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AbbyMN needs your "pain relief in labour" thoughts.

84 replies

AbbyMumsnet · 01/10/2008 16:20

More site stuff going on Chez Abs. Oh, it's been a laugh a minute here, what with tales of flying ventouse, vile forceps and other gory bits and pieces.

But now, at last, a less thorny subject: drug use.

So, did you have pain relief? If so, did you plan to have it beforehand or was it something you decided on during labour. At what point did you have it - and what methods did you use? Did they work? If so, how long for? Were there any drawbacks for you, your labour or your baby?

And if you didn't have pain relief was it because you were adamant that you wanted a "natural labour" (and before anyone gets uppity about my using that term, you know what I mean, so let's not go down that route, eh? ) or was it simply that, for you, labour wasn't as painful as you expected/you have a very high pain threshold etc.

So, bring on your tales - I'll be most grateful.

OP posts:
Jas · 01/10/2008 16:50

I asked for paracetamol when I thought things were getting a bit painful with dd1, and found that I was fully dilated after being sickwith the paracetamol.
Gas and air from then on. Didn't feel I needed anything more (although would have asked for something more for stitches afterwards if I'd been thinking straight - They really hurt)

General anaesthetic for dd2

Gas and air for ds. Was enough for me, helped by a relatively short labour and quick delivery.

Elk · 01/10/2008 16:51

DD1 - pethedine so I could have some sleep after being in on/off labour for 24 hours. Then gas and air and then an epidural(lovely) when they started the oxytocin. I think the pethdine made her very sleepy and reluctant to latch on.

I had always thought I would have some sort of pain relief and as soon as I was strapped to a bed being induced and monitored I went straight for the epidural.

dd2 - (PROM again!) Started with gas and air when I hit established labour and then moved onto an epidural a few hours later. It was a very busy night on the labour ward (13 babies born in a 12 bed unit) and the midwife was very absent.

cyteen · 01/10/2008 16:53

TENS machine and gas and air for me. I was open minded about pain relief beforehand as had no idea how painful it would be or how I would cope with the pain, but ideally didn't want pethidine because of the effect on the baby and didn't want an epidural because i am a bit phobic about being numb/paralyzed. in the event, i found the pain was quite manageable until the final stages, by which point i was too far gone to do anything other than soundtrack my contractions with a series of operatic screams go with it.

the TENS machine in conjunction with breathing/humming/mooing was brilliant, but i was really underwhelmed with the gas and air, it did very little for me. i still used it when they were stitching me up though.

Pruners · 01/10/2008 16:54

Message withdrawn

Thomcat · 01/10/2008 16:54

Had 3 babies and didn't have pain relief with any of them

Furst time I didn't want any but was prepared to have some if I needed it. However had booked myslef into an activebirth unit so knew I'd only be able to have gas & air and only if I asked. The pain was bad but I dealt with it by thinking 'it's going to get a lot worse than this'. And anyway I arrived at the hossier 10cms dilated and ready to push so would have left it too late anyway. That and I used a tens amchine which in itself I believe to be utterly useless but trying to work out if it was on and was I using it correctly etc distracted me throughout the contactions so it worked well in the sense.

Number 2 - had a home birth and didn't occor to me to have pain relief. However this was a lot more painful, contractions very fierce havibng been bought on by castor oil and a bigger baby. But again it was a case, with me, of keeping calm, staying in control and thinking 'i can do this'. This time I got in teh bath to labour and DP poured water from a jug onto my belly. Didn't stop the pain but it ws the distraction thing again.

DD3 - I had another home birth but this time bought a pool. Water was an amzing pain killer. This time I had a silent labour and very much used breathing to control the pain along witht he water.
Only after the birth and I was being examined did I this time ask for gas & air and set about laughing so hard, it was great!

expatinscotland · 01/10/2008 16:57

DD1 - epidural. Didn't plan it, wanted to go with the flow. Turns out she was back to back and her right hand was up above her ear, cupping her head. She was born via forceps delivery.

DD2 - nowt. Because of the epi first time round, I didn't realise how far progressed my labour was. By the time I arrived at hospital, I was over 9cm dilated, only a lip of cervix in the way, so no time for other pain relief. G&A made me puke. It hurt so bad I wanted to die, but there was no help for it.

DS - I would like to try water and/or diamorphine if hte pain gets too bad, but will see how it goes.

cyteen · 01/10/2008 17:02

oh, i forgot to say that i also laboured in a pool for a while but found that pretty underwhelming too. it didn't help the pain and i just ended up feeling pissed off that i was all pruney.

Miaou · 01/10/2008 17:04

When I had dd1 11 years ago, I had an epidural, mainly because a) I'd been labouring overnight and was 12 hours in and too tired to push, b) they gave them out quite readily back then, and c) I was scared of the idea of being in that much pain. I tried g&a before the epidural but it made me sick, TENS didn't really have any effect and was advised not to have pethidine as that would probably make me sick too (turned out to be right when I was given it for a different reason some years later). Epidural probably delayed labour and contributed to ventouse delivery (as dd1's heartrate was dipping they whooshed her out at the last minute), but all was fine in the end.

Dd2 - had been up all night with d&v and was totally exhausted and felt really ill - I was praying I wouldn't go into labour that day but sure enough at 11am contractions started 5 mins apart! When we got to the hospital (having set off pretty much straightaway) I was told I was almost 10cm dilated and it was too late for an epidural - at which point I burst into tears! I felt so terrible. Lovely anaesthetist took pity on me and gave me an epidural. Labour was 8 hours in the end, probably double what it would have been if I hadn't had the epidural, but dd2 was fine, no assistance needed (though I did tear).

Ds1 (only 3 years ago) - different story altogether - epidurals no longer routinely offered. I knew I didn't like g&a, and that morphine would probably make me ill, so I had a waterbirth. Absolutely fab, pain was totally manageable. Didn't feel the need for any other pain relief at all. Birth was about four hours from start to finish. Ds had his hand up against his face when he was born and still I didn't tear.

Ds2 - different hospital, no pool . Gave birth on land (though spent some of it in a bath), on my own (ie without dh, there were midwives there!), not the best experience - but I think that was more down to dh not being there than anything else. Did find it harder than having ds1 - transition was horrible - but I had good care and ds2 was fine. One small tear but I persuaded them not to stitch it and it healed fine.

(Incidentally, between ds1 and ds2 I had my appendix out and was given morphine intravenously - it did weird things to my brain - I was wailing and crying apparently! - so v. glad I didn't try using it during labour)

motherinferior · 01/10/2008 17:09

I wanted everything under the sun first time round, from about the time of my positive pregnancy test. What with every single culture saying that childbirth is hideously painful and all. I was the only person in my touchyfeely antenatal group saying yep, epidural, that's the one for me.

It didn't work very well - only on one side; but given that I was in labour for two and a half days, or something vile like that, I came out of the hospital saying bloody hell, I could never do that without drugs.

For some insane reason (mainly because hospital is fairly horrid to be in) I decided, however, to try for a home birth with my second baby. Had a pool. And about as much gas and air as I could stuff into my frame. Fab stuff, gas'n'air. Doesn't knock out all the pain - in fact I reckon half the benefit is because you are actually breathing, not tensing up - but it is a very nice drug.

georgimama · 01/10/2008 17:10

I desperately didn't want an epidural unless it could not be avoided (ie emergency C section) because I have an absolute terror of anything happening to my spine.

I was open to the idea of pethidine but didn't have it. I have a high pain threshold and knew I did anyway, but wasn't sure how it would hold up against childbirth, I mean that's the worst thing ever or so you think before you do it.

Labour was straight forward if protracted (36 hours from onset of contractions to delivery during which they came every five minutes without ceasing, getting progressively stronger), didn't have any pain relief until I was 8cm dliated at which point MW broke waters and contractions came much stronger and faster.

I asked for some gas and air at that point (or specifically, my mum unhooked the tube and mask from the wall and fitted it together herself because she thought I might faint!) and that was all I had.

Tatties · 01/10/2008 17:22

I had pethidine and G&A during earlier stages but pushed ds out with nothing (midwife took G&A off me as I wasn't pushing hard enough!)

I wanted to have a birth without pain relief, but also realised that I might change my mind when the time came.

I was induced and didn't cope very well with the contractions, tried TENS but just couldn't relax (being in a tiny cubicle on ante-natal ward didn't help) so agreed to pethidine. It was bliss and I rested and slept. Then woken up by very intense contractions - called for midwife who said a bath might help. It didn't, I was wailing, saying I couldn't cope, needed an epidural. But of course that was transition and I was fully dilated so was too late for an epidural. Then had G&A while pushing until MW took it off me.

I personally found the pushing stage easier to cope with without pain relief - it just felt as though my body had a job to do and was getting on with it. Very hard work but not as painful as the earlier contractions which were just unbearable.

MegBusset · 01/10/2008 17:34

I had on my birth plan that I wanted G&A only, no pethidine, no epidural

TENS did nothing for me, G&A did nothing for me, had two shots of pethidine which were lovely and helped me rest but they refused to give me any more. Eventually after 42 hours of back-to-back labour and only 3cm dilated, I had an epidural -- I was literally paralysed with pain and absolutely exhausted. The epidural worked in terms of stopping the pain of contractions but left me somewhat uncomfortable as my whole legs had pins and needles!

Eventually ended up in a ventouse delivery and episiotomy as DS's heartbeat was dipping.

Hoping that DC2 is a bit quicker so I've more chance of making it through without the epidural...

cyteen · 01/10/2008 17:55

"I personally found the pushing stage easier to cope with without pain relief - it just felt as though my body had a job to do and was getting on with it. Very hard work but not as painful as the earlier contractions which were just unbearable."

Tatties, me too - at least you feel like you're getting somewhere with the pushing stage. Transition was just grim.

PuzzleRocks · 01/10/2008 18:02

Just G&A but I sucked on that baby like a Whitechapel whore. Was still clutching the mouthpiece long after DD was born. I planned to have nothing more than G&A but after transition began begging the MW for a caesarean. When she told me it was too late I turned to DH and loudly declared "I hate that bitch"

AbbyMumsnet · 02/10/2008 09:59

Thanks for all your responses. Oh, and Cod's. (I nearly put in the OP "I wager good money that Cod will be on here in a minute".) Should have put that bet on.

OP posts:
HRHSaintMamazon · 02/10/2008 10:10

With my first i had an epidural. i am a total whimp and knew i would ask for it.
it ended up totally ruining the birth of my son. it tired him out and more importantly i couldn't feel when to push. i was tired and wasting my energy.
by the time he was born (74 hours) he had had to have a needle in his head, i had to have an epesiotomy and they had the forceps ready.

he spent 16 hours in special babies and was jaundice.

He is Autistic and has various behavioural issues, learning delay, language delay, gross and fine motor difficulties...the list goes on and on.

not all of it can be placed atthe feet of my horrific labour but i do think that it will have impacted on him...especially after reading about birth trauma and cranial osteopathy

HRHSaintMamazon · 02/10/2008 10:12

oh forgot to add....had nothing with DD. not so much as an aspirin.
it hurt like hell but was a fantastic experiance. it ws all over in about 3 hours, 30 minutes from feeling pressure.

she was handed straight to me and we went home later that day. she was a pink and happy baby.

There is no way on this planet i would ever use any form of pain relief during birth again.

Gumbo · 02/10/2008 10:24

I knew that for medical reasons I would not be allowed an epidural. This upfront knowledge really made me focus on the fact that, no matter how horrendous things got, I would simply have to cope.

The result of this was that - slightly inexplicably - I chose to have no pain relief whatsoever. I kept on declining their offers of gas and air, thinking (while screaming) 'but what if this gets even worse?' as I didn't want to use up my few pain relief options too early.

As it was, DS was born by ventous after a total of 27 hours in labour (14 in established labour) with no pain relief - just the last 8 hours with me screaming like a banshee!

(I had actually hoped for a waterbirth, but they laughed at that idea when I got to the hospital and told me I wasn't allowed one due to my medical conditions )

AMumInScotland · 02/10/2008 10:38

I was determined not to have an epidural, but apart from that had no strong opinions on pain relief before it started.

Began with a TENS machine - which didn't seem to do anything, but it gave me something to fiddle with which I suppose was a distraction.

Midwife brought gas & air to the house - I threw up after the first puff.

After a while, was clearly going to need some form of pain relief so had to go to the hospital.

Pethidine injection into leg - threw up. Lots. Felt a bit more "distant" as a result of the pethidine, but not really out of it, and still a lot of pain.

Glucose drip for ketosis and syntocinon to increase contractions (turned out to be a bad idea)

Had forceps delivery, as fetal heartbeat dipping in a worrying way. Local anaesthetic for the episiotomy.

More local anaesthetic during stitching, as first one was earing off.

PinkTulips · 02/10/2008 10:57

i wanted a natural birth but went in both times willing to have G&A if it got too bad, although i was hoping to cope without as people had told me it makes you feel drunk and that didn't seem appealing to me while in labour.

coped fine both times by just zoning out and breathing and both mine were back to back... dd turned and got tangled in the cord but ds was born facing the wrong way round.

i would suggest if you're not used to coping with pain (i've suffered lifelong migraines which painkillers don't touch) then a meditation or self hypnosis class would probably be of benefit if you want to go the pain relief free route.

phdlife · 02/10/2008 11:08

I had wanted a natural birth, but up until about 6m in, I was terrified of the pain. (My mother had 4 dreadful deliveries - nearly died - and told us alll about it. Repeatedly.)

But then my fears just kinda dissolved in about the 7th month, I don't know why.

I meant to book a TENS machine from Tesco and even took a flyer, but labour started that night. And the MLU where I ended up didn't have them!

I went in the pool, which I had very much wanted to do. Hated it. Out in 10 minutes. (Think I am only woman in history to hate the birth pool!)

Was persuaded by MW to try G&A. She and dh both thought I was in lots of pain by then - maybe about 3hrs in? I don't remember it as pain per se, just that labour was very hard. Hated G&A even worse, as it made me unable to concentrate on contractions, so I gave that up after about 15 minutes too.

Then nothing else, til it became apparent ds wasn't coming out and we went for an ECS. Then the works, didn't feel another thing.

TheFallenMadonna · 02/10/2008 11:17

I used gas and air. It was bloody marvellous. I had Mr Men hallucinations through my contractions, with the figure morphing from Mr Messy in between to Mr Sneeze at the peak. Bizarre!

EffiePerine · 02/10/2008 11:31

I used a TENS machine - great for early labour. My second stage was quick and no time for further pain relief - wish to staff had pointed us towards the G&A when we got into the labour room, but no pain relief was mentioned. Planning to remedy that this time round.

I did have a local for the stitches, in fact I insisted on one in a strident voice

PuppyMonkey · 02/10/2008 11:37

Epidural with the first, no probs ish. Normal birth.

With second, begged for epidural and the MW kept fobbing me off. Was then "too late" etc etc. So just had gas and air and normal birth. Some MWs like to with-hold the old epi imho. Gives them power...

GreatGooglyMoogly · 02/10/2008 11:48

I had terrible backache with DS1 so I used a tens machine which was a life-saver as the birth centre wouldn't give me any drugs due to (apparently) not being in active labour. When the batteries died on the tens I felt the urge to push so I ended up rushed in in an ambulance, fully-dilated. Still managed to have the planned water-birth as contractions slowed down in the water. No time or need for drugs.
DS2 was also a water-birth. No drugs. Knew I could do it without that time.

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