Advanced search

Got questions about giving birth? Know what to expect and when to expect it, with the Mumsnet Pregnancy Calendar.

Natural birth and pain relief

(55 Posts)
dashadollar Wed 09-Jan-13 10:54:29

I am nearly 30 weeks pregnant and I really want to have a natural birth avoiding epidurals and injections. Unfortunately I find that a lot of my friends and acquaintances who have gone through the experience of labour all say the same thing: "I am so happy I had an epidural!" or "I wish I had an epidural!" I do not want to give up on the natural birth before I even tried but it would really help to hear more positive experiences from other women. Please tell me about what kind of natural pain relief you have used during your labour? It would really help as I want to feel in control of my labour rather than succumbing to drugs and anesthetics. Thank you!

steppemum Sat 16-Mar-13 23:25:21

dc1 epidural, drip on my back, none of it my choice, but hey, he arrived fine and wasn't coming out on his own (was back to back, 48 hour labour and he was 10lbs 1oz with a HUGE head - no seriously, the head of a 4 month old, I am amazed he got through the birth canal at all)

dc2 induced with pessary, then all natural, 2 hours, no pain relief, standing and walking very do-able, was actually very positive experience

dc3 induced by breaking waters, 1.5 hours labour, all natural no pain relief, standing up whole time, harder than dc2, did have a moment when I thought 'How do I remember this as a do-able thing - OWW' then she was born, so didn't have any more time to worry. She was 10lbs 7oz, which could explain why she was a it harder to push out. Also very positive, bounced back physically very fast (took 3 kids up to London and round science museum when she was 3 weeks old!)

So it is totally possible, but with dc1 I did end up with all the stuff I hadn't planned for, and it was very helpful to take the attitude that you need to go with the flow, and getting him out safely is more important than the perfect birth experience.

MyDarlingClementine Sat 16-Mar-13 23:05:37

please keep an open mind.

when women use terms like " i feel like a failure because i had a emergency section, or gave in to drugs" there is a back culture creating an enivronment making them say that with pressure and guily - as oppose to simply

" I didn't find I need drugs" or " I needed drugs at x stage"

words like failure etc really really shouldn't come into it.

the last thing you want is to be in labour and not only be thinking, wow - this pain is something else i think i need drugs, but also - i am letting myself and my baby down!

who needs to put themselves under that extra pressure?

the birth will last a few days if that and you will be a mother to that baby for the rest of your entire life they wont care when they are any age whether you had tp have an epirdual, anyway even if you did want one there is a high chance you wouldnt get one anyway.

I also disagree with shag that people dont like to go on about postive birth stories, I have heard plenty of both.

Rant over - hypnobirthing is supposed to be amazing, amazing, getting dh into coaching mode through harder bits, massage, tens good for begining.

good luck. xx

jchocchip Sat 16-Mar-13 21:36:03

Try to help your baby into a good position nhs optimal foetal position leaflet I was given this advice early on and I'm sure it helped. I did rate the tens machine during the early stages of labour with ds (induced in hospital) and the gas and air but delivered underwater. dd1 was underwater at home - no pushing -I was so relaxed until the midwives came at the last minute - told them dd was on her way down - not sure they believed me. dd2 also underwater at home with quite an audience - dm and mil in the house a couple of midwives dh, ds and dd1 and a trainee midwife... A bit ouchy during transition but ok with just the pool. I had to transfer in due to blood loss but with the benefit of hindsight, I didn't need to go in as no real observation was done and I felt fine all through. But obviously it was a good call because of the amount of blood. Escaped home after breakfast the next day.

megandraper Mon 04-Mar-13 08:50:25

Just G&A here for 3 births (and I don't inhale properly so the G&A is just psychological...)

I found having a doula made a big difference in not needing more pain relief. Google Doula UK to have a look.

Jojobump1986 Mon 04-Mar-13 08:45:28

I didn't have any pain relief at all - no hypnobirthing, TENS, water... It just didn't occur to me to want it! What helped me was being in charge of timing my contractions. I knew they lasted 50-60s with a similar length break in between so I could watch the clock & knew when one was coming up & how long until it was over. It was nice to feel like I was ticking another one off each time!

From what my aunt has told me my grandmother had similar labours. She told DA not to worry because birth didn't hurt at all & she couldn't understand why other women made such a fuss! hmm My poor aunt believed her, ignored everyone else & thought she was dying when she was in labour! I did my research & learnt what my body was supposed to be doing so I didn't get that shock!

I found it really useful to research different forms of pain relief as well as potential interventions so I felt well informed about the advantages & risks of pretty much anything that was likely to happen. I think that made me feel as in control as possible which really helped. I also made my notes from my research into a little booklet for DH to look at if there was a time when I wasn't able to make a decision so he'd be as informed as I was & be able to see my rational opinions on different interventions. That definitely came in handy when the mw was pushing to move me from my homebirth, I was busy contracting & told DH he needed to decide what was best. We stayed put but agreed to the ambulance being called because he was concerned that moving me would've slowed things down. I don't doubt he was right. It would've distracted me & within minutes of the ambulance arriving I was wanting to push. Either the distraction of moving would've interrupted the labour or DS would've been born in the ambulance. I've never been so proud of DH - he normally dithers when it comes to making decisions! He says he only knew what to do because of the booklet I made - research is very useful! smile

DS was fine btw but I had a small pph so needed the ambulance for me in the end!

littone Sun 03-Mar-13 23:45:46

Definately keep an open mind! I managed both my babies with natal hypnotherapy CDs, bit of ball bouncing, tens and a freezing cold flannel on the bump (did have g&a for stitches though!) both my labours were relatively short, first 15 hrs, second 9 hours, I know I would not have managed a 50 hour labour without epidural, I would have been too tired to stay focused.

HorraceTheOtter Sun 03-Mar-13 23:25:25

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

SeymoreInOz Sun 03-Mar-13 23:15:48

Definitely keep an open mind, every birth and pregnancy is different.

My first birth went on for days, I had PROM, "ineffective" contractions and an episiotomy. By the time I got to active labour I was shattered and falling asleep between contractions. The epidural was most definitely needed and DD was delivered without further intervention. My second birth was much faster, but I couldn't cope with the pain at all. I was so distressed they went to spinal when I was fully dilated. Free of pain and significantly calmer I delivered DS1 in a few pushes. Afterwards my abdomen and tear hurt so much i couldn't stand straight for days.

I was terrified of birth the 3rd time around. I was put under midwifery group care and got to know the group of 4 midwives very well during my pregnancy. Their preference was for me to deliver in the birth centre but they understood my fear and could support me in the labour ward so that i could have the epidural i was sure i would need. My water broke at home at 3am and contractions were coming every 2 minutes by 7am when I arrived at hospital, I went straight to the birth centre and pushed my biggest baby out in the water using G&A, all the while encouraged by my lovely midwife. It was a very positive experience and a good "last" birth!

MammaCici Thu 14-Feb-13 16:35:32

Can I just say that I was planning a natural birth with DS1. Everything was going well. I found being in a bathtub really helped. Then I decided to get out and have some gas. That's where it all went wrong for me. Gas didn't agree with me because I needed a clear mind to stay focused. The gas made me paranoid and I even hallucinated from it. It was terrifying. I panicked and insisted on a "walking epidural". It's just enough pain relief to take the edge off but you can still walk about freely. I will never use gas again. All the meditation and hypnobirthing techniques I had learned went out the window because the gas made me lose the plot. But I insisted on continuing to use it until I had the epi. If you choose to try gas make sure you have someone timing your contractions and letting you know when to take the gas. I had a midwife, a doula and my DH but none of them helped me time when to use the gas. Perhaps if they had it would have been ok. Once I got the epi I was able to clear my mind and focus again. I also had a new midwife from that point. I stood a chance at relaxing my muscles again.
Have you read Ina May Gaskin's book on Natural Childbirth? It's excellent and half the book is short stories of different women's positive natural birth stories. I think I will find my copy and read it again. Perhaps I'll attempt a natural birth this time. But knowing I can have an epi if I want one is hugely important to me this time. I need that safety net.
But lots of women do it naturally so it's very doable for some women. Best of luck!

LucyLight Wed 13-Feb-13 16:33:40

I had a great experience with both. My first I had in hospital and was induced (just gel and no drip). Managed with bath, breathing and walking around. I couldn't have a water birth due to a low lying placenta. I think I did a kind of hypno birth but didn't know what it was. I had a great midwife and choose my hospital on its low intervention rate. It was the least chi chi hospital in the area - and I figured I would be a peice of cake for them rather than their normal clientele and they would be lovely to me - all of which was true. Played games with my sister and husband whilst in earlier labour to keep me occupied and distrated -(we bizarely played a strange version of the adventure game - which kept me moving around to get labour going). She was 8lbs exactly.

I had my second after we had moved, a water birth in our sitting room. Again no pain relief - just breathing. I had been in labour on and off for about two days- so had some false alarms. I was fed up because I was told that if I hadn't had it by that night I would go in to be induced the next day. My husband made me a lovely meal to cheer me up and just after dinner it started. My first child was asleep upstairs and we decided not to wake her up (she had had a disturbed night - the day before due to false alarm). She slept through the whole thing. It was very quiet and calm and when she woke up the next morning she got into bed with me and her new baby brother. He was about 9lb 3.

I know this all sounds very ideal and I was very lucky. I really don't like feeling woozy or out of control so this worked better for me. It was a bit painful but not that bad - the breathing really takes the edge of and the only time I really felt it was the first time in hospital when I lost concentration (two relatives were having a fight outside my room). My friend had a back to back birth and I totally respect her choice to have an epidural. Just do what's right for you. BTW my midwife told me that leaning forward on all fours for a bit each day (like we used to when we scrubbed floors) reduced the risk of a back to back birth and is great for relieving back pain.

inadreamworld Wed 13-Feb-13 13:49:07

With my first baby I had epidural (was induced) and was glad I had the epidural. I used to think that women who wanted a natural birth were crazy! With DD2 born 3 weeks ago I had a 4 hour labour, only just got to the hospital in time and no time for anything but a few puffs of gas & air - I can honestly say DD2s birth was not that painful without epidural and my recovery time was a lot faster than with DD1. So if we are lucky enough to have a 3rd child I would want a natural birth again. Good luck with the birth of your baby, I can honestly say I am a convert to natural birth now - although for some women and especially for long labours/inductions epidurals can be a lifesaver. If a woman does want epidural though she should not feel bad about it - every labour is different.

elliejjtiny Wed 13-Feb-13 11:23:12

I love the idea of being read to from a favourite childhood book during labour. I found bouncing on a birth ball really helpful and at one point I had my feet soaking in a washing up bowl with a bath bomb in.

ChairmanWow Wed 13-Feb-13 11:08:52

I think it's wonderful to try and have a natural birth, and as you've seen there are lots of ways of helping this (in my case a TENS machine was brilliant and I'm looking forward to using it again this time). If you manage to achieve a natural birth then that's fantastic. But please don't think yourself a failure if you need pain relief. You don't know how long or painful your labour will be, or what your pain threshold is.

I had diamorphine last time and beat myself up straight afterwards for 'giving in'. But do you know what, I wasn't coping with the pain. I was becoming distressed, my partner was in tears and I'd had no sleep for 24 hours. It was totally the right thing to do, reduced my stress and made the experience a damn sight easier.

I'll be trying to do it without meds again this time, but if I need them I'll have them. Nobody gets a medal for being a hero in childbirth - but you do get a rather lovely baby no matter how you've laboured grin

TheYamiOfYawn Tue 12-Feb-13 20:56:32

I listened to Natal Hypnotherapy CDs beforehand, and went in the birth pool for my second. No need for anything else, not even gas and air. I was at home, which helped me to feel more relaxed and comfortable. I did lie on my back for one contraction and that was hideous, so avoid lying on your back if possible, unless it's what your body wants.

orangeshortbread Tue 12-Feb-13 20:17:02

another vote for hypnobirthing cd and water birth. Didn't even need the gas and air - I never had to try not to have further pain relief I found the water was enough. I also used a tens machine in the early stages. If you go into labour with a relaxed and prepared attitude then you are more likely to have a straight forward natural birth, but do be open minded that in any labour things can go not to plan and you may need interventions and require medical pain relief.

Purplecatti Tue 12-Feb-13 19:11:09

I did a 9lb baby on gas n air. That stuff is great. As soon as you feel a twinge get sucking. It didn't kill the pain but fuzzed my brain so I could shut down and ride it out.
The pain wasn't that bad until the end bit and that was baby being in a funny position. It was tiring more than anything

Emsyboo Tue 12-Feb-13 15:11:26

I didn't have an epidural and am really pleased I didn't had diamorphine and gas and air - loved gas and air

swimsunandski Tue 12-Feb-13 14:18:21

I have just seen that Chelsea & Westminster Hospital in London are running a Natural Pain Relief & Birth Preparation Workshop Taster session at 18.30hrs on 13th March. Maybe some of you might be interested to go; it says that you have to book though by calling the hospital's Kensington Wing at tel. 0203 315 8616. There's more info at www.facebook\natalhypnotherapy

NAR4 Wed 30-Jan-13 08:27:54

All four of mine were back to back and induced. With the 2nd and 3rd I didn't use any pain relief at all, as I just didn't feel I needed it.

I have heard that tens machine and birthing pools are really good. Would like to try the birthing pool this time as I found my 4th labour very difficult and did have an epidural in the end.

All labours are very different and it also depends what frame of mind you are in, how well you cope.

StarlightMcKenzie Wed 30-Jan-13 08:11:18

IMO, needing an epidural has a lot to do with the level of care you receive, and less to do with your 'ability' as a woman.

aimingtobeaperfectionist Tue 29-Jan-13 23:33:10

I really hope you get your natural birth but please don't beat yourself up if not.
I had a 3 day labour, hadn't slept or eaten in all that time and just couldn't cope but was totally devastated and really gave myself a hard time for having an epidural.
I wish I could have accepted thats what I needed to get me through and not think of myself as 'failing'.
I hope you have a positive experience whatever way you birth.

peanutdream Tue 29-Jan-13 23:11:00

Keep an open mind and aim not to have one also - if you don't want an epidural, find other ways to cope. Have your own toolbox so you don't need theirs! Cold flannel, hot flannel, massage, music, no music, chanting. Find something else to make the contractions bearable.Whatever keeps you from having one if that is what you want. If the baby is in a good position, you'll be fine. If it goes on for ages and has to turn from OP, or you have to wait to push because its turning but your not fully dilated, or some other complication, you might need to dig deep to prevent you demanding one! You just don't know.

In a straightforward labour, if you aim to do all the active birth strategies, staying at home as long as possible, staying upright, lying down if you want to, breathing - keeping your baby oxygenated - it shouldn't be too hard to steer clear of an epidural if you really want to. Just don't have one. Grit your teeth and howl! Whatever works! Women have done for centuries! But its worth thinking about the different things that might work for you if/when it gets sketchy. Because labour can get very sketchy for some.

TerrariaMum Tue 29-Jan-13 16:56:10

I went for a HB for my first so my pain relief consisted of walking around my house, baths, a bit of paracetamol, groaning with the contractions and a few puffs of g and a.

But all those things might not have been as good if not for my midwife. She stayed in the background drinking tea and occasionally making remarks that made me laugh. As long as she was sitting there drinking tea, I knew nothing was wrong and this pain meant that things were going right. That made it less painful and more manageable.

swimsunandski Tue 29-Jan-13 16:44:44

I've seen that there is a free natural pain relief & birth preparation antenatal workshop taster session at 18.30hrs on 13th February in Watford run by a Natal HypnotherapyTM practitioner. Perhaps this could help if you want more info on natural birth. The link is

Dorisday13 Fri 11-Jan-13 17:52:09

Hi, I had a water birth, no pharmaceutical pain relief I really found breathing - yoga and a tens machine good. I was also at home which I'm sure helped massively as I was super relaxed, GL x

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: