Epidural or Natural??

Ieasha - posted on 12/15/2009 ( 322 moms have responded )

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I'm a first time mother and I'm undecided about getting an epidural or going natural.I would like to know from mothers who had either the medication or went natural. By getting idea of how it went from some, I can be better educated on my decision. THANKS!!!

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Heather - posted on 01/21/2010

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I got an epidural with my first because the doc made me stay in bed, so I couldn't walk around or even go to the bathroom! I had planned on a natural birth, but when I had to squat over a bedpan to pee (it was so painful with the contractions), I lost my focus and got the epidural. The docs really made the experience with my first horrible! When I got pregnant with my second, I chose to go the midwife route. No epidural and I gave birth to a 9 lb 8oz girl! It was only really painful for the last hour or so (oh, and I was on pitocin). But it was my second, and those are usually a bit easier. All in all, though, it was such a better experience with the midwives. They really know how it's supposed to be done.



I really think that if you REALLY want to go natural, plan on it and take classes and make sure your doc is fully aware of what you want to do. If you plan on waiting to make the decision when you're in labor, you will most likely get the epidural. You've got to be absolutely sure you want natural childbirth, or your doubts and the doubts of others (like your doc and even your family) will decide it for you. You'll need lots of support! Good luck!

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I stayed flexible in my decision all the way to the end. Never needed the epidural. My hubby was a great coach and labor wasn't extraordinarily long. I tolerated the pain pretty well.

Stephanie - posted on 12/16/2009

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Definately natural for me all three times. I just wouldn't make any plans because you never know. If you can't handle the pain and relax on your own, then you might need an epidural to help move your labor along. So, it's always good to have a plan but don't be disappointed if things don't go according to it.

Fraoch - posted on 11/20/2012

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Ieasha my dear, I was like you with my first but gave in when all my pains were on my back and as I was induced I could not walk around I gave in , I felt totally out of control and pushed without contraction tearing badly , resulting in bad stitching and v uncomfortable for 6 months afterwards By the way epidural didnt work!!. I went with drug free option on 2nd baby and with the help of a fab midwife was totally in control with no tears , fab birth , no 3 came so quick there was no time for anything , again no tear . So My advice would be go with an open mind try for as long as u can remember ur breathing technique , as i was told blow away the pain . Everyone is different , there are no medals for going drug free , its the same medal we all get .. Yes u do recover quicker with out an epidural but after having a baby u deserve a day in bed !,

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Meghan - posted on 11/17/2012

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I had an epidural. It worked wonderfully for 2 hours. I didn't feel any contractions and it made my water break and my dilation time faster (though this is not always the case). However, after 2 hours and several attempts at giving me a 'boost' I ended up having a natural birth. I felt everything.

I will try for an epidural next time around but now I know if it doesn't work, it won't be the end of the world. I think it just really depends on how much pain you are in (it's different for everyone) and how much you can tolerate.

Either way, please don't feel pressure to do anything you aren't comfortable with. It's your decision!

Desiree - posted on 11/16/2012

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I believe it depends on your tolerance level. I've have 2 children 1 natural 1 with an epidural, if you can do it natural, great..make sure you have your supports with you and your foucs person..if you feel you need an epidural then thats ok to...you still need your supports and maybe alittle more rest...enjoy your journey..:)

Maureen - posted on 11/16/2012

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I've had 4 kids and on number 1, 2 and 3 I had gas and air. Number 4 had other ideas and I just about got on the table before she said hello.. I always had the choice of the epi, but I really think if you can, go natural..... If I decide to go a 5th time I won't even have the G and A.... Whichever you choose, good luck x

Amanda - posted on 11/16/2012

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I made up my mind that I did not want an epidural, I had just heard horror stories. I was afraid of not being able to feel anything, or not being able to push, so I went all natural. The contractions right before it was time to push was probably the worst. The pain was causing my legs to shake uncontrollably. The doctor said it was time to push, and I was so nervous, but I think the birthing classes I took helped. I pushed and before I knew it his head was out, but then came the shoulders. For a second I said I couldn't do it, but it's true what they say, I thought I would have a bowel movement if I pushed anymore! I pushed a couple more times and my son was here! It wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be. I plan to go natural with this child too. Good luck! :)

Chelsea - posted on 11/16/2012

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I went natural and I'm glad I had the experience even though it was very painful. I had back labor so it was bad...I felt all my contractions in my back and it stung like heck, especially during transition which lasted an hour. At that time I was begging for an epidural but it was too late! However, as soon as I pushed the baby into the birth canal, the worst of the pain was over! The pushing only lasted 10 minutes and he was born! The thing to remember if you do go natural is that the pain is temporary. I would do it again! But the best advice is if you do go natural, just know your options for managing pain because you never know what you need until you're in the situation.

Roxi - posted on 11/15/2012

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I honestly wanted to go natural for when I give birth, but the universe had something else planned for me. I was thankful to get that epidural in and it actually helped speed up my labor. Because as I was laboring naturally, I wasn't dilating any further nor the baby was going down. I was laboring naturally for 7 hours. When I got the epidural, I relaxed, got to sleep for a while, and when I woke up 3 hours later, I was fully-dilated!

Martha - posted on 11/14/2012

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I'm glad you asked this! I hope you got the answers you wanted. You can also ask medical advice on HealthTap too and ask doctors for free for their advice on this. You can read about the site here http://bit.ly/WbCC3i

Lisa - posted on 11/14/2012

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please; take the meds- even that just subsides the pain; trust me if yo go with nothng you"ll want out jump out the window. my step mother kept trying to convice me to go natural; you hear all these stories; of if the meds will harm the baby- dont buy into it- i went thru it- i know! my daughter is a bright; smart 9 yrr old now.completly 100% healthy thank god. but i will NEVER forget what i went thru; every single moment of it- and you never will either. good luck:)

Jen - posted on 08/15/2011

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I went into pre-labour around 7pm driday night, 4am saturday morning my husband made me go to the hospital. I was planning on going semi-natural. Around 9am the back pain was more than anything I ever thought I could deal with so I got my first shot of morphine/gravol. I had my second shot at 12pm. That's when we figured out that the back pain was due to the fact my daughter was stuck face up on my pelvic bone. 2:30pm I had a shot of morphine/gravol, and I finally consented to the epidural because they were talking about doing a c-section. The morphine and hot showers managed my pain fantastically. If it wouldn't have been for the c-section scare I would NOT have had the epidural. I couldn't move my legs I was sluggish and after my daughter was born, the first time she cried, I collapsed trying to get to the other side of the room to her. Hot showers and morphine!!!!!! Or just hot showers and walking.



Oh Ha ! i must mention that when my daughter was finally being delivered (vaginally!! i got lucky) My epidural wore off BUT ONLY in my pelvic region, felt the whole thing plus stitches. Worst epidural ever.

Mesha - posted on 08/15/2011

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I really depends on how you take the pain. i was dilated 5 cm and didn't start feeling it till they broke my water at 7cm. and they had me get up and walk and I started to feel it so I got an epidural. but they nurses said that if I didn't walk then I probably wouldn't of needed it..You can always say you want to go natural and then if you really need it then go with the epidural. Its totally up to you and how you manage your pain! ♥

Katrina - posted on 08/09/2011

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Now some would call me MAD but I would say go natural for as long as you can. I understand you're nervous just don't have your birthplan set in stone as things rarely go to plan. Just take each moment as it comes & do what feels right for you & baby. I was very lucky with both my kids as I didn't even realise I was in labour with my daughter until my contractions were 2mins apart..........being my first time I thought they were just Braxtons. On the movies & TV you see women suddenly clutch their stomach & yell so I thought it would hit me all of a sudden but to be honest it was just a gradual build starting with period like pains which just got stronger & longer. By the time we reached the hospital I was 8cm had gas & air & she popped out 3hrs later BUT I am convinced she would have popped out sooner if I hadn't had the G&A as it seemed to slow everything down. My son was a planned home birth but decided he couldn't wait for hubby to fill the birth pool & hubby ended up delivering him on the bathroom floor! No pain relief at all that time & to be honest, it wasn't THAT bad. He only took 3hrs from start to finish lol! Personally I didn't find labour or birth as horrendous as some but then I do have a tilted womb so MW said when baby's ready to come they come fast........very true with son he only took about 5 pushes whereas my daughter seemed to take an age to crown again I'm convinced due to G&A. Just go with the flow & don't feel bad if you do have pain relief, everyone copes differently, everyone is 'built' differently.........my daughter was only 5lbs 10 my son only 7lbs 2 so not that big. Try & stay in control & if you need pain relief then take it, that's what it's there for just remember you'll need an epidural quite early on.......good luck x

Arrynne - posted on 08/09/2011

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I have had both. First DD was all natural, it hurt like heck but I was proud of myself for not caving. My 2nd DD who was born 20 months after my 1st DD, I got an epi with, I also had really bad SPD (systematic pelvic disorder) which made labor 30x worse than it ever was with DD#1.

Arrynne - posted on 08/09/2011

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I have had both. First DD was all natural, it hurt like heck but I was proud of myself for not caving. My 2nd DD who was born 20 months after my 1st DD, I got an epi with, I also had really bad SPD (systematic pelvic disorder) which made labor 30x worse than it ever was with DD#1.

♥♪Megan♫♥ - posted on 08/07/2011

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Looking at the post date, I really hope this woman isn't still waiting for advice because she'd have a 2 year pregnancy on her er... hands

Nicole - posted on 08/07/2011

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I actually had the iv drip meds for about 10 hours of my pregnancy. I slept thru most of it. Then I wasnt dilating and I got the Epidural and it went by so fast and pain free. My labor from what I can remember was joyous. (: Hope this helps

Crystal - posted on 08/07/2011

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When I went into labor I had to have the meds, it all depents on how you handle pain.

♥♪Megan♫♥ - posted on 08/06/2011

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Sherri I was induced with both of my girls because of hypertension and I was pre-eclemtic with both of them. With my 2nd one I was put on strict bed reast because my bp at rest during an NST was 148/100. My labour was induced a week and a half with my 2nd girl because my bp was 156/103 at rest. When I was in labour near delivery my bp at one point went to 180/220 and I had to deliver my daughter before I was fully dialated. Trust me, my induction had nothing to do with choice but only with the health of my baby

As for the epidural- I had it placed no problems with my first daughter and everything went fine. With my 2nd they couldn't place the epidural even though the anethesiologist tried 4 times because of the edema- I mean water retension all through my body. So all I had was the nubain which just made me loopy. I was so glad my 2nd baby was only 5lbs 10 oz because I felt everything.

I have a friend who's a Bradley certified midwife and she gave me some tips a few monnths prior to my delivery and my mom was there to help. I concentrated a lot on breathing. But when it came to pushing I screamed and cursed at the end :)

Sherri - posted on 08/05/2011

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If you are laboring with induction, of course it is going to hurt more! Most of the moms on here who had an epidural also had an induction. Most of the moms on here "kept their options open" because they were afraid of the pain. If you want the best birth possible (barring complications, which most are not complications) you should not drug your body or your baby. This is not judgment upon the moms who did, but there have not been long-term studies done on children who were drugged at birth. Your body was designed to pass a child through it, no matter what doctors or other women might tell you. Yes, it hurts. But, the pain goes away instantly and you are just left with the healing pain. Your hips are flexible enough in pregnancy that your baby can pass through, even if you are small. You do not need to be induced, no matter what the doctor might tell you! (Again, barring a real health concern, not just that "the baby is too big" or you're "overdue.")

I would highly encourage you to watch "The Business of Being Born" and read "Ina May's Guide to Childbirth." Both really helped shape my view of birth, what my body is capable of, and what petocin, epidural, and c-sections were really for. I'm not against all medical intervention, but I am against unnecessarily intervening when everything would be okay, just given time.

As for me, I had two at-home water births with my children, and it was a phenomenal experience. Yes, it was painful because I had no pain medicine, but I was also aware of when I needed to push, when I was pushing too much, I had control over my entire body. I could get into different positions (something most hospitals won't let you do- it's retarded) to make my labor more comfortable, I could walk around naked (I was really hot!), get in the pool, whatever. Midwife visits are much more involved, as well. They listen to the mom, not just look at you as a number.

Anyway, I know this post might sound harsh, but there is so much misinformation out there about what birth is that it frustrates me! I hope you have a great birth, one that is peaceful and full of joy!!

Denise - posted on 01/25/2010

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I just couldnt do the needle in the spine thing!Not knowing when it was comming just scarred me but I did have a cervical block!It only helped alittle while so the delivery was natural,felt everything!My labor wasnt very long at all though so Im sure that helped!If you cant handle a long drug out labor Id do it....If mine wouldve been longer than only 4 hours then I probably wouldve caved in eventually!

Kaytlin - posted on 01/25/2010

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Go with how you feel, thats what i did...i got the epidural at 5 cm dilated....but when i got it, i was sweating so bad that the plastic needle thingy came out and by 7 cm i was doing it all natural...they even had me pushing for 2 1/2 hours before they gave me a c-section....but i gotta say, that 2 hours or so of no pain really helped me relax for a while and boost my energy

Sara - posted on 01/25/2010

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I wanted to do a natural birth - my sister has been through it 6 out of 7 times and I was there for 3 of them. The contractions really weren't that bad - people make them sound scary. And I'm very pain intolerant... what hurt the most was that I was induced with oxytocin. My son was being born and he couldn't fit because I hadn't dilated. They gave me an epidural and it was heaven compared to what I had been going through. They figured pain management would help me to relax and dilate. I slept a little, also. I dilated 2 more cm [to 8] which was enough but we figured in the end my bones weren't in the right place and he was probably not laying right so he couldn't fit, and that's what made it painful. However, before they had epidurals women had natural childbirths and still lived. Women in other countries also do it all the time, drug-free. Epidurals and other forms of pain management are a luxury when giving birth. I needed it to relax, but I ended up having a c-section because of the oxytocin and the contractions so I would have gotten it anyway... :/



If you want to try a natural birth, go for it. If you're in a hospital [as opposed to a birthing center] then it's not too late to get an epidural, as long as the baby hasn't started going. I don't know if you've had your kiddo yet, but if not good luck. :)

Nimisha - posted on 01/25/2010

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Hi,
I went natural and it was amazing. I don't judge anyone who's taken the drugs as there are various reasons for someone to do so, but although painful childbirth was magical for me, and it wasn't pain that I couldn't handle. I didn't want to take the risks associated with an epidural, but i also just felt that for centuries before us people have done without, as they do in the 3rd world so I could at least give it a go. I found the birthing pool a godsend though, and if I couldn't take the pain, i'm sure i would have tried the weaker drugs first, and if I still needed pain relief I would have gone for an epidural.
I know people who have had epidurals who have felt helpless as they couldn't get up to get their babies when they cried for the first couple of days, or move easily and also hated having a catheter. Hope this helps.x

Amy - posted on 01/24/2010

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i got to the hospital at 9cm, i still didnt know if i wanted an epidural or not. i really wanted to do it all natural but still was uncertain. by the time they got me rushed to my room there was no decision to get it or not. all & all doing it natural really isnt as bad as people make it seem.

Pamela - posted on 01/22/2010

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I had both and both my labours were very fast.. with my first I had an epi because I had a fever and the baby was distressed the epi calms the baby so once they talked me into it it took them ages to get it in by this stage my contractions where on top of each other and it made it very hard for them to get it in I was actually being yelled at ( which didn't help).. sure I didn't feel much but to be honest they made we wait so long before pushing due to my fever most had worn off so I still felt a little pain but I got to feel the birth which was good. the recovering took longer. I wasn't allowed up to pee so I needed to buzz the midwives every time and they would put a pan under me . eventually I just took myself Id already lost alot of dignity heheh I would like to pee in the privacy of the bathroom not in the ward a curtain doesn't do anything for privacy.



with my second son I was booked into a family birthing centre it was much better he came in 11 minutes and I had no time for drugs he had the cord around his neck and the shoulders got stuck he was 2 days late and 9 pound( 4.01kilos) my first was only 7pound 6 ( 3.3 kilos) even with his size and getting stuck I preferred it man I was in pain it felt like burning and I screamed swear words heheh but as soon as he was out I was with it and felt normal.. it really depends with my first no one was going to talk me into doing it with nothing but I tried the gas and other stuff first and they made me hallucinate and feel sick.



my advise is if you want an epi do it as soon as you walk in tell them don't wait until your contractions are unbearable this is a bad idea! if I was to give birth again I would do it natural the pain was intense but it was only 11 minutes . good luck and congrats which ever way you do it it will be fine and your baby will be so much more important than how you decided to do it .

Tiffany - posted on 01/22/2010

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well...

epidural helps with pain - pro. it can make it nessassary for an episiotomy -con. slows down labour - con. more possibility of stalled labour and therefore c-section - con. needle in back of spine, possible risks of paralysation - con.



natural:

pain -con.

no risks from meds - pro. labour prgresses faster in general - pro.

recovery time is faster - pro.



its up to you. there are the facts.

I did it natural. was in real labour only 4 hours.

Tammi - posted on 01/21/2010

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Hi Ieasha:

I am a mommy of one and when I got pregnant I knew I didn't want an epidural or any drugs really -- just an all natural child birth. When I got to the hospital and had got to 5 cm, labor got pretty intense and kind of hard to bare - so the nurse asked me again if I wanted an epidural and I said NO, but is there something I can get?? So they gave me Stedahl/Fenegrin (the spelling might be off on that) through my IV and I felt better -- still could feel the contractions, but it helped to feel them especially when it was time to push -- Good luck to you in your decision!

Amber - posted on 01/21/2010

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i was going to go natural. i was scared to death of getting an epideral. the thought of a needle in my spine creeped me out. well... there's a certain point where you dont care anymore. you just want the pain to stop. getting an epideral was my biggest fear for delivery. at the last available moment.. i cahnged mymind. the anastetic they give you before the epieral is what saves you behin, literally. overall, i wouldn't do it any other way now. in my opinion, natural birth is overrated. but everyone is different. i have a couple friends that could handle the fact that they couldnt feel their leg, i was happy i couldnt. i would suggest to try to wait, if you think you can handle it, by all means do the dang thing. but as soon as you feel unbearable and you would trade you life to get rid of the pain.. an epieral doesnt seem so bad after all.

Shannon - posted on 01/21/2010

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The best mother to respond to this post is one who has had both so she can tell you the pros and cons of both. HOWEVER, I had an epideral with both of my deliveries, and I wouldn't have it any other way - it was the best money I ever spent. I experienced enough pain prior to the epideral that I can still consider myself a "strong" woman who "experienced the pain of childbirth."



I am an advocate of the epideral because it allows you to enjoy the delivery. If I were you, I'd question my motives for not having an epideral. If it's simply for the "claim" of not doing so, then I'd rethink it. If it's for safety reasons, then feel comforted that women have been doing this for many years. I've read in some of the posts in this blog that an epideral slows down the process - I don't know that the medical world would agree with this. Everyone's deliveries are so different. Both of mine were "textbook" (perhaps even a little faster) - as the nurses said. I progressed just like they expected me to. My first baby was born in less than 11 hours, and my second was less than 8 hours.

This is a very personal decision that only you can make.



I can say that my sister experienced both. She didn't make it to the hospital in time for her 2nd baby's delivery, so she didn't have enough time to get an epideral. I helped her deliver, so I experienced her excrutiating pain; I remember her cries vividly. Needless to say, the next baby was delivered with the aid of an epideral. She made sure to get to the hospital in time. ;)

Chloie - posted on 01/21/2010

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i was 19 when i had my first and i had him naturally, i also had morphine and gasss but no epidural, he was induced. With my second i was 21 i had him completely natural it was fantastic i was able to breath through the contractions, stayed calm 1st was 8pb11 and 2nd was 8pb2 or 3.94 and 3.556 :).All the best anyways

Martine - posted on 01/21/2010

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forget what every1 tell you..go with your feeling on the day I did it first time as well and epidural so relieved and it saved me a lot of energy i needed after once the baby is here!!!!

Christel - posted on 01/21/2010

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Regardless of what you decide to do ahead of time, it will really depend on how your labour goes. Before I went into labour, I had arranged that I wanted an epidural and all other pain killers they would give me and as much as they would give me! However, my labour and delivery was only 5 1/4 hours. To short for any pain killers. While I was in labour, I was really upset that they wouldn't give me anything, but I made it through and honestly it wasn't so bad. I wanted the pain relief, because it was my first pregnancy and I kept thinking that the pain was going to keep increasing and I couldn't handle anymore. It's amazing what you can actually handle though. The one thing that nobody told me would happen is that the labour pains stopped instantly after my daughter was born. Just like that it was all over and I was holding my beautiful girl in my arms. I'm really happy I wasn't drugged for that moment.

Kayla - posted on 01/20/2010

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Having an epidural can actually make your labor longer because everything in your body relaxes and you want your uterus to contract.

Kayla - posted on 01/20/2010

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I went natural with both my kids. My daughter was 9lbs 2oz and my labor was 24hrs long. My son was 8lbs 9.9oz and my labor was 14hrs long. I dont believe the pain is as bad as people say it is. Yes it hurts but its going to hurt whether you get drugs or not. At the same time you need to think about how the drugs may affect your baby also. Epidurals can harm your baby sometimes. They also can give you one and then it not even work and then you will have gone through all the pain of putting it in your back for nothing. Once your baby is born you dont even feel a dang thing anymore. ITS SO WORTH NOT HAVING DRUGS!!!!

Jessica - posted on 01/20/2010

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I wanted to go natural with both of my kids but didn't make it all the way before getting pain meds. I didn't get an epidural. I got an intrathecal which is similar but doesn't last very long. I say have an open mind and see how it goes. I didn't know how much I could handle until I was in transition and couldn't handle it anymore! Either way you have made the right decision and don't let anyone make you feel bad for it!

Kelsey - posted on 01/20/2010

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I labored at home for 14 hours and when I got to the hospital I was 7cm dilated. I used gas at the very end of my transition stage, because I was told that I was being to loud and not relaxing anymore, which was true. I'm glad I didn't have a epi because my daughter was wake and alter right after giving birth to her. Epidurals make your baby sleepy, that is a fact!!!!

I say go as long as you can without any meds, but regardless of your choice you'll be proud of yourself afterward.

Shannon - posted on 01/20/2010

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I would agree with Sam... decide when you get there or make a plan for both in case the situation changes when you are there. I had the epi and was in love with the doc who gave it to me... I had been having back labor for 3 days and having had been in a car accident that did perma damage to my back, the epi was a God send. I never even felt the needle go in and I guess every Doc is different cuz I never needed a cathiter (sp?) either. They do have different types of epis, one that numbs your whole lower half and one that just numbs your mid section to about your knees... I would discuss with the Doctor the pros and cons of the two and decide from there which one you would like if you choose to have one done.

Jessica - posted on 01/20/2010

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Epidural! I was terrified of having a needle in my spine but it was not bad at all. And thank god i did it, 28 hrs of labor!

[deleted account]

I had an epidural and I loved it. No pain. It did slow down the whole process but I think it was well worth it. I got it at noon and my boy was born at 7:38 pm. The pushing started after 6. I recommend it! Good luck :-)

Elizabeth - posted on 01/20/2010

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Well I was 4 wks early when I went into labor. I tried getting the epidural but he put it in wrong and my heart rate went all the way up to 150!! I got really scared so told him to just forget it...I just had an IV which I still felt everything. I didn't think labor was that bad, of course I also have a high tolerance for pain. But once you push that baby out all of the pain just goes away!! So I did it natural basically and I wouldn't have changed anything!! I felt everything to bring my beautiful daughter in this world and it was amazing!

Elizabeth - posted on 01/20/2010

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Well I was 4 wks early when I went into labor. I tried getting the epidural but he put it in wrong and my heart rate went all the way up to 150!! I got really scared so told him to just forget it...I just had an IV which I still felt everything. I didn't think labor was that bad, of course I also have a high tolerance for pain. But once you push that baby out all of the pain just goes away!! So I did it natural basically and I wouldn't have changed anything!! I felt everything to bring my beautiful daughter in this world and it was amazing!

Morgan - posted on 01/19/2010

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well i geuss it all depends on how u feel when the time comes. when i was in labour with my second set of twins the pain was too much so i had the epideral. some women dont have hard labor and they can do it without meds. maybe u should just wait until the time comes and see how u feel about it

Laura - posted on 01/19/2010

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when i had my first daughter i went all natural i asked for a epi but by the time i asked it was to late i was already dialated so i felt it all and it hurt alot! i said for my next baby i was for sure getting one and as soon as they asked me i was going to tell them yes because i could not do it again it hurt so bad but with my second baby i had to have an emergency c-section and honestly i am so happy now that i didnt get an epi with my first baby because i was able to experience it without anything.

Maysa - posted on 01/19/2010

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I had my first baby almost 3 months ago, and throughout my pregnancy i kept telling my doc. that im going natural all the way bcuz you know, i wanted to cherish that experience and feel every moment..

He told me that he's going to keep the epidural as a last min. option (which im glad he did)!

Trust me when u start getting those contractions, you will be ready to take anything to eliminate pain!!

I tried to hold on the most my body could take, and then i asked for the epidural..

It went really well esp. bcuz i was able to enjoy my delivery and see the happy faces on everyone around me (instead of that worried look they had when i was screaming!!)

I hope this helps..

Wishing u a safe delivery :)

Bryony - posted on 01/19/2010

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.. just have to say my labour was 4 hours but although it was quick it was nooooooot easy... started 5 minutes apart and then went to 3 minutes apart within about 20 minutes and I had rolling contractions 2 or 3 one after another!... obviously it was well worth it and I suppose it was easy because I didn't tear.. but I had really only 30 seconds recovery times by the time I was in the hospital. Bubs was in a posterior position at last check up so during that 4 hours DD decided she wanted to go hard, turn and get out. I can't say I've had a really long labour to compare, but it was very intense!

Rebecca - posted on 01/15/2010

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Hi Ieasha! To make an informed decision I strongly recommend you read The Thinking Woman's Guide to Childbirth. It provides evidence-based information on all the interventions that doctors and hospitals will tell you that you need. I think you will find that more helpful than reading others' experiences, because some women will recommend going natural but they had easy, quick labors and don't know how painful labor can be; many other women experience unnatural amounts of pain due to be strapped down on their backs to labor. If you learn how to take control of your birth experience, I think you'll find that you have much less desire to expose yourself and your baby to the risks of drugs during labor.



Another suggestion is to take a class on The Bradley Method of Husband-Coached Childbirth. It will teach you LOTS of very useful strategies to work through your labor, and will help your husband or partner learn how to best support you. It will also help you to view labor more positively. Labor is like a marathon -- it will be long and probably painful, but the reward at the end is so worth it! And remember, marathoners don't take drugs, because it interferes with their ability to run! Drugs during labor interfere with your body's ability to birth your child, and your ability to use your mind to work through the feelings you're experiencing.



Finally, I will share my experience, just as an example of a long, difficult labor that did not involve an epidural and was very rewarding. I would change a lot of things about my birth experience if I could -- chiefly, not going to the hospital until much later! -- but I would definitely NOT get an epidural! I delivered my son without any pain medication, sitting on a birthing stool, with the assistance of a nurse midwife and her student midwife. I had a small tear which required 4 stitches and healed completely within 2 weeks. I was in labor (regular contractions less than 15 minutes apart) for over 12 hours before I went to the hospital when they were 5 minutes apart (which was still too early, I realized later). My labor slowed WAY down due to the anxiety and all the interference at the hospital, and then I began having back labor. Finally, after 2 days of laboring with almost no sleep, dehydrated and exhausted, I accepted an Ambien to try to sleep. Unfortunately, it did NOT help -- I was still awakened every 10 minutes by excruciating contractions in my back (they were much worse when I was lying down). My husband provided counterpressure, which helped some, but finally after a few hours, and "out of it" from the Ambien, I begged for something to help the back pain. I was given 1 dose of Nubain (IV pain reliever) which did not help at all. I refused another dose a few hours later, and then I was started on Pitocin to augment my labor. The Nubain and Ambien both wore off, I finally dilated completely, my son turned from his posterior position to the optimal anterior position, and I delivered him at 9:31 AM, almost 48 full hours after the contractions began.



Here are the reasons I did not want an epidural: I did not want to be numb, confined to the bed, and face all the risks of the epidural, both to me and my baby. I know that everyone will tell you it's the best thing ever, but I disagree. It interferes with normal labor in multiple ways, and the baby DOES receive the medication through your bloodstream. There are many risks to your health, also: your blood pressure can bottom out, you will probably get a fever (which means they might quarantine your baby after birth and/or want to give you both antibiotics), and it will probably slow down your labor, leading to Pitocin and/or a c-section. You are more likely to tear, especially with a bigger baby, because you won't be able to feel how to push effectively and if you push when the nurse tells you too, you will not be able to let your body adjust and stretch slowly. (Without an epidural, you are LESS likely to tear.) No one talks about all these risks because YES, the epidural does take away the pain of labor. But at what cost? Women don't realize that so many of the complications of labor/birth that their doctors blame on "your pelvis is too small" or "fetal distress" actually start with all the interventions that most women have -- including the epidural.

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