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What are the reasons you chose NOT to have an epidural?

(52 Posts)
Astrophe Thu 09-Jul-09 04:11:20

I have had two labours without,and was chatting to a friend who is considering options for her first labour. She asked why I chose not to have epidurals.

I said - better not to as epidural increases the chances of further intervention, and that I wanted to 'do it myself' that perverse proud sort of way My first labour in particular was pretty long and hard, so it wasn't because the pain wasn'
t bad enough!

Anyway, I'm not trying to convince her either way, and not trying to upset people who have epidurals for whatever reason...but what were your reasons not to have one?

readyfornumber2and3 Thu 09-Jul-09 07:42:36

1) I hate needles and avoid them at all costs!

2) I have a deep seated fear that they will damage my back and I will have nerve problems in the future

3)I didnt want to feel trapped by having no feeling in my legs

4) Was worried it would lead to further intervention

I am 33 weeks with twins and have read that they like you to have them "just incase" with twin labours shock I am seeing my consultant next week and will be telling her that I will NOT be having one unless it is absolutely neccessary. I am expecting to have a fight on my hands though!!

oliverboliverbutt Thu 09-Jul-09 07:44:21

Mainly I didn't want to have an epidural because I wanted to feel what labour was like!
I wanted to be fully engaged in the process of having a baby, and I'm glad I was because I am one of the lucky ones who actually finds it all rather pleasurable.

Astrophe Thu 09-Jul-09 07:44:57

apparently you can have a type which leaves you with feeling in your legs, but no pain? (I know nothing, but have heard this is the case...)

TrinityRhino Thu 09-Jul-09 08:02:01

I have had the kind of mobile epidural you mention astrophe

it was very good and I didn't want it toppped up near to pushing and so I could feel the pushing was great

with my third child I decided not to have an epidural and experience completely natural childbirth


actually the hospital I was in didn't allow epidurals and I sucked the life out of the gas and air and somehow managed it grin

4andnotout Thu 09-Jul-09 08:06:42

I didn't have one as i didn't feel i needed one, gas & air and pethedine did just fine

Although pethedine did make me hallucinate grin

weegiemum Thu 09-Jul-09 08:08:44

1) Cos I have had back problems and was worried (and advised by an anaethetist friend) that they could be exacerbated by an epidural.

2) I had a lumbar puncture for suspected meningitis before I had kids and ended up with headaches for months.

3) A friend who had one ended up flat on her back in the spinal unit for 2 weeks when the needle went into her spinal cord shock.

4) I didn't want the added risks - possible section etc.

5) I'm pretty bloody minded and I was doing it myself.

1st time I ended up with a 37 hour labour with augmentation, almost 10lb OP 'stargazer' baby, and did it with no epi, no episiotomy and just a little help from the ventouse.

Therefore on the subsequent 2 occasions I was fine!

Picante Thu 09-Jul-09 08:10:56

I had one first time round and am determined not to this time because:

- I want to have a home birth
- I want as quick a labour as possible
- I don't want ventouse again
- I want to be able to move around
- I want to do it myself!
- I want to see what 'real birth' feels like i.e. what it actually feels like to push the baby out!

Kayzr Thu 09-Jul-09 08:17:54

I hate needles!! That is the main reason. Plus many people have told me it made their labour longer.

flippineck Thu 09-Jul-09 08:18:53

First time, I didn't have one because I went to my midwife led unit and they don't do them; my main reason was to avoid an over medicalised birth if possible. I was transferred to the main hospital from the MLU and it genuinely didn't occur to me to ask as I was coping with the gas n'air.

Second time round, I was at home so not an option!

MollieO Thu 09-Jul-09 08:26:09

Scared of nerve damage. Had the labour from hell and when the senior midwife congratulated me on my 'natural' labour I told her to f* off!

cazboldy Thu 09-Jul-09 08:27:34

I saw my sister having one - enough to put anyone off! and also had very fast labours. plus 4 out of the 5 were hb

2 unattended!

serenity Thu 09-Jul-09 08:28:08

I never said I would absolutely, 100% never ever have one, but it would have had to have been an necessity for me to agree (emergency c/s or similar)

Reasons against:

a, have you seen the size of the damn needle?

b, hearing my bf's experience of actually having one put in - having to keep still during contractions whilst they inserted huge OMG needle (see above)

c, I had/have low blood pressure, migraines and lower back problems, all contraindications for having epidurals (new baby plus epidural induced migraine, or back pain didn't appeal)

d, the thought of losing sensation in my legs, being helpless and unable to walk scared me more than the thought of pain (mild control freak)

e, worried about the increased chance of intervention (too many RL examples of it happening)

f, it hurt, but it didn't hurt enough to negate a to e.

weegiemum Thu 09-Jul-09 08:32:38

I was glad I didn't cos while I was pg with dd2 I had to have a spinal anaesthetic for a procedure on one of my kidneys and not being able to feel my legs is probably the scariest thing that has ever happened to me.

I ended up having a panic attack and having to be sedated. They had to halt the procedure to get a midwife with a sonicaid in to reassure me. It took me hours to calm down!

Mamazon Thu 09-Jul-09 08:37:48

i had an epi with Ds and it contributed to a very long - 74 hour- and difficult labour which resulted in a distressed and almost dead baby who had to go to scubu.

i had DD without any pain relief at all. it is probably the greatest feeling in the feel your body work the way it should in order to give your child the quickest most natural start.

Unless it was medically necessary i would never have one again

notyummy Thu 09-Jul-09 08:42:23

Cascade of intervention.

More difficulty in establishing bf.

Slight risk in damaging back plus various other side effects (including crushing headaches, which one of my best friends experienced and had to go for a minot op when her DS was 3 days old to resolve.)

Having said all of that....

I STILL ended up with forceps....just with no pian relief as they had removed me from the gas and air.

And, I ended up with an epidural after the birth (!)so they could drag the placenta out by hand after the cord snapped off, and complete resew my bits together.

Ho, hum.

I think all that was mainly down to me being induced.

If I did it all again I would point blank REFUSE to be induced, and probably still avoid an epidural. I coped fine without it before until the high forceps delivery for the last 10 minutes!

Dalrymps Thu 09-Jul-09 08:45:56

I didn't rule one out completely but wanted to avoid one if at all possible. Didn't like the idea of it leading to further intervention eg: forceps eek! I also felt I could just about cope with the pain so carried on nand it was a pretty short labour anyway.

Not really scared of the needle aspect or loss of feeling, had to have a spinal afterwards anyway to be stitched up.

BonsoirAnna Thu 09-Jul-09 08:47:54

Because I wanted to get labour over with as quickly as possible, and with the lowest possible risk of any scars to me or my baby.

flamingobingo Thu 09-Jul-09 08:48:53

Had my babies all at home, but wouldn't have had an epidural anyway - I need to move around in labour, and I know that moving around makes labours shorter and safer which is best for the baby.

Epidurals can (and I emphasise can - it's not inevitable) also be the first step on the cascade of intervention - you have to stop moving around --> labour slows down --> baby gets distressed --> need further intervention like a hormone drip to speed up labour --> baby gets more distressed --> need instrumental delivery or caesarean.

StealthPolarBear Thu 09-Jul-09 09:00:19

My main reason was because the thought of it made my toes curl! I don't have any problem with needles but in my spine - ouch (I had a lumbar puncture when I had meningitis, and remember it hurting ) but also when you usually have an injection it takes as long as it takes to depress the plunger or draw the blood and then they pull it out - the thought of having an open needle in me makes me cringe (again I had a venflon (??) in my hand when ill and remember it being not nice!).
I'm glad I didn't because of cascade of interventions, pleasure at doing it myself etc but I'd be lying if I said they were the reasons! By the time I got to hospital anyway I was 9cm dilated and it was too late so the decision was taken out of my hands - I was very glad about that.

bubblagirl Thu 09-Jul-09 09:11:06

it was just my choice i hate needles and as it may be my only birth wanted to feel every bit of it i have quite strong pain barrier but just chose my birth to be without any big drugs only gas and air

l39 Thu 09-Jul-09 09:18:28

With my third labour, I was coping with the pain, so refused.

With 1 and 2 I was not coping at all but no one suggested it and I wasn't thinking well enough to do anything but whimper and beg for death! I was glad afterwards when I saw other mums wheeled flat into the ward, whereas I was mobile and feeling fine, but at the time I would've taken anything offered.

Third labour was with twins. No one tried to force me into an epidural but they did offer repeatedly. Rather irritating at the time, when I was coping so well compared to the other labours, to have to refuse over and over again.

blondissimo Thu 09-Jul-09 09:22:16

Didn't want to have one as had been told increased risk of intervention, and that you might be more likely to tear due to not feeling as much (not sure if that is true or not?hmm), but I must admit that towards the end of labour I was literally screaming in pain, and would have loved one but there was no time. Had even ditched the gas and air at this point so was quite proud of myself for going through the pain alone. I did have a second degree tear though. Ho hum.

blondissimo Thu 09-Jul-09 09:23:48

Oh, and I also was worried about the leaking of spinal fluid if they got it wrong - headaches for weeks with a newborn - no thanks!

Reallytired Thu 09-Jul-09 09:33:14

" I want to do it myself!"

think the suggestion that women who have an epidural aren't giving birth by themselves is pathetic and bloody offensive.

The first time I had an epidural after being in labour for 28 hours. I also had a nasty feverish head cold. (Ie. what a man would call flu)

Second time, I had my baby at home. It was quick and very easy. I didn't even have gas and air. I find it joke that some people think that gas and air is natural and they are somehow above those who have an epidural.

I actually think that my first birth was every bit as much an achievement as my second birth.

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