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AIBU to think it's a woman's choice what pain relief she uses, not her DPs?

(98 Posts)
GimmeDaBoobehz Sun 17-Nov-13 20:42:21

I know someone who is going to have a baby soon and is considering an epidural/other forms of pain relief in the labour process, as she wants it to be as bearable as possible. However, her partner says he flat out doesn't want her to use pain relief especially the epidural.

AIBU to think it's the woman's body and she and she alone (unless doctors advise against it) what form of pain relief she uses during labour?

It's not like the partner is giving birth to the baby after all.


IAmTheLordOfRedundancy Mon 18-Nov-13 18:58:25

I didn't get that from presumption from Cocacolas post at all MyMil. I agree with her. Why would you deny anybody anything if it was designed to help them and more importantly they wanted it? It really has nothing to do with him. The day my husband gets a say about what does or doesn't happen to my nether region is the day I make decisions involving his ballbag.

GimmeDaBoobehz Mon 18-Nov-13 18:43:56

Oh and sorry for those who have had bad experiences with previous partners or know those who do.

KatieScarlett2833 Mon 18-Nov-13 18:42:52

When DH had the snip I was not expected to have an opinion on his pain relief.

IceBeing Mon 18-Nov-13 18:38:44

sorry for the derail and many thanks for the interesting comments on my (I had hoped hypothetical sad ) posed situation.

I really get the slippery slope argument...I do. but...if the baby can live outside the womb I can't find it in me to believe the woman has the right to kill the baby...I only believe she has the right to have it be born. As in get it out yes...not kill it deliberately....unless going for a live birth is substantially riskier to her health than the full term abortion would be....

gah I don't know.

GuybrushThreepwoodMP Mon 18-Nov-13 18:37:38

When he grows a uterus, he gets to have an opinion. Until that day his job is to support her choices and that's it. I think it's a really bad sign. If she struggles to breastfeed and wants to use formula is he going to make her feel like a failure because he's so 'traditional'?
Hopefully he's just misguided and ill-informed and a bit of education will make him realise it's not his decision and it's not his body.

GimmeDaBoobehz Mon 18-Nov-13 18:29:17

He's my BIL and I know he's a decent guy and would definitely not say it's a LTB offence at any rate.

He's ill informed, I think. He doesn't know a lot of women with children and he's excited about being a Dad but doesn't know much about the process of giving birth. I expect he doesn't know how painful it can be to be honest.

He's a bit worried about blood and the other woman in the ward as he doesn't deal well with stress which is understandable, but DS wants him to be there which is perfectly acceptable but Mum is more than willing to be there, so am I (though Mum would be better for a number of reasons, even though she IS a worrywart).

5madthings Mon 18-Nov-13 13:14:55

the thing is topsey what counts as unnecessary risk? its interpretation of risks and a personal.judgement. i refused induction at 10 with ds2 as that was policy at the time. them with ds3 refused it at 14 days. that was my choice to make having looked at the evidence and spokem to drs/midwives. my dp was supportive, but had he not been it still would have been my choice. others would see refusal of induction as an unnecessaru risk to the baby.

eurochick Mon 18-Nov-13 13:10:09

Presumably he will in return give her control over his pain relief next time he is admitted to hospital?


5madthings Mon 18-Nov-13 13:09:47

yes my dps main concern was for me. he did read up and research so he could understand my choices and support them. and he was nervous but purely out of concern for me.

intetesting what you say about looks improving over time... i was just lookinh at pics of ds4 at birth/few days old and sorry but he was a bit ugly... he was 10lb 13oz and at birth i thought he was lovely but looking back...nope he was massive and not that cute. he quickly grew into his features and now at five is a very handsome boy but i was clearly blinded by mummy hormones at birth!

i agree this womans husband possibly just needs a bit more infp

Topseyt Mon 18-Nov-13 13:05:26

I never made birth plans. I just went in with an open mind and did what felt right at the time.

My husband never offered up any opinions on what pain relief I should have, and I think knows that he would have been given short shrift if he had.

It was my body that had to give birth. Therefore my choice of pain relief etc. I would never have unnecessarily done anything that could have been risky to the baby.

PacificDogwood Mon 18-Nov-13 12:59:08

Yes, I totally agree. Upsetting as that case was, bodily autonomy must remain with the woman.
Thankfully that kind of a situation is vanishingly rare (it did lead to some interesting discussions at the time and yes, most of us were feeling sick about the consequences of her actions).

The OP here is a million miles away from these extremes and I don't want to derail, just answering IceBeing's question.

I agree with everybody who's said that it is possible that the husband simply needs more support and education about what labour may entail and what the options are with all their pros and cons.

Interestingly, my DH felt very out of his depth and disliked the lack of control he had over the situation (not me!), but his concern was totally for my safety and comfort whereas I was much more focussed as as of yet unborn DS1. Once he was born DH 'fell in love' and I was more like "Ok. Hopefully his looks will improve with time" grin

5madthings Mon 18-Nov-13 12:49:58

pacific that must have bern awful sad

it is difficult in cases like that and thankfully rare that a woman would go to those extremes but ultimately a womans right to bodily autonomy and to make those choices has to be upheld. the fetus has no rights until it is born and the father cannot make those decisions either. yes there are cases where this makes many of us uncomfortable but we have to have that choice.

if bodily autonomy is taken away from women, particularly pregnant women then we sre leading down a very slippery path imo.

YouTheCat Mon 18-Nov-13 12:47:25

Yes, Morgause, so he gets the full birth experience. grin

We all know births often don't go to plan. How is this man likely to make his wife feel should she need more help or a caesarian?

Chunderella Mon 18-Nov-13 12:47:17

Yes IceBeing it absolutely is, assuming of course the woman in question has capacity. I can't say I much like the idea of a woman attempting a vaginal birth with placenta previa against all medical advice, and in the process killing the baby and perhaps having a good go at finishing herself off too. But it's none of my business, because no adult can or ought to be obliged to undergo any medical treatment or procedure they don't want. Actually even leaving aside the ethics, on a practical level trying to force women with placenta previa or similarly dangerous conditions to have sections is a good way to get them to go underground. If someone is going to have a go at a vaginal delivery in those circumstances, I would infinitely rather she do it whilst accompanied by very skilled medical providers!

Morgause Mon 18-Nov-13 12:43:41

I think maybe she should agree to no pain relief as long as she could cradle his balls in her hand throughout labour.

"treatment" possibly not the best word to choose when talking about labour - "birth pathways"/ "interventions"/ "choices" ?

PacificDogwood Mon 18-Nov-13 12:41:03

IceBeing, I was once involved in a case like that.
It got very messy, psychiatrists and ultimately Court were involved.
In that particular case it was decided that the woman had capacity ie no mental illness and therefore the decision was hers, and hers alone.
The baby died sad.
It was horrible all round.

She may not have had any kind of diagnosable mental illness, but was certainly "nuts' by my more lackadaisical definition hmm.

Ice - surely it's a matter between the woman and her HCP's
- and even there I feel it is up to each person to make choices about their own care and treatment with the advice of their HCPs - with informed consent to all treatment.
HCP's can strongly advise but decisions remain the woman's to make (in labour as in other situations)
A loving, involved partner can share his opinions with his partner, but they should have no stronger influence on the situation than that.

YouTheCat Mon 18-Nov-13 12:33:13

Fine that he is voicing his concerns but not if it means his dw feels pressurised when she's in labour.

Until he can squeeze an orange out of the end of his penis without pain relief, he doesn't get a say.

IceBeing Mon 18-Nov-13 12:28:28

gah I get so mixed up thinking about this....

Regarding c-sections, VBs, epidurals, pethidine, G&A it is all such a mishmash and there are risks to everything and nothing is massively more risky than anything else. So surely the womans choice is paramount.

BUT what about a case like placenta previa? What would happen if a woman was determined to try a VB even though this vastly increased risk and in fact the chances of a live birth were very small?

Is it still her body, her choice?

I genuinely find this very very confusing.

Katinkia Mon 18-Nov-13 10:31:04

I had an epidural with my first and never again. I managed the next two with pethidene and g&a. My second was over 10lbs too.

I personally think epidurals are risky or at least they were when I had one (about 13 years ago) It made the whole experience worse not better.

Agree it's the woman's choice though.

SaucyJack Mon 18-Nov-13 10:18:54


Sexual equality only goes so far, and for me the place it stops is the door of the delivery room suite.

Gileswithachainsaw Mon 18-Nov-13 10:01:49

See my dp left it all up to me. Didn't say anything about how he viewed the whole thing or even how he trusted me to make the right decision .

Personally that peed me right off, I would have loved him to show an interest or concern about anything. If he was dead set against something fir no good reason then of course that woulda had no bearing on whether I chose it or not but I would have preferred a partner who had an opinion to one that left it all up to me and didn't care.

sandfrog Mon 18-Nov-13 09:56:49


SilverApples Mon 18-Nov-13 09:55:46

If he loves her, loves the idea of having a child and becoming a father, he might be afraid of what's going to happen and expressing it badly.
I still think that getting him some counselling and support and enabling him to understand why is the best way forwards.
I wouldn't automatically assume that he's a controlling arse who wants his woman to go through pain and his child to be born without pain relief.

The theory of a birth plan, and breastfeeding and how you will raise your child is exactly that. Theory. Many women have changed their minds with experience, often mid-labour.
No, he doesn't get as say in it, nor should he. But if he understood more, he would change his mind if it's ignorance making him so rigid.

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