% of women are having epidurals I have NO DOUBT that there are women who will end up having one who would have had a better birth without one.

That said, if you watch 10 minutes of a US programme like 'maternity ward' you realise why so many Americans have epidurals. It's like the whole system of care in labour over there is designed to make the process unbearable:

* flat on your back in bed from the minute you arrive in hospital: check
* everyone induced within a week of their due date or earlier: check
* most women delivering in lithotomy position with half a dozen HCP's shouting at them: check
* most labours augmented by syntocinon: check
* people having their entire families/workmates/random strangers in the labour room while they give birth.

It's seriously grim.

Chunderella Sat 16-Feb-13 17:02:31

Not sure I'd use the word 'grim' as a blanket term. If it's what the women concerned want, that's fine and dandy. It's only grim if it's been forced on them. I'm guessing some like it this way and others don't. As for the women in the country with the 95% epidural rate, an epidural free birth would only have been 'better' for them if it's what they would have preferred.

I suspect that in the US, as in Britain, there are a significant number of women whose choices about birth options are taken away from them. 12.5% of British women not getting the pain relief they wanted is a horrifying statistic! Then of course there is the developed world, where women die every day during births that could have been just fine if they'd had access to proper medical care. I wonder if there's any country in the world where women are actually allowed to give birth however they want.

PurpleStorm Sat 16-Feb-13 17:12:19

I think that you should get pain relief in labour if you need it. Having a baby isn't some kind of competition.

And I'd point out that not having an epidural isn't a guarantee that you'll avoid intervention.
I wanted to avoid epidurals because I was worried about the increased risk of needing forceps, managed on gas & air (and my labour progressed quickly, which helped with that) - but nearly ended up with forceps anyway because DS's heartrate started dropping with the contractions. Luckily the pushing went well enough for us to avoid that, but it was a close run thing.

Shagmundfreud Sat 16-Feb-13 17:24:37

"Not sure I'd use the word 'grim' as a blanket term. If it's what the women concerned want, that's fine and dandy. It's only grim if it's been forced on them".

Very, very few women in the US have the option of a midwife led birth. Continuous monitoring, induction at term, routine augmentation - this is part of normal birth culture in the US. And it's not because women freely choose it. You can't choose anything freely if you're not actually given the option of any viable alternative.

"And I'd point out that not having an epidural isn't a guarantee that you'll avoid intervention."

Um, are we handing out awards today for stating the bleeding obvious? Because if we were, I think you'd have won with this comment. wink

Chunderella Sat 16-Feb-13 17:47:18

As I said, it's only grim if it isn't what they wanted, and no doubt some women prefer this and others don't. It is grim for the latter group, not the former.

Regarding inductions a week before due date or earlier, the 39 week rule is becoming increasingly common there. It's not always had positive effects- routinely inducing women early for no good clinical reason and in the absence of strong maternal desire is stupid, but I have read stories of women and babies who have suffered because some hospitals have taken it too far. A balance is necessary.

sayanything Sat 16-Feb-13 17:54:49

I had an epidural with both my children. I didn't wait to see if I could cope with the pain, I asked for one as soon as I was 4cm dilated. And lucky I did, as my labours progressed so fast I probably would have been too late had I waited. I wasn't immobile and I could feel each contraction very clearly, I knew exactly when and how to push - but there was no pain. And I was up and about after a couple of hours both times, after skin to skin. My entire experience was one of feeling in control, aware of what was happening to my body, I loved it.

I gave birth in Belgium, which has the same stats as France. I wasn't pushed either way with regard to the epidural, the hospital had birthing pools, balls etc, it was my choice to have an epidural and it was respected without comment. To me that's the ideal - give women a a true choice and respect their wishes. I would be interested to see the stats for countries such as France and Belgium with regard to the frequency of assisted labour and epidural use. Perhaps due to the notion in the UK that epidurals are best avoided, they are more likely to be called for in cases where assisted labout would happen anyway - but I've no idea if that's actually the case.

sieglinde Sat 16-Feb-13 17:58:13

Some myths here, and some sense...

My first birth plan was 2.5 typed pages, about breathing and management and mobility and this and that.

However, Ds got completely stuck - part of it was that I had gas-and-air, and it made me spew in EVERY CONTRACTION thereafter, which made pushing very difficult. Eventually dh spotted that his heart rate was dropping and we had a crash instruments delivery. TBH I had PTSD afterwards - weeks of nightmares about the birth and the pain.

My second birth plan just said EPIDURAL in huge red caps. grin

Dd was btw born after a 2-minute second stage. I'd had the epidural, but I felt her crown. I was much MORE in the moment because the pain, though still noticeable, was moderate.

Shagmundfreud Sat 16-Feb-13 18:01:04

"As I said, it's only grim if it isn't what they wanted, and no doubt some women prefer this and others don't. It is grim for the latter group, not the former."

I think what ALL women want is OPTIMAL care. That is care which gives them the best chance of a healthy and normal birth, and where their needs and wishes regarding pain management (which includes but doesn't stop at pain relief) are respected.

When care givers are routinely engaging in practices which are a) not evidence based and b) are known to increase the likelihood of complications without improving outcomes, then women are not getting optimal care.

And as someone who cares about what happens to women and babies in childbirth, I personally think it's grim.

Chunderella Sat 16-Feb-13 18:02:08

Belgium sounds like a good place to give birth!

Shagmundfreud Sat 16-Feb-13 18:03:39

sayanything - France has better assisted delivery rates than the UK. Wonder if that's to do with the skill of midwives in delivering women with epidurals, or to do with the fact that your average French woman weighs about 2 stone less than your average UK mum (and interventions in birth are strongly linked with BMI at booking visit....)

sayanything Sat 16-Feb-13 18:09:41

I don't know about France, but in Belgium most babies are delivered by a gynaecologist, there's almost no midwife-led care (and if you get an independent midwife the hospital may not allow her to be present at the birth anyway). You are allowed to have your kinisiotherapist with you though...

Chunderella Sat 16-Feb-13 18:19:11

Can't see how it's a good idea to generalise about what all women want, Shagmund. I find it exceptionally hard to believe that there isn't a single woman in the US who doesn't want the medicalised model. Indeed I know of two who want elective sections so in fact I know you're incorrect. Not all women desire a 'normal' birth. What you or I might personally prefer- personally I was almost as frightened of induction as CS (fortunately able to avoid both)- shouldn't blind us to this.

Personally, I reserve the term 'grim' for birth situations in countries like Niger, with horrific maternal and perinatal mortality rates and the vast majority of women get nowhere near medical care during pregnancy and birth. I prefer to think of the US as somewhere that could improve things plenty. But to each their own.

Callycat Sat 16-Feb-13 18:20:09

"But what about those of us who don't want pain relief because we don't want our babies exposed to opioids?"

I've never been in labour, and of the do-whatever-works-for-you view! But wanted to say that opioids in single controlled doses will not harm you or the baby. Your child will probably take opioids (like codeine) on numerous occasions throughout her life, as will almost all of us.

KatieMiddleton Sat 16-Feb-13 18:24:34

Yes anything that is blanket policy like that is grim. It shows no regard for clinical need and everything about making birth a profitable business.

I'm very much a hope for the best but plan for the worst kind of gal, but I like to plan using evidence and facts. Sometimes I have disagreed with a hcp because the risk assesment is horse shit not balancing the actual risks for me but based on several variables that did not apply.

Women who felt in control, respected and listened to in birth are proven to feel more positive about their birth experience regardless of pain relief and intervention options. I learnt that from NCT but I also double checked it for myself by looking at studies. I admit I'm a bit of a cynic but I'm one who felt informed and in control even when the mw went to bits with dc2!

KatieMiddleton Sat 16-Feb-13 18:28:18

Callycat the issue with opioids is that they can make the baby drowsy and hard to feed in first few days. This is not always a problem but can be sometimes particularly when it is complicated by something like severe jaundice where fluids are essential to help flush out the bilirubin.

noblegiraffe Sat 16-Feb-13 18:28:54

Some labours are more painful than others. My waters went early, my baby was extremely low in my pelvis (I could barely walk for the last few weeks). I went to hospital about my waters, they said to come back when I was having 3 contractions in 10 minutes, which I was already. I refused to go home and a few hours later was in intense pain and couldn't talk through contractions. They gave me paracetamol, I threw it up. They said that meant I was definitely in active labour, examined me and I was only 1cm dilated. No way could I have got to 10cm without proper pain relief if it was going to get progressively more painful.
As it was, I ended up being monitored, perched on the edge of a bed unable to move through pain, despite suggestions that I walk around. I'd only got to 4cm when they announced an EMCS due to foetal distress. My thought was 'thank fuck for that, I get an epidural'.

I know from talking to other mothers that their experiences were nothing like mine. They might not have needed an epidural but they're fucked if they're going to try to make me feel bad about wanting one.

nailak Sat 16-Feb-13 18:29:19

I actively enjoyed my pain relief free home birth, i used only tens, sometimes i feel like getting pregnant again just so i can give birth again.

Shagmundfreud Sat 16-Feb-13 18:36:09

"I find it exceptionally hard to believe that there isn't a single woman in the US who doesn't want the medicalised model"

Umm, I didn't imply that all women want a 'non-medicalised birth'. Or even that most women don't want a medicalised birth.

But ALL women want the best possible outcome for themselves and their baby surely?

And if the care they're being given is not based on good quality, up to date evidence, then they're not getting it, are they?

"But wanted to say that opioids in single controlled doses will not harm you or the baby."


If it creates a barrier to establishing breastfeeding (it does for some babies), is linked to higher rates of non-reassuring traces during labour, and results in more babies needing resuscitation after birth (it does), then I hardly think it can be described as 'harmless'.

And Callycat - my children have never had codeine, and they are 9, 7 and 13.

And I'm 46 and have only had codeine once. It made me very, very unwell and I've never taken it since.

Callycat Sat 16-Feb-13 18:39:19

Fair enough, Katie, nobody wants that! Though it sounds like in those cases the dose has not been calculated precisely enough - perhaps the hospital had used a one-side-fits-all dosing regimen rather than a mg/drug per kg/body weight individual approach? I don't know how it works on labour wards.

Anyway, as I said, I'm of the view that whatever you decide to do is the right decision for you. Feeling in control, however you do it, is probably the most important factor, I'd imagine.

CalamityJ Sat 16-Feb-13 18:42:47

I get the argument about drugs affecting the baby but given I've been on cyclizine since week 16 to week 40 (today!) & omeprazole since week 28 then I've had to come to terms with taking drugs which may affect my baby simply to get through my pregnancy. So I feel I've also had to come to terms with potentially needing pain relief to get through the labour.

My friend said she'd gone pain relief free to compete with her sister who had recently had number 3 with no relief. It was my friend's first & she had a 10lber over 3 days including forceps, her sister's 3rd which was an 8lber was out in 45 mins. She wished she hadn't been competitive & taken the pain relief. I am so non competitive I too hate the Momolympics as a previous poster termed it. And agree with everyone who says only you'll know what you need. Except my worry is that midwives will think they know better.

Callycat Sat 16-Feb-13 18:43:30

Codeine is common OTC drug for migraine and period pain, Shagmund (awesome username, by the way!) But I'm a pharmaceutical research scientist of almost 15 years now - granted I haven't read every single paper published, but opioids in carefully controlled, occasional doses are regarded as safe.

Anyway, didn't want argue or seem critical - sorry if that's how I came across.

Callycat Sat 16-Feb-13 18:45:16

Oh, and sorry codeine made you feel ill, shagmund. Indeed we all react differently to medications.

Bubblegum78 Sat 16-Feb-13 18:46:55

Go with the flow love and ignore everyone else.

Yes epidurals slow down your labour but when you've been in labour for 9 hours or more and your still only 4 cm dilated I really think it isn't relevant!

Your first baby takes 12-16 hours (approx) and your body has no idea what it is doing the first time round... natural instinct my butt crack!

Your body has to LEARN how to have a baby it's not something your body automatically knows how to do. (I'm sure there are exceptions to the rule..there usually is!)

I have 3 children all 4 years apart and we are trying for baby no 4.

My first baby I ended up with everything. Twice. I ended up with an epidural and did not have an assisted birth. (I was also induced).

My subsequent 2 children were born fairly quickly with only gas and air, that's pretty much the norm.

At the end of the day it's not a bloody competition and don't be swayed by midwives who try to get you to have this and that (or not) just because it's time consuming.

There's also no point in blathering on about risks of pain relief. There are risks in everything we do, giving birth is a risk!

You make yourself a birth plan you feel comfortable with and be prepared to be flexible.

Good luck. xx

puds11isNAUGHTYnotNAICE Sat 16-Feb-13 18:49:22

I had no pain relief. It wasn't out of competitiveness. I didn't want the epidural because I have a fear of loosing the use of my legs. By the time I got to the hospital, I was fully dilated, so the nurse said it was too late for any pain killers anyway. I was offered gas and air, but it really didn't agree with me so I didn't bother with it.

I was always very positive about birth, was never scared of it, which may have helped. I also was so sick of being pregnant I would have gone through anything to get the bugger out. Also I am ginger and there's a rumor we have a higher pain threshold, so that may have helped grin

KatieMiddleton Sat 16-Feb-13 18:58:50


I would think it's probably quite hard to estimate the weight for accurate dosing of opioids? How much is baby, how much mum and how much is fluid is all quite tricky to calculate accurately?

I was given codeine at 27 weeks pg when I was having strong contractions and continuous monitoring. Didn't even touch the sides! I would happily have accepted an epidural then. Funnily enough when I was in established labour 3 months later it wasn't nearly as painful and she was back to back. Course I wasn't terrified I was going to deliver a 27 weeker 400 miles from home and possibly seriously ill myself when I was labouring at home.

KatieMiddleton Sat 16-Feb-13 19:01:10

Lol puds. I actually felt more well in labour than I had for the preceding 3 months with dc2. Each contraction was a step closer to freedom from pain and being a PreND.

Rooneyisalwaysmoaning Sat 16-Feb-13 19:07:31

Has an epidural got codeine in it then? Bugger.

I have only taken codeine once in some OTC meds and it made me sick - my first epidural also made me very sick, well I was told it was probablythat though it was a delayed reaction, took around 8 hours and then I couldn't stop.
I was scared of it this time but the dose or the drugs must have been different as though I felt quite ill after I'd given birth, that was more like the unwell you feel when you haven't eaten for hours, which I hadn't. Not the physical vomiting thing I had the first time.

No one has told me what drugs are in an epidural, I'm interested to know.

Rooneyisalwaysmoaning Sat 16-Feb-13 19:12:02

also I wonder what effect it has on babies, as though ds3 woud have had less than ds1, they were both unsettled and worried looking babies while ds2 (home birth, no pain relief) was very very chilled from day 1.

Callycat Sat 16-Feb-13 19:14:41

I don't actually know what's in an epidural, Rooney! Just gave codeine as an example opioid that most of us have taken. Some people don't like it, but (pop fact) most over-the-counter doses are standardised to the average adult male body weight, so if you are a small woman, a lot of "recommended doses" can be a bit strong.

Sorry for thread hijack! Will leave the discussion to people who've actually been though labour wink

TheWalkingDead Sat 16-Feb-13 19:21:58

I would seem out all the information so that you know the facts, including risks, then you can make up your own mind OP. And try not to worry too much about what other people are saying; this may be something that they are really proud of, but it has no bearing on you, or at least it shouldn't.

Personally, I think that women should feel empowered way before the labour part by providing clear, concise, accurate, non judgemental information on pain management and other coping strategies. Empowerment comes through choice and that being acted upon, and obviously with such dire figures in women receiving the pain relief they wanted, there is a breakdown somewhere. Don't get me wrong, sometimes there won't be an anaesthetist available or some other situation may arise out of your control, but surely with such stark figures this points to a real problem?

I felt very empowered after giving birth via an EMCS for DS1 and an ELCS for DS2 and I think this came about from being listened to during labour with my first and also in the care leading up to my second child, as well as knowing all the options available to me. For me, a natural and normal birth wasn't vital because I considered labour as a means to an end, and pain relief was something to help me get to that end. As an aside, I have fibromyalgia, so pain management is something that i was particularly interested in as i am in pain every single day - immediately after my ELCS was glorious what with the voltarol and spinal taking all my pain away grin.

Overall, I felt at my choices were respected (although that meant little to me in the grand scheme of things) and the one person who has actually commented that I am weak for having an ELCS as I'm "taking the pain free easy option" doesn't matter at all - in the end it's about you and whether you had a positive, empowering experience not someone else's judgement on you.

TheWalkingDead Sat 16-Feb-13 19:22:42

*i would find, not seem

GoldenGreen Sat 16-Feb-13 19:27:55

"Except my worry is that midwives will think they know better" yes I worried about this too. It's awful not having the confidence that you will definitely be listened to and respected throughout your labour - the set up we have, where we have no idea who is going to actually care for us on the day, is to blame. It's only now, having had my birth experiences, that I would be able to challenge a midwife or doctor if I felt it necessary. Shame I won't be having anymore!

Is there really such a stigma? Not come across it myself (39 weeks so also thinking about these things). The general consensus seems to be labour can't be predicted so go with with flow and be flexible when you are writing a birth plan. In fact every single person I have spoken to has said something along the lines of 'of course everyone wants a natural birth, with only gas and air, whale music and a water bath.... but in the REAL world.... etc'.

I think a lot of the stigma that is spoken of is from within. Women judge themselves and think other people are judging them, when they are not. Not true in every case of course.

Shagmundfreud Sat 16-Feb-13 19:35:41

"and obviously with such dire figures in women receiving the pain relief they wanted, there is a breakdown somewhere."

But nationally fewer than one in ten women says categorically that she didn't get the pain relief she wanted in labour.

And in a large number of hospitals that figure goes down to 1 in 20 or fewer.

Shagmundfreud Sat 16-Feb-13 19:41:07

"Is there really such a stigma? Not come across it myself"

IME women generally fall over themselves to extol the wonders of their epidurals. No matter what they think in private, generally nobody wants to be thought of as a 'natural birth nazi' (whatever that is) and so most women will say whatever it is they think will make them seem most sympathetic, non-competitive and understanding in the company of other women.

I'm not bothered about being popular, so I say what I think. grin

Wanted to add - yes, it's good to be well informed.

And one of the most important things any pregnant first time mother can know (other than the importance of seeing labour as an adventure where anything can happen, and where a positive and optimistic mind set is a massive advantage) is that if she goes into an environment where epidurals are very frequently used, she's very likely to end up having one herself, whatever her plans prior to labour.

Ushy Sat 16-Feb-13 19:55:08

Shag "But nationally fewer than one in ten women says categorically that she didn't get the pain relief she wanted in labour."

Partly true but only about two thirds said they actually got the pain relief they requested - just under a third either didn't get it or they got it 'partially' - hours after they asked for it or had it turned down right at the end etc etc.

Well - given - nearly 700,000 women have babies in UK - that's over 200,00 women who are disgruntled or slightly disgruntled about respect for pain relief wishes.

That's quite a lot of annoyed women.

MyDarlingClementine Sat 16-Feb-13 20:07:19

"IME women generally fall over themselves to extol the wonders of their epidurals. No matter what they think in private, generally nobody wants to be thought of as a 'natural birth nazi' (whatever that is) and so most women will say whatever it is they think will make them seem most sympathetic, non-competitive and understanding in the company of other women."

What Utter Utter Tosh.

Deluded nonsense!

Thingiebob Sat 16-Feb-13 20:17:45

I've not heard of an epidural being used to resolve fetal distress. Epidurals are more likely to cause fetal distress than resolve it AFAIK.

Well, I was given one in order to slow my labour down as it was happening too fast and baby's heartrate was all over the place. Once labour slowed, her heartrate became regular again.

And, yes luck DOES plays a part in labour. You can be very unlucky and suffer complications that make your labour harder to manage such as baby not turning, pre-eclampsia, and even more serious situations which result in tragic consequences which are nobody's fault.

saycheeeeeese Sat 16-Feb-13 20:20:14

I was encouraged to have an epidural as I had pre eclampsia and it lowers BP. It brought mine down nicely, thank goodness for modern medicine!

MyDarlingClementine Sat 16-Feb-13 20:26:36


I have gone through labour Shag.

SirBoobAlot Sat 16-Feb-13 20:30:05

I don't think there is a stigma against it, but pumping your body full of chemicals is never ideal, especially not when pregnant. We've become so reliant on pain relief that we don't seem to be educated about natural birthing techniques, and even just positioning that can help with labour. How many people automatically give birth on their backs, when that is the absolute worst position to be in?!

The risks are epidurals especially are not explained. Three years on I am still having terrible issues with my back from when it was inserted, despite the fact it didn't even have time to kick in as they fucked up. The pain I was in on the post natal ward was horrific, the back pain was actually worse than labour. It also stressed my DS out.

Home water birth with hypnobirthing preparation for me next time.

ItsOkayItsJustMyBreath Sat 16-Feb-13 20:52:10

I hate the emphasis given to birth full stop. Mums are amazing, we have grown human beings in our bodies and all that that entails for 9 months. We should be proud of that as well as giving birth (no matter what pain relief we had or didn't have).

Personally I'd take giving birth over being pregnant again, I hated most of it. I had a low dose epidural so could still feel contractions and when I needed to push but it was pain free and my ds was born to the sound of laughter and a very happy, smiling mum.

LentilAsAnything Sat 16-Feb-13 20:55:40

Sorry to hear about the back issues, Siraboob. I was more freaked out at the thought of a needle going in my spine than labour itself, and wanted to avoid it if I could.
My main reasons for aiming for a birth without drugs were the effects of those drugs on my baby, especially as I'd read about it potentially impacting successful breastfeeding. So, that's why I wanted as natural a labour as possible, not so I could brag or because I was a masochist.
I had a homebirth with a TENS machine, which worked brilliantly for me, especially as he was back to back, it just took the edge off. I had some gas and air (again marvellous for me) and I'd done the hypnobirthing book and CD. And I used a birthing pool. Not smug, and if he'd not come out, I'd have gone for whatever was necessary to get my baby out, but I am glad he didn't have drugs in his system, and I was totally with it as soon as he popped out.

Chunderella Sat 16-Feb-13 20:57:40

Shagmund you said that all women want optimal care, and defined that as care which gives them the best chance of a normal birth. 'Normal' usually means a vaginal, non instrumental delivery so I assumed that was what you meant by the term. If that's the case, it's incorrect, as there are women who have no interest in a normal birth and therefore in the care that would give them the best chance of having one.

Your sentence 'all women want the best for them and their baby' is an interesting one. Because the interests of the two individuals involved are not always the same. That's the crux of the issue. A woman might want a higher dosage of opiates than is safe for the baby, or to freebirth when she's high risk- in both cases she would be getting the best for herself in fulfilling her own wishes, but not for her baby. Or she might forego her desired homebirth as baby is high risk, or go without any pain relief for the sake of the baby when she herself would prefer some- here she'd be getting the best for her baby but not herself as she wouldn't be getting the experience she wants.

As for opoids, worth pointing out that the sometimes barrier to breastfeeding is only relevant if mother wishes to breastfeed. Otherwise it's of no importance whatsoever. As a significant minority of women have no intention of breastfeeding, it would be best to quantify the 'problem' with this in mind. I say this as someone who had opiates, not as much as I'd have liked mind you, and was able to breastfeed afterwards.

thunksheadontable Sat 16-Feb-13 21:03:40

Having a more or less drug free birth was certainly not about 'momolympics' for me. I had a long slow recovery from Kiellands forceps with my first where my baby's apgar was also low and I wanted to avoid anything that might lead me to be immobile and have positioning problems again. I really, really doubt that there are many women at the height of labour who refuse drugs to look good to their NCT buddies!

I really loved it, sorry. It wasn't masochistic, I wasn't doing it because of research on risks, I didn't give a monkeys about how anyone else viewed it. I wanted the fastest birth with the least intervention and would have done anything to further the chances of that, but as a second timer it helped I knew what the pain might feel like and that I didn't want to stay for long in the postnatal ward with a catheter etc. I worked very hard at mentally prepping for the uncertainty of it eg accepting whatever might happen.

It just wasn't that painful compared to the first birth and apart from the half an hour of transition which was mega intense, I found it manageable. Why would you take the drugs if you felt it was okay when it means catheterisation and a longer stay in hospital esp with another child at home? On a purely practical level it made more sense!

saycheeeeeese Sat 16-Feb-13 21:04:18

Interesting also to find out if very many who are induced and put on the syntocin (sp) drip as I was have coped without pain relief.(I had to be induced 2weeks early due to pre eclampsia)

My contractions were so strong I nearly fell off the bed several times. For me an epidural was a no brainer.

MyDarlingClementine Sat 16-Feb-13 21:09:18

I dont know what meds I was given after section but no one mentioned any probs with me BF which I did from the get go, However BF my first after a
" normal - un assisted delivery with homeopathic massage ";

was very problematic because I was so mentally shocked and emotionally drained.

Chunderella Sat 16-Feb-13 21:10:28

I had syntocin at the end of my labour as contractions were slowing, with no adequate pain relief: opiates had worn off, no epidural, codeine did sod all, gas and air just made me sick. It hurt a lot.

thunksheadontable Sat 16-Feb-13 21:13:04

The pain is v different sc with that Drip induction.. There was no comparison IMO but having had a few hours of that sans epidural as none initially available (to 4cms only but about 5 hours of ctx) made the next labour seem easy peasy. Never felt as hard even at full throttle as with drip at early stages. That was a sea of pain. I was dancing to Ice Cube at 6 and 7cms and smiling and laughing between contractions instead of just in a state of frozen fear and agony.

saycheeeeeese Sat 16-Feb-13 21:15:34

chunderella you poor thing!

I felt like I was being ripped in two, I rhink I begged for someone to shoot me at one stage, then the anaesthetist came and made it better, a lot better!

I would love to go into labour naturally next time and get my peaceful water birth but chances are I will end up with pre eclampsia again sad

saycheeeeeese Sat 16-Feb-13 21:17:51

thunk sea if pain describes it perfectly. I think my poor baby just wasn't ready to come and they forced her, my body was in shock and resisting the whole time.

Chunderella Sat 16-Feb-13 21:26:11

Did I mention backtoback as well saycheeeeese?! I too would have liked a quick and quiet waterbirth, but it wasn't to be.

But OP, if you're still reading and not in labour as we speak, you get through it even if you don't manage to get the pain relief you want. I'm a ponce, really, definitely whine more than most about pain, and I survived. You will too if it happens to you.

thunksheadontable Sat 16-Feb-13 21:26:43

I actually have a really clear memory of it, of feeling like I was sort of submerged or maybe even drowning in it and my head was trying to bob out of the water. I think I was sort of hallucinating with it! I really hope you don't get PE again! If you go get them to site epidural v early if you can.. That was my birth plan if induced! Delivered spontaneously on day induction due.. Arrived at hops at 5am when scheduled for induction at 9am and they let me hang on even though not in proper established labour, about 3 to 4cms only... Phew

saycheeeeeese Sat 16-Feb-13 21:29:41

Back to back sad

OP you will do what's right for you because only you have any say in it just listen to your body, here's to a nice straightforward birth for you wine, when you hold that baby in your arms nothing else matters!

holidaysdistantmemory Sat 16-Feb-13 21:30:16

I hate this mentality.

I had an epidural. It was the best. I pushed out a healthy 10 pound baby in 6hrs with NO PAIN. I would act as a salesperson for epidurals if there was one.

A week before my birth I read an article in a paper about pain relief in birth. As I recall, it went along the lines: if a man chose not to have pain relief when having a vasectomy, would this make him more 'manly'? If you had your wisdom teeth out, and refused to have even a paracetamol, would that somehow make you more superior? No no no! So why are we pregnant women led to believe, in this modern age, where medical advancements give us freely available and low risk pain relief, that having no pain relief is somehow a badge of honour? Seems crazy to me.

Each to their own, but don't fall into the trap of feeling guilty about your choice, whatever it is and best for you. Good luck!

saycheeeeeese Sat 16-Feb-13 21:31:31

thunk I definitely will, I never want to feel like that again, they could have cut my leg off and I probably wouldn't have noticed!

Thanks smile

Zavi Sat 16-Feb-13 21:41:20

I really wanted to have my baby without needing to take any pain relief at all during childbirth because I wanted to take control of my body and I wanted to be in charge of the birth all the way through and I was really concerned that pain-killers might cloud my judgement in some way and, as I felt pretty confident that NOBODY would know what was best for me and my baby, except me, I wanted to be as compis mentis as possible all the way through.

I also thought to myself "it is only pain, I will be able to endure it, it will pass"

I had already made up my mind that I was going to be the type of mother that was going to go that extra mile for my baby and since Everybody knows how massively painful childbirth is and everybody knows that pain killers effect the baby too I chose not to have any pain killers.

I wanted to try and breast feed (obviously) my baby straight away and I knew they might be sleepy if they I had received pain-killers and I really didn't want to have my baby drugged up in that way. I wanted to be able to nurture it ASAP.

I therefore thought to myself "if I can go without pain-killers, people are going to realise what a good, powerful earth mother type I am. I mean, how else are they going to know that? grin

saycheeeeeese Sat 16-Feb-13 21:44:37

zavi I was only able to feel in control after I had the epidural, before that ibwas wailing like a banshee and falling off the bed.

I breastfed successfully in fact straight after she was born. If id had to labour without the pain relief I have no doubt that I would've been too traumatised to even hold her!

Zavi Sat 16-Feb-13 21:47:28

Just joking of course!

saycheeeeeese Sat 16-Feb-13 21:51:54


TwitchyTail Sat 16-Feb-13 21:51:55

Zavi grin

Ignore everyone else and do what you need to do. It is precisely nothing to do with anyone else save you and your HCP.

I did write a paragraph about my own experiences but deleted it - your labour will not be the same as mine so why would it be helpful to you? But feel free to message me if you do want to hear.

Just know that you don't need to justify yourself to anyone on here.

CalamityJ Sat 16-Feb-13 22:04:22

No labour yet sadly! Got my stretch & sweep on Tuesday so hoping it starts spontaneously before then as I'm not massively keen on being fiddled with but better than being induced.

I'm definitely planning on breastfeeding as it's both best for me & for baby but as Chunderella says sometimes what's best for me isn't best for baby when making pain relief decisions. I feel I'm more likely to be out of control with pain than in control & in pain. Whimpering like a dog is my mental image!

saycheeeeeese Sat 16-Feb-13 22:05:31

You'll be grand...its only a day in your life!

5madthings Sat 16-Feb-13 22:05:53

If pain relief like epidurals didn't increase the risdk of interventions and you could still be mobile etc then I would use it. But the risk of added interventions and after the three day lab our, and then three hours of pushing with ds1 with an epidural that didn't work properly anyway! Meant that for my next four births I didn't want one.

I had to argue in several of my births with drs who wanted me flat on my back etc, no medical need they just wanted it. Thankfully the midwife told them to go away when i had ds3 and again with ds4.

When I had no 5 I did have the drip and she was back to back, had to be monitered but the midwife knew I wanted to be able to move about etc and she was great so I knelt up, sat on birth ball, stood leaning over the bed. It was harder for the midwife but she was great and I had a three hour lab our and pushed dd out in just a few pushes despite her coming out in the back to back position. The midwife said had she been the right way up she would have flown out and I am sure that being mobile etc helped.

Have to say fucking love gas and air!

I don't care what others do but think women should be given the support to make an informed choice, whatever that choice is. I personally found birth an empowering experience, it hurt like fuck but I was on a natural high after each birth, literally buzzing for a few days afterwards.

space21 Sat 16-Feb-13 22:28:17

It will be an amazing, intense experience and hard work whether you have an epidural or not. It's your choice - don't let anyone influence you - trust your instinct.

I did have one for ds1 and it allowed me to rest and get ready for pushing after a looong labour but currently PG with ds2 and keeping an open mind...

Enjoy the experience whatever you choose and enjoy all those newborn cuddles grin

ThinkAboutItOnBoxingDay Sat 16-Feb-13 22:44:38

My godmother delivered one of Sheila Kitzenger's babies. Apparently the world famous advocate of natural child birth had an epidural. Hmmmf

MyDarlingClementine Sat 16-Feb-13 22:45:38

"I feel I'm more likely to be out of control with pain than in control & in pain."

Absoluty, I felt totally out of it with pain and with a shot of pethadine was able to take some sort of control back.

BTW I mentally didnt do anything in my labour I was just the vessel - my body did everything not my mind.

My mind and me were just there attached to this birthing machine.

MyDarlingClementine Sat 16-Feb-13 22:48:27

"but I was on a natural high after each birth, literally buzzing for a few days afterwards. "

I felt like this after my ELC not though after my first labour. I was buzzing with joy and happiness because the delivery was so calm, frightening, but calm.

After my first labour I was frazzled in every way.

Shagmundfreud Sat 16-Feb-13 22:48:31

" 'Normal' usually means a vaginal, non instrumental delivery so I assumed that was what you meant by the term. If that's the case, it's incorrect, as there are women who have no interest in a normal birth"

I have yet to meet anyone who would want a forceps/ventouse/emergency c/s/syntocinon/episiotomy, if they believed they could deliver a healthy baby without one.

But hey ho, maybe some people see an unnecessary birth injury as a badge of honour or something. hmm

5madthings Sat 16-Feb-13 22:54:54

mydarling its a great feeling isn't it, regardless of how a woman births it would be great if we all felt like that afterwards because it is an amazing thing.

I was offered a c section for ds1 but said no ask had as friend who ended up in ICU after hers, lots of complic actions etc. It terrified me, but equally other women find a vaginal delivery terrifying. Women need the information and support to make the right choices for them and they need support in labour, esp if things don't go smoothly so that the birth can still be a positive experience. Women need to be listened to and supported..

Chunderella Sat 16-Feb-13 22:59:37

Perhaps not Shagmund but you (presumably deliberately) left out elective section. This does not come under the umbrella of 'normal' birth, but there are a number of women who would prefer it. Some have even posted about their desire on MN, so I assume you're aware of their existence. With that in mind, clearly it's incorrect to suggest that all women want care that gives them the best chance of a normal delivery.

MyDarlingClementine Sat 16-Feb-13 23:00:22

Yes 5 Mad I had absoluty the right delivery for me with my ELC and its been extremely healing after my first delivery, extremly healing.

Luckily I had great MW support during my first delivery and amazing consultant support with my ELC. I have two amazing DD's and we are all alive and well and pretty much intact!

I feel very blessed, and blessed to be so lucky with my local hosp.

MyDarlingClementine Sat 16-Feb-13 23:01:56

<Hands up>

I prefferd it Chunderlla

vamosbebe Sat 16-Feb-13 23:10:05

Here in Spain there's no G&A, just epidural or grit your teeth. I had an epidural. Anyone who wants to comment on me accepting pain relief can go take a flying leap. It's not seen as something to beat other women with here - now boob/bottle is another thing altogether!

saycheeeeeese Sun 17-Feb-13 08:34:11

I didn't see my ventouse delivery as some 'badge of honour', it was necessary to bring my DD into the world alive and I see her as my reward.

What an idiotic statement shag here's a grip.


Rooneyisalwaysmoaning Sun 17-Feb-13 09:03:59

actually, in the intervening years between my natural birth and my semi-epidural last month, I did happen to have a back molar removed without anaesthetic.

I'm trying to work out which was preferable.

I think my poorly tooth was less drowsy though than the ones I've had out using anaesthetic. smile

I would find a man who had teeth pulled without any pain relief quite admirable, if I am honest. Or maybe just a bit stupid. The jury is out.

thunksheadontable Sun 17-Feb-13 09:58:50

"I would find a man who had teeth pulled without any pain relief quite admirable, if I am honest. Or maybe just a bit stupid. The jury is out."

I love the fact that you said that and your name is "Rooneyisalwaysmoaning" smile - if you mean Wayne Rooney that is!

thunksheadontable Sun 17-Feb-13 10:04:59

CalamityJ, definitely get the stretch and sweep. Get as many of those babies as you can! I avoided them totally on my first because I felt like you do and I was very, very squeamish about them. They're not massively pleasant but really only like a smear. On my second I had FOUR. I was desperate to avoid induction so I had one at 40+5, 40+7, 40+8 and a big massive one when I had started irregular contractions and was 4cms but she stretched it to 7. I gave birth within three hours of that last one. They don't really work unless you are sort of good to go anyway and things have started but when they do, they really do! The first one started the prep by starting my show, the second started some irregular contractions - all of them did SOMETHING!
I can't believe I didn't have any first time around!

CalamityJ Sun 17-Feb-13 10:37:32

Thanks Thunks I'm not over the moon about it but better than the alternatives by the sounds of it! Had BH for over a week now so hoping there's something to actually stretch & sweep! grin

pixi2 Sun 17-Feb-13 10:45:00

If it helps I wrote a very basic birth plan which simply stated open to pain relief if the pain gets too bad. Specifically want to see and feed my baby immediately. Dh to cut the cord.

I had an epidural but it didn't last as long as it should have done so when I pushed I felt everything, including the 4th degree tear. I haemorrhaged badly, didn't see my baby until almost four hours later. After the surgery and general anaesthetic.

Dh apparently did cut the cord.

Good luck with the sweeps. I avoided these and went for the sex works theory.

lillyains Sun 17-Feb-13 22:27:42

So you can say "I'm well 'ard I did it without"
I personally had gas&air and diamorphine
There are different reasons I didn't want to have the different drugs diamorphine can make baby drowsy, seen on OBEM when baby arrives and the midwives need to give them assistance although baby is completely fine would prob scare me a little but I had it because they wouldn't give me pethadine and all was well, didn't want an epidural because I'd rather be mobile after the birth etc
But when you're in the thick of it do what you need to what's right for you P.S I asked for the epidural but didn't get one smile
So whatever the preconceptions before giving birth, you'll do what's right for you!

NAR4 Mon 18-Feb-13 09:19:56

Personally I didn't like gas and air or pethidine (tried them both with my first) as they made me feel sick. Had nothing with my 2nd and 3rd as they weren't that bad, but with my 4th I had an epidural and never regretted it for a moment.

Each birth is different and different people manage in different ways. Sod everyone else, just do what suits you at the time.

By the way I needed the most intervention with my 2nd birth, which was the shortest labour out of them all and I had an active labour with no pain relief.

dotcomlovenest Mon 18-Feb-13 10:16:10

I think every woman should be massively proud of giving birth regardless of pain relief. Someone said to me once I had 3 labours with out any pain relief and I said good for you I had two with two with out, so I had more babies than you so I win. Beware nct is very anti pain relief in general.
If the epidural is done well then it should start to wear off a bit towards the end so you can push effectively and not need intervention.
Don't worry what anyone did or didnt do everyone wants to be at the same place with a happy mum and a healthy baby.

Chunderella Mon 18-Feb-13 10:19:40

Gas and air knocked me sick too, but at least it was a distraction from everything else that was going on.

Think membrane rupturing thoughts OP! Long walk today followed by curry and a shag later, that might do it!

Loislane78 Tue 19-Feb-13 20:48:11

Haven't read the whole thread OP but I really dislike it when people make comments like this and who refer to 'natural' births (as opposed to unnatural ones presumably?)

Is it the mothers fault if she finds labour painful, her baby is in a bad position, has been labouring for days, whose life is in danger or frankly justs wants pain relief just because.

Same argument for breastfeeding, some can and some can't and some choose not to. If he had posted anything about that he'd be getting a slating right now.

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