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Walking Epidural - Anyone had one?

(16 Posts)
charleypops Tue 08-Mar-05 16:53:38

Hi, an aquaintance mentioned that she's asking for a walking epidural for her first birth on her birth plan. This was the first time I've heard of them, but from the litte she told me (doesn't know too much herself), they sound really interesting.

Although I know I might not have much of a choice in the end (this is my first), I'm presently hoping to have a waterbirth, with gas and air. However, from what a lot of you have said about your birth experiences, I'm under no illusion as to whether or not I'll be able to bear the pain. I know though that I don't want to be flat on my back pushing upwards, so from the sounds of it, a walking epidural might be the best alternative if I need to have more painkillers, so I can "squat", or be on "all fours".

Most people I've spoken to haven't heard of these, but I would like to know if any of you have had one of these and if you'd recommend them? I don't suppose you combine them with a waterbirth, but could you maybe labour for a bit in water and then get out to have the epidural? Would there be time? Do you need to be dilated first? I will of course be asking the midwife about these, but you can't beat real life experiences for this kind thing can you?

Many thanks x

northerner Tue 08-Mar-05 16:55:58

Hi! My sil had one of these about 5 years ago, but she gave birth in a private hospital. When I was having my ds I asked about them, but my hospital didn't have the correct equipment as it is very expensive. Don't think they are widley available on NHS. Think they are also called mobile epidurals.

ButtonMoon Tue 08-Mar-05 17:07:52

Message withdrawn

Sponge Tue 08-Mar-05 17:12:43

I had a mobile epidural with both of mine, one at Queen Charlotte's the other at Chelsea and Westminster, both on the NHS. It takes the pain away but not all sensation. You can walk but very carefully - you are quite wobbly. You can certainly get on all fours and although you can't squat you could use a birthing stool which I did. You can feel the contractions which helps with knowing when to push.

thedame71 Tue 08-Mar-05 17:44:41

I had one too at Queen Charlottes, the only downside is that you are still monitored which does restrict your positions. When it came to the pushing bit they let the epidural wear off so still felt the full monty with the head coming out!!!!!


charleypops Tue 08-Mar-05 18:41:15

Oo - they sound almost magical! Thank you for your responses.

Thedame - isn't pushing baby out the most painful bit?

Hope they can offer it at the Royal Surrey

thedame71 Tue 08-Mar-05 18:57:35

I agree they are fab! I did one birth with no drugs and my second with the epidural. 40 weeks and 1 day with third preg and intend to have another epidural.

Yes the pushing is painful but at least you have some energy to deal with it, first time for me I was so drained after the labour that I had nothing left to give for the pushing which lasted 3 hours!!!!

Good luck!

charleypops Tue 08-Mar-05 19:26:39


The not being able to feel anything while pushing worries me after someone was telling me about her friend who pushed too much at the wrong times without realising it and ending up with a prolapsed uterus and bowel and a broken pelvis

Harrizeb Tue 08-Mar-05 20:36:40

Hi sorry to gate crash, was lurking and just wanted to add my two penneth. Hope you don't mind. Your question about the pushing being the most painful bit, for me no it wasn't - the contractions changed from labour pains (which hurt like hell) to pushing and it wasn't really painful as such (all relative I know). The bit that did hurt was when the head comes out - i heard it described as the ring of fire about a week before I gave birth and boy were they right -(feels a bit like cystitis) but I also knew at that point I only had a few mins left before it was all over. The other bit that surpised me (daft I know) was 'pain' stops immediately they are born.

I like the idea of mobile epidurals and was considering one if I had to have an epidural, and would certainly consider it next time. good luck with what ever you choose.

mamadadawahwah Tue 08-Mar-05 20:52:16

Hi, they didnt have "walking" epidurals at my hospital 2 yrs ago for some reason, and i ended up with a c-section because of it, i think (no gravity) However, my midwife said had there been such a thing, i very well could have pushed baby out without surgery.

charleepeters Tue 08-Mar-05 20:58:36

I asked my midwife about waling epidurals when i had ds 6 months ago and she said aparently they only do one epidural, but its called an active/walking epidural because ita alot weaker than the one they used to give, but it depends on the person it effects people differently she said some people can still walk around but some (like me) get plastered to the bed and can feel anything at all. i had mine when i was 5cm dilated and jumped to 10cm in about 10 mins but it can also slow labour down. i thought my epidural and whole labour experience was great i wasnt in any pain so i could enjoy it with my parnter and family. i had gas and air first but i was very sick so decided on the epidural, the anithetist was great he numbed my back first so i couldnt feel it going in , an they topped it up for me as and when i felt i needed it i wiuld wholey recomend it.

oatcake Tue 08-Mar-05 21:00:53

charleypops, they do do it at rsch. I had one, although I wasn't doing much walking because as soon as you have one, you're strapped to a monitor!

charleepeters Tue 08-Mar-05 21:03:08

oh yeah forgot to say, you cant really over oush or push in the wrong pplaces as theres 2 midwifes guiding you, you push with contractions then stop once head is delivered for them to check the cord isnt round bubbys neck then they will tell you to push again and out bubbs will pop! good luck

charleypops Tue 08-Mar-05 21:20:33

YIPPEE!!! thanks for posting that Oatcake were you able to get on all fours on the floor (or would you have been able to if you chose not to?)

Charlee - I'm glad you had a positive experience with your labour - I guess you had to be on your back though? Do you think you could have asked for a bit less if you'd wanted? I have an old back injury (a bit sore with the pg) so can't really lie on my back at all because it makes it worse.

Harri - you're not crashing at all As far as I'm concerned, the more info the better! I would love to be able to tell when contractions turn into actual labour so I can spend as much time at home as possible before going to hospital. Do you think you can tell when you've started contracting? thanks for posting that bit about the pain stopping immediately - I shall cherish that thought

MDWW - I've read that gravity helps and that your pelvis is able to open more if you're in a upright position - I've a narrow slightly twisted pelvis and think I'll need all the help I can get!. What a shame you didn't have the "walking" option. It does sound good doesn't it?

oatcake Fri 11-Mar-05 18:51:19

charleypops, (sorry for lateness, haven't been online for a few days..)many midwives like you to be in the same semi recumbent position when you're on the monitor because it's so easy to knock the transducers when you're trying to move around and get comfortable...

need I say more?

However, I think this monitoring is only for half an hour after after the epidural, just to make sure the baby doesn't have a bad reaction to the anaesthetic so after that, I remember being able to move freely... unfortunatly the contractions stopped so I was strapped up to an iv infusion...

good luck. it's a nice clean hospital but does have pretty high intervention rates.

bonym Fri 11-Mar-05 21:38:36

I had a "mobile" epidural at Chelsea & Westminster when I gave birth to dd 7yrs ago. I don't know if they are better now, but I don't remember being able to walk around. I was confined to the bed and monitored constantly so "mobile"was a bit of a misnomer as far as I was concerned! I did have some movement in my legs but don't think squatting or being on all fours would be an option as the amount of sensation you have is quite limited.

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