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If you didn’t have an epidural by choice

(106 Posts)
KirstenRaymonde Sat 09-Jun-18 11:08:32

Would you mind talking to me about why you made that choice? The main by of advice I’ve had from my DM my whole life about childbirth is ‘just get the epidural’ so I’ve never questioned that obviously I would do that, it didn’t really occur to me until reading these boards that anyone wouldn’t choose one!

Allosaurusroar Sat 09-Jun-18 11:13:54

I just didn’t fancy drugs in my system and potentially in my baby’s. I think you have to be catheterised?? Although I’m not sure. And potentially increases the length of time you have to stay in for.
Total personal decision and I wouldn’t judge anyone one way or the other.

Allosaurusroar Sat 09-Jun-18 11:14:54

Oh and I think it numbs your legs too so you can’t get up straight away.

Scrumplestiltskin Sat 09-Jun-18 11:15:03

I didn't have an epi with my first born (second and last was c section because breech) and had gas and pethidine instead. I was active, walking around, and gave birth kneeling on the bed. No tears just a graze, panicked a bit during transition - but overall it was amazing! And the gas and pethidine were enough to cope. Very empowering,and positive. I loved it. An epidural scared me, because personally I wanted to be able to walk around, and be "in charge".
Not sure if that's the sort of answer you wanted? But I'm sure whatever happens your birth will be life changing! And positive! Best of luck flowers

Scrumplestiltskin Sat 09-Jun-18 11:16:44

Yes, Allosaurus, usually you'll need a catheter with an epi (my second and last baby was a c section, and I had an epi for her.) Personally I find catheters gross and invasive, but that's just me, haha

happymummy12345 Sat 09-Jun-18 11:19:34

For me it was always an absolute last resort. Just because I wanted as natural a birth as possible, with natural pain relief instead of drugs. (Don't get me wrong I was never adverse to the idea of medicated pain relief, and i firmly believe that every woman should do what she feels is right or best for her, whatever that is).
For me the whole idea of an epidural wasn't great, a needle in the base of your spine for me seemed unnecessary, and I was determined to try my absolute best to manage without it because that's what I wanted to do.
Though my mum had 3 c sections and told me I should ask for an elective x section myself, to avoid having to have a vaginal birth. She said "why would you choose to go through labour and birth when you could choose an elective c section"? Bear in mind there was no reason for me to do so, low risk straightforward pregnancy (thankfully). (Again I'd never judge anyone at all, but I was annoyed that she suggested I opt for that when there was no medical or personal reasons why I should).

NimbleKnitter Sat 09-Jun-18 11:19:51

For me, it's the increased risk of forceps/ventouse and emergency c section that means I don't want an epidural - epidurals slow down labour, so increase the risk of intervention

Steeley113 Sat 09-Jun-18 11:20:00

Childbirth is gross and invasive... I’ve never had an epidural but have had catheters during and after so no epi doesn’t always mean no catheter. I chose not to have one because I wanted to go home quickly. 3rd time around I nearly bled to death after and was gutted they were about to put an epidural in even though I’d done the hard bit without... It got too bad very quick and I had a general instead.

ScarletLouise Sat 09-Jun-18 11:21:31

Just being able to move around and have that freedom, switch positions, walk around the move, whatever was most comfy.

Being able to use the loo throughout labour, right up until pushing.

Straight after labour being able to get up and have a nice shower.

No catheter

Those were my reasons but I can totally understand why others choose an epi

violet0805 Sat 09-Jun-18 11:24:23

I had an almost forced epidural with my 3rd child. I felt as though I was bullied into it to be honest.
Anyway, epidural failed and I suffered horrendous migraines from that day up until a couple of months ago. My daughter turned 7 in May.
If I had another child I would never have an epidural unless it was absolutely necessary

sar302 Sat 09-Jun-18 11:24:24

My reason for not wanting an epidural was the increased risk of assisted birth because you can't feel to push.

Ended up having one after 50hrs of labour and a stuck baby. Also ended up with an assisted delivery which was all a bit shit to be honest, but we're both alive and he at least was undamaged.

I definitely wouldn't go for one as standard, especially with a non complicated birth. I loved my gas and air though. God, I'd get that plumbed into the house if I could...

BertieBotts Sat 09-Jun-18 11:25:49

I'm seriously freaked out by the idea of having a needle inserted in my spine.

Don't like the idea of not being able to move around.

BumbleNova Sat 09-Jun-18 11:27:30

You are much more likely to need intervention - ie forceps or an emergency c section. Being on your back is pretty much the worst position to give birth in. You won't feel contractions and won't know when to push, which is why you are more likely to need help.

Personally, I'm going to try to avoid it. I want to be active and preferably on my knees or standing to deliver.

Levithecat Sat 09-Jun-18 11:28:06

I had one in the end, but hadn’t wanted to. Mainly because I’d wanted to move around freely, get in whatever position my body was telling me to for birth, rather than supine which I felt wouldn’t be best for pushing.
Also, increased risk of instrumental birth with an epi (I ended up having a ventouse, but obviously can’t say that is down to the epi)

Glitterbaby17 Sat 09-Jun-18 11:31:01

I didn’t want one as the rates for needing episiotomies, forceps and ventouse are higher. Plus I hate needles and some of the risks scared me. I also wanted to be mobile for as long as possible and to have an active birth rather than lying down and epidurals mostly restrict movement. I was lucky and didn’t need one - obviously if it had been an emergency I’d have had one if needed.

KirstenRaymonde Sat 09-Jun-18 11:44:23

The going to the toilet thing I hadn’t considered. I have some bladder problems and wee A LOT. A lot a lot. It’s partly physical, partly psychological and I wonder if having to have a catheter could make it worse. Definitely something to think about. I wonder if not being able to move might also be scarier, as well as the higher likelihood of intervention.

My sister had a seriously traumatic birth (they should have sued) including two epidurals that had no effect, leaving her feeling very out of control and frightened. I’ve wondered if I might experience the same. It’s a lot to think about, I’m not pregnant yet so plenty of time to consider.

Thanks all this is tremendously helpful.

BumbleNova Sat 09-Jun-18 11:50:10

Have you done any reading on your options OP? I've found the positive birth book really helpful. It walks you through your choices and making a birth plan.

Rogue1234 Sat 09-Jun-18 11:54:31

I also wanted an active water birth on a MLU, which you can't have if you have an epidural. I tore really badly and had a spinal for the repair though. When I was in labour I hated being on my back (had to for one examination) and felt quite claustrophobic when I went to the loo, so being unable to move and restricted by wires would probably have been uncomfortable for me.

Having said that, giving birth hurts. A lot. My labour was quick so gas and air was sufficient, but if you're in labour for a long time an epidural would probably be more needed. You could always decide to keep an open mind, and request one while you're in labour if you feel you need one.

As an aside, if you already have bladder issues, start doing your pelvic floor exercises now before you get pregnant! 3 x a day sitting, standing and lying down. 10 quick tenses and 5 where you hold for 10 seconds. You'll be relieved you did when you're post partum and can sneeze without wetting yourself wink

KirstenRaymonde Sat 09-Jun-18 12:02:26

Rogue1234 I have a pelvic floor exerciser! Believe me I’m on it. It’s been a problem since I was a teenager, nothing has helped yet. I’m anticipating wetting myself a lot when pregnant.

KirstenRaymonde Sat 09-Jun-18 12:03:48

BumbleNova thanks, this is my starting point! As I mentioned I’m not yet pregnant, so plenty of time to explore and learn. I’m a worrier who over researches everything so helpful to have real peoples thoughts.

SprogletsMum Sat 09-Jun-18 12:05:07

I didn't choose to have an epidural because I didn't need one. It hurt but not bad enough that I felt like an epidural was worth having.
The only one where an epidural would have been welcome was my breech birth but it was too fast and there wasn't time.

daisypond Sat 09-Jun-18 12:10:25

I had an epidural with my first DC but not with the other two. I didn't set out to have an epidural, but the pain did for me and I asked for it. I didn't have a catheter though. I had it quite late on in the labour and gave birth on a birthing stool. I didn't need to move around at that point.

coragreta Sat 09-Jun-18 12:11:59

I didn't have a catheter with my epidural

MulderitsmeX Sat 09-Jun-18 23:54:03

I ended up having to have one as i needed a syntocin drip but hated the idea of having a needle in my spine. I could walk around but would have much preferred to have more mobility, overall I think it's less scary and easier as the catheter was not pleasant

DragonScales Sun 10-Jun-18 00:06:35

I wasn't against having an epidural but my birth plan contained a vague list of pain relief in the order I'd like it to be offered. So first try gas and air, then try water in birthing pool, then pethedine and finally epidural (that one was last as I didn't fancy having a needle inserted into my spine as I'm slightly needle phobic).

However both my labours were quick and simple and the pain was bearable with gas and air for the pushing stage.

So it wasn't really a deeply thought out medical decision automatically refusing an epidural, just the way it worked out.

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