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Epidural being refused?

(49 Posts)
Cel982 Tue 11-Apr-17 21:50:08

Does this happen commonly? Where you ask for an epidural (once in established labour, obviously) and aren't given one? I'd never considered it a possibility, but was reading another thread here where women mentioned their request being denied.

Am 35 weeks in my second pregnancy and, while I'd like to get through labour without an epidural, I also want to know that I'll be given one if I request it. I had my first baby in another country and, while they didn't push the epidural on me, I was given it as soon as I asked.

user1466690252 Tue 11-Apr-17 21:51:35

It is fairly common I think. I was refused one as there was no one avalible to give me one.

Orlandointhewilderness Tue 11-Apr-17 21:56:42

Well it depends on the situation - if a medical professional has refused me an epidural then I would think it was because it wasn't in the best interest of me or the baby to have one. They don't refuse out of spite and I am not qualified to make medical decisions.

ispymincepie Tue 11-Apr-17 21:59:19

It's often too close to delivery. Or the anaesthetist is tied up in a&e with an emergency.

Sittinginthesun Tue 11-Apr-17 21:59:39

I was refused one, because they were too busy. They prepped me, then said no one was available, and that I would be fine without one. (I wasn't, and two hours after DS1 was born, I was in theatre, with my epidural, and an entire theatre full if medics, being put back together).

FastMakoShark Tue 11-Apr-17 22:02:43

I've been refused an Epidural twice, once for reasons I didn't believe (because the midwife kept contradicting herself) and once because I was too far gone

NutellaCookie Tue 11-Apr-17 22:04:42

I was prepped for mine but baby arrived too quickly. They seemed happy for me to have it up until that point.

TisapityshesaGeordie Tue 11-Apr-17 22:06:06

I had the opposite experience and was persuaded to have one in both my labours; despite my thinking I'd be fine without it!

MangoSplit Tue 11-Apr-17 22:08:14

I had one at 8cm. My mum (who is a trained midwife) said she wouldn't have given me one as I was too close to the birth and it might slow things down. All I can say is I'm glad she's my mum not my midwife!

B19M Tue 11-Apr-17 22:08:42

I asked for, and received an epidural both times I gave birth. With my 2nd labour, the epidural was ineffective ....but that's another matter!

EllieQ Tue 11-Apr-17 22:11:54

I was also worried about this, having read about people being refused one while in labour, so I started saying that I wanted an epidural pretty much as I was admitted to the labour ward. I got it, and also asked for (and got) pethidene.

It was great not being in pain, but I ended up with forceps and stitches as I wasn't able to feel when to push. I occasionally wonder if I hadn't felt so stressed about the possibility of being denied an epidural and just requested pethidene, whether I would have managed without it and avoided the forceps, but I might have still needed them even without the epidural.

I think it's shocking that you can be denied pain relief in labour, but because it's not the best medical option, but because it's just not available angry Can't imagine that happening in many other areas of healthcare!

noitsnotme Tue 11-Apr-17 22:12:23

I was told I had to decide if I wanted one or it would be too late, so they would have refused me if I waited. Often say it was the best thing I ever did, but I also wish I'd had the gas and air and maybe not needed the epidural. Went from one extreme to the other grin

OnTheUp13 Tue 11-Apr-17 22:12:29

I was refused as they found out I had sepsis in labour. I don't know how common that is?

CotswoldStrife Tue 11-Apr-17 22:14:09

When I went on the tour of the maternity unit, they did point out then that if you wanted an epidural you may have to wait up to 40 minutes for the anaesthetist.

As Geordie mentioned, I had the opposite experience of them mentioning it a few times!

Jfw82 Tue 11-Apr-17 22:14:31

Not refused but I did have to wait nearly 2 hours so was lucky(?) not to have progressed such that I couldn't have it ... that said I was obviously a difficult patient as after 3 failed attempts they had to get the consultant (another 15 min wait) and then It wasn't properly secured so 5 hours later when I asked about top up pain relief - which I'd been told I might want as things progressed - when examined it turned out it had come out and another consultant was called to readminister it (best pain relief for an epidural is an epidural!!)

EdenX Tue 11-Apr-17 22:17:07

I had to wait until the anesthetist was available, but wasn't refused. Ask early!

farfallarocks Tue 11-Apr-17 22:19:39

I think a lot depends on the philosophy of the hospital. Large teaching hospitals are
committed to offering pain relief to women in labour and have back up anaesthetists in place to try and make this happen. St Thomas, Charlotte's etc are very pro pain relief in my experience. Regional hospitals may only have an on call anaesthetist for emergencies at night for example so an epidural for pain relief is less of a priority (shockingly)

FormerlyFrikadela01 Tue 11-Apr-17 22:22:16

I begged from the moment i was wheeled into the delivery room. However the wait for the anaesthetist and a very fast labour meant by the time she came i was starting to push. I was quite rude to her and had to apologise after blush

Hedgeh0g Tue 11-Apr-17 22:23:29

I never got one despite asking for hours as there was no anaesthetist available. I was told afterwards that it would be written up as a formal incident. To be fair, the anaesthetist was there when I got rushed into theatre for a crash c section.

LegoStarWars Tue 11-Apr-17 22:23:32

I was refused one. I was told they only had the resources to support three women with epidurals at one time, and they currently had one woman with one and two women waiting, so I had no chance.

They also forgot about my request for pethidine until it was too late, and gas and air did nothing but mess up my breathing, so I gave birth without pain relief in the end.

As has been said, there's no other area of medicine where this would be acceptable.

Cel982 Tue 11-Apr-17 23:00:21

Wow. Thanks for all the info, which is a bit shocking... I'm a doctor myself, but didn't train in the UK (or work in obstetrics here) so was really unaware of this aspect of maternity care here. Better to be prepared, anyway! The hospital I'll be delivering in is a fairly large teaching hospital (not London) so there will be anaesthetists on site at least. I had high hopes for gas and air the last time but it made me very sick from the first puff, unfortunately.

firawla Tue 11-Apr-17 23:07:19

I wasn't able to have one as they were short staffed. Apparently if you have the epidural you have to have a midwife staying with you the whole time and they didn't have the staff for that although the anaesthetist was available? That's what I was told when i had dd at Christmas!

I had epidural 2 other times though when I was being induced, and those times I was on the drip and monitors so had to have someone with me the whole time anyway and the anaesthetist came early on and I got it with no fuss.

Obsidian77 Tue 11-Apr-17 23:10:12

I don't think it's just the UK. I have 3 DCs (one born in UK and 2 in another country).
During each birth, I asked for an epidural and had in my notes that I was likely to want one but was messed around and fobbed off (oh you don't need one yet, the anaesthetist's not here yet, just wait a while longer, ok no problem we'll sort it out now etc) then told it was too late and I was too far dilated.
Every goddamn time. So on birth threads when smug wankers posters pitch in with comments like "oh you don't need to suffer, just have an epidural" I do get upset.
Like LegoStarWars says, there's no other area of medicine where this would be acceptable.

Moodycoo Tue 11-Apr-17 23:32:24

I had my epidural as soon as they broke my water (induced) and before they started my drip. This was after a fair bit of bargaining between myself and the consultant after three days of horrific pain.

Lunde Tue 11-Apr-17 23:49:48

Not refused but it didn't happen with my induced labour with dd2. It was less than 30 minutes after reaching 5cm and the pain had increased and was awful. I begged for an epidural and the midwife said she would have a little look but before she had her gloves on dd came tumbling out. Lucky the cord was very short and she didn't hit the ground.

I have known one person who was outright refused an epidural but that was due to a previous spinal operation that would make it dangerous to position the needle

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