Post # 1
These are probably foolih questions, but I literally know nothing about giving birth and the actual delivery process (short of what is shown on TV).
Does the epidural get rid of all the pain altogether?
Can you walk in to the hospital, feel your first contraction, and ask for the epidural ASAP?
Could a woman technically go through her entire labour without feeling any of that excruciating pain that people talk about?
Post # 2
anonbebe88: No, it doesn’t get rid of it entirely, but helps a lot. You can tell the L&D staff right away that you are open to getting an epidural so to please tell you as soon as it’s appropriate. You have to be so far along, but not TOO far along. If you tell them you’ll probably want it, they’ll let you know when you get to the right stage. I’ve known a couple women though who went from 0-60 and skipped right past the window for getting one.
Post # 3
First thing to note is that everyone’s pain threshold is very different as is every birth. Either way you slice it, birth is painful. It’s all about you and your body and how you deal with pain.
Epi’s basically numb you from the waist down. You can feel pressure, but you can’t feel the pain, or that’s the goal. I had issues with mine where it wasn’t working properly and started to feel pain and then by the pushing part, I could feel most of what was going on. Transition is the worst phase and the pushing is actually not as bad as I imagined. It still hurt but not like I figured.
You need to be at least 5 cm (varies by hospital) dilated before you can get an epi. Sometimes they slow down the progress of labor if you get one too early. I had about 2 hours of induced contractions and they were coming one on top of the other and I couldn’t take it anymore. I was shaking, doubled over in pain and then get the epi and life was amazing. I couldn’t get out of bed which was kind of a bummer, but I’ll take that over the awful pain of induced contractions.
Post # 4
anonbebe88: They normally recommend you go as long as you can without because epidurals can possibly slow labor or have other consequences (like a drop in fetal heart rate, which if it kept occuring you would be given a csection immediately).
Generally yes, they get rid of the pain for most people.
I was induced (pitocin is TERRIBLE AWFUL- FYI) and I lasted 4 hours (2cm) before I got mine. Mine definitely got rid of the pain but mine worked on one side and not as well on the other. So I felt all of my contractions- ever single one. But I wasn’t in pain at all until towards the end and I started getting uncomfortable but NOTHING like before. So I was also able to feel when a contraction was coming so I knew when to push. My baby did have 2 drops in heart rate right after the epidural was placed and thankfully it was just those 2 otherwise they would have given me a csection. The epidural was AMAZING, I almost fell asleep part of the afternoon! It actually sped up my labor, I was at 9cm just 4 hours later.
I don’t think a hospital will give an epidural unless they’re sure you’re in active labor (because you need to be in active labor to be admitted) so that’s about 4-5cm. Unless you’re induced, they’ll give you one whenever you want because they’re forcing contractions with medication.
So you’ll probably feel some contractions because you’ll have to have them before you get into active labor- but thankfully those early contractions aren’t anywhere near as painful as later ones. Some people don’t even know they’re having them because early contractions feel just like menstrual cramps.
Post # 5
If you go into labor naturally, generally it isn’t recommended that you go to the hospital right away. They want you to wait until your contractions are so far apart and last so long. So no, you wouldn’t be able to avoid feeling any contractions at all.
Even if you are induced, generally they wait until you’re at a certain point and labor is progressing pretty well before starting the epidural. I’m sure a lot of it depends on the individual hospital and how you’re handling the pain though.
If the epidural works perfectly, yes it takes away the pain. But that’s not always the case.
Post # 6
Well I had three babies without an epi and the fourth with one.
Omg yes take it. Did I feel like more of a woman because my Labour sucked and hurt and I went through all that pain to bring my babies into the world? No. When I had my last and had an epi..iI can honestly say I felt like a fool for never having one before.
There was no screaming, I was able to rest, it was very calm. I was able to talk to my husband not just try to breath. My daughter came into the world and I wasnt so exhausted it was hard to hold her.
Tell your doctor you want one. Personally I was in a delivery room for my friend who had one and I couldn’t belive she was in Labour. .lol. when I got pregnant I told my doctor first thing (lol like at 8 weeks) I want an epi! They gave me one at 4cm so not too far into Labour. No you can’t walk around after. Yes it takes away the pain. I felt nothing until it was time to push. Then it was just pressure.
Post # 7
It gets rid of the pain ALTOGETHER. I literally felt nothing after I received it.
No, you cannot demand your epidural. The anesthesiologist is on a schedule. Actually, I was NOT able to get an epidural with my daughter although I was on the list for it because the hospital was super busy that night and I dilated too fast for the epi.
The thing about giving birth is that, it is the contractions that are painful…the epidural stops the pain associated with it so I would highly recommend it.
Some people are blessed enough not to have much pain. However, MOST women have a lot of pain although there is a spectrum. For me, I can tell you that the pain was so excruciating to the point where I thought that I could possibly die. It is THAT bad.
Post # 8
After having my two kids, no I was not that exhausted. However, because you will be bleeding like crazy, you can’t just walk around like normal and you do feel a bit ummmm ‘different’.
Post # 9
I was induced, got an epidural, and still felt a lot of pain. Every body is different, and things sure didn’t turn out the way I had wanted, but I hope it works well for you! (Though I’m almost 7 months PP, I actually just posted my experience, which I won’t link here since I think it’s against the rules, but if interested you can check the May 2015 Share Your Blogs board.)
Post # 10
I waited til the last minute to get an epidural with my daughter. I have already been in labor for around 10 hours. I wasn’t sure whether or not I wanted it. I’m so glad I waited though, I couldn’t feel anything from my ribs down. I got sick a few times and had to have someone lean me forward to sit up. I didn’t feel anything with my epidural, which was great but it made it hard to push. haha
With my son I wasn’t given a choice of when, they asked if I was going to have an epidural and then they gave me one. They broke my water with my son though, it was a scheduled delivery.
Post # 11
You can’t avoid the pain altogether. When you go into labour you’ll have some pain. It starts as bad period cramps, gets worse from there.
The epidural should get rid of the pain but you can still feel pressure. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but for some women the epidural wears off. I was one of those women, at a certain point it wore off. They kept upping the dose and it would wear off. I’m pretty sure they could have given an alternative but at that point my Dear Daughter was stuck and they made the call for a c-section.
Just remember, no matter how much pain you may or not feel, the end result is worth it. Once the baby arrives, you forget any pain.
Post # 12
The goal of an epidural is to get your pain level down to a tolerable level. Hopefully, your pain will completely disappear to the point where you can’t even tell if you are having a contraction, but that doesn’t happen for everyone. Sometimes people get “windows” of pain which hopefully repositioning you in bed or calling anesthesia to adjust or re-dose your epidural will help. Some people can move their legs well, others cannot move their lower bodies at all- either way, your nurse will not let you out of bed. They will empty your bladder with a catheter every few hours because of this, but it won’t hurt because you’ll be pretty numb. As the baby decends and you dilate more, you will start to feel rectal or vaginal pressure. An epidural will not take that sensation away. So don’t expect the birth to be completely pain free, although it does happen sometimes.
At my hospital, we don’t have a rule as to how dilated you must be to get an epidural. For example, if you are 2 cm but in labor (as in contracting every 2-3 minutes and making cervical change), you can get an epidural. If you are 10 cm but we still think we’ll have enough time to get you comfortable before you start pushing, you can get an epidural. If you are not in labor, you cannot get one.
Before you get an epidural, the nurses will start an IV fluid bolus because the main side effect is your blood pressure dropping. Loading you with fluid beforehand will hopefully prevent that from happening. The fluid bolus can take a while, depending on how much fluid your hospital requires and how well your IV is working. They will also need to call anesthesia, who are not always available right away. These are just a few reasons why you should let your nurses know ahead of time that you want one; if you are starting to get really uncomfortable and don’t think you can take it much longer, tell them you want it because it might be another 30 minutes before you actually get it.
Epidurals are great because it will allow your body to relax, and sometimes that can actually help you dilate. But they do tend to space out your contractions, so don’t be surprised if that happens. The Dr might want to start pitocin at that point, if it slows things down too much. They also tend to make people feel hot or cold, and the fentanyl will make you itchy. So those are things to think about as well.
Post # 13
I had an epidural with my first (27 hour labour, failure to progress, episiotomy and ventouse delivery, 8lb 9oz baby) but only gas for my second (12 hour labour, no major issues and a 9lb 12oz baby) and whilst labouring without any epidural was majorly unpleasant, the med-free recovery was so.much.easier!
I opted for the epidural with my first because I had already been in labour for 20 hours and they wanted to give me pitocin but I had to have the actual epidural catheter / needle repositioned because I had a major window of pain on my left side. i was 5cm when the epi was placed and it was still another twelve hours before my daughter was born. Not having an epi for my son allowed me to move around and my midwife is fairly confident he wouldn’t have been born vaginally if I’d been stuck to the bed.
Post # 14
I highly recommend you take a Hypnobirthing class. It will help you deal with the fear of pain and teach you techniques to work through the pain. You still feel it, but it’s not as intense. You can still get a an epi, but in case you can’t get one right away (it took 2 hours from when I requested it until I got it, and I was in transition–the most painful). Hypnobirthing totally saved me.
Some people use the Hypnobabies book and/or app, but I think taking a Hypnobirthing (slightly different from Hypnobabies) class with an in person instructor is invaluable
Post # 15
I got my epi when I was going into transition, around 8cm. Before that, my contractions had been tolerable. I went into the hospital after my water broke and I was already 4cm at the time of my first check. So I dilated an additional 4cm without any pain meds and was fine. Then my husband and I took a long (30 min) walk around the ward, and when I got to my room, it was like a switch – one minute I was completely fine, and the next I felt like I was being torn in half at my spine. It was horrible. I started vomiting from the pain and I didn’t understand why my body was reacting that way until the nurse explained that it was just my body’s way of handling the pain. I asked her how much longer until I was complete and she said I was dilating about a cm an hour, so I had probably about 3 more hours to go. I looked at my husband (who was in tears from seeing me in so much pain) that I couldn’t so this for amother 3 hours, so I asked for the epi. I was lucky that I labored in the middle of the night and I was the only woman in the ward that night, so the anesthesiologist was literally in my room within 5 minutes of my request. I asked him to make it so that I could still feel the contractions, so he didn’t turn it up too much and then left me the little pump that I could increase it on my own if needed. I took a nap for a bit and then when I woke up, I pumped a little more because I started feeling like my tailbone was being crushed from the baby descending. 15 minutes and 4 pushes later, my son was out and on my chest. I was able to feel the contractions enough to push even though my doctor was guiding me, and I felt him crown (which I wanted). It was great. Definitely recommend it as you don’t know how long you’ll be in labor and it does get VERY painful and exhausting.