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AIBU - to be really pissed off that epidurals are being restricted?

(779 Posts)
christmasmum Sat 06-Jun-09 13:20:47

Was just reading an article in Mother and Baby magazine saying that epidurals are classed as an 'abnormal birth' and that they should be restricted in the future to avoid women having caesareans.

What is this all about? Why should women not be free to make their own decision on pain relief, while being aware of the risks involved in every form of pain relief? And is it not the case that women having diffcult births in the first place are more likely to BOTH have an epidural AND end up having a c-section anyway??

Before giving birth to my DD I bought into all the information from the NCT, books and magazines etc and was determined to go for a 'natural' birth. I ended up being induced and despite being told by every woman I have ever spoken to who has been induced, that I should have an epidural the midwife advised me that I would not need one. After 10 hours of intense contractions and finding out I was a huge 2cm dilated I decided enough was enough and had an epidural.

I was instantly relaxed and started to actually enjoy the process, 2 1/2 hours later (despite the consultant arriving to prep me for a c-section) I found out I was fully dilated and delivered my wee girl after 5 minutes of pushing to a room that was full of people laughing and singing Christmas carols.

I obviously only have my own experience to go by but I am absolutely convinced that the relaxing effect of being out pain helped me deliver my baby naturally.

What is this pressure on women to be in pain and suffering to be 'real women'. And why is that every new Dad I've spoken to with wives who did not have pain releif seem so proud of them? Is this just another example of male oppression of women? Even subliminally??

AAGGGHHHHH. Rant over.

expatinscotland Sat 06-Jun-09 13:24:47

YANBU. I had to wait hours and hours for an epidural when I'd travelled an hour and a half via ambulance to a hospital who cuold give me one.

I think that's bullshit, I really do.

The midwives kept trying to get me to move around, despite my having told them over and over again that I'd already experienced giving birth with no pain relief and it scarred me for a life, that's why I wanted an epi.

LovelyTinOfSpam Sat 06-Jun-09 13:31:46


You want an epidural, you get an epidual.

End of story. Restricting them FFS.

The bastards didn't even give me any G&A, I was induced, I ended up with a section. <bitter>

skidoodle Sat 06-Jun-09 13:32:48

So are they being restricted or does someone just think they should be restricted?

I agree that women should be allowed to choose their own pain relief.

Thunderduck Sat 06-Jun-09 13:33:32


I don't have children yet but after experiencing the worst period pain ever the other day I'm in full agreement with you.

I had cramping that left me moaning and panting like a woman in labour and alternating between constantly walking in circles crawling on the ground, wishing dp would come home and put me out of my misery. You are most definitely not being unreasonable.

After experiencing that I know that if dp and I are lucky enough to have a baby that I want every possible method of painrelief including a mallet to the head if necessary.

And if I'm in labour and any doctor/midwife dares to say you can't have an epidural the following will happen.
I shall place my hands around their neck, if it's a woman, if a man one hand around their neck and one around their testicles, ,squeeze, and gently whisper in their ear'' get me a fucking epidural now or I will kill you and I will enjoy every moment of it''

LovelyTinOfSpam Sat 06-Jun-09 13:34:55

Should point out that they did give me some pain relief for the section grin

It was a spinal block, and it was the most utterly wonderful thing that had ever happened to me.

FairLadyRantALot Sat 06-Jun-09 13:35:24

Hmm...seeing that Birth is so medically focussed nowadays, I doubt it will be achieved...
I suppose first you have to look at why people use Epidurals, etc...and than work on that and that should decrease the should not be restricted as such though,that will only scare people and that will cause stress and anxiety and that is just no good in labour and birth...

TheCrackFox Sat 06-Jun-09 13:36:34

I think that this is another example of treating women like idiots. We should be given the information (epidurals are more likely to end up with further interventions) and make up our own minds. Restricting is basically dictating.

LovelyTinOfSpam Sat 06-Jun-09 13:37:42

I was under the impression, but correct me if I'm wrong, that people use epidurals as a highly effective form of pain relief during labour. Am happy to be enlightened though if that is not the case.

Comewhinewithme Sat 06-Jun-09 13:38:18

YANBU. I had my dd last Friday and was basically refused an epi because I was going to be quick hmm.

I had put on my hospital notes that I did not want to be out of control like the last time I gave birth (when I was refused an epi again and when I finally got one it only worked on one side).

I kept saying to the mw but I don't want to do this on my own and she helpfully kept telling me that it was ok as she was there with me .

In the end I had a new mw who agreed I could have an epi but by then it was too late and I did it on just Gas and Air and it was awful .

bruffin Sat 06-Jun-09 13:39:09

YABU had one dc with epidural and one without and I would never have an epidural again (not that I will be having anymore DCs)

The epidiral slowed down the labour, meant I couldn't feel any contractions to push. I ended up in theatre having a failed ventuese and about to have an emergency cs if the forceps failed,which thankfully they didn't.

Castiel Sat 06-Jun-09 13:39:24

It is important to acknowledge that an epidural increases your chance of further intervention and they are not without side effects. It is also important that HCPs are actively promoting and offering all other forms of pain relief, natural or otherwise.

All that considered, it's also important that a woman who understands the options and feels she needs an epidural is allowed to have one.

I started off having a home waterbirth and ended up with every intervention known to man and an eventual em cs. The comments I have received about 'easy routes', 'too posh to push' (I pushed for 6 hours I'll have you know) and 'bet the epidural felt like cheating' have left me thoroughly demoralised.

Upwind Sat 06-Jun-09 13:40:04

Firmly agree with everyone that it should be up to the woman involved. I really don't believe I would have coped without mine.

But - the high number of them is not a good thing and they should look at ways to improve the birth experience in hospitals to avoid women needing them. However, if a woman says she needs one, she does.

LovelyTinOfSpam Sat 06-Jun-09 13:40:32

sad comewhinewithme that is terrible.

If you have stated all along that you want a bit more intervention than someone saying you'll be OK, you should bloody well get it.

Threads like this make me so happy I am having elcs in 3 weeks...

Thunderduck Sat 06-Jun-09 13:40:55

Castiel,how did you resist the urge to assault them with the nearest heavy,blunt object?

christmasmum Sat 06-Jun-09 13:40:58

Lovelytinofspam - so glad to hear you were allowed pain relief before they started cutting, I did sit and wonder for a minute there!

Are they really likely to end up in further interventions though, or is that women who have epidurals are already likely to require further interventions because they are having a more difficult labour? I'd be interested to see if any studies have been done into that.

LaurieFairyCake Sat 06-Jun-09 13:42:04


At no point in life do men and women walk into a dentist and say "Oooh, I want to do this the natural way, please take my wisdom teeth out and do some root canal work" hmm


ThePellyandMe Sat 06-Jun-09 13:42:49

I think I would have topped myself before DS1 arrived if I hadn't had an epidural. The labour went on for nearly 24 hours and I was in agony from very early on.

Having said that though I did have a forceps deliveryhmm

The choice should be there for all women. Give us the information and let us make up our own minds.

FairLadyRantALot Sat 06-Jun-09 13:43:39

Lovely, teh problem is, that sometimes having an Epidural can lead to a more medicalised Birth...
like I said, that is more the fault of the medicalised environment women often give Birth rather than the womens "fault"...

personally I never ever wanted an Epidural, but ended up with a Spinal Block with my 3rd child...I absoltuely hated the feeling of it...especially afterwards....however, I suppose as he ended up as a C-section...well...wouldn't have wanted to do that on Gas and air...

LovelyTinOfSpam Sat 06-Jun-09 13:44:01

bruffin so on the basis of your individual personal experience, you would like to see epidurals restricted for all women?

christmasmum Sat 06-Jun-09 13:47:25

Have to say that at the time I would never have said that I hated the feeling of the epidural!! Saying that I can see why for some people the restricted movement is irritating, though being induced means practically being tied to a bed anyway covered in instruments so my only thought at the moment was 'what an absolutely perfect Christmas present'

fizzpops Sat 06-Jun-09 13:47:59

I gave birth to my daughter with the help of forceps and gas and air and my DH was proud of me - not because I refused an epidural (was too late by then to have one) but because I was his wife and I had just had a baby. He would have been equally proud if I had had an epidural.

I don't feel in the least bit oppressed, the pain relief options were all there for me and it was my decision not to take them.

Having said that I did have the option and believe it should be there for everyone. Most people I know would not ask for an epidural unless they really needed it as the thought of the needle is offputting enough.

Comewhinewithme Sat 06-Jun-09 13:48:16

It was awful I had started having strong ctx from 11pm and got to hospital at 2.30 am when they were coming every 4 minutes .

The Mw's convinced themselves before they examined me I was ready to push and then found I was only 2cm dialated .

She wouldn't give me any pain relief until 5am and then it was Gas and air by the time she went off shift and I got a mw who I knew and another who listened it was too late to do anything .

Still bloody angry angry. Felt like I was treated like an idiot and unfairly . It made it something I would rather not think about too much rather than the first day of my dd's life.

violethill Sat 06-Jun-09 13:50:50

It's a difficult one. There is a limited pot of money, and the fact is that epidurals cost more than eg gas and air, and are more likely to lead to further (costly) interventions.

Personally I am not a fan of epidurals for the simple reason I didn't want the increased risk of further interventions for my baby. But some women choose the medicalised route.

This issue has come up before re: Csections. Should the NHS pay for a woman to have a CS by choice, rather than for medical reasons? The general consensus seems to be no. And really, this is the same principle isn't it? Just on a different scale. At what point does the medical profession place limitations on medical procedures when it's a matter of personal choice, rather than medical need?

BTW I am not making a judgement on whether the OP is being unreasonable or not. I personally didn't choose epidurals for my births, but that's my choice. I'm just raising the wider issue. I really don't think this is a case of the nasty medical profession trying to give women a hard time! It's a case of discussing to what extent women should be allowed to choose more costly procedures when there is no medical need.

christmasmum Sat 06-Jun-09 13:51:05

I suppose what I really don't understand is that diamorphine (or similar) is offered first. The girl I know who had that said it made her DD so sleepy she was unable to feed and was totally zoned out for the first few days of her life. An epi (and please correct me if I'm wrong, I'm in no way medical!) doesn't affect the baby at all does it?

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