I'm thinking about getting an epidural if birthing is unbearable. Is it safe?

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Kate CP - posted on 10/26/2011

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Most women and babies do fine with the epidural during labor and birth. It's the aftermath that a lot of women have a hard time with. These are all possible and some-what common side effects from the epidural that women experience after labor and birth:

Headache
Back pain
Nausea and vomiting
Numbness
Urinary tract infection (from the catheter)

I have had one with without an epidural and one with an epidural. The one with the epidural took longer to recover from and was harder on my body. I ended up with the UTI from Hell and had horrible diarrhea (sorry, TMI I know) which made the UTI worse. It was just an awful experience.

Karen - posted on 10/25/2011

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There are other ways to reduce pain without an epidural if that is what you're looking for (I finally was able to get one after a few natural labours, lol) If you have a midwife, she can help with dealing with the pain and also use techniques to relax and help you. There is a hot bath (my fav.) counter-pain massage for that back pain (works well). You can also get some nitrous oxide (?). It takes a few minutes to feel the effects but does help, and there is the birthing ball (never used it). Ask the doc if these things are available to you to use and don't hesitate to get the epidural if you need to. good luck.

Jay - posted on 11/05/2011

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look into hypno-birthing or the bradley method.
Labor doesn't have to be painful. It is natural and your body is made to do it! :)

Kate CP - posted on 11/01/2011

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Marina: Yea, the UTI was from the catheter they put it.

Marietta: Once that epidural goes in you are absolutely bed bound and they will NOT let you get up to pee until a few hours after it's been shut off. So if you don't like the idea of a tube up your urethra, I suggest you not get the epidural.

Also, the birthing ball will help take some pressure off your lower back and pelvis. It also helps to open the pelvic girdle to allow the baby to pass through easier.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 11/01/2011

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As with anything, an epidural comes with risks, but so does walking out your front door.

As for the ball, I have known some women it works great. My sister tried it, and it made everything worse.

Unlike Kate, I had an epidural, and did not experience any of the problems she had. I am guessing you had the UTI from the catheter they placed, and not the epidural itself.

One thing I will say, it makes you itchy. Let the nurses know when this happens so they can give you an antihistamine to counter the itchy effects.

I have also had a natural birth. My first with the epidural was a c section, so naturally it took longer to heal from.

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Ania - posted on 01/22/2012

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Mostly it is safe, but just like every procedure it has side effects. I would say read a little bit research on it - not just websites and decide wheter you think it is something for you or not. It deinately is not for me. Side effects are rather scary for me, but a lot of women get it and they are fine. If you are ok with hospital medicated birth and interventions that might follow when epidural is given and you get fever - it happens a lot or your labor won't progress - this happens sometimes, those are just examples that came to me now, and you are ready that it might end up with c-section and you personally are ok with that, than go for it.

Frené - posted on 01/21/2012

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I gave birth in the UK. I was petrified of any medical interventions and opted for the TENS machine - it worked wonderful for me. Good luck to you and enjoy your new bundle of joy!

Kate - posted on 01/20/2012

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statistics say they are relatively safe but i had bad side effects from mine.

My son (who is 4) was born with the aid of an epidural. because of that - i had to deliver on my back. I have not been able to lay on my belly since because of the pain.

My second pregnancy almost had me in a wheelchair by the end of it because of the severety of pelvic pain associated with the way i delivered my first.

Not to mention that after the epidural - I had a migraine that was so severe that i never got to bond properly with my baby.

For my second - i was in labour for two days. I delivered with no pain relief and was so much happier. I bonded beautifully with my daughter and, despite the length of labour - I would rather do that ten times over than relive the first.

I honestly wish that i had more faith in myself and a woman's amazing ability to give birth.

After being with me for both of my babies births, my sister is planning a home birth and i am soo happy that she is. She has been doing positive affirmations since the day she found out she was preggers: "I can do this" ect

If you end up having an epidural then - it's not the end of the world, and chances are - it will go well.

Just be informed though, there are risks and you just have to weigh them up is all.

good luck and trust your amazing body!!

Terra - posted on 11/14/2011

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I guess it depends on what you consider safe. It does increase your risk of getting a c-section, of needing a vacuum/forcep assisted delivery, of having a baby with shoulder distocia, of having a large tearm it can cause your blood pressure to drop suddenly (thus the reason they pump you full of fluids), and can cause you child to go into distress since the drugs do cross the placenta. If you are planning to breastfeed an epidural can interfere with this as well as the baby can be born "drugged up" and sleepy from receiving the epidural medication as well. They have been known to cause permanent paralysis and/or permanent back/leg pain. It most likely won't kill you though so I guess it's considered "safe" as long as you are okay will all of the risks to you and baby that come along with getting one.

Chelese - posted on 11/11/2011

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I did not like the catheter at all. Both times I had to deal with it and i'd say like 2 days maybe after your delivery when it's removed. It is not a good feeling becase all of your senses are woke back up. I would say take one deep breath and then exhale and before you know it it's over. I gripped the side of my bed and grit my teeth. Not sure which is worse that or the epidural.

Denise - posted on 11/11/2011

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I had good experiences with the epidural. I had 1 for both of my deliveries and they turned out fine. My babies and I were happy and healthy, and I do not have any long term problems like back aches etc. I did itch like crazy with the first one(very unexpected since I had never heard of that kind of reaction) I never had a catheter put in so I cant speak on that. But like the others have posted there are always risks involved and you should consider those. Mr doctors were great and both did excellent jobs.

Chelese - posted on 11/06/2011

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Hi Marietta, I went through two child births and both times got an epidural shot. The few things that I was worried about was if it would affect my baby at all. The dr's said it would be safe in that aspect. The other thing that bothered me was the needle going in my spine. Now I had a c section and you are having the other way? I"m not sure if they put it in the IV or do the spinal. But my worry was would I be able to bare the pain of the needle going in my back. The first time I don't even want to tell you how painful it was. I even remember the Dr saying "Don't move" But after having it within seconds I was numb. The second time I got it done it was not as bad. The last thing I was really worried about was the numbness wearing off. It's like you are in the recovery room waiting and waiting for this stuff to be out of your system and your body cant do anything. i tried moving my leg and toes and nothing. Finally after a few hours The feeling came back and I was very happy. The itchiness is a pain but you can always ask for something to deal with that. If I had baby number three I would get it again. There are risks and you never know what may or may not happen but if you have a good Dr that knows what he is doing I believe the chances of that could be lessened. And that was one of the fist things I wanted to know and I asked "Has this dr given a lot of epidurals and experienced?" And they said "yes he is a specialist." So with that and a lot of praying everything turned out wonderful.

Jay - posted on 11/05/2011

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The side to side thing helped me, but not with a ball, just with my elbows on the bed and rolling side to side.
I didn't like the ball at all!

Ez - posted on 11/01/2011

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Ok I have no idea what the facilities are like in Belize. Unless you have utter trust in the qualifications and procedures of your chosen hospital, I would not be letting any needle anywhere near my back.

Here in Australia you can have gas and air, IV or IM narcotics or an epidural for pain relief. Our labour rooms have showers, some have baths, birth balls, birth stools, cool or hot compresses etc. They are all natural ways of managing pain and encouraging the progression of labour.

I guess you need to know exactly what is available for you, as far as alternative pain relief and equipment.

Stifler's - posted on 11/01/2011

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I don't believe that anything medical or surgical is 100 % safe. It's sometimes better than the alternative though.

Marietta - posted on 11/01/2011

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I'm from Belize, thats in Central America. The epidural is available at private hospitals, i already checked. just not sure whether its 100 % safe. but these days, what is?

Ez - posted on 11/01/2011

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Where are you from? That will impact what pain relief is available to you.

As for the epidural, it is generally 'safe' but that doesn't mean it is without side-effects.

Stifler's - posted on 11/01/2011

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Lots of people have the epidural and are fine so I'd say it's safe but as Marina said, like everything in life it has risks. I had a vaginal birth first with no epi and second was a caesar with a spinal tap and if I could go back I'd have an elective caesar both times.

Marietta - posted on 11/01/2011

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i recently saw a birthing video, and she was using a ball. she was sitting on it and rolling her hips from side to side.. does anybody know if it helps with the pain? or does it just distract u from the pain for a while? lol
if a distraction works for her, hey, i'm happy to give it a try too. lol

Marietta - posted on 10/25/2011

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I just found out about today that I'm having a girl! I've always wanted a girl baby! I'm so happy i think i could lick this labor epidural or not! lol. I guess i'll just have to see how it goes.

Bonnie - posted on 10/24/2011

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Epidurals for the most part are safe. Like anything else that is safe something could go wrong. Don't beat yourself up over it or think too heavily about it. You will likely drive yourself crazy. If you need it, you need it.

Kim - posted on 10/24/2011

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I've given birth 4 times and all 4 times I have had an epidural. Epidural is a safe procedure that is done to reduce pain, however, sometimes it isn't effective. Occasionally it will reduce pain on only one side because of its position, however, this is usually easy to fix by either repositioning the catheter or removing the catheter and placing a new one. The biggest side effect is a spinal headache after the catheter is removed, which can be relieved with medication. Occasionally, an epidural can cause your blood pressure to drop, but that can be helped with fluids and a medication. If you truly want an epidural speak with your doctor regarding it prior to going into labor.

Marietta - posted on 10/24/2011

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I'm not from the States. I had to go through my first delivery without any help. I didn't know about any pain reducers. Now i've been thinking about the epidural, but all responses have been about the same. It works for some people, while it was unsuccessful and painful with others. Isn't there another pain reducer birthing method?

Elfrieda - posted on 10/24/2011

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It's not always safe for mom and baby, but usually it is.

If you like reading, Henci Goer's book "The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth" is a good one that lists the pros and cons of a lot of procedures around the birth. If you're not in the States, it won't all apply, but it's still very informative.

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