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Epidural - experiences & intervention as a result?

(34 Posts)
Kingsroadie Thu 24-Sep-09 13:30:02

Hi all,

30 weeks pregnant with my first and just thinking about pain relief options. I am obviously going to just see how I am feeling at the time as I have no way of knowing how I will react but am fairly keen on the idea of a mobile epidural if not managing the pain well (or to try a water birth actually but I realise that you usually get an epidural/get into the water at about the same point so it might mean a choice - this is what I have been told anyway).

Obviously I have read lots about it but it would be really good to hear some real life experiences...

Just wondering:
a)what everyone's experiences of a mobile epidural are,(will be at Chelsea & Westminster)
b)whether you (think you) tore more as a result (am a little paranoid about that) and
c)whether you (think you)required an intervention as a result
d) If you have had births with and without which you preferred
e) did the epidural mean you felt less shattered for the pushing stage and therefore pushed more effectively?
f) did you feel the epidural allowed for more controlled birth of the head?

I know this is not necessarily clear cut - ie you might have required intervention etc anyway. I am just not keen on the idea of forceps/episiotomy etc (although having read things I probably wouldn't actually care at the time!)

Thanks everyone and sorry for massive list smile

needahand Thu 24-Sep-09 14:08:08

Quick one for me
a) didn't do mobile so had a normal one
b) yes
c) yes ventouse (but only because I categorically refused forceps otherwise they would have gone for forceps.
d) natural birth anytime. Although bear in mind that sometimes as much as you would like one you cannot for some unforseen reason or because you are too tired or because labour is too long
e)no you push less effectively as you cannot feel where to push and are not supported by the pushing urge of the contractions
f) no

Also for you info I recovered 10 times quicker without epirdural. (wasn't allowed to go out for 10 days post epi as I had lost too much blood. With natural birth I was up and about straight after). It can also affect pnd

pigleychez Thu 24-Sep-09 14:40:03

Normal Epi for me... stuck to the bed Although was anyway due to baby being constantly monitored.

I ended up with a 3rd degree tear but to be honest that was more due to her coming out with arm first... Superman styley!

Was takeninto theatre after 27 hours of labour with a view for an ECS. Dr said he'd try Vontouse first... Failed.. Try forceps which worked.
Think the intervention was a mixture of the Epi, being bed bound and DD's akward entrance!

She was my first so nothing to comapre with.

I was already shattered.. thats why i had the Epi- Plus it bloody hurt! Had already been in labour for About 24hours at that point.

Beleive me .. at the time you just go with what you need to do.
My labour ended up the complete opposite to what I had wanted but I still got my beautiful DD at the end and thats all that matters

Bucharest Thu 24-Sep-09 14:46:03

a)I had a mobile epidural here in Italy, loved it loved it loved it...saved my sanity...
b) didn't tear, was cut by doctor (standard thing here sad
c) stitches, yes, hurt like feckity, but worth it for the pain free delivery.
d) Only had the one.
e) Yes, it put me back in my own head, and back in control of the situation and was able to enjoy it from then on in. Prior to the epidural had been screeching mad banshee woman.
f) don't know. haven't thought about it.


Kingsroadie Thu 24-Sep-09 16:57:02

Thanks for all your answers so far - really helpful!

tracyea Thu 24-Sep-09 17:22:51


Sorry cant work out how to see your questions as i type! Pregnant brain alert!!

For what it is worth:
I was set on having an epidural first time round - thought that was the answer to everything. I found it helpful for the pain but the repercussions from it were worse than I had expected. Slowed everything down, felt very sick, eventually baby got distressed, ventous failed and ended up with forceps. Bloody horrible! Major damage down below resulting in many, many stiches and months of physcio.

I was under the impression that you are still not really mobile with a mobile epidural but maybe I'm wrong.

I am now 38 weeks with no.3. I do not intend to have an epidural again but i'm going to try and be more flexible this time. My motto now is " be open minded and try anything!"

Kingsroadie Thu 24-Sep-09 17:45:26

Thanks tracyea - that's exactly what I am afraid of tbh. I reaaalllly want to avoid forceps and massive damage as a result etc. I also worry that I might react badly to the anaesthetic (I have reacted badly to dentist anaesthetics before - thought I was having an allergic reaction and fainted badly etc) which I obviously won't know until it's in me!

Yes I don't think I would be walking around etc - I think they advise against that now even if you feel you could walk due to the fact that you could damage back and hips through not feeling them properly and moving oddly. I think (although obv have no experience) that you are more likely to be able to feel your legs and can change positions etc, thus rendering you not entirely flat on your back on a bed.

My motto is that too - I have NO idea how I will react on the day (my mother, for eg had no pain relief at all - not even G&A - with either of us and managed fine) so will just have to wait and see (which does not appeal to the slight planning/control freak in me grin)

CatchaStar Thu 24-Sep-09 17:57:48

a) I had a normal epi as I was constantly being monitored with dd.

b) I didn't tear, I was cut to stop a tear from happening, apparently it would have been quite bad if the mw hadn't...

c) No intervention.

d) n/a

e) I pushed my wee heart out and didn't feel all that tired after an hour and a half lol. The epi meant I managed to snooze my way, pain free through the labour, so I was well rested for pushing. The epi had worn off just the right ammount so I could feel 'when' to push, but there was no pain.

f) It's certainly not something I was thinking about, I was just wanting her out wink

The only thing I will say is that the pain afterwards seemed incredibly sore to me, because I hadn't been used to it during the labour and also because I experinced no pain during the stitches etc. It frickin hurt a lot afterwards mind.

Just go with, see how you feel and good luck smile

moaningminniewhingesagain Thu 24-Sep-09 18:09:28

I had one first time round because they wanted to give me the synto drip. It only worked on one side unfortunately so not good. It may or may not have also contributed to DD's heartrate dropping.

Was offered one second time but I refused because i wanted a spinal and a CS. From what I have read, you are more likely to end up with forceps/ventouse if you have an epi - but it might be that if you are having a long tiring labour it would be worth trying it if you want it on the day

Can I suggest, if you feel it's quite likely you will want one, see if you can have an appointment with one of the anaesthetists before the birth, to discuss the possible bad reaction you have had before? There are lots of different drugs they might use or combine, may be a good idea to have a plan in your notes so they don't give you anything that makes you unwell at the birth.

CarGirl Thu 24-Sep-09 18:12:25

3 inductions 3 standard epidurals.

EAch time either it wasn't ever fully effective or they had let it wear off enough for me to feel.

No intervention, no tears etc (tiny nick and labial grazes first time around)

freudianslips Thu 24-Sep-09 22:17:42

a)what everyone's experiences of a mobile epidural are,(will be at Chelsea & Westminster)
- Brilliant!

b)whether you (think you) tore more as a result (am a little paranoid about that
- Tiny grazes. Nothing more.

c)whether you (think you)required an intervention as a result
- No interventions. Swift problem-free vaginal delivery.

d) If you have had births with and without which you preferred
- Have only given birth once. Do not intend to give birth without epidural at any point in the future, it was bloody brilliant.

e) did the epidural mean you felt less shattered for the pushing stage and therefore pushed more effectively?
- I think so! The pushing stage took me half an hour. I could still feel the pressure etc. so knew when to push, but I was fully rested so could give it all my energy.

f) did you feel the epidural allowed for more controlled birth of the head?
- possibly, the brith of the head was certainly very controlled, hence the lack of tearing. Probably also due to DD's reasonably small head.

pooexplosions Thu 24-Sep-09 22:40:15

Had the epi fist time, everything slowed down, 10 hours later ended up with episiotomy, ventouse, hated it all.
Said I would never have another epi, and didn't. 2nd was 3 hour labour, another ventouse but still much better than with the epi.
Due 3rd in 2 weeks, will not have epi, even if this one is posterior too (reason for other 2 interventions)

thisisyesterday Thu 24-Sep-09 22:45:40

b)whether you (think you) tore more as a result (am a little paranoid about that) and
c)whether you (think you)required an intervention as a result
d) If you have had births with and without which you preferred
e) did the epidural mean you felt less shattered for the pushing stage and therefore pushed more effectively?
f) did you feel the epidural allowed for more controlled birth of the head?

i had pethidine, then it wore off and i was in agony so asked for an epidural.
everyhting slowed down completely, so needed sytocinon drip to start contractions again,
slow, slow, slow, slow
couldn't feel a thing. they were telling me i needed to push, and then when i pushed telling me i was doing itwrong
but i couldn't do it, i couldn';t feel a thing and it's impossible to push properly if you can't feel anything.
ended up with ventouse delivery, bad tear (had to go to theatre to be stitched and packed!)

baby was very sleepy and refused breast, that was also a result of the ventouse delivery (which is more likely if you have an epidural)

SO, yesm i think i tore as a result of it.
Yes, i definitely had more intervention because of it.
as i said before it didn't help at all with the pushing in fact it made it worse, and the head was irrelevant as it was ventouse

I had homebirths for the next 2 babies. no pain relief at all, no tears, no stitching,
I would NEVER have pethidine or an epidural again now i know the full implications on both my labour and delivery, and the effects it can have on breastfeeding

GirlsAreLOud Thu 24-Sep-09 22:50:27

a)what everyone's experiences of a mobile epidural are,(will be at Chelsea & Westminster)

Didn't have one (although could still move and feel my feet and legs, it wasn;t sold to me as a mobile epi)

b)whether you (think you) tore more as a result (am a little paranoid about that) and

I had a 2nd degree tear on top of the episiotomy

c)whether you (think you)required an intervention as a result

No, I did have ventouse and forceps but I'm fairly convinced that the epi and the interventions were down to DDs poor position - perhaps if I hadn't had the epi she would have moved but tbh I was rendered absolutely motionless by the pain in my bladder during labour so I don't think an active labour would have been possible epi or not.

d) If you have had births with and without which you preferred

Only had one.

e) did the epidural mean you felt less shattered for the pushing stage and therefore pushed more effectively?

I was told I wasn't pushing effectively during labour but it was only after (enormous) DD was born with a huge haemotoma on her head where she had been trying to come out without her head flexed that anyone reaslied there might have been another explanation.

GirlsAreLOud Thu 24-Sep-09 22:51:11

Sorry, f) forceps delivery so n/a

Heated Thu 24-Sep-09 22:55:43

Compared to the entirely without pain relief delivery, the epidural delivery was fab - short duration, controlled and no intervention.

Wheeled to the bath afterwards but able to walk back to the bed. Left hospital the next morning.

Do you know your likelihood of getting an epidural? My local hospital have a not very transparent policy of 'counselling' women away from having them.

Kingsroadie Fri 25-Sep-09 14:30:59

Thanks for all your answers!

heated - I am not too sure about the likelihood of one but from what I have heard they seem to be fairly used to women at Chelsea and Westminster asking for/having epidurals - from the stats it looks quite common too and I haven't heard of them trying to counsel women away from the idea. However, I do realise that sometimes you can't get one even if you want one as it's too late/no anaesthetist available/have to wait a long time etc.

I am not completely set on an epidural at all - I am really just going to see how it goes and how I end up coping with the pain on the day. I would like to keep as upright and as mobile as possible as long as I can bear to. I am quite keen to try waterbrth if I seem to be coping okay with the pain (but equally that may not be an option as I think they only have 2 birthpools etc). Have done a lot of research on epidurals but it's so useful to hear real life experiences of them so I can gather as much info as possible.

My worst fear is tearing badly/having forceps (ventouse) which result in bad tears or episiotomy so if I can cope with the pain I would prefer not to do something which increases the likelyhood of this happening. (NCT class said 40% chance of instrumental delivery with epiduralas opposed to 20% without). Again, though, you really cannot plan these things so I'll def have to just go with the flow!

heverhoney1 Fri 25-Sep-09 22:25:13

Kingsroad - I di have an epidural but dd got stuck (Sholder dytocia - I had a whole host of other risk factors for this so would not put it down to the epi) I had a 3rd degree tear, an episiotomy and several other tears that required stitching. These all resulted from the dystocia - which is NOT a usual thing and is NOT normal. I can honsestly say 2 things:

1) I have NEVER regreted the epidural, I really dont think I could have coped without it, esp if the dystocia happened anyway!

2) The cuts and tears, although pretty tender and sore for a while after, were not as unbearably painful as I had feared they would be. I had very little pain relief in the days after and the painkillers were left out of the packets of drugs I had to take home. I rarely supplimented them and if I did it was only with regular paracetamol. Really that bit for me was not as bad as you would think and thankfully I healed well due to a cracking stitching up job.

bruffin Fri 25-Sep-09 22:45:03

I had one birth with an epidural and one without and although I won't be having another I would never have an epidural again.

I couldn't feel to push and ending up after a 24 hour labour in theatre after the ventuese failed and going to have an emergency cs if the forceps failed. Thankfully they didn't. No tear but had a episiotomy. I was induced but I am sure the problems were from the epidural rather the induction

Next time no pain relief at all. Less than 4 hours from waters breaking to birth, only a tiny tear that didn't need stitches. I felt far more in control.

notcitrus Fri 25-Sep-09 23:31:43

My labour had done sod all in 10 hours from arriving in hospital, so doubt the epi slowed it much further. Ventouse delivery in one push in the end. REcovered very fast, mostly I think due to them heeding the 'if I need an epis/stitches I want them done by an expert' bit in my birth plan - I think that ended up being a much more important factor!

The epi was fantastic, non-mobile but as I arrived in a wheelchair thanks to SPD, and had the epi because the SPD suddenly got too bad to stand or lie down, not because of labour, it was hardly an issue...

amelie2781 Sat 26-Sep-09 19:17:51

I had the PERFECT epidural for my son's birth. It was a normal epidural but not too strong (I could move my legs easily). No pain at all but I could feel everything and was totally in control. I pushed very effectively (DS was out in three pushes the midwife didn't have to tell me when to push since I could feel the contractions) and had a very small tear (no episiotomy). No intervention.
DD is due on October 18th and I'll definitely ask for an epidural.

iamamummy Sat 26-Sep-09 19:32:31

I had an epidural with ds1, the epidural did not work despite being topped up with a stronger dose. I hated the fact that because i had had it i was forced to stay on the bed and could not move around like my body was telling me to. Ds was born after 90 minutes of pushing without intervention despite the mws tryong to convince me my baby was in danger which he was not at all, i had a bad 2nd degree tear which i blame the birthing position for.I think because you have an epidural its an excuse for the mws to hurry your labour along by using ventouse and forceps without naturally letting you progress. I struggled to bond properly with ds1 the first couple of weeks, i did not feel that "rush of love" everyone bangs on about.

ds2 due on monday - DEFINATE no to epidural this time!

Gemzooks Sat 26-Sep-09 21:08:24

hi Kingsroadie.

I had mobile epi and hospital birth for my first and home water birth for my second. The epi was great because I was making really, really slow progress (30 hours total) and needed the synotocin drip, and no way was I having that without the epi.

second time round I had doula and great home birth in a hired pool. totally different as it all went so quickly and DD was born 5 hours from first contraction.

My experience has taught me that if things are going very slowly and awkwardly, an epidural is great because it gives you the added strength you need, there is that point where you just can't take any more. Also, I was still able to push but couldn't feel a darn thing, did not feel crowning, had a very gentle birth and no tearing, which is unusual. however I was not very mobile. Very annoyingly, the tube attaching the epidural was so close to the wall behind me that I could barely get on my hands and knees, could certainly have not got as far as off the bed. so beware the 'mobile' bit, the main advantage is that it is lower dose so you are more able to push, disadvantage is that not all pain is removed, I was in quite a bit of pain.

However, if things are going quite quickly, I think you're better off without the epi. I found the waterbirth absolute and utter bliss, getting in the pool at 10 cm dilated was just such a relief and the pushing stage was genuinely fine, even though I hadn't felt the crowning before, I was able to cope with it and again, didn't tear.

So I would find out as much as you can and see how quickly things are moving. If the labour is going normally, I would try and manage without. I found the book by Ina May Gaskin very useful, called something like 'childbirth' (sorry can't remember the exact title', the idea of 'yes, it will be very hard, but you can do it', plus the idea that you just have to let it happen, you can't control it that much, you just have to give in to it, really helped.

sorry for waffling, good luck!

Kingsroadie Thu 01-Oct-09 12:16:40

Thanks all.

Gemzooks - interesting - I think basically I just do my research and see what happens on the day as different births can require different methods of pain relief etc. I am kind of thinking waterbirth would be nice (subject to pool availability and numerous other factors!), or epi if I can't cope... sounds like your experiences. Def don't fancy pethadine.

coffeeaddict Fri 16-Oct-09 11:55:42

Have had three epidurals. All good except no. 2 which fell out! (they told me afterwards. Was wondering why it hurt so much!)

Last baby had mobile epidural at C&W, was brilliant, sat on big bouncy ball throughout labour, no instruments, no stitches.

I was happy being in control. Whole thing felt mellow. Pregnant with no. 4 and planning same thing again.

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