Talk to me about epidurals...(33 Posts)
Right. Getting to the point where I need to think about birth plans.( I have a low placenta so it's possible they'll just do a cs anyway, but if it does move I would quite like a vaginal birth.) I also know that the best laid plans, etc, and if it doesn't work out I'll go with what's medically needed.
So, would you recommend an epidural or not? What are the advantages and disadvantages from your point of view?
I'm not hippy or crunchy - I have no desire to feel pain for the sake of it, but... I do like to be in control, and I don't like the thought of being unable to feel parts of me, of being strapped to monitors or of having a drip in, or of increased intervention risk.
A friend once said say yes to all pain relief in your birth plan, you can always say no if you feel you don't need it.
Maybe see how you get on with the contractions first?
I had DS1 with just G&A, DS2 I had diamorphine and an epidural. When the contractions really ramped up I just thought, why the hell am I putting myself through this again?
There was a downside though, you need a catheter when you have an epidural so it takes a while longer before you are up and about after.
I've done it both with and without. first time without I felt totally out of control and panicked, if im honest I was quite traumatised by the whole thing to the extent that I was very upset when I was doing birth plan for number 2 and the midwives kept trying to put me off an epidural. I had one for second delivery and it was wonderful, felt totally in control, could feel contractions no problem and when to push and was up and about quickly after, I just grabbed my pee bag and dandered about, totally different experience to my first.
A urinary catheter? So were you able to move around at all, or more in bed?
Didn't with first and did with second. Both babies were lying back to back and the pain was intense both times. Second labour was so much nicer - I actually enjoyed it as opposed to being terrified. If I have a third I'll be opting for the epidural before labour is established if I can!
See if your hospital offers a mobile epidural. Mine did, I was on a monitor but I was aware of contractions and the urge to push, and could bounce on a ball and when it came to pushing I was upright. I had a catheter but I think that got put in later (needed forceps due to foetal malposition, nothing to do with the epidural) as I moved around a fair bit and I remember going for a wee at one point.
I had one for my first and not for my second and I found it easier without... I felt a lot more battered and bruised after the epidural birth as I couldn't feel the contractions and almost needed forceps. Without the epidural I felt more in control and could do what my body needed more. But having said that, it all depends on how the birth is progressing and if it's your first time, then don't rule anything out!
This must vary on the hospital not all put in catheters and some let you control the drip yourself so you can choose to take less if you want more control and feeling.
My first I had a mobile epi and was able to walk around and use the toilet as needed throughout. I stood for the birth and was able to feel contractions and push fine.
My second things went too fast so I just had tens and gas and air. It was ok but I wouldn't have wanted that level of pain for much longer than the few hours it was.
I was told that at my hospital once an epidural was administered I would not be able to move about and would have to labour sitting on the bed. Some hospitals allow more movement and positions though.
Also I wouldn't have been able to use the birthing unit, I was lucky in that my labour was just six hours from waters starting to go. I was open to pain relief, but didn't want any when it came to it. I focussed on wanting to stay on the midwife led unit and not be sent to labour ward and that got me through, also found my hypnobirthing CD and book helped.
NCT told us that epidurals can also slow labour down, but to be honest most people I know that have had one have not had particularly long labours and been up and about soon after.
I had one with dd1 that didn't work. In the end l got numbed from the waist down. Then of course l couldn't feel anything so had a ventouse delivery.
I'm pregnant with dd2 and the only thing l am adamant about it is l won't be induced. I was with dd2 and the contractions were so painful so quickly l jumped in delight when l was offered the epidural.
Even with twisting her giant head and getting stuck, DD was born 8 hours after the epidural went in, and they were a lot nicer than the 24 hours before that!
I had two epidurals - they both worked amazingly well and transformed me from a seething tiger to myself again. I enjoyed the births of my babies and was able to get up and walk around after - I didn't try before, I had fairly fast labours (2 hours from epidural to baby) and spent my time doing the crossword, chatting to my friend and reading my book - looking at the monitor every so often to see that I'd just had a contraction! From my point of view they were fantastic.
I had g+a with ds1 but had an epidural with ds2 as he was back to back. It didn't work. It slightly numbed between my belly button and hip and that was it. No matter how often I pushed the boost button. I could feel everything including ds2 turning in my pelvis.
I now suffer with really odd back ache where the epidural was administered . It's not constant but like a twingy stabbing pain if I move to quickly or sit for a long time.
In hindsight I wish I never had it done but if I was in the same position again I would ask fo another as I was in so much pain anything was worth a go. Just wish it had worked.
I had one in order to have an emergency section and after a long time in labour and I wish I'd had it sooner, it was like just having the pain switched off. My labour was induced and lots of people, including an anaesthetist, have expressed surprise that I wasn't offered one before going on the drip as that makes the contractions so bad. It was also hard to keep still for it whilst having contractions which was very scary, I was worried they'd miss and I'd be paralyzed or something.
I had an epidural with DD (induction). I chose not to have one with DS as I had the a cascade of intervention with DD and subsequent issues (forceps, 3rd deg tear, PPH, retained placenta with manual removal).
For me personally, the pain relief wasn't worth the trade off of increasing the risk of those things happening again.
I've had two, big fan. I wouldn't give birth without one tbh.
I had one with and one without (asked too late). Very similar outcomes (non-instrumental delivery with very little pushing, 2nd degree tear each time). I preferred the birth with epidural. I felt more empowered because I was calmer and not afraid of crowning/tearing pain. But I think mine was a "light touch" epidural because I didn't need a catheter and could feel to push.
LOved my epidural.
Only piece of advice, if you think you may want one, tell the staff early. A good friend was labouring without, and when she finally said yes she wanted one the midwives told her the anaesthetist had gone home and she should have let them know 2 hours before that.
Mine didn't work either, was sited wrongly I think.
I hadn't realised that was a possiblity, epidural was my last resort when things got too much and for it not to work was a shocker after hours of pain.
Mine was a back to back labour too and ended in an Emcs. They had to give me a spinal block for that of course as epi wasn't working.
Am going for an elcs for this baby, partly due to this.
I had an epidural both times. I wrote on my birth plan that I wanted one "and don't bother talking me out of it. If I say I want an epidural please take my request seriously". DH was also primed to intervene and tell the MW, as I had read tales on MN of ladies being pressurised not to have one!
Both were mobile epidurals so I could walk and feel contractions. It was self administered so I could press the pump to top it up if I needed, but not more than once in 20mins.
I felt totally in control. The first time round, the Dr suggested it as soon as I was admitted as I had a stop star tlabour and was exhausted. Second time DS was back to back and weighed 10lbs so it was needed!!
I didn't have one in labour, but had what they called a combined spinal/epidural (no idea what the difference is...) when they couldn't get a spinal in (apparently, I look like I should be easy to anaesthetise, but am not )
I was one of the unlucky people who got a dural tap - where they puncture the dura which gives major headache when upright. Really impacted on my first few days with little one as I had to be readmitted. I still have trouble with occasional back/leg pain even more than a year on. I wouldn't choose to have one if I have another child.
I really didn't want one as I really really wanted the pool. I knew from aqua natal that water felt great.
You can't have a water birth with an epi.
My plan was that if something else prevented me from using the pool (needing induced for example) then I probably would ask for an epi but so long as the pool was an option I wouldn't.
In the end I used tens at home to 8cm then pool and g&a to the end.
I recommend it. I wanted a water birth but baby was back-to-back and labour was long. After 18 hours of writhing in agony and not progressing I gave up and had an epidural. Things sped up then. Once the pain had gone I think everything relaxed. I was able to control how often it was topped up and chose to feel the contractions. The point of birth hurt too, but nothing like the contractions beforehand. I gave birth at midnight, got to the ward at 4am and was up showering and having breakfast from 7am. I went home that day.
I too had one of each - epidural with ds1 who was very big and slow moving and I was in agony. I had planned on a natural water birth but just knew that that wasn't working for me. It was great - I was allowed a certain amount of movement with mine, and had no catheter, and it meant that the birth was fine for me. (Though dh very nearly fainted watching them put the epidural in!! My midwife and assisting student both went off to look after him!!)
With ds2 I didn't have time to have one - he was on his way pretty quickly. It was quite liberating doing it with just gas and air, and I felt that I recovered much quicker - definitely felt a bit proud of myself for managing without. However, I wasn't there for so long, and ds2 wasn't getting stuck, so it was all a lot less stressful.
Basically both are fine - so are C-sections. You will know what you want when you get there - but as others have said, find out early on how much notice you need to give for an epidural. I cut it a bit fine.
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