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Epidural questions

(16 Posts)
rumpleteazer Thu 25-Oct-12 15:39:19

So sorry if this has been asked a million times previously! I am just back from a baffling NCT class where I wasn't given a straight answer to my straightforward question:

If you are numb from the abdomen down, how on earth do you push?

The answer I was given was: the midwife will tell you when to push.

But what I really want to know is - HOW?! If I'm numbed from the drugs I won't be able to engage any muscles, surely? How does it work? Is it really better not to have one at all?

I'd love to hear back from mummies who have had an epidural to explain what the pushing part felt like.

I am driving myself a bit loopy wondering whether an epidural would be a bad or a good thing... or if perhaps I need to let go entirely of expectations for this, my first labour. It is freaking me out slightly that a) I have no idea what it will feel like, and b) I have no idea what will actually happen. I guess I am a control freak sad

Any advice or insights welcome - thank you xx

Rhubarb78 Thu 25-Oct-12 15:49:35

Hi, I had an epidural with ds. You are not completely numb, I felt tightenings, they just didn't hurt so much. The mw also had her hand on my stomach and so could feel them and tell me to push. You just push like you are mega straining for a poo grin the epidural didn't seem to affect the pushing. I am sure others will be around to share their stories too.

MightBeMad Thu 25-Oct-12 15:50:42

The sensation is a strange one. Depending on the amount of drugs you have in your system at the time, it may not take away all sensation, just enough to dull pain (and make it difficult to move without support). For this reason as you appraoch 2nd stage, they often reduce the level of your epidural drugs so you have enough sensation to know how to push, though you may need the midwife to confirm that you have a contraction and that you are pushing effectively. If you later need any intervention/ECS they top the epi up to a level you can't feel anything. HTH

Rhubarb78 Thu 25-Oct-12 15:51:06

Oh and the epidural was amazing

Dogsmom Thu 25-Oct-12 15:53:44

Ooh they sound wonderful grin I'm a first timer too and want every pain relief going.

kittykatskumkwat Thu 25-Oct-12 16:01:49

Epidural= amazing
I had one and by the time it was time to push I had let it wear off a little to know when I felt uncomfortable, it really was the best thing in the world and I had dd out in an hour with no help! My dsis advised me to get one and her only advice was that when they say push do it was all you've got, she had pushed but not tried that hard in her words as it didn't hurt then they told her she might need help and she said urrg no I'll get this baby out myself so they gave her 20 mins which was enough, they never tell you that really they give you an hour to get baby out when you start pushing so if you don't know you may think there's no rush ( I know that sounds odd but it's true) anyway I'm defo a epidural pusher now grin

StarlightMcKenzie Thu 25-Oct-12 16:05:16

'I am driving myself a bit loopy wondering whether an epidural would be a bad or a good thing... '

It really depends on a whole host of things and the risks you are willing to take and the benefits of taking those risks.

rumpleteazer Thu 25-Oct-12 16:22:17

Thank you so much everyone for replying. It is great to hear how much of a relief the epidural seems to provide, and that they can 'work' it so you get to feel enough to push. That's really answered my question. Very helpful indeed!

As for the risks Starlight, yes I guess this is not just a black and white situation. I am not going to rule anything out and try to give up any preconceived ideas.

StarlightMcKenzie Thu 25-Oct-12 16:51:12

It's really worth looking into rumple.

Overall, you risk other forms of intervention if you opt for an epidural and they then have further risks. These risks are actually quite significant.

You can sometimes arrange things so that your NEED for an epidural in the first place is much reduced.

However, for some women in a hospital environment, the epidural is just what they need in order to be relaxed and let their body do what it is supposed to rather than have them fighting every contraction.

There really is a LOT more to it than waiting to see on the day. This might also be fine with you of course, but I'm guessing as a self-proclaimed control freak you'll want to know as much as possible.

Also look into hypnotherapy, the CDs or the courses. Believe it or not, these are predominately used by woman who are control freaks (rather than hippies) and unable to let go. It's their way to 'control' their responses and cope.

kittykatskumkwat Fri 26-Oct-12 07:28:03

I do agree with starlight in that I think the decision is best made before the day, it was in my birth plan that I wanted one and no other drugs as things like pethadine can make you feel drunk and not there and I like being in control so didn't want anything mind numbing iyswim, also I think it's people who have epidurals later that end up with assisted help as they havnt time to let it wear off abit, the people I know who have had assisted help in childbirth had the epidural because they were going to have forceps used and it was all abit of a rush and their experience wasn't a good one, i think if something is part of your plan from the beginning it makes you feel more control, everyone is different on what is right for them though, I'm sorry but for me any music would have been thrown out of a window as I was throwing up everywhere and in total agony, i didnt even realise my dh was in the room! after the epidural I was say up drinking tea eating toast- that's not to take it with rose tinted glasses but that was my experience

rumpleteazer Fri 26-Oct-12 10:20:42

Thanks again both. I have been doing some hypnotherapy stuff at home, and it definitely has helped me feel so much more confident about the whole thing... but not so confident in that I don't want to consider a completely drug-free birth, just in case, because you never know. I am so pleased to know about the fear-pain link and will concentrate on relaxing rather than tensing up on contractions, and also that each contraction is bringing me closer to meeting my wee man and the whole process is what we are designed to do.

Such great advice to a control freak to give it much consideration before the day, rather than 'going with the flow' which for me will no doubt freak me out when I need to be calm!

Blimey Kitty - what a huge relief it must have been for you!

suzyrut Fri 26-Oct-12 10:20:54

Hi, I've got 2 kids and had epidurals both times, they're so good I slept through the last hour of my labour with dc2! Now pg with dc3 and definitely planning on another.

I didn't want mine to wear off at all so begged the midwife to give me a last top up both times and still pushed them both out without intervention.

Pushing when you can't actually feel what you're doing is weird, you almost have to imagine what it would feel like but you are actually doing it. Pretty sure that doesn't make much sense so probably no help other than being a big old advocate for them.

mumnosbest Fri 26-Oct-12 10:26:13

go in openminded ready to have it if the pains too much. i needed had one after several hours and it was great. i can only like. it to having a filling at the dentist (i know terrible comparison). you feel all the sensations and can move but don't feel much of the pain. good luck op

mumnosbest Fri 26-Oct-12 10:26:31

go in openminded ready to have it if the pains too much. i needed had one after several hours and it was great. i can only like. it to having a filling at the dentist (i know terrible comparison). you feel all the sensations and can move but don't feel much of the pain. good luck op

poozlepants Fri 26-Oct-12 10:35:16

I had one after 3 hours of agony after I was induced (turns out I was dilating quickly) then 15 minutes after they put it in DS heartbeat disappeared so they had to get him so I was topped up as I might end up in theatre but it turned out to be an emergency forceps job. So I was totally dead from the chest down but I was till able to use the muscles to push hard. Don't know how it works but it does and it was fabulous.

missymoomoomee Fri 26-Oct-12 10:42:13

I had an epidural with my 1st child. It is good at the time to not be in pain but because I couldn't feel anything and couldn't push properly I ended up with a forceps delivery and a long recovery time afterwards. A lot of people I know got really bad headaches after epidurals, I didn't, but apparently its fairly common.

With my other children I used gas and air and breathing to control the pain, although I will admit to begging for an epidural with DD1 but I had it in my birth plan not to have one and in the end I was glad I didn't.

I don't really think its something you can plan for though as everyone is different. Go in with an open mind to pain relief, I know people who have been desperate to have a natural birth and been devestated when they couldn't cope with the pain, planning pain relief before you know what labour feels like for you is setting yourself up for a fail.

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