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Has anyone been refused an epidural?

(85 Posts)
bedtimeyet Wed 06-Feb-13 12:53:07

I am 38 weeks and hoping to get an epidural this time, so just want to know if most people that want one get one, and how many are told "its too early" or "its too late". Or are persuaded not to have one.

OP’s posts: |
Rooneyisalwaysmoaning Wed 06-Feb-13 13:25:51

Well I did have one with ds1, labour took about 8 hours, I think the epidural slowed it right down.

it was too late with ds2 - I asked to be transferred (home birth) when I was about to hit transition, and he was born half an hour later. MW looked at me and said there's two answers to that, darlin'. Bob hope, and no hope. (she was Irish)

Third time I asked for one on arrival at the hospital, I was around 6-7cm dilated and was told, the baby is coming, very soon - I insisted, as I wasn't coping, and I had to say it about 10 times before she actually went to get someone. She just kept putting it off, just having to fill in this form, or do such and such first - I think she hoped I'd do without tbh. No idea why - I felt quite cross about that...I didn't get a medal for going without last time, and I knew how much it was going to hurt.

Anyway I did get it in the end, but only about 20-30 minutes before he was born. So it was starting to kick in but it still hurt.

I'd speak to your MWs beforehand and ask when is the best time to ask for one - and how to ensure you do get it. I really thought she was going to put it off till it was too late, with ds3.

AnAirOfHope Wed 06-Feb-13 13:34:37

I had it with my first and it slow it down and they stoped it for the pushing bit as they said I needed to feel when to push.

The second time I asked but was 7cm and they said it was to late an hour later the baby was born. The same nurse also told me to stop useing yhe gas and air as it was making me high - that the point right?

Congrats on baby and god luck xx

AnAirOfHope Wed 06-Feb-13 13:35:23

Good luck

( gerr autocorrect)

Ushy Wed 06-Feb-13 17:53:26

I tried to get an epidural for number one and didn't. I had one for a subsequent birth but we virtually had to have a shouting match to get one. It was awful - surrounding by natural birth midwives cooing "but you can do it - you'll be so proud".

I pointed out that I do not see why I should feel proud of suffering horrific pain when medical science has moved on to the point where it can be prevented. I got a long list of the 'dangers' of epidurals (note 'dangers' not risks) but I had done my homework and knew what the risks were in advance. Also having been through a previous birth, I knew what the disadvantages of NOT having one was.

I pointed out to the gang of 'sisters' that if there was less cooing about 'how we can do it" there would have been more research into epidurals to reduce the very few risks there are. angry

Well, backed up by DH who is normally laid back and jokey but who got so angry I thought he was going to hit the midwife, grin, I did get the epi. I should point out this was nothing to do with the anaesthetist being busy because I actually asked him. Anyway, it was a perfect and calm birth - spoilt only by the natural birth zealotry of the midwives and their obsession with ticking their 'normal birth' targets.

I have to say though I have had friends at the same hospital who have just requested an epi and got one. I think it all comes down to who is on duty but I would go in expecting they will be professional and respect your wishes but have a joint plan with DP or DH to turn heavy if they start refusing. Also recommend you ask early and insist they record the time of the request in your notes.

Good luck

Locketjuice Wed 06-Feb-13 17:57:57

I kept getting told no I can do it doing so well etc then it all went tits up had the head midwife in to check me along with around 10 people rushing in and they said have an epidural as I can see this heading for a csection otherwise so eventually had my epidural... Was pure relief but only worked down one sidehmm and had him half an hour

jumpinghoops Wed 06-Feb-13 18:02:20

I was told it was too early- and then that it was too late. Lots of faffing around and not really responding to the request at all until the 5th time I asked, at which point was told I couldn't be examined yet as it wasn't the right time. When I insisted I was too far along to have one.

I'm aiming for a home birth this time as I think if I'm not going to have one I might as well stay at home!

23balloons Wed 06-Feb-13 18:08:36

I managed to get one twice but had to repeatedly insist. First time dc born about 1.5 hrs later, second time got it at 8cm & born 40 mins later. I could feel to push &am very glad I got my epidurals smile

TeWiSavesTheDay Wed 06-Feb-13 18:08:51

I was being propped for one when they realised I was 10cm and it was pushing time - DD was born less than 30mins later, so they were totally spot on in deciding not to give it to me.

As far as pain levels were concerned I found gas and air to be enough in the end, so I don't regret not having one.

Hope that helps a bit.

Rooneyisalwaysmoaning Wed 06-Feb-13 18:18:17

why are they so reluctant? I don't get it. is it because they're afraid it'll cause more intervention and problems with the birth?

Or are epidurals really expensive or something?

HelenofSparta Wed 06-Feb-13 18:59:33

Cost :-(
I have had one twice, but first following an induction/knocking myself out with the gas and scaring the midwife! Second I had to repeatedly ask. Have it in birth plan and insist ask as soon as you arrive at hospital. That was DH's job - to keep bugging them for it as they were trying to fob me off.
Fingers crossed for DD3 next month.....!

jasmine31 Wed 06-Feb-13 19:03:41

I was refused an epidural due to hospital staffing issues. To be fair, I started out in the midwife-led section as I was hoping for a waterbirth. This was on the understanding that I could be transferred within the hospital for an epidural/other intervention if needed. I asked for an epidural after 12hrs of labour when I was only 4cm dilated and struggling. At this stage the anaethetist was busy. Then a couple of hours later, the anaethetist was free, but there was no midwife available to accompany me to the correct room for the epidural to be done (it seemed to be at the time of a shift changeover and my midwife, who was a locum went home, saying that another midwife would be along shortly). The second midwife when she eventually arrived was really apologetic that I couldn't have an epidural but said there was nothing she could do. 4 hours after I originally wanted the epidural, finally there were enough staff available, but by this point I was almost fully dilated and ready to push so I declined the epidural and went with the original plan of waterbirth. With hindsight I should probably have accepted the epidural even though it was at such a late stage as I tore quite badly due to being completely exhausted/panicked and the midwife having to quite forcibly help my baby's body out underwater. Having the tears sutured was more painful than the whole pushing stage. Next time I definitely want an epidural!

TeWiSavesTheDay Wed 06-Feb-13 19:05:27

There is an effect called the cascade of intervention as well. The more intervention there is in your birth (including epidurals) the more likely the birth is to end in a c-section. Which is why lots of people believe you are best sticking to the most basic kind of pain relief you can manage.

Obviously they are great for lots of other reasons though, and if you really want one keep asking.

StrawberryMojito Wed 06-Feb-13 19:05:44

The hospital were more than happy for me to have one, but the anaesthetist was dealing with women about to have csections so I was nearly 10cm and nearly climbing the Walls with the pain by the time I got it.

LynetteScavo Wed 06-Feb-13 19:06:46

Yes, because I couldn't keep still for long enough, apparently. My yelling "Look, I'm still now, aren't I!" between contractions didn't do much to persuade the anesthetist.

LadyKinbote Wed 06-Feb-13 19:12:27

I was refused pain relief with DS (including gas & air sad ). They later claimed it was because they thought DS was my first (he's not) and that they expected a long labour (they didn't re-examine me to check). I suspect it's to do with under-staffing and under-investment.

Ushy Wed 06-Feb-13 19:45:47

Tewi "here is an effect called the cascade of intervention as well. The more intervention there is in your birth (including epidurals) the more likely the birth is to end in a c-section. "

That's something the natural birth fraternity say, Tewi , but its not true as far as caesareans go. NICE say women have to be told that epidurals DO NOT increase the caesarean rate but I don't think that happens. OK there is a small increase in low instrumentals (i in 20) but there is debate as to whether this is to due with the epidural or just that women in more pain have more complications anyway. You are no more likely to tear with an epidural because although you might possibly have increased instrumental, you are less likely to suffer a severe tear through uncontrollable pushing. As far lengthening labour by 15 minutes, well who cares if you are not in pain?

So basically, it is down to choice. The cascade of intervention is a myth.

TeWiSavesTheDay Wed 06-Feb-13 19:50:39

Fair enough. That's how the MW explained it to me when I asked with DC2.

rootypig Wed 06-Feb-13 20:10:24

At a London hospital 3 months ago I was given an epidural no problem. But I had the advantage of having a friend who had given birth on the same ward a month previously, and warned if I thought I wanted the epidural to ask for it when I arrived, as it took them more than an hour and a half to find an anaesthetist for her. I was 4cm dilated and having a fast labour when I arrived, and not coping at all, so asked for it right away (suspect was quite insistent) and had it forty minutes later. I had a lovely Spanish trainee midwife who said 'of course you want the epidural' when she saw how I was struggling, so I felt no judgment at all (as others have reported). then spent 5 very relaxed hours sitting about chatting in bed and eating jelly babies before letting it wear off for what ended up being two hours of pushing confused, but we won't talk about that

MyDarlingClementine Wed 06-Feb-13 20:28:10

I wasnt refused but I was certainly gently steered away from one and then it was too late when I was screaming wanting one....

Unfortunaltly the best you can do is get it written into your notes.

Even then though, my experience after being under " consulant care" was the Head MW who was supposed to be discussing me trying labour BUT with an Epidural, i.e no messing round with one, only went to tell me that as I was a great candidate for an quicker better birth second time, I should really only go with the birth pool.

She then directly contradicted the consultant who thought an epidural wouldnt slow down my labour.
Knowing I was there to talk about options other than an ELC I thought her attitude was alarming to say the least. She firmly made me make up my mind to an ELC because I couldnt trust her at all.

PickledInAPearTree Wed 06-Feb-13 20:34:14

I saw a consultant the other day who told me its rubbish you can't have one late.

I had one at 8/9 cm first time.

They gave me a spinal first to stop me leaping about. Was amazing.

MyDarlingClementine Wed 06-Feb-13 21:57:57

My consulant said an epidural wont neccasarily slow labour down.

VivaLeBeaver Wed 06-Feb-13 22:06:26

Epidurals might not increase the risk of a lscs but continuous monitoring does. And most hospitals will insist on continuous monitoring if you have an epidural. So indirectly it does increase your chance of having a lscs.

Saying that I do very much believe that all women should be able to have one if they want one. They shouldn't be put off, etc.

DottyDot Wed 06-Feb-13 22:15:14

I had to scream, shout and swear the ward down to get one... I wasn't dilating (didn't ever get to even 2cm in my 28+ hours of labour) but my contractions and the pain I was feeling was horrendous. I'd been induced but it hadn't worked - sent me into shock(I passed out and was rushed up to delivery suite I think for a section but then came round) and then had horrendous contractions for hours but no dilation. Gas and air didn't seem to have any effect and I wasn't offered pethadine - would have tried it if I had!

Eventually the midwives got fed up of me shouting the place down and the consultant came round and said yes, let her have one...

Another gazillion hours later, we all gave up and I had a c-section as ds's heartrate was dipping so badly - cord wrapped round his neck.

All in all a bit of a labour failure but life was sooooo much better once I had the epidural - I was able to apologise to all the midwives for my shocking language for a start... blush

GrandPoohBah Wed 06-Feb-13 22:15:39

I was offered one as soon as I was transferred to the delivery suite, I don't know if that's because I was induced and they didn't know if I'd need the drip (I didn't, as it happens), or just because the anaesthetist was about at that time.

I had to have continuous monitoring anyway (induced because of preeclampsia) so it really helped me with the fact that I had to stay still and strapped up. It was timed really well as it had pretty much worn off when it came to pushing so I could work with my contractions. I ended up with a 2nd degree tear but that was more because DD came out in a bit of a rush than anything else!

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