Pain in labour is a good thing....

Toni - posted on 07/13/2009 ( 45 moms have responded )

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...or so says a male midwife.
These kind of comments make me so angry. What the hell does a man know about it, midwife or not???
Let him have a tooth out or a vasectomy with no pain relief and then get back to me on his thoughts....argh!!!

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Kate CP - posted on 07/16/2009

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Quoting Skye:

I get really annoyed when people pass judgement on others when they have absolutely NO IDEA what they are talking about...many of you have said things about pain being good because it helps you to know what you are doing & that medications absolutely affect the bonding process...well show me some prrof & while you are at it, I'd like to see your University degree...you know, the one that shows that you have done several years of study on the subject.
I understand that everyone has a right to an opinion BUT please don't paint YOUR OPINION to be the stone cold truth!
It is MY OPINION that passing these judgements, even if you ARE a "professional" can be quite dangerous. If you tell someone something often enough they can start to believe it so if a pregnant woman hears that taking pain medication or having a c-section or not breastfeeding all prevent her from bonding with her newborn & she ends up needing pain relief or a c-section or can't breastfeed then she has basically been set up to fail when it comes to bonding.
Here's an idea, instead of having a go at other women about the choices they make regarding pregnancy, birth & child-raising, maybe we should be more supportive & less judgemental of each other...united we stand; divided we fall!


The thing about saying "women who don't do *fill in the blank* can't bond with their children" is it's not exactly a true statement. Women who have a natural birth and breast feed have an EASIER time of bonding with their babies. Women can (and usually do) bond with their children regardless of how they got there (vaginal birth, c-section, adoption) but looking at the "whole picture", women IN GENERAL have found it easier to bond with a child they have had naturally and/or breast fed than a child who was born via c-section or was bottle fed. Why is that, you may say? Well women who undergo c-sections are, understandably, in pain for days sometimes weeks or longer after having the procedure. Just the fact that it's hard to move and hold a baby while in pain makes it harder to bond with the baby. Women who have epis...I think it depends on the experience she had with the epidural. If a woman had a "good" experience then I think bonding comes easier because she's not in pain or numb from the epi. 



Feeding a baby is a bonding experience. Period, end of discussion. It doesn't matter if you're nursing or bottle feeding: feeding a baby is a great bonding experience and it's amazing how you can completely tune out the rest of the world and just focus on that child for the duration of their meal.



The fact of the matter is this: when you're in pain it's really, really hard to focus on some one else. And THAT is why women who undergo medical interventions can some times have a difficult (but not impossible) time of bonding early on with their babies.



As far as epidurals not effecting the baby at all that's just scientifically not possible. You are adding an event to the process of birth which will alter things. Maybe good, maybe bad. But when you ADD something to labor and birth you are affecting the mother AND the baby. 



Positive scenario: Mom gets an epidural because she's in pain. This affects the baby because it relaxes mom and allows her body to progress through labor without fighting the pain.



Negative scenario: Mom has an epidural because she's in pain. This causes drops in her endorphine levels because she's no longer in pain and she is still hormonally connected with the baby until the cord has been cut. Mother and baby share blood until the baby is born. So anything introduced to the mother's blood stream can and will affect the baby. 

Kate - posted on 07/13/2009

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I read the article/study. I know female midwives who believe the same, and they HAVE had babies and know what it's like. My midwives believe this.

The thing is, while it is up to each woman to choose what she can handle and what she would like while in labor, it is NOT the same experience to choose an epidural as it is to choose a completely unmedicated birth. A woman who was an epi can sleep, talk, ignore the labor, push feeling only pressure, and she and her baby may be a bit sleepy after the delivery. A lot of the early natural instincts are not present. It just isn't the same.

NOW -- some women vastly prefer the medicated birth scenario. They want to be happy and rested for their baby's arrival and not feeling the pain is how they accomplish this. Some feel better about their ability to greet their baby and the rest of their family in this scenario and feel any "drawbacks" are worth it.

Others feel that they need to experience the pain in labor for a natural experience, and the immediate bonding and instincts that go into it and which are caused by the pain.

It's fine to make the choice based on the experience you want to have but just accept that whatever you choose WILL make the experience different and women who accept pain medication do not go through the same experience as those who don't.

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Oh, & before you all run off & start googling for articles that support natural childbirth keep in mind that there will be just as many to back up the oposing standpoint so don't waste your time...if you look hard enough you can find information to support whatever you are trying to justify!

[deleted account]

I get really annoyed when people pass judgement on others when they have absolutely NO IDEA what they are talking about...many of you have said things about pain being good because it helps you to know what you are doing & that medications absolutely affect the bonding process...well show me some prrof & while you are at it, I'd like to see your University degree...you know, the one that shows that you have done several years of study on the subject.

I understand that everyone has a right to an opinion BUT please don't paint YOUR OPINION to be the stone cold truth!

It is MY OPINION that passing these judgements, even if you ARE a "professional" can be quite dangerous. If you tell someone something often enough they can start to believe it so if a pregnant woman hears that taking pain medication or having a c-section or not breastfeeding all prevent her from bonding with her newborn & she ends up needing pain relief or a c-section or can't breastfeed then she has basically been set up to fail when it comes to bonding.

Here's an idea, instead of having a go at other women about the choices they make regarding pregnancy, birth & child-raising, maybe we should be more supportive & less judgemental of each other...united we stand; divided we fall!

Jaclyn - posted on 07/14/2009

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It is absolutely up to the women to take any pain relief but I feel like when you are in labour isn't it suppose to be about the baby? All of the pain meds cross the placenta to the baby. Nobody ever mentions the effects on the baby. You have spent nine months taking the best care of your body only to take drugs at the end...I don't get it. Yes childbirth is painful and I don't think the average man could take labour and delivery but pain is good in labour, that's how it's suppose to be, it shows your progressing! By taking meds for the pain you are blocking all the bonding hormones, your baby will also cry a lot more in the beginning. I think there is a place for things like Epidurals, like when you have had a really long labour and would never have the energy to push the baby out. I think in time it will come out just how important the unmedicated birth experience is for the baby. Women in the third world do it everyday why are woman in western cultures so afraid of it? We have doctors and standards that keep us safe and alive, they don't! I had a 9lb 3oz baby boy completely unmedicated and it was the best experience of my life. I also had a 13 hour labor.

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Kate Tietje: Not all babies are interested in nursing immediately...regardless of their birthing experience...both my sister's kids were born naturally, her first born was completely disinterested in sucking for about an hour, maybe longer. Her second was very interested. Both were offered the breast immediately but bubba #1 just didn't want anything for a while.



This is because they have a little tummy that is often filled with amnionic fluid. They also have a lot of something called "brown fat" which can sustain them for qute a while.



Also, I am completely offended by the comment by Lisa Moreau regarding me needing to deal with my problems or emotions...how dare you make an assumption like that...I have reported you to the mods...

Melissa - posted on 07/20/2009

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LOL! i agree! and that's why i won't even have a male OBGYN! while i was pregnant my OB had a week vacation, and a male took over her caseloasd while she was gone. i was about 8 months or so, and told him to just do the fetal monitoring, and i'd come back when she got back. and now that i'm thinking about it...would he be called a midwife...or a midhusband? things that make you go hmmmmm...

Minnie - posted on 07/20/2009

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I have to say Sharon, that despite the pain of my labor, I was up and about immediately, with quite a bit of energy. And the pain of injury is not of the same purpose of the pain of labor. The pain of labor maintains a very necessary hormonal loop in the body.

Jean Liedloff, the author of The Continuum Concept, presented an extremely interesting premise concerning bonding and a natural, drug-free birth. In a natural birth, there is a rush of hormones upon the birth of the infant, which is designed to produce a ferocious bond of the mother to the infant. This is for pure survival of the infant, because a human infant is so neurologically underdeveloped at birth that it does not help HIM to be bonded to the mother, but the other way around. And that fierce bond must take place immediately.

Now, in a typical hosptial birth, when mother is drugged, which breaks the hormonal loop, and baby is often taken out of her arms to be tested, measured, weighed, etc. In a natural, primitive setting for the birth, the ONLY reason baby would not immediately be suckling at the breast would be death or a serious health issue in the baby. So when baby is not immediately suckling at the mother's breast in a modern birth for whatever reason, and the mother's natural hormonal loop has been broken through IV drugs and an epidural, the mother's body actually goes into a state of chemical mourning. Although baby is alive and well, mother has a difficulty developing that immediate bond, and it often takes her a couple of months to develop it. It has been surmised that this is the cause of many cases of PPD.

Just a thought, I will have to research this concept more, but I thought it very very interesting. It was exhibited in both of my births- my first, a typical US hosptial birth, induced with cytotec, nubain, and an epidural- I did not develop a strong bond with my daughter until she was three months old or longer and had a very stressful time initiating and succeeeding at breastfeeding over those first few months. Vs. my second, all natural, waterbirth, in which my daughter suckled at my breast immediately, and I can barely not BREATHE without her scent and her in my arms.

Kate - posted on 07/20/2009

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I have birthed both ways now. My first was in a hospital, epi, pit, etc. I did not have any support for my birth plan and my husband was barely involved. Both of us had trouble bonding (despite breastfeeding...she's still nursing 18 mo. later though). DH felt bonded in a couple weeks; it took me a few months. By no means do I think this experience meant that I couldn't or wouldn't bond with her, she is my world now! But I wish the first months hadn't been so hard, I was so tired and a little afraid of her (because she was a person I didn't know) and I didn't get why I didn't feel that instant love. And now of course I know her well and I love her and I'm thrilled with her. But yes the beginning was harder than it needed to be and I was a bit depressed for awhile.

My second was born at home, obviously drug free. I had 24 hours of prelabor, 12 hours of regular contractions, 6 of them every 1 - 2 min. that were extremely painful with NO progress. I cried and said I couldn't do it and I didn't want to and sort of wanted to go to the hospital. I'd been up for almost 2 days, I'd gotten about four hours of sleep in between contractions and I was exhausted. DH put me in the birth pool even though I said no. Finally I relaxed...and started to dialate. I still felt like I couldn't really do it and the hospital was in the back of my mind. Then they pulled me out of the pool because I was bleeding and I couldn't stop pushing even though I knew I wasn't fully dialated. When they checked me though they said I only had a lip and the baby was coming NOW and I realized I was about to do it. The midwife made me get on my side and got rid of the lip. DS was born 2 min. later. The bonding -- I can't put him down. He co-sleeps with me, he breastfeeds easily, it's this instant crazy love and protection. My recovery is much faster too, 4 days later I'm barely bleeding and despite fast pushing I did not tear so I'm not too sore either. I just feel so differently. I would never do it any other way again.

Even if you think you can't do it, you can. And it is worth it. I remember the pain of DD's birth more than DS's despite his being 4 days ago. I already want to do it again and I could never see myself saying "enough." (Luckily DH is on board with that, he's already asked if I'm ready for #3 lol.) I love every part of pregnancy, birth, and motherhood.

Sharon - posted on 07/20/2009

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I can tolerate pain. I can appreciate what pain means when you're working out or going through physical therapy. But to invite pain when it isn't necessary? WTH? Seriously - I walked with a broken pelvis, foot, dislocated shoulder but when it came to the most joyous moments in my life? Did I need to be pain fogged and exhausted? Hell no.

I'm so glad I was lucid and pain free - pain will suck the energy right out of you - to appreciate the joy and wonderous births of my children.

Ann Marie - posted on 07/20/2009

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One thing I did find was that thinking of the pain as "a good kind of pain", like the pain you feel for a day or two after a really tough workout, helped me. The "bad kind of pain", like you get from an injury, makes you tense up, but with the "good kind of pain" you know that relaxing, drinking some water, etc. will help you feel better.



That's not the same as saying that the pain is good, though. Rather, it's saying that the pain won't be as bad if you work with it instead of against it.

Tracy - posted on 07/19/2009

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I'm sorry but that is just so sexist. Male midwives have the same training as female midwives and the advice they give is based on this. Don't judge his comment without understanding his reasoning behind it. Pain is a natural part of labour, it is something women go through every day all over the world and most without pain relief. Its hard and while your in the midst of it you might feel like you can't go on, but the thing is - YOU CAN! You are woman and we have it in us innately to deal with the pain. We are strong. I'm so disappointed when I hear about women who have elective CS just to avoid the pain - the potential complications are great and a CS is far less safe than a NVD, don't they want to do whats best for their baby?? unfortunately i think its a problem of lack of education, the obstetric surgeons certainly aren't going to recommend natural delivery, surgery is their bread and butter. I was lucky to have a midwife (who agreed with what the male midwife said in this case, and has also had 3 natural homebirths herself and is thus the voice of experience) who encouraged me in my natural ability to give birth normally and naturally. I found it to be an empowering experience. I feel so much stronger now because I did it. It really is the ideal start to motherhood. You don't want to start motherhood constantly looking to others for the answer, the true answer to anything is inside.

Rebecca - posted on 07/18/2009

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I don't believe that the pain is necessarily a good thing or a sign that your body is doing the things that it's supposed to do. I was in labour for an hour when my contractions started coming 4 mins apart and were incredibly painful. Then within another hour or so they were two mins apart. When I got to the hospital after 7 hours of this (on a hot 45C day) i was 1cm dilated. By midnight they had broken my water for me, only to find miconnium and I hadn't progressed any further. My baby had been in distress since I'd arrivde at the hospital and stopped breathing at 1am. By 4am I'd made it to 3cm with contractions on top of each other with no break at all, baby went down again and the doc finally decided to pull the plug and give me a c-section.
Originally in my nice happy birth plan I'd chosen not to get an epidural, because I was worried it would make me ill. My doctor suggested I should have it as I'm a pretty bad asthmatic and he was worried the contractions would over do it for me. I am fortunate I took his advice as I didn't get the epidural until 11pm - 11 hours into labour at which point I was buggered and having difficulties breathing. And I'm also lucky I never got hung up on my birth plan because nothing at all would have gone to plan.
I didn't have any difficulties bonding with my baby. We were able to have his first feed an hour after birth and he was a pro. I couldn't actually get out of bed and pick him up until lunch time that day (he was born at 5am) which sucked a little but that had nothing to do with the epidural, the complete spinal block wore off about 20 mins after I left the operating room. If it wasn't for the pain of the C-section I would have been fine.
I think some people have bonding issues after getting epidurals and C-sections when they have it in their minds that they don't need it and aren't going to get it, and then when they cave and get the epidural or are forced into a C-section they feel like they have failed. It's so not true!!
I now find it a little funny watching shows with pregnant women who are so sure that they will have a natural birth, because they have a high pain thresh-hold and they've taken the classes, etc and then wind up begging for an epidural. Because that was me at one point. The only difference was I was and am open to accepting what ever would help me get through it. And honestly at the end of the day whatever will get my baby out safely. If I hadn't of opted for medical intervention my baby would have been dead by 1am, and myself shortly after.
Do what you need to do to get through it, everyone's pain is different. I know someone who had a natural pain free birth... 5 times, she didn't feel her contractions at all and then had smallish babies which just popped out... Not everyone is that lucky!!

Joy - posted on 07/18/2009

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That's an insane midwife. lol I had a male doctor when I was pregnant with my daughter, and he never said anything remotely close to that. Crazy crazy.

Pain is an interesting thing, though. I apparently have a high threshold for pain, though. With my son, I was in labor all day, but didn't realize it because I hadn't felt any contractions. The first contraction I actually felt was like 45 minutes before he was born. Needless to say, I was at work (in retail at Christmastime) when I REALLY went into labor. So I didn't have the luxury of having a choice in pain meds. It wasn't even an option.

With my daughter, however, she was a scheduled induction a few days after her due date. Induction was done because her heart rate kept dropping every time I went to a checkup-- her cord was wrapped, tightly, 3 times around her neck. They started with that Cervidil stuff, which was uncomfortable (for me, anyway) but I didn't think it was any worse than normal cramps. So when the doctor came in the morning my daughter was born, he asked if I was ready, I said sure. Wheeled in the epidural guy, along with the pitocin. They were both started at the same time. lol

And I don't know if it was the pitocin or the pain meds, but I went from 2" to 10" in less than an hour. Couple hours later, she was born.

Ultimately, though, it's entirely up to the entire TEAM-- mother, doctor/midwife and nurses-- to decide on what is right for pain control. I think it'd be more dangerous to allow someone who is writing in pain to continue without anything to subside it if they are unable to focus beyond the pain. I know my instinct is to contract everything in hopes that the pain stops (like when you bend down and contract all up when your back hurts). I can only imagine someone in agonizing pain with a child already starting to crown, but keeping their legs together as tight as possible because it hurts.

Oh, and as far as the side effects from the meds on the kids-- both of my kids are the same. lol My son is slightly nutty (he has no fear), and he's the one who I didn't have the drugs with.

Jenny - posted on 07/18/2009

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I disagree with the woman who said that she doesn't get it that a woman would take care of her baby and then take drugs at the end as it is detrimental to the child. Ask ten women about their labor experience and each one experiences it differently. Some have a much easier experience than others. I'd spent four hours in hard labor in the fetal position, dry heaving and not able to breath before I got drugs. I don't know if I would've been able to avoid a c-section without them because I was so exhausted I couldn't move, let alone push. So I don't believe that pain relief is always selfish for a child or that they will cry more after. I had my daughter with an epidural and she came out calm and remained that way. She is ten months now and has never been a crier.

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It seems that everybody has a very individual story on Childbirth and Labour and that is what makes it so interesting and the kind of subject that is impossible to label. Some people will need med's and others will find other solutions such as Gina Cooley’s special relaxation and self-hypnosis classes. It truly is a beautiful moment no matter how the baby comes into this world or for that matter who assists the baby into this world, male or female. Geesh talk about reverse sexual discrimination, I work in a male dominated industry, being the oil refining industry and was personally disgusted by the statement posted by Lisa Moreau, please get with the times Lisa.

Anyway back to the beauty of birthing, my personal uneducated (on this subject) is that the individuals health, including fitness, weight and any illnesses, age and to a point "pain threshold" all have an impact on the way a labour progresses and of course don’t forget the saying about child bearing hips, lol. My personal experience was a hassle free 43 week pregnancy, yes 43 weeks. I was not concern everything felt fine and my baby was feisty. I was booked in to be induced as the midwifes at my local hospital were not happy with my theory that everything was o.k. The day came and I was induced at around 10.00am, I had my plan to walk the corridors and up and down the stairs, so I did with no pain or discomfort, at 11.00am the nurse on duty wanted to see if I had started to dilate, so they popped me up on a bed and she commented that it seemed as though nothing was happening and proceeded to place more gel on my cervix. At that point I had the sudden urge to wee, and asked the nurse if I could go to the toilet, she agreed and so I did, this was my water breaking and I went from the toilet to the nurses’ station to inform them I was now definitely in labour. The matron laughed and said "You will be age’s honey." By the time I had waddled back to my room the baby's head was engaged and I could not help but push, it was completely involuntary, another midwife noticed this and told me not to push, I replied that I was trying eeeeeee not ooooooo to. She told me to hop on the bed which I did with great difficulty, with in a second of her head bobbing below my gown level she was yelling for assistance. "This baby is here now" she hollered, and after four solid pushes my Cody Jackson was born at 11.45am.

Now beautiful story I know, hehe, I was in prime condition best of my life, I was 24 years of age, fit, healthy and strong of mind, no pain meds, yes it hurt like hell but besides some dodgy stitches I healed very well. I am now 32 years old and contemplating my second, somehow I think it will be very different, at 70kg I am now as heavy as I was the day before I gave birth to my son and certainly not in prime condition. Fingers crossed my next birth will be as simple as the first.

Thanks everyone for sharing your stories and if you need pain relief take it, just be educated.

Beth - posted on 07/16/2009

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I've had both natural and epidural deliveries and didn't see a big diffrence in my infants ability to nurse, bond and stay awake. That being said, I would take the epidural every time. OUCH!

Jaclyn - posted on 07/16/2009

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I saw a great movie that clears up a lot of the 'bonding' questions. I don't think anyone said you can't bond with your baby, obviously you can and do. But taking epidurals and other narcotics to stop the pain of birth absolutely interferes with your hormones and the babies hormones. The movie I'm talking about is The Business of Being Born. It's excellent and very informative on the birthing 'industry'.

Carrie - posted on 07/16/2009

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Quoting Deloris:

I didn't have any pain relief, I had all 5 of my kids naturally, but I had all mine rather quickly. I think your mental attitude has alot to do with how fast you dilate, when I went into labor, my attitude was here we go. There was a couple of times I was asked if I wanted some medicine and said yes, but it was always too late to have it. You could also try drinking raspberry leaf tea while pregnant and also hve of drink of it when you get settled into your room at the hospital...it helps your body get ready for delivery. Believe me it does work.



it didn't with me! both times! i had to be induced both times because i was 14 days overdue, and both times i was in labour with full blown contractional pains from the hormone drip  for 10 hours first time and 11 the second. next time i'm asking for selective cesarian i'm not going though that again! i thought they say the second is quicker than first and easier mine wasn't!

Carrie - posted on 07/16/2009

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Quoting Deloris:

I didn't have any pain relief, I had all 5 of my kids naturally, but I had all mine rather quickly. I think your mental attitude has alot to do with how fast you dilate, when I went into labor, my attitude was here we go. There was a couple of times I was asked if I wanted some medicine and said yes, but it was always too late to have it. You could also try drinking raspberry leaf tea while pregnant and also hve of drink of it when you get settled into your room at the hospital...it helps your body get ready for delivery. Believe me it does work.



it didn't with me! both times! i had to be induced both times because i was 14 days overdue, and both times i was in labour with full blown contractional pains from the hormone drip  for 10 hours first time and 11 the second. next time i'm asking for selective cesarian i'm not going though that again! i thought they say the second is quicker than first and easier mine wasn't!

Sarah - posted on 07/16/2009

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Kate C. i think you've put that really well. I think you can bond in lots of ways and the way you've phrased it makes perfect sense to me. I was actually in worse shape after my vaginal birth (epidural, episiotomy and forceps) than i was after my emergency C-section! Both times tho i totally bonded straight away.
I can understand why medical intervention can cause problems with bonding. I think people just get upset when other imply (not you) that we haven't bonded at all due to those interventions or that you CAN'T bond because of them.
I think you've said it all in a really great way tho, so thanks! :)

Minnie - posted on 07/16/2009

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Quoting Skye:

I get really annoyed when people pass judgement on others when they have absolutely NO IDEA what they are talking about...many of you have said things about pain being good because it helps you to know what you are doing & that medications absolutely affect the bonding process...well show me some prrof & while you are at it, I'd like to see your University degree...you know, the one that shows that you have done several years of study on the subject.
I understand that everyone has a right to an opinion BUT please don't paint YOUR OPINION to be the stone cold truth!
It is MY OPINION that passing these judgements, even if you ARE a "professional" can be quite dangerous. If you tell someone something often enough they can start to believe it so if a pregnant woman hears that taking pain medication or having a c-section or not breastfeeding all prevent her from bonding with her newborn & she ends up needing pain relief or a c-section or can't breastfeed then she has basically been set up to fail when it comes to bonding.
Here's an idea, instead of having a go at other women about the choices they make regarding pregnancy, birth & child-raising, maybe we should be more supportive & less judgemental of each other...united we stand; divided we fall!



No one 'had a go' at anyone.No one here said that a woman taking pain medication in labor was wrong.  I'm sorry that you feel judged by what people wrote here- maybe you need to find the source of these emotions and learn to cope with them. 



One doesn't need a university degree to be knowledgeable on a subject.  All it takes is time and a brain.

Gina - posted on 07/16/2009

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About the whole bonding issue. If all the things people say about bonding was true then it would be impossible for parents who adopt to bond with the baby they adopt. I know that adoptive parents bond with the babies. I have seen it with my sister-in-law.

Gina - posted on 07/16/2009

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Well, the only serious pain that I wanted to go away was while I was dilating and the nurses were trying to ask me questions. That distraction made the pain worse. I was begging for pain medication, but they told me they couldn't give it to me yet. Finally when they got around to telling me they could I had relaxed and felt a lot better and did not need it anymore. So, when as long as I relaxed and breathed using all the relaxation techniques I had taken the time to learn reduced the pain I had. I always swore that I would not give birth without an epidermal. Well, I ended up giving birth without anything at all. Some people tell me I must have a high threshold of pain. Whatever, I hate pain but the relaxation classes I took made a huge difference. It was explained to me that when you start to worry too much and tighten up instead of relaxing your body actually works against itself. There is a layer of muscles that is designed specifically for pushing the baby out without help. That is why women in comas can have babies without a c-section. The hormones that start the birth process tells the muscles holding the baby in to open up when we get worried or tense those muscles stop opening up while the muscles to push the baby out keep working. That is when we get the really bad pain. I don't think anyone should tell someone how they should feel while giving birth. Each person will have a different experience plus it is usually different with each child as well. I think that people in general need to calm down and let things happen how the mother feels best. And those how much pain are you in questions are horrible. They make you feel bad if you are not having enough pain as if the baby will not come unless the pain is present. Let me tell you I just had a baby three months ago and when I had lots of pain nothing... I repeat... nothing happened. When I relaxed and the pain went down things started to happen and the doctors and nurses told me to do that again. In fact, after everything was done the doctor told me that he was surprised by this birth. It was a lot of work, hard work, but not as painful as many people wanted me to believe. I was so happy about that because it took me 20 years to get over my phobia of giving birth. I am serious I would hyperventilate whenever someone mentioned childbirth to me. That is why I went to special relaxation and self-hypnosis classes. Let me tell you that made all the difference in the world to me. That is my experience, but I know it is not the same for everyone. One think I do know, you don't have to be in a lot of pain to have your baby!

Flo - posted on 07/16/2009

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Its funny isn't it how men feel they can comment on pregnancy and birth. Its like abortion, mens' voices always seem to be the loudest.
I was lucky enough to have a natural birth, it all went extremely well and my son was born in water. There were plenty of times during the labour I thought I can't do this any more but once it was over I was on an amazing high, the adrenaline kicked in. But I do have friends who desperately wanted a natural birth but when it came down to it, for what ever reasons didn't manage to. Of course its preferable to give birth without drugs or interference, but its not always possible and I do think in todays society where women are much more likely to be isolated and alone after birth, because we no longer live in communities of women like was common in the past with Grandma aunties sisters the lot, women are much more prone to post natal depression. And the stigma that they may some how have not succeeded at birth should not be added to that. The truth is no one can prepare you for the pain or how giving birth is going to pan out. No one can predict, how you're going to manage the pain, or how long its going to take. While pregnant I planned and hoped for a natural birth but hearing many other stories I realised it wasn't something I could really plan, not like you can plan dinner party. The best attitude was to have an open mind and I decided if I couldn't bare it I would let them give me what I needed to get through it. In the mean time I did what I could to prepare myself for the birth.
It did make me cringe slightly the morning after I'd given birth the girl in the bed opposite who was as chatty as ever tried to strike up a conversation with me. I was too exhausted mostly because she'd kept me awake with her TV all night. She asked me how my labour had gone and I told her it was painful. She said 'oh, I guess everyone is different, I really enjoyed it, I spent the time calming my partner down'. I thought yeh thats because you had an epidural and every two hours she asked for more pain killers. Now she seemed happy and confident but I couldn't help but be cynical l wonder how she'd cope at home when there wasn't any nurses on call, and no pain relief or pills for the sleepless nights and stress. Also she may have had a painless delivery but her daughter didn't have the luxury of a painless birth. In fact her birth was more traumatic because forceps were needed, no pain relief for her.
But both were alive and well. While I on the other hand was exhausted and found it difficult and painful to move. :)

Johnny - posted on 07/15/2009

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Although I think that women should have the right to choose what kind of labor they want, and I think it's funny hearing about this from a man, I think he's right. I was in un-medicated labor for 36 hours when I could tell something went wrong. The pain changed from contractions to sharp and continuous & I felt very odd. It turned out that I had "labor onset" pre-eclampsia. Probably due to the length of the labor. If I'd alreatdy had drugs at that point, I would not have been able to feel the pain and I would not have known something was wrong. Pain medication at that point could have lead to a very different outcome, and delayed the diagnosis of a life-threatening problem. As it was, I did have an epidural eventually when they augmented my labor to get everything to progress more quickly & save me from a stroke. I had a great anesthesiologist and I was able to even walk with it and could still feel my contractions & discomfort. So I believe that medications have an important place in child birth. But so does feeling pain.

Minnie - posted on 07/15/2009

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He's probably going on what he's learned from female midwives...although I think the concept of a male midwife very strange or a male OBGYN for that matter....

But yes, the pain in childbirth does have a purpose. It helps maintain the oxytocin-endorphine cycle that keeps labor going strong. It helps you get moving into different positions to facilitate a smooth labor and birth

But yes, I agree, a man does not really have a concept of it, and my personal belief is that men have no business in assisting births, period. That has always been a woman's area, since the dawn of humanity.

Emily - posted on 07/15/2009

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I think what Jaclyn Horcroft metioned about not being made fully aware of the possible effects of the pain meds is true. I was only 19 when I had my first and all I had was a saddle-block. For those who don't know what that is, it is a one time shot. LOL guess what ....I didn't know that at the time either! I thought I had the epidural...continuous medication. NOPE! I lost all of my water in the first 3 hours of labor and if you've never had dry birth....you are blessed. It was not the ideal senario for a first time birth let alone for one as young as I was. With my second I did have an epidural out of sheer fear. I must say though, there wasn't any lack of bonding with either of my girls. And neither cried more than a normal baby. I honestly thought they were both very easy. Only cried if they needed something. With my fist there was a period before my shot that I am told I was awake, but I was loosing it because the pain was so bad. I don't remember it at all. I took the meds because I was afraid I wouldn't be able to focus and do what I needed to for my babies. I'm thankful I live where there are these options and good medical care.

Fiona - posted on 07/15/2009

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i had a water birth and to be honest i would recommend it to anyone because it is so soothing and i never had any pain relief with it and thats a big thing for me as i dont have a high pain threshold. so if you can have a water birth.

Stephanie - posted on 07/14/2009

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Eh - men shouldn't talk.

But I found during my natural labor and delivery, that accepting the pain and commenting on how good the last contraction was helped. Pain during labor IS a good thing. Means your body is doing what its supposed to be. That kind of pain is just so different than anything else I had experienced. I knew it had a definable end. I knew the pain wasn't telling me something was wrong - rather that something was right.

So yeah - he's right - but we women don't want to hear a MAN say that lol.

Rhionna - posted on 07/14/2009

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I think it's up to the woman who's in labour as to what pain relief she feels neccessary. The male midwife made refernce to the use of water birth, which really annoys me, I have 3 kids and have planned a water birth with all of them, how many have I had? None! With my 1st two the only pool at the hospital was in use, or not clean! With number 3 I bought a pool, only for her to arrive a week late but as there was meconium in the waters when they went, so I had to be hooked up on a heart monitor on her and stuck in a bed with a drip in my arm as I wasn't contracting. I had gas and air and pethedine with all my kids, and I felt pain! It was enough for me to know what my body was doing! Although it's not at all what I wanted I have 3 healthy kids and that is what is important to me.

Gitta - posted on 07/13/2009

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I had my 3 sons naturally and giving birth was the most amazing experience of my life. As I am terrified of needles, an epidural was out of the question. And once I was in labour I focused on my breathing, took a hot bath or walked around. With my 2nd son (who was 4.170 kg) I went from 4cm to actually giving birth in 30 minutes. I have to admit I was screaming the pain away. But I would not have changed it for the world. I believe a woman's body is built to have children and the pain is a positive one.

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Well, I can certainly understand the sentiment that men have no right to comment about anything having to do with labor pain because they are spared that particular "joy". That being said what the midwife said is true. The pain helps your body to know what to do and also helps you to focus on where and when you need to push. Just like pain in your fingers can tell you that the plate you're touching is hot and you need to put it down ASAP.

Sara - posted on 07/13/2009

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LOL...so true. I read somewhere once that women have twice the pain threshold of men, and I believe it. When my husband get's sick or injured, you'd think the world was ending. He hurt his neck the other day and will not shut up about it...all I keep thinking is "I pushed a 9lb baby out of my vagina, you weenie!". I have little sympathy, as you can tell.

Deloris - posted on 07/13/2009

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I didn't have any pain relief, I had all 5 of my kids naturally, but I had all mine rather quickly. I think your mental attitude has alot to do with how fast you dilate, when I went into labor, my attitude was here we go. There was a couple of times I was asked if I wanted some medicine and said yes, but it was always too late to have it. You could also try drinking raspberry leaf tea while pregnant and also hve of drink of it when you get settled into your room at the hospital...it helps your body get ready for delivery. Believe me it does work.

Sarah - posted on 07/13/2009

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I don't know how i would have coped with my epidural!!
While i'm all for people wanting a completely natural birth (and fair play to those who manage it!) i think it should be up to the woman what pain relief they receive. I also still felt pain with mine (tho much lessened), and i didn't feel 'rested' i felt bloody exhausted!

I also don't think that i missed out on any bonding by having an epidural. The minute i saw her i was COMPLETELY in love and i don't think i could have felt that any more strongly. :)

Michelle - posted on 07/13/2009

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Well i do agree with the male midwife pain in labour is a good thing as its a sign things are progressing..... and also women who havent had children have no idea what labour feels like at all i though i did before i had my kids but i was very very wrong....But that said i do agree that you should decide what pain relief is right for you...Sorry this is just my opinion.

Michelle - posted on 07/13/2009

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I couldn't agree more!! I was demanding pain relief when I had my daughter! I made it through 12 hours of hard labour without it, but then they told me I still hadn't dialated nearly enough I said enough is enough!!

Leigh - posted on 07/13/2009

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Sorry Toni, didn't read your question properly, & I agree it is totally up to the woman to decide what pain relief she will need, although I remember when I was in labour with my 3rd child, at the couldn't talk stage & the midwife asking, where's your pain at, would you like anything (I had a birth plan & had said I would want gas if needed) only for my husband to answer, no she's ok, she doesn't need anything!! When I could talk again, I wasted my breath on telling him that I would decide thank you kindly & you will shut up, which is all I got out before the next contraction & the baby being born, but yeah, men would not go through an ounce of child birth pain without screaming for an epi!!

Toni - posted on 07/13/2009

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Quoting Charlene:

i think a male midwife would know asmuch as a woman who hasnt had kids. i do agree with you though its up to you what pain relief to get


I think a woman who hasn't had a baby can still imagine and appreciate how painful labour and contractions can be better than a man. Just like another man can imagine and sympathise how painful a vasectomy could be without pain relief....could we? We'd know it was painful but we don't have the same tackle as a man, so we don't know how painful or the type of pain. We can't put ourselves in a man's place, another man can. It's the same with women and childbirth.

Charlene - posted on 07/13/2009

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i think a male midwife would know asmuch as a woman who hasnt had kids. i do agree with you though its up to you what pain relief to get

Toni - posted on 07/13/2009

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I believe it is a choice. i think each labour is different, each mother is different. She should be the one to choose how much pain relief, if any, she should get.
I don't think a male midwife should be making those decisions for the majority of women and should keep his opinions to himself and stop trying to generalise all labours.

Leigh - posted on 07/13/2009

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Well, he's not wrong, because the pain you go through is productive enough to birth your baby lol. Male midwifes, now that's another story!!

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