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Can I have both an epidural AND a water birth?

(8 Posts)
Luxmum Sat 17-Oct-09 13:28:49

Hi,
I'm due in a month, and was mulling over a water birth. But I read today on Mumsnet that you cant have an epidural in a waterbirth, presumably because you can t then support yourself on your legs..?
Does this mean I have to give up my waterbirth, as I'd rather cut my arm off than miss out on an epidural. Should I just stay at home in the bath for as long as possible, seeing as I am 3 minutes drive from hospital?

Reallytired Sat 17-Oct-09 13:42:05

There is no way that you can a have an epidural and a waterbirth. An epidural is a highly medicalised birth. If you choose an epidural then you will be continously monitored, be attached to a drip and possibly catherised.

Epidurals are great for women who need them. For example I had an epidural with the birth of my first child. After 28 hours in labour I could not cope and it made the last five hours of my labour more bearable. I was lucky in that the epidural wore off before the second stage so I could be active in the second stage. If you cannot move about during the second stage it increases the chances of complications like forceps or c-section.

With my second birth I had nothing but TENS. I didn't need much pain relief as it was so quick.

A water birth is a for women who are low risk. The only other pain relief that you can use with water is gas and air.

If I was you I would keep an open mind. There is no way of knowing how things are going to go on the day.

dinkystinkystein Sat 17-Oct-09 13:48:25

In short, no - once you have an epidural you need to be continuously monitored and that does not mix with water. I'd labour for as long as possible at home anyway - in the water if you want to (though not everyone likes water when in early labour and can slow things down) as is a nicer environment than a labour ward. FWIW, I had an epidural with DS1 (induced labour) and with DS2 earlier this year I had no pain relief and a water birth (wasnt expecting one, just happened that way) - totally different birth experiences. Like Reallytired says, keep a really open mind and just go with what you want at the time.

beautifulgirls Sat 17-Oct-09 13:50:11

You could always start off in the water and if you find you are not coping well in there with the pain elect to get out and have an epidural. There is nothing to stop you changing your mind part way through if you are in a hospital setting with an epidural as one of the options. I have had two previous epidurals and am not ruling out getting another this time around, but I am going to try the water if I can and see if I can cope.

suzi2 Sat 17-Oct-09 14:09:19

You may find you don't need an epidural, especially if water helps with the pain for you. Stay at home as long as you can reasonably do so anyway as you'll probably find it easier to deal with the pain and it's common for labour to slow when you get to hospital. There's nothing to stop you trying the birth pool and decidign that it's not enough for you and you want the epidural.

As others have said, no way you can do both as with the epidural you may have to stay in one position (depending on whether you get a mobile one or not) and you'll need continuous monitoring.

MrsHappy Sat 17-Oct-09 18:57:58

You may find that you don't need an epidural.
Plus not having one does not necessarily mean "missing out". Epidurals have their place when you are tired or simply not coping (and can be used, for example to bring down high BP) but they have downsides as well. I regret having one with my DD (although I have not forgotten the relief when it kicked in!) because it tied me to the bed and made a long labour both much longer and less effective. What I am saying is that it s good to have access to an epidural, but don't assume that you will need one, especially if you have access to a pool and if you are prepared to "go with" your labour.

dinkystinkystein Sat 17-Oct-09 20:56:58

One thing I was never told about in advance about epidurals is the risk of backshuddering pains in my back following the epidural - which I did have for 2 weeks post DS1's birth. Found out after the birth, when speaking to medic friends, that it isnt really all that rare an occurence... so having an epidural is not necessarily entirely pain free. Hope your birth, however it goes, goes well.

AnyFuleKno Sat 17-Oct-09 21:03:27

I was in birth pool for eight hours or so. Had an epidural later (moved to bed, monitoring etc). To be honest I think I probably could have managed without the epidural if they'd have let me stay in the pool rather than making me climb out to check me (why?? still a bit p'd off about that)

So yes, you can do both but not at the same time.

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