Post # 1
So we’ve just been informed that due to the policies where we live (and apparently because there is only one anesthesiologist (sp?) here) I have to advise my dr in the next few weeks if I want an epidural, and if I say yes, I will get one when one can be given to me during labour, regardless of how I’m feeling at that stage – obviously not if I show up at the hospital at 8 cm, but otherwise…
I was expecting this to go as it does on TV, lol – I’d get there, see how it goes, try to do it on my own but if I decide at some point that I would like an epidural, then I would give the word and one would be given (maybe a little less demanding and princess-y, but you know what I mean, right?). Now I’m being told that I have to say yes before I even go into labour and if I want it, I get it when I get it… no waiting to see how I’m feeling. Or I guess I could say no epidural and then if I get to 6 cm and want one, I can’t change my mind.
Anyway, sorry this is long… I’m just trying to do some research on epidurals and would really appreciate hearing some opinions from “real people” who have either had them or haven’t, or plan to or don’t, and what your reasons were or are. Now that I feel I have to decide in advance, I’m seeking out as much info as I can find to help me make this decision!
Thanks in advance Bees!
Post # 3
Eeek! I’m sorry you have to decide so far in advance. I had an epidural and def don’t regret it.
Post # 4
I was told pretty much the same thing. I told them yes I wanted one because I was afraid to say no and then find I really wanted one. If you say yes, you can still say no at the time if you really don’t want one.
I think the reason they tell you that they decide when to give it to you may have to do with the doctor’s schedule. When I was told that the anesthesiologist was there and ready, I didn’t really feel like I needed it yet. But I was told it was now or never (so I chose now), because if I didn’t take the epidural when he was available, he was going somewhere else and it might be several hours before he returned. If at that point, I still wanted one, I could have one…BUT…if labor had progressed too far by the time he came back, I’d be out of luck.
So I went with taking the epidural when it was available and I’m glad I did. I really was able to relax during most of the labor (watching contractions on the monitor and thinking, “Wow, I bet that one would hurt!”). It was pretty much worn off by the time I was ready to push anyway.
Post # 5
Wow, that is an annoying policy! Before I got pregnant, I assumed I would get an epidural, and I thought home birth advocates were crazy. Then, I ended up choosing a natural birth w/ a doula & OB at a hospital and would now consider a home birth with a midwife! Honestly, there were times when I didn’t think I could do it, but I did! That was just the transition part (7-8cm) where it was very intense. For me, that was worse than the pushing, but I’ve heard some women think pushing is worse than contractions.
For me, I wanted to be able to move freely and try delivery in the squat position (pelvis is more open), so that’s why I didn’t want an epidural, plus I just worry about the “intervention cascade”. If you are at all interested in natural, watch “The Business of Being Born” & read Ina May’s natural childbirth book. There are some amazing anecdotes & statistics!
Only you know your body & pain tolerance, though, so it might be safer to say yes then refuse it in the moment. I will say, though, it takes a ton of resolve to stick with natural. If I hadn’t been so adamant & had a doula, I would’ve probably had drugs, bc Darling Husband didn’t know what to do when I was at the worst part (that didn’t last long). Honestly, after I got through the transition, though, I was AOK…excited for baby time!
Post # 6
I see all one million stances and opinions on epidurals. Personally, I will be in an environment where I won’t be given pitocin or any other contraction inducing drugs and therefore don’t see the need for an epidural. In your case, I’m assuming you’re in a hospital, I would have them put you down for one because you never know what kinds of drugs they will want to put you on. If they start you on pitocin and you don’t have an epidural…I’ve heard some horror stories about that.
Post # 7
wow…i’m sorry you are being asked to make that decision so early 🙁 that doesn’t seem fair at all. i don’t have personal experiences with epidurals yet, but if i were you, i would probably request one now – even if you only have a tiny inkling of a feeling you might possibly want one – and then decline it if you feel like you can make it without it at the time they offer it. that way, you are covered in case you want it at the moment they offer it but won’t have to wish you had requested it.
Post # 8
Well I personally had a very horrible expierence with my epidural. But after having an epidural twice and niether of them working properly, I would still recommend having one. Since neither of mine did work I basically had my daughter all natural, and let me tell ya what, I wish I would have had something to relieve me. Its all just your personal feelings toward it. But its not easy to just say- oh no it hurts too bad, let me haave one now. Because they can and will refuse you one. Better safe than sorry though. Oh and make sure to tell the doctors and nurses if something doesn;t feel right with the epidural. I was repeatedly told I was wrong about something being wrong, and guess what… something was wrong. Listen the the one administering the epidural, not a nurse who doesn’t know without even looking.
Post # 9
I had one with my son, but didn’t need it with my daughter. One doesn’t need it, if one isn’t in pain. (Do NOT wish for this, cause you won’t be believed if you’re in labor, having contractions. Only if you’re dilating will you be believed… at least at my local hospital and current office… jerks…)
Truthfully, it depends on the person and how you react to pain and meds. I would suggest getting it though. better to have it and it be useful, than no have it and have NO meds to help you.
Post # 10
I agree with previous posters that it might be best to say yes now, and then you still have some flexibility in deciding in the moment. Unless you are committed to a med-free birth and are preparing for it now, it might be difficult to go without an epidural. I mean, you would still ge through it without an epidural (plenty of women have med-free births throughout the world every day), but it could be very tough unless you are committed, have studied up on some alternative pain-relief methods, have a good labor support system, etc… Do you have to make a decision on other pain meds right now, too? Or would you still be able to choose to use other pain meds (just not an epidural) during labor, if you need them?
Fwiw, I prepared for a med-free birth and ended up getting an epidural. I studied/practiced the Bradley method (on my own, not in a class), but I also prepared a list of labor positions and techniques I could use in addition. When I actually went into labor, my contractions came way faster and harder than the “textbook” labor, and I just wasn’t prepared to deal with that level of difficulty that early on. What surprised me wasn’t necessarily the pain of the contractions; what surprised me was how weak I felt during the contractions. I literally couldn’t hold myself up, and my husband had to support me standing or kneeling to get through. Also, I was puking a lot early on. Throwing up is really common in active labor, but I was throwing up like every couple to few contractions. I had to have an IV almost immediately to help me stay hydrated, and after that, I just knew I wasn’t going to be able to make it without pain meds. I got an epidural about an hour to 1.5 hours in to active labor, and slept almost until it was time to push, pushed for like 1/2 an hour and had my daughter with pretty much no complications. Next time, I plan on doing something pretty similar: prepare for a med-free birth, but get an epidural if/when I need it. I think it worked for me.
Post # 11
It was similar for me. If I wanted to have an epidural at all, I had to go to the anethesiologist’s office, watch a video on the process, and get a signed form from them saying I had watched the video and understood what would happen. I HAD to bring that to the hospital and give it to them; if I didn’t, no matter how many times I requested an epidural, they could not administer one. I went in expecting not to have one, do the whole natural childbirth thing. LAUGHABLE. So freaking unnecessary.
Although it seems annoying now, taking an epidural when they can administer it is really for your benefit. I went through 2 hours of hard contractions, all dead set on natural birth, before caving and admitting I wanted and NEEDED an epidural. And THEN I had to wait 40 minutes until the anesthesiologist could make her way to my room. Basically, by the time you think you might want one, labor quickly begins ratcheting up and can get pretty unbearable while you wait. Trust me, it’s nice that they will just administer it when they can- this way you’re not stuck in agony waiting for them to be able to get to you. By the time I got mine, a nurse had to hold me still because the contractions were causing me to shake so badly the anesthesiologist was having a hard time finding the right spot to inject the needle. And the relief is almost instantaneous and you are so much more relaxed. I seriously don’t know why I was so stupid and prideful to try and do it without one when it makes it so much easier. Don’t forget; after the birth, you have to like, care for the baby. There’s no resting once the birth is done, so having an epidural really makes you much less exhausted and spent. It’s still work, and it still hurts, but there’s just no need to make yourself go through that pain.
Post # 12
oh and btw something to consider is that your labor could go a thousand ways and it is best to be prepared. Look I respect everyones point of veiw on this, and I will admit I really struggled with this myself. BUT I had a HORRIBLE labor! and I dont care what anyone says, I have tons of tats and have had many piercings, and my daughters labor was excrutiating. She was facing up i think instead of down or something backwards like that anyways, she got stuck and I pushed with no pain meds for 3 hours since my epi was inserted wrong for a second time. And I was put on the drip that morning too, so my contrations were much worse too. But After 15 hours of labor I had to have an emergency c section. Please keep in mind that things can always change, no matter how much planning you do.
Post # 13
@ohheavenlyday: I don’t think going natural made me stupid or prideful. I know you were talking about how you felt, but still…I like to say…pain meds have risks for you and baby…the main risk from going natural is pain for ME only. I chose pain now over pain later. People say epidurals don’t slow down your labor, but I have a hard time believing that. I “only” had a 13 hour labor and was moving all around and laboring in different positions that felt appropriate based on different phases of labor.
I know epidurals are low risk, but what about that small percentage that do have the bad side effects?
Post # 14
@cannotwait: I agree it’s a personal choice and no one should be made bad for going either way.
I had an epidural with my son, and my leg (si joint was out of place) felt like it was breaking. Imagine trying to bend a VERY GREEN twig that keeps bending and bending and WILL NOT BREAK. That, was my leg. I was being given MORPHINE (yes, I distinctly remember the anesthesiologist saying morphine) and it did NOTHING. The spinal block and c-section solved that problem… at least until I got sensation back an hour or so later. Then it just ached.
Now, I also have a VERY HIGH threshold for pain. Crushed finger in door with no pain type threshold. Sprained my ankle and kept walking on it type threshold. So I feel safe saying most women would’ve been in more pain than me, and I was BEGGING to have the pain stopped (I NEVER beg, lol) and I also said “just break it already”, in reference to my leg. (Yep, I was out of it, lol).
My daughter, I had no pain and needed no epidural or any pain meds. She was an elective c-section.
It’s all personal choice, but I recommend them. Also, do EXACTLY what the anesthesiologist says. It will make a difference.
Post # 15
In my experience, the epidural didn’t slow down labor at all. Like you, my labor was 13 total hours with 12 minutes of pushing. As far as bad side effects, they’re pretty limited to headaches for the mother occasionally. Nothing happens to the baby; they come out just as alert and healthy as the babies who are delivered without epidurals. In my opinion, it’s a miracle of modern medicine and it really did nobody any good NOT to use it. The baby was not affected if I did or did not use one, so why not just make things a little more comfortable?
Post # 16
I probably cant get one even I wanted too 🙁 My back is so heavily tattooed in the areas where it would be administered, that most Dr’s will refuse to do so due to potential “bacteria infection”. It is a bit of a controversial topic haha
If I had the choice, I would probably say no.