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natural vs. epidural

(21 Posts)
amandasegal Sun 07-Apr-13 21:48:02

how did you chose? when did you chose? did you know before that you are going to have a natural birth?

CreatureRetorts Sun 07-Apr-13 21:56:34


There are more options - an epidural, gas and air, pethidine...

Do you mean no pain relief at all? If so, I decided early on in pregnancy that I didn't want any pain relief. It didn't cross my mind when in labour - I was at home, so not available anyway (my first). With my second, I decided I'd use gas and air when pushing to give me focus - it didn't relieve any pain at all. I made the decision there and then (I felt quite confident I knew what I was doing)

If I had a third, I'd be tempted to try an epidural just to see what it was like blush

Anypants Sun 07-Apr-13 21:57:07

Don't decide anything until you get there. I had gas and air when the pain got going then, when it wasn't enough, asked them what my options were. I was ready to push at that point so didn't need anything else and just got on with it! Depends on your pain threshold as well.

LovesBeingWokenEveryNight Sun 07-Apr-13 22:00:14

I always said you get no medals for pain and with both only had a little gas and air. I was too fair gone when I arrived at hospital with dd, although thinking about it that didn't bother me as such. When told how far along I was I said its too late isn't it and they said yes.

With ds never even considered it (have only just realized that) and again it wouldn't have been an option anyway

jkklpu Sun 07-Apr-13 22:01:04

Don't rule out any options before your labour begins. You might be tempted to have a CS/epidural but then, when the time comes, you feel in control and want to do it yourself. You might be all out for no pain relief, totally natural delivery and then have a terrible time and go for an epidural. So just keep everything open and learn as much as you can about each possibility.

MrsMargoLeadbetter Sun 07-Apr-13 22:05:55

I was shaking and sweating with the pain. The midwife said "I think you need something stronger than a tens machine"....

The epidural was great. I just hope I get to the hospital in time to have another this time around.

I think you just need to be open minded.....

nicelyneurotic Sun 07-Apr-13 22:18:43

I had pre eclampsia so they recommended an epidural as a side effect is that it helps lower blood pressure. I hadn't planned on one, but so glad I took it as I wasn't coping with the pain at all, was crying and screaming and completely lost control. The epidural took all the pain away. I'd definitely have one again, or try an ELCS.

PeaceAndHope Sun 07-Apr-13 22:49:19

I wouldn't have a natural birth again if you paid me.

Worst experience of my life. Gas and air, pethidine birthing balls, water etc. IMO opinion do nothing. The only thing that takes the pain away is an epidural. I found the other options useless.

notcitrus Sun 07-Apr-13 23:02:27

Tens kept me sane until I got to the gas and air which I loved. G&A and pool was lovely for the next 8 hours, then I had joint pain and the MW said "you know you said on your birth note you are terrified of an epidural but not ruling it out? I suggest you consider it", and then I had an epidural which was great.

Next time, same without the 8 hours. If I hadn't had SPD I might well have avoided the epidural, but in the circs it's likely I wouldn't be able to walk well now if I hadn't. It's all.very personal - I had no bad side effects but was very glad they warned me about the "shivers" as for a.couple days I had lots of involuntary shivering which was weird.

MoonlightandRoses Sun 07-Apr-13 23:11:49

I needed an epidural for medical reasons but probably would have had one anyway as didn't fancy the potential level of pain involved in not having one.

Completely up to you though.

As others say - you won't know until it all kicks off what's required/what the discomfort level will be or anything else. Main thing is be informed about what's available and what the risks/benefits are for each option and make a decision, or agree to a suggestion, based on what's happening to your body at that point in time.

Oh and congratulations and good luck!

P.S. - If you're not squeamish this may keep you amused for an hour or two

HPsauceonbaconbuttiesmmm Mon 08-Apr-13 11:28:22

Your best bet is to come up with an advancing plan of pain relief you would want/accept. Assuming this is your first, you've no idea how YOU will feel.

My plan was: tens and hypnotherapy and paracetamol, then entonox, then remifentanil pca, then epidural. Only got to entonox, but would have happily accepted more if I'd needed it.

IME it's women who have strict notions of how they want the birth to go that end up disappointed and at far higher risk of pnd. Birth isn't about a lovely experience, it's about taking home a healthy baby and a healthy you.

ICompletelyKnowAboutGuineaPigs Mon 08-Apr-13 23:32:46

IMO HP birth is about both the process and having a healthy baby/mum. I think to disregard the experience can be a mistake. I mean people don't say the same about conception...the sex was shut but get I'm pregnant so that's all that matters wink .

That being said I've never had an epidural for labour (nothing for DC1 and had CS with DC2) but have had spinal anaesthetics and didn't like them. My blood pressure went really low and I couldn't stop shaking and felt really cold. I would have hated to feel like that during labour. I know that some women have loved them though.

I agree with others who have said be flexible, but definitely don't assume you can't handle the pain - I thought I had absolutely the lowest pain threshold going but had DS with no pain relief, by accident rather than design, but this showed me that I can do it and for some reason this was a real boost for me. I'm planning on using non-pharmacological methods this time with DC3 (at home) though I might try the gas and air this time as I've heard it's good stuff grin

Hope you end up feeling happy with your birth, whatever you decide to do.

I did the same as HP - decided to start at the lowest level and work my way up as needed. I hated TENS, and got on well with Gas and Air (although I suspect it was more because it made me concentrate on breathing than any thing else) so stuck with that.

I would have had an Epidural if it was absolutely necessary but tbh I tick too many of the 'be careful' boxes to do it without desperate need (previous back pain issues, history of migraines and low blood pressure) plus the idea of being numb from the waist down scared me more than labour did.

LittleRedDinosaur Mon 08-Apr-13 23:50:27

I'm not sure if it's as simple as it being a choice you can make in advance. In my case I had gas and air and was managing and then they put the drip up and the difference in the pain was unbelievable and I had an epidural.
I think you can try to make too many decisions before labour, by all means read up on everything because I think you need to be informed but I don't see how you can make choices until you get there.

bicyclebuiltforfour Mon 08-Apr-13 23:54:11

I had an epidural with #1 and nothing for #2.

But #1 was The Birth From Hell and I could barely see straight I was so tired and exhausted and in so much pain by the time I had the epidural, whereas #2 was straightforward. Long for a #2, but straightforward.

I'd decided in advance that, assuming everything went smoothly, I didn't want pain relief for #2. Lots of personal reasons: mainly trying to recover faith in my own body after a serious illness inbetween children. So I didn't have the temptation of drugs (I'm bloody minded like that ;) ).

Really wasn't all it's cracked up to be though. There was no Mother Earth moment and I didn't feel like superwoman, there was just a hell of a lot of pain. Recovering so quickly though was awesome: felt normal again within minutes.

I think if you want a natural birth then you need to be very decided about this, since there will be moments when you could 'crack'. You also need to tell your care team so that they don't offer you the drugs. However you also need to be realistic. If you have been in labour for 30hrs with no sleep, nothing but water etc etc (like I had been), then you would almost be a fool not to take some drugs: I firmly believe that if I hadn't had that epidural I'd have ended up with a section since I'd simply have been too exhausted (the epidural gave me an hour or two to recover my strength before it was time to push).

And either way it really doesn't matter. The focus of childbirth should be on getting a healthy baby and a healthy mummy at the end of it all. The process is irrelevant and no way of giving birth is 'better' or makes you more of a success or a better mother than any other way.

Here endeth the lecture.

Newmum2013 Tue 09-Apr-13 05:42:38

I was all for just gas and air. After four days of slow labour and no sleep I couldn't cope. Had diamorphine and then eventually had an epidural. Best decision I ever made.

There's such a stigma attached to pain relief now and like one pp posted, there are no medals for a natural birth. My little man is fine and hasn't been affected by my choices in labour.

Its freedom of choice for any women whether the choose to use pain releif or not.

Good luck

Crawling Tue 09-Apr-13 16:28:36

I have a phobia of meds so decided noy to. Even on a 43 hour back to back fear of pain relief was worse that the pain.

HappyJoyful Tue 09-Apr-13 16:37:16

As other's have stated - keep an open mind, I don't know a single person who has had followed their 'birth plan', of course am sure we'd all ideally we'd like to just squirrel ourselves away and pop out a healthy baby effortlessly in a short time with no pain relief. Reality is very different from that.

Assuming you're trying to plan ahead and you are due to give birth soon, you've know idea whether you will be early or have to be induced etc - I was induced so made a huge difference to my choice to have an epidural.

I don't regret it and as other's have said, there is no prize for the best / perfect / correct birth, simply set the goal of having healthy Mum and healthy baby, try and relax and don't read too much into all the decisions and why's and why not's ever birth story is unique.

thatsnotmypineapple Wed 10-Apr-13 11:07:01

I agree with what most people are saying. Be open minded. I was going to have a hypnobirth but for various reasons ended up losing the plot and was so tired that I had an epidural. For me at that time it was the best thing I could have done as it allowed me to get a few hours sleep before the birth.

Tinkerbell43 Wed 10-Apr-13 17:29:02

I was convinced I would have what ever they offered me when I was pregnant the thought of the pain scared the life out of me ! I have a VERY low pain thresh hold..
When it came down to it I had the Diamorphine injection in my leg when the contractions got a bit too strong (I was at 4cms) that made me sleep and I actually managed to sleep through the contractions for 2 hours!! After that started to wear off I was offered G&A but hated the way that made me feel so refused to take any more of the stuff I was offered epidural but the idea of that although in my birth plan as an option I was too much of a wimp to go through with it when it came down too it!! I ended up having a water birth with no pain relief during birth what so ever - not going to lie was really painful, but I think that's because I panicked and tore really badly down below- I think it would have been a lot easier and less painful if I'd have done it calmer and slower.. I really would recommend natural water birth !! :-)

Heinz55 Wed 10-Apr-13 17:56:26

From the very moment I found I was pregnant I KNEW I wanted an epidural (if I'd had to start queuing for one there and then I would've done!) anyway, I had it and it worked a dream. Many years later on DC#2 I was a bit more blase about it - I couldn't remember what contractions had been like confused so thought I'd just see how it went. A short time later I nearly married the anaesthetist when he turned up with an epidural for me - I accept humbly now that I am no hero when it comes to pain. However what I have learned from my experience is that you cannot really know in advance how your childbirth will go nor how you will feel about the pain as you go along (my SIL opted for nothing - at all - after a successful epidural on her DC#2 and found it perfectly bearable). On the other hand my friend is vehemently anti-epidural so under no circumstances did she want to even be offered one so I guess if you read up on your options and then when you're in the thick of it at least you can make an informed decision. As others have said: there are no medals for a natural birth

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