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Epidural or water?

(18 Posts)
itshappened Tue 03-Dec-19 19:49:56

I am in the final weeks of my second pregnancy, and am unsure about what I want to do when it comes to the birth.

For some background I had an extremely difficult first labour... over 48 hours, unknown to me the baby was back to back and stuck at 9cm dilated for most of that time. I was in a birth centre and labouring in the water for the first 36 hours. I did find the water a huge help with the pain but gas and air did nothing but make me sick. Anyway it all became too much and I was taken up to the labour ward, where it was discovered there was a problem. I was given an epidural, syntocinon and prepped for a c section when nothing seemed to be working. At the last minute I reached 10cm dilation and was able to avoid a csection. But because of the amount of pain relief administered i ended up with an episiotomy, ventouse and forceps birth.

I have recovered well from my first birth experience. My dilemma now though, is whether to try for another natural, water birth or go straight for an epidural this time. The epidural really was amazing and the relief after so much pain for such a long time was incredible. But I definitely found the water beneficial and wonder if it is a shorter labour this time, then maybe I could actually manage a natural labour. I guess I feel a bit confused as whilst I definitely know what 9cm dilated feels like (horrendous!), I don't know what it's like to actually push as I couldn't feel anything at this stage last time. Maybe the pain would be too much again but it might be too late to have an epidural? Or perhaps I could cope and could avoid another instrumental birth and the horrendous post labour pain i experienced last time.

Would love to hear your experiences and advice on whether to try for a natural birth or go for pain relief for second birth. (Obviously I am making assumptions it will be a straightforward start to the labour and that there are no other factors to be considered in the meantime). Thanks!

OP’s posts: |
BertieBotts Tue 03-Dec-19 20:02:48

I'm sort of following because I have a similar dilemma.

I think in your case I lean towards epidural, because 9cm is horrendous and crowning is even worse. If you know epidural works for you, why not go for it? But I can see not wanting to end up with an instrumental delivery. And many people find the water helps with the pain of crowning.

Have you spoken to your midwife? I always think it might help to speak to people who have experienced a lot more births than my two.

Wallywobbles Tue 03-Dec-19 20:05:51

Epidural. Best ever invention. You won't get a better baby for suffering.

GrumpyHoonMain Wed 04-Dec-19 00:38:13

I just gave birth - had an induction with epidural. It was bliss. The first stage was difficult (dilated from 1cm to 4 in an hour with no pain relief) and the epidural was bliss and I was so calm I dilated to 10cm in just 3 hours without even realising it. The pushing stage was just an hour and while I needed intervention due to baby being in distress this was a blissful birth when you consider it was my first!

PandasandRabbit Wed 04-Dec-19 00:48:32

I had a first baby where took 3 days of trying before gave birth induced, epidural eventually which failed.

Second time round was water birth and much faster 5 hours or so. Much nicer experience but think it varies.

Brusselsprouts21 Wed 04-Dec-19 01:11:38

I had a very similar first experience to you OP minus ventouse. Took me a long time to recover from it mentally and physically. I decided towards the end of my second pregnancy to just go with what my body was wanting. I ended up having the most amazing natural birth. 3 hours of contractions (which I found more controllable then in my 1st labour). Only used a bit of gas & air. This is not always the case but from my experience I definitely coped better from just doing what I felt was right at the time. Second births tend to be a bit more quicker as your body knows what is happening this time. Only you know what is right for you. Good luck, I hope it goes quickly for you!

thr33andme Wed 04-Dec-19 01:17:00

Epidural. I had two intense 'natural' births and on my third I went for the epidural. Best invention ever. I didn't feel a thing, slept most of the 10 hour labour and pushed the baby out in fifteen minutes pain free. I got no medal for my other two births.

AlbertWinestein Wed 04-Dec-19 01:22:26

I had a very similar first birth and was convinced I’d be begging for an epidural the second I got there for No2. As it was both my second and third were gas and air only as they were so quick (both under 20 minutes after getting to hospital). Fourth was a beautiful water birth and I can highly recommend them, but again, it was a relatively easy and quick delivery.

PenelopeFlintstone Wed 04-Dec-19 01:26:58

But because of the amount of pain relief administered i ended up with an episiotomy, ventouse and forceps birth.
I had all of the drug options and an epidural and didn’t have any of those interventions, so maybe they don’t always go hand in hand.
My pushing stage was also only 15 minutes like a PP.

Blippolbblopp Wed 04-Dec-19 01:36:56

I had a waterbirth with DD and it was the most relaxed birth ive had, but it was still painful,

With DS2 i was induced with the drip and ended up having an epidural. ( i refused it when they offered it the first time as i was scared ) Hes 3 now and i still remember the relief from the pain going.

Im sat here wondering now if i got to choose next time which would i have and i am struggling. A waterbirth is lovely, i loved mine. But an epidural is so much easier, the recovery from the birth wasnt as bad as my other births and i think its because i wasnt wasting energy trying to cope with the pain

DramaAlpaca Wed 04-Dec-19 01:47:25

I'd suggest keeping an open mind. Second births can be very different from the first. I had an epidural in my first labour, which had gone on forever. It was wonderful for pain relief, but led to a forceps delivery as I couldn't feel to push.

With DC2 I just didn't need an epidural, I wasn't in too much pain at any stage & when it got a bit tough, G&A was enough. I didn't have a water birth, but soaking in the bath in the early stages was very soothing.

But if you do want an epidural at any time, shout for one loud and clear & go for it.

sarahc336 Wed 04-Dec-19 20:28:27

I've never had an epidural, I had my daughter in the pool. I'm my experience my labour slowed down once I got in the water as I think before being in the pool I'd be walking around a lot and then when I got in the pool I just kinda knelt in there which slowed me down as i wasn't mobile, so it took ages to get from 9-10cm. So if you wanted to go for a natural birth again could you consider water but also getting out at some point as I wonder if a similar thing happened to you as you said you got stuck at around 9cm. The pool was lovely but there's isn't any where to move in it is there, your kinda just stuck kneeling in there smile good luck anyway xx

kissmewherethesundontshine Wed 04-Dec-19 22:12:24

Iv not had an epidural, had water birth with 2nd (on the bed on my back with 1st).
Yes crowning hurts but you get through it and it's not a long time, a few minutes I think maybe not even that, you know by that stage you can't have pain relief (I asked for a section while crowning- midwife said nope get breathing through it grin)
In my opinion if you want epidural, have it as nobody is the same so whatever works best for you is the best way.

Thehagonthehill Wed 04-Dec-19 22:19:49

Everyone's different.I found the pushing stage much,much easier than the pain of the contractions before.
The crowning did sting but the rest of the pushing was not painful for me as I was doing something that seemed to be working.
If you do go for water then you know this time where your limits are and can ask for an epidural much sooner than you did last time.
No on gets a medal for putting up with pain.

NameChange30 Wed 04-Dec-19 22:20:04

Surely with a back-to-back labour all bets are off - if I knew my baby was back-to-back I would go straight for an epidural.

Before having DC1 I didn't want an epidural, I was scared of interventions like forceps and ventouse. I wanted to use a birthing pool but couldn't. So I ended up labouring with just gas and air which took the edge off I suppose or at least gave me something to do while I felt like my body was breaking in two. I really wish I had been able to use the pool!

I guess in an ideal world you would have an epidural which wears off just in time for the pushing stage but I guess that's impossible as you can't predict how long it's all going to last!

When I researched it I thought remifentanil would be a good option but my hospital didn't offer it. Could be worth asking if yours does.

mistermagpie Thu 05-Dec-19 08:44:17

I had a back to back baby a couple of weeks ago with gas & air. It was utter agony in fairness but a quick labour (third baby) so I didn't have much choice. It was ok though, in the end, and I wouldn't go back and change anything.

Personally Ive spent a lot of time on the wards during my pregnancies and afterwards and my overriding impression is that medication and epidurals tend to slow labour down. This might be ok for some people but I always just wanted it over with, even if it hurt a bit more.

I've had three very different labours though so don't think you'll necessarily have the same type of outcome as last time. My first was traumatic, my third was the most painful by far, but my second was a lovely, calm and empowering experience - I would happily do that one again.

mistermagpie Thu 05-Dec-19 08:45:24

Also, I really fancied the pool before my first labour but when it came to it I couldn't think of anything worse! Try not plan too much and just see how you feel.

NicholJO Thu 05-Dec-19 13:18:31

Hi op last week I had my 7th baby I had the epidural with my 1st 24 years ago and personally wouldn't have it again no pain relief will the other 6 just 2 water births I found out the week before I had my db that she was babk2back so was not told about how much more painful labour is but I had her in 44 minutes no pain relief if you want to experience the pushing stage mybe I water birth will be best for you I won't lie the pain this time was worst then my others so mybe you could have other pain relief options ready just in case it gets to much for you . Good luck

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