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Did you have a birth without pain relief - talk to me!

(108 Posts)
babyignoramus Sat 02-Aug-08 11:47:37

This is a long way off yet but I'm one of those people who likes to investigate things thoroughly beforehand...! At the moment I'm considering attempting birth without pain relief - I'm not trying to be a hero, it's just that I can't think of anything I'd actually want. I don't like the idea of pethidine, I HATE the idea of an epidural and I have a feeling that gas and air are likely to make me feel sick. However, I'm keeping a very open mind and may well end up having the lot!

I'd appreciate hearing your stories.


belgo Sat 02-Aug-08 11:54:19

I never planned on having a birth without pain relief, but I just didn't want an epidural and they don't offer g&a or pethidine in Belgium. I think it probably helped that I wasn't scared when I went into labour, and I trusted the hospital and midwives where I planned to deliver.

I had a realistic idea of how long to expect the first labour to be - an average is 14 hours but many women have longer labours, and I was expecting up to 24 hours. I knew the longer it was, the harder it would be to cope with.

I did ask for an epidural at the end, but contractions were coming fast and furious at that point and there was no way I could have stayed still for one.

I planned to labour in water and got a bit of a shock when I found that it didn't help with the pain. Dh massaging my back really helped.

StellaWasADiver Sat 02-Aug-08 11:55:15

I did without anything. I didn't intend to - well I was going to give it a try, but I had the midwives bring gas and air (home birth - well I transferred at the last minute) and I got a prescription of pethidine 'just in case'.

One puff on the gas and air and my mouth was dry and I wanted to retch, I thought I would throw up. So that was that. And I didn't really want the pethidine - things didn't get bad enough to ask for it!

My labour was very long and this gave me time to 'get into' it if you like.

If I did it again I'd give it a go but like you say, keep an open mind.

I did not transfer because of not having pain relief by the way, I went in because I needed a catheter (a whole other story).

StellaWasADiver Sat 02-Aug-08 11:56:14

Oh yeah, sorry - I spent 8 hours in the pool. That helped. Definitely. But I delivered on dry land after transferring.

Bronze Sat 02-Aug-08 11:57:45

I had my second without anything. I found out with my first I was sick with G&A so ended up with pethedine as was having a few problems. My second birth was by far the easiest and I felt better afterwards too. I felt a lot more in control and though I guess it probably hurt more I kept reminding myself it wasn't for long and what the outcome would be. Oh and I think a swore a bit

OurHamsterisevil Sat 02-Aug-08 11:57:52

I had G&A but as my contractions come full on I didn't get the effects of it. It just helped me concentrate on my breathing which got me through my contractions. So I would say that if you would like to do it without pain relief then definitely get to know how to breathe.

There is also hypnobirthing, but I have no experience of this. It is possible without pain relief though.

laura325630 Sat 02-Aug-08 12:01:55

I had gas and air only and it was amazing! I think it makes some people sick but everyone I have spoken to has loved it! I only had it when I was fully dilated and pushing and it helped loads. Good luck x

oi Sat 02-Aug-08 12:02:00

not out of choice grr

I was sick throughout both my labours and gas and air seemed to make it a lot worse so after one suck and the quite obvious hideous results, it was tucked away.

Was too late for an epidural both times (think I was 6 or 7cm dilated first time I got to hospital and about 8cm second time) so got down on my hands and knees and got on with it.

I found the breathing exercises very very key to the no pain relief. I kept reminding myself to do them and I think they helped. I screamed a lot both times but near the end, the midwives got me to stop screaming and focus on pushing (second time I only had to push once!) and that also helped.

Helsbels4 Sat 02-Aug-08 12:02:54

I would definitely keep an open mind if I
were you and never say never. With my DS I had Pethidine which sent me and him to sleep, so much so that contractions slowed as did his heart-beat and ended up with baby in distress, vontuese (sp) and rescusitation trolley. Not the birth I had wanted to have. With DD, I stayed at home as long as possible and was over 9cm when I went into hospital. Had gas and air but only cos the midwife suggested it. I personally liked the woozy feeling grin well I hadn't had a drink for 9 months! Don't know if I actually needed the gas and air but at the very least, it gave me something to focus on with each contraction. Just take it as it comes and see how you feel. Good luck!

JacobsPrincess Sat 02-Aug-08 12:04:11

After an induced labour lasting 39 hours and involving every drug and intervention available in the delivery room, DS1 was pulled out with forceps and I was left in fear of ever having another baby.
DS2 was born just over two weeks ago, after a 7 hour labour with just a TENS machine and a few puffs of G&A. I would have had more G&A, but the Midwives took it off me because The best thing for a drug-free labour is to stay calm and relaxed & believe it WILL be over soon (!).
It's not failure to have pain relief.

JacobsPrincess Sat 02-Aug-08 12:05:19

Sorry, should have read Midwives took it off me because I "wasn't concentrating"

ib Sat 02-Aug-08 12:06:08

I did it without anything. Like you, I didn't fancy the idea of anything. I had a home water birth and it was fine, didn't at any point wish I had pain relief.

I quite enjoyed it tbh. Rather like an extreme form of exercise: it was knackering and it was the biggest effort I ever remember doing but it was also the biggest high afterwards!

piratecat Sat 02-Aug-08 12:06:10

yes i did and i was stupid to do so. i wish i had had more of hands on midwife, maybe one who could have suggested changing my mind.

CarGirl Sat 02-Aug-08 12:07:22

I had a tens machine (fab) and gas & air, I found the gas really helpful because it gave me something to focus on, I think many women don't get the hang of it so it doesn't really help. You have to intake as the contaction builds up and stop as it peaks also not to bite it but stay relaxed. Also found the birthing ball very helpful too.

Helsbels4 Sat 02-Aug-08 12:08:30

Forgot to say, that staying upright helped loads with me - gravity and all that. I was pottering around at home as DS was off sick from school and I gave birth standing against the side of the bed. Definitely worked for me.

findtheriver Sat 02-Aug-08 12:54:16

I agree with you about pethidine and epidural - I felt very uneasy about side effects and increased likelihood of interventions.
However, I LOVED gas and air, so don't assume it'll make you sick. I felt sick only when I overdosed on it, but once you get the hang of breathing in the right amount, it rocks!!
The huge plus of g and a IMO is that it works only as you breathe it in - ie when you exhale, it leaves your body, so you are totally 'back to normal' between contractions, unlike pethidine and epidural which once you've had them, effect your body until they wear off. Gas and air doesnt block the pain, but it really helps take your mind off it.
Other than that, staying mobile is probably the biggest thing. When contractions really get a grip, alter your position, and it's amazing how a little thing like that can get you through the next few contractions. And visualise the contractions as a finite thing - I imagined crossing them off on a chart as they came and went.

tortoiseSHELL Sat 02-Aug-08 12:59:58

In my first labour, I was planning on only having gas and air, but ds1 was 'back to back' (OP position) and it was so excruciatingly painful that I begged for an epidural, which was blissful, and I was very happy to have had it, especially when they had to do loads of blood tests on ds before he was born, which involved taking blood from his head - was glad I couldn't feel that!

Dd and ds2 were both home births, born with no pain relief at all (not even gas and air) and it was ok. I won't pretend it didn't hurt, but it was manageable, and I was really worried about feeling sick. They were both BIG babies (10lb and 10lb2) and I didn't need any stitches. But being at home really helped I think, as was able to wander around as I wanted to.

CarGirl Sat 02-Aug-08 13:04:06

Being relaxed about the whole thing is the most important factor I think in coping with the pain, honestly I had epidurals with the first 3 (none of which were fully effective) with the last one I couldn't believe how easy & ok it was!

butwhybutwhy Sat 02-Aug-08 13:15:43

Hi BI.

I had my second and third child without pain relief.
Obviously with my first I had no idea what to expect but I attended ante-natal classes, read lots of books and made an informed decision that if any, I would want to have Pethidine and Gas and Air.
When it came to it, I was 5cm dialated when I went into hospital and pretty much wanted the G&A straight away. It instantly made me feel giggly and a bit out of it.
Then later as things got more intense, dh asked the MW's if they would give me something.
He was really worried bless him but the MW's said they couldnt just give me something, I had to request it myself. I think dh then said that I would admit I pinned Jesus to the cross at that point, I was that doolally grin

But to cut a long story short, the Pethidine made me really very sleepy and slowed down the labour. Also after dd arrived and the adrenelin high wore off, I actually thought I was dying. It was a horrible feeling but the MW's said it was the effects of the Pethidine. I also felt like I wanted to be sick towards the end and I think that was to do with the G&A.
The MW's also had to look after my dd for the full night as I was so incoherant.

With the following 2 the births were brilliant.
I was completely in control, I knew what was happening and the births progressed quicker too.
DS1 was a 6 hour labour and I had to be cut and have stitches. I did use a flannel filled with ice cubes in to bite down on grin

DS2 was a 2 hour labour at home and although we had G&A I just didnt want it. I just wanted to lay on the bed, breath through the contractions and get it over with grin

For me having no pain relief was the best option and after both births, I was so pleased I did it as I got to enjoy and coo over my new babies.
I think alot of it is to do with the fact that I knew what the pain was, that it would end at some point, I wasnt going to die grin and that seems to make it less scary iyswim?

But I have spoke to many other mums who swear by epidurals, pethidine, G&A and other forms of pain relief.

Sorry to have babbled on grin
Good luck with it and just remember whatever you do or dont do, its your decision and you've done bloody well!

ilovemydog Sat 02-Aug-08 13:18:14

No pain relief for DD. Not by choice!

I went from 0 - 10 cm in about an hour which is practically bionic (induced).

Had gas and air for stitches though....

Epidural for DS, and have to say that it made a huge difference as I tend to deliver quite quickly hmm

Agree with others that if you are relaxed, it makes a huge difference - the question you have to ask yourself is how you will relax. Some people relax by water, massage...

And some of us need drugs...

ajm200 Sat 02-Aug-08 13:27:54

check out the hypnobabies yahoo group. They have loads of stories of childbirth without pain relief and minimal pain in some cases (lucky ladies). They use self hypnosis scripts to achieve deep relaxation as a form of pain control

ajm200 Sat 02-Aug-08 13:33:24

I should say that I did get the hypnobabies home study kit from America and I'm on wk 3. The level of relaxation that I can achieve is far beyond anything I learnt in antenatal classes.

It is a bit costly but worth it. The postage to the UK is not as high as they quote on the website, you just need to ask them to send the parcel via the cheapest method. It cost about $30 instead of 130

girlandboy Sat 02-Aug-08 13:40:05

Had a tens machine with both labours. Not completely sure if they did much good, but it gave me something to concentrate on. Tried gas & air for 1st labour and it made me vomit like the girl off "The Exorcist". Tried again with 2nd labour and it happened again.

1st labour was more relaxed and I felt more in control. In fact the midwife let me deliver baby myself.

2nd labour was not relaxed, but huge baby this time which got stuck etc, but still managed with just the tens.

Keep an open mind!

kaz33 Sat 02-Aug-08 13:41:17

I did mine mostly without pain relief, tried gas and air and it made me retch. Was in a birthing pool and then got to an hour of pushing. Then DS1 wouldnt come out so it all ended up a bit pear shaped with a spinal tap, forceps, ventouse and emergency c-section.

The lack of pain relief was perfectly fine until I lost control of the process - oh yes, the whole think took 30+ hours so I was exhausted by the end of it sad

I think an open mine is important, I went it to my second with a decision to see where it took me. At 4 cm dilated I stopped dilating any further and my fabby midwife said I was probably tense because of my traumatic first birth. I had an epidural and despite another 30 hour labour and an OP baby I had a VBAC. It was the finest hour of my life.

I think one has to remember that nature plays tricks on us, without modern technology and drugs either me/my baby or both of us could have been dead.

belgo Sat 02-Aug-08 13:47:51

I've been thinking about this, and I think it's best to go into labour without too high an expectation of how you will cope. I'm a pain wimp, always have been and always will be. I can't stand having headaches and reach quickly for the anadin extra. I didn't put any pressure on myself to have an all natural birth. But it as it happened, with plenty of support and a bit of luck (because luck does play a part in childbirth), I've managed two natural births, mainly on my hands and knees.

I'm still worried about the third one though, due in October!

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