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Induction tomorrow -- should I go straight for an epidural?

(21 Posts)
Yaya70 Mon 18-Jul-11 15:46:34

Hi, I'm heading for an induction tomorrow (at 42 weeks). I was planning a natural drug-free birth, but because of the induction I'm having to reassess that.

I know that inductions can be more painful, and a couple of people have advised me to go straight for an epidural if I have to go on the drip. I was wondering whether anyone had managed to give birth without drugs after having the induction.

This is my first pregnancy btw, so I've no idea how I'll react to the pain, though I think I have a fairly high pain threshold.

Any other tips to get me through the induction?

mymumdom Mon 18-Jul-11 15:51:21

I thought I had a fairly high pain threshold, and I seem to have with other procedures but induced childbirth was a whole different ball game.
I was induced properly for 2 of 4 children, the first I had an epidural after 4 hours and it was a bit tricky trying to get it in between contractions.
The 2nd time I had my epidural sited first, and just had it topped up with the drugs when things got uncomfortable. I preferred it.

ruddynorah Mon 18-Jul-11 15:53:56

With my first I had labour augmented with a drip, dd was back to back. With my second I was induced but with pessary, didn't need drip. Both times the midwives were surprised I refused an epidural. I was fine with gas and air.

izzybizzybuzzybees Mon 18-Jul-11 15:56:09

I had an induction with dd, i had the drip and even though i went into precipitate labour i managed with tens and gas and air so it is possible.

plantsitter Mon 18-Jul-11 16:00:55

Exactly same as ruddynorah here. My advice would be to take it as it comes - try not to dread the drip. It's a way of making it all over quicker. And have the epidural if you need it.

MiraNova Mon 18-Jul-11 16:04:33

I've had a couple of inductions - just pessaries, so no drip, and no pain relief other than a bit of gas and air, and no tears/stitches and one DC of 8lb 2oz and the other 10lb 4oz. One born with hand next to head, the other's shoulders got stuck briefly, but it was all fine and bearable pain-wise.

Both times I spent as much time in water, which really helped. I also had one DC without induction, which wasn't noticeably different pain wise, although was very fast, but that was probably because was within 2 years of older sibling, and I think that makes a difference.

fluffyanimal Mon 18-Jul-11 16:11:46

I was induced with pessaries with DS1. When labour did get going it was quite quick and painful, lots of involuntary pushing that I couldn't control at all, and I was told there wasn't time for an epidural. I did it with gas & air only.
With Ds2 I went into labour naturally and it was quite slow getting going, it was ages before they said it was well-enough established for me to have an epidural but I could hardly bear the pain. The epidural didn't have much effect, I was still in quite a lot of pain internally, though my lower half was completely numb. When it came to the crunch I couldn't push and ended up with forceps birth and lots of stitches, and had to stay in hospital longer than I wanted. I wish I'd had the guts to see it through without the epidural. The only thing it was good for was that I couldn't feel the forceps delivery or the stitching.

breatheslowly Mon 18-Jul-11 16:29:28

I was induced with ARM & drip (pessaries did nothing at all for me after 4 days of trying). I asked for an epidural before the drip and a well meaning MW talked me into waiting and following my original birth plan of gradually escalating my pain relief. I really wished that I had stuck to my guns and had the epidural first. In my birth debrief I was shown that the drip didn't regulate my contractions very well which meant I had them too close together and dilated more quickly than the average. It was difficult to stay still to have the epidural sited (and there was a 45min wait for one anyway). It then only worked on one side and the other side was agony. The MW wasn't keen to have this remedied as apparently it was useful that I could feel that side so I knew when to push (I never felt the urge to push) and it was only when they decided on forceps that the resited it to get it to work properly. Unlike fluffy I wish I had the epidural earlier. Due to the position of DD I don't think that I could have avoided the forceps. Sorry not to have a lovely induction story for you, but this is the way it was.

LoonyRationalist Mon 18-Jul-11 16:55:40

With DD1 I went straight to a syntocin drip (Pre-eclampsia- get that baby out today at all costs labour ;) ) and managed for 14 hrs - painful but not too bad. Ended up with EMCS so epidural in inevitability in the end but if dd1 had not been back to back & just plain not ready to be born I think it would have been fine.

I would try without if you think it is too bad you can loudly reconsider! Good Luck grin

gailforce1 Mon 18-Jul-11 19:44:13

Please just remember that an epidural may not be avaiable when you want it once the procedure has started. If you have it sited before the drip then you know it is done and in place. And I say this having read other threads about people being fobbed off when requesting an epidurals.

Yaya70 Mon 18-Jul-11 20:10:00

Thanks so much ladies for your help. It's amazing how different everyone's experiences were. I think I might just try to go with the flow and see how I feel at the time. Thanks again -- your thoughts are really useful.

TheSecondComing Mon 18-Jul-11 20:21:11

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ningyo Mon 18-Jul-11 20:50:39

I'd start off without it and see how you do.

I was induced a year ago as my waters broke but I didn't go into labour. They started with the pessary, which got things started a little bit, but then I went on the drip. I asked to speak with the anaesthatist before the drip was started so I could see what he thought (luckily he was free at the time so was able to come chat with me!). He said that while for him it was better if I had the epidural before the drip started, as I'd be still and calm, he thought it was better for me and for my labour to start the drip, see how I went, and then do the epidural later on if I felt I needed it, as that way I could be reasonably active during the early stages, upright, standing by the bed, swaying, using gas and air etc. That's what I chose to do. The gas and air was great, as was my TENS machine, which really distracted me from the worst of the pain (weirdly I also found watching the contractions on the monitor helped...!). After three hours the MW asked me to lie down as my son was getting distressed, we think due to the intensity of the contractions. Once I was lying down the pain was a thousand times worse and I then asked for the epidural. I was lucky and got it within 15 minutes. However, I found it very hard to push in the 2nd stage because I couldn't feel the contractions properly despite not topping up the epidural for several hours. I had a ventouse delivery in the end, and I think in part that was because of the epidural. BUT if I hadn't had the epidural and been able to rest I doubt I'd have been able to push him out anyway! I'm glad I waited as I wanted to experience some of what labour felt like and to be active for as long as possible - but then I was lucky and was able to get the epidural quickly when I needed it.

sprinkles77 Mon 18-Jul-11 21:02:12

My induction failed utterly and ended in EMCS (not a moment's pain though)! but the opinion I have as a result is that getting the epidural sited and a test dose administered early on means that the midwife can top it up immediately should you need it. If you wait till you really want it the anaesthetist may not be available and you might miss out on some much desired pain relief.

Aloha31 Mon 18-Jul-11 21:02:52

I felt the same, I just went with the flow. I managed until after pushing started with no pain relief, was on the drip. It depends, so keep open minded. Good luck!

Yaya70 Mon 18-Jul-11 21:22:09

Thanks for the link Aloha. Great to hear things went so well for you.

dycey Mon 18-Jul-11 22:06:19

O it's complicated isn't it? From my experience I would say delay a while - I had pessary, waters broken, drip and I was scared of the pain so with the first big contraction I asked for an epidural which happened straight away.... After zn hour it totally wore off (rather the spinal block wore off) and they had to re-do the epidural while I had contractions - manageable ones.

I had it for basically 12 hours before the baby was born and had too much epidural - the muscles in my face got affected (temporarily) and getting the baby out without any urge to push was hard! Episiotomy and tear... No instruments tho which I am glad about.

Now I wish I had held off asking for the epidural til later - as my wonderful gentle midwife suggested. It would have sped the whole thing up and I might have pushed him out more easily and quickly...

But I had a lovely sleep during the night anyway thanks to the epidural!

GreenTeapot Mon 18-Jul-11 22:13:57

I had ARM and a drip, no pessaries.

It hurt like a bastard but I gather childbirth is supposed to grin and I did need diamorphine. TBH I think the only reason I did was the speed of contractions, but I went from nothing to delivery in 6 hours and it was my first labour. If the build up had been slower the pain would have been manageable, but there was so little respite between contractions I lost my head a bit. What I am trying to say is that IM (very limited) E it's the rapidity that makes induction hard, rather than it being more painful per se. And they did have to quickly turn my drip down because it was all moving too fast, so for another woman it might have been a walk in the park.

My unit doesn't provide epidurals so I knew it was never an option. I think that helped, psychologically, because I never had cause to think "I wish I could ... etc".

Good luck - whatever happens it will be fine and you will soon have a wonderful new baby smile

TheBreastmilksOnMe Mon 18-Jul-11 22:22:11

I've never been induced but for my 1st labour I wasn't progressing (back-to-back) so I had the drip to speed things up and I requested an epidural which failed several times and in the end I had to have a c-sect, the spinal was bliss, but labour on the drip it bloody hurt grin

2nd time around I wanted the natural experience that is a VBAC hmm (had to question my sanity) and managed to get to about 6-7cms on G&A but then I was begging for an epidural which unbelievably failed again so I must have an odd spine or something but OMG did I wish I had opted for a c-sect. It hurts like buggery and if I had the nerve to do it all again I would either want a c-sect or an epi right from the 1st contraction so if it failed then they would have some time to get it right. wink

Good luck, and remember what it is all for!

willowcrow Mon 18-Jul-11 22:24:23

I was very recently induced with DC4 . Went to a routine ante natal appointment at the hospital and was sent straight round to Labour ward to be induced due to high BP. No pessaries - just broke my waters and put up the drip. (Previous 3 births very quick and no pain relief.)

I asked numerous times for an epidural before the drip was started (once in tears) and in the early stages but the midwives just kept telling me I will be fine as I had babies before and got the consultant down to talk me out of it. I guess you could say that they technically refused me an epi. I think the fear of the pain of labour with the drip made it worse initially although the contractions towards the end did have a different quality to the ones in my previous labours. I managed with Gas & Air and a shot of Pethadine towards the end. We had complications (nothing to do with induction) and in hindsight I am actually glad I could feel the contractions to push with or I may have ended up with lots of intervention.

My advice is to try and remember that everyone is different and what may be my experience, will probably not be yours. If you need an epidural, be clear and determind but you may find that gas and air or other pain relief works for you. The drip helps to speed up the contractions and bring you closer to holding your beautiful baby.

smilesy Mon 18-Jul-11 22:47:28

I had a drip augmented labour with DS1 and managed with no pain relief and was induced with DS3 and again had no pain relief (although admittedly it was such a quick labour I didn't really have time to think about it), but both times I was open to having pain relief if necessary. I had a spontaneous labour with DS2,again with no pain relief, and I didn't really feel that it there was any difference in the contractions between the 3 labours.
I would agree that you should have a go without pain relief or with gas and air to start with as you can always increase pain relief if you feel you need to and you will never know if you could have done it without if you go straight for epidural. There are no medals for bravery in labour however and as has already been said, everyone is different, so you must do what you feel is necessary. I found that it really helped to focus on the fact that all the pain and effort is for a positive outcome and is only for a relatively short time (although it might not feel that way at the time!) Focussing on breathing was really helpful for me.
Good luck and remember that however your LO arrives in the world as long as you are both healthy that is all that matters.

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