Epidural or No?

  • I am 24 weeks pregnant and feel like the weeks are flying by. As i get further and further along the more worried about labor. I really wanna try and go all natural, and everybody thinks im crazy... This is my first baby, so I have never had labor pains or anything. Another thing, i HATE needles.... so thats influencing my decision ALOT, but also i dont wanna be numb after, and i wanna be out of that hospital as soon as possible. I need some help, i have read about epidurals and different pain relief things, but i need some personal stories instead of the facts. Reading about it online and hearing it from someone who has gone through it are two totally different things!! HELP :)

  • Well first i think it's awesome that you want to have a natural birth. Many many women before you have endured childbirth just fine so use that as comfort if you need to. I however never had any desire to experience a natural birth, i figure if i don't have to be in pain through it then i don't need to be. If there was a danger to the baby then pain meds would not be an option in my opinion. I have experienced contraction pain however and they were bearable, but very uncomfortable. From what I have read from other posters in the past labor pains are different for everyone and wildly depends on your pain tolerance and the location of your pain. I have also read from other posters on this site that if you can make it to 7cm without pain medication then you can do it natural. It has been said that the pain doesn't really get worse after 7cm just becomes different if that makes any sense. Now for the epidural if you decide that you want one. The first thing that may ease your mind is if you are in enough pain to really want an epidural then the needle will probably be the last thing on your mind at the time (But i don't have a fear of needles, so that's just me thinking) And my experience with the epidural was not bad at all. You don't see the needle when they come in, there is a nurse there to help hold you still and will talk you though it if that is needed. The poke for me wasn't nearly as bad as getting the IV in my arm put in and all i felt after the initial poke was a little tingling in my legs during the placement of the catheter. The procedure did not take long at all and relief came quickly once the medicine started running. The down side to an epidural is you can't walk around, and my legs were so numb that i couldn't lift them if i wanted to. Anyhow this is a decision that only you can make. I suggest that you join a birthing class and talk to your doctor about it so that you can come up with a plan you're really comfortable with.

  • I am the biggest baby when it comes to needles... i absoulty hate them. when i had my daughter, i was induced and i opted for the epidural. i felt nothing when they gave it to me. didn't feel it go into my back or anything. my ex husband almost passed out watching it, but i didn't feel anything lol! they give you a button so you can control the med. it was the best decision i ever made. didn't feel any pain at all. 

  • I just had my first child on the 8th of this month. Throughout my entire pregnancy i wanted to go all natural & was completely against the epidural. When i went into labor my contractions werent really that bad until they broke my water. After that the contractions hit so hard i actually cried. My nurse came in & talked with me about the epidural & other options that i had to relieve pain but the epidural was the best option so i chose to go ahead and get it. I was scared at first but your contractions hurt worse than the needle. At least it did for me. I honestly dont think i would have been able to do it without the epidural. I was upset that i didnt get to do it natural bc i was really wanting to but i am glad that i made the decision i did. I can stand alot of pain to but labor was NO JOKE for me! They actually said my procedure was one of the worst ones they had seen in awhile so yours may be a complete different expirence & you may be able to go all natural. I wish you the best of luck & i hope things go the way you want them too. (:

  • BabyJuneBug - good for you wanting to go natural! You aren't crazy at all - there are MANY women in who are able to have a baby naturally and especially around the world, this is very much the norm! If you decide you want an epidural after all, it really is not much of a painful thing at all when you are already going through labor. However, I'd encourage you to give natural birth a try. When you reach a wall and feel like you can't handle the pain, make sure to have some visualization techniques ready. Some of I heard of include picturing yourself just "melting" with each contraction to try and relax or simply moaning through each one and picturing the baby moving lower with contractions. Use of hot water, showers, different positions, etc can be very helpful. I'd encourage you to even check out a doula - having a doula by your side when in labor can provide a lot of great emotional and psychological support. Good luck - you can do it!! 

  • For me, natural childbirth is much appreciated. Although it's painful but at least after that you can feel very fulfilling. At last you make it successfully. I did not discourage you MyBabyJuneBug13, that was only in my opinion. But it all depends on your own choice whether you want epidural or not.

  • Labor pains are very intense. They are people who do it all natural and their are ways to help the pains naturally (such as a warm bath or walking around) but it's not going to get rid of the pain like an epidural will. I had an epidural with my son (I currently pregnant again) after a little while. Keep in mind that they can give you an epidural at pretty much anytime (before pushing). You can go without it and then if you think you need it you can get it. To be sure, talk with your doctor. When I had my epidural it wore off by the time I got to the pushing stage (I didn't use it much, I had a button that I could push every so often to feed more medicine into yourself) and I could feel and move just fine. The pain isn't the same (in my opinion) when you get to the pushing stage. Getting the epidural put in didn't hurt me, it just felt weird. After it was in I didn't even know it was there. This time I am going to try to go longer without it. Anyway, you still have time to decide and talk to your doctor if you want more info on it. :)

  • First off MyBabyJuneBug13....Congratulations on your little one. Pregnancy and delivery are two on the most joyous things a woman can do. The fact that you want to try natural is awesome. I am currently pregnant with my third and had both on my first two completely natural. I did receive one shot of Nubain through my IV with my oldest and it dropped her heart rate and I said no more.  I did not get a lot of support with my daughter so I just did my own thing. 

    I know that it sounds crazy but I kinda just went into myself and visualized the contractions doing their job and helping me get the baby out. I was told a lot of negative things by my mom which made me do things completely different. I never screamed, yelled, cussed or belittle my ex like my mother said I would. I did not have her with my son and was able to just concentrate on having my baby. With him I used the same technique of visualizing the contractions pushing him down and out.

    I will not lie and say the going natural does not hurt because it does. I still plan on going natural with this baby even though I have a lot of bad back and hip issues. I too am petrified of needles and had to have 2 epidural steroid injections for severely herniated discs and the second one gave me nerve damage and weakness down the left side. That is why I refuse to have one this time. That and I want to be able to get up and walk around during labor. If you get the epidural right away you are stuck in the bed with a catheter.

    I am all for the epidural if that is what you want but make sure that it is what you want and not what everyone else wants for you. Either was your little one will join this big new world and once little one is here all the pain is forgotten. 

    Good Luck in whatever you choose.

  • I was induced with my first, thus opting for an epidural. While it was easy and offered all the pain relief I desired I found that when it was time to push I couldn't feel the contractions and I felt that it actually slowed down the process. With my second I labored for several hours at home. I arrived at the hospital at 7.5cm and was panicked to get my epidural. I remember telling the nurses, "I can't do it without one..." Turns out there wasn't enough time and I DID do it without one. It wasn't bad. They told me what it would feel like and it was a lot of burning but I felt and pushed with every contraction and it was much better than the first birth, even with the pain.  Now pregnant with my third, I'm opting not to have an epidural. I know what to expect, I know I can handle it and I'm looking forward to my labor! Do whatever you feel is comfortable at the time. When it comes down to it, no one cares if you have an epidural or not- no one treated me like a hero the second time around (but I felt like I had superpowers)!

  • Brinny
    I have also read from other posters on this site that if you can make it to 7cm without pain medication then you can do it natural. It has been said that the pain doesn't really get worse after 7cm just becomes different if that makes any sense.

    Wow! Awesome! Thanks for this. I had never heard this before but it certainly makes a lot of sense. I, too, am shooting for all natural. My mom has been very encouraging in this decision and reminds me that she had my two brothers and I all natural as well. Everyone else seems to think I am crazy, though, which bothers me somewhat but I am still going to try.

    The hospital where I am delivering has a midwife on staff. I was pretty excited about this at first because at first I was hoping to avoid the hospital all together and deliver at a birthing center. Unfortunately the closest birthing center in my area is two hours away so we chose to deliver at the hospital where my husband works. When I got the chance to sit down with the midwife, I was pretty excited to discuss options and pick her brain. I was, however, laughed at instead when I even mentioned the words "birthing plan". I was essentially told that new mothers get so caught up in the idea of a birthing plan when they really have no idea what they are about to go through. My best bet was to just go with the flow and let things happen as necessary.

    Now, mind you I had all intentions of going into this birth with an open mind because believe me, I am well aware of my lack of knowledge and experience when it comes to having a baby. This, however, seemed little offensive and quite a bit irresponsible to not at least have an idea of what you want to do. I am almost 32 weeks along and I need to get moving on a plan because all I know right now is I am going to TRY to go natural. At least as natural as possible in a hospital setting. Big Smile

  • ohiogrown - Gosh, that wasn't a great response from the medical staff. Birth plans are an important piece of communication between patients and medical staff. I'm sorry you dealt with that. Just know that sometimes medical professionals feel like they've "seen it all" and certainly some birth plans don't turn out like you want them to. I think you are well aware of the fact, however, that birth plans are to be somewhat flexible. Just go in there with your head up high and perhaps consider a doula or friend going with you who can advocate for your needs and help you through the contractions with therapeutic distractions. Everyone means well, I'm sure, at the hospital. Good luck!! 

  • I completely agree with Julie.. My birthing plan was to get an epidural and do whatever my doctor and her team thought was best at the time. Mind you i had COMPLETE confidence in my doctor and her ability to keep my daughter and I safe during her journey to this world. I as you put it "went with the flow" (as i do in my everyday life) and let the cards fall where they may. I would not change anything about my daughters birth and plan on doing it the same with future children, only with a different doctor since i have moved.

  • It is funny, hubby works in an ER and I am terrified of hospitals! Before I met him, I hadn't been to a doctor in almost a decade. ::blush:: I was so excited about the idea of a midwife but reluctantly agreed to the hospital after seriously considering the miniscule chance that something could go wrong. I was thrilled, though, to find out my hubby's hospital had a midwife on staff.

    After all of my check ups, I have now met with all three delivering doctors along with the midwife. Crazy as it seems to me, I actually preferred the doctors to the midwife! You are right, she definitely had an "I've seen it all, young grasshopper" kind of attitude while all three doctors were funny, kind, and not at all condescending. Aside from the soon to be weekly visits, I have been pleasantly surprised about how easy and carefree these visits have been.

  • i hate needles too but with me i had to get an epidural i tried walking around to help with the pain i tried everyhing so i finally asked for it and when they did it i didnt feel the needle or anything and the pain went away and i was able to relax alitle before it came time to push.

  • When I had my first child I went all natural no pain meds no nothin. I was terrified of having an epidural, more than I was afraid of giving birth! Giving birth hurt like heck!!! I only pushed for 15 minutes and the reason was because I pushed as much as I could because I just wanted the pain to stop!!! I tore a little bit and was very sore afterwards! My son was 7 lbs 13 ounces. I just had another baby on 4/25/13. I decided this time I would try an epidural. I never looked at the needle I gripped the nurse and the daddys hand really hard and tucked my chin to my chest and....felt like an idiot when they put the needle in and it didnt feel like anything compared to the labor pains I had been having lol. I would suggest that you allow yourself to be have harder labor pains when you get the epidural because for me it helped take my mind off of my fear. After I had the epidural I was smiling and felt 100 times better. I would feel a weird pressure when the contractions would come but no pain. Finally it was time to push and they let the epidural wear off a little. It still hurt a little for me but not anything compared to my first birth and I was able to enjoy the experience alot more. I ended up pushing out a 10 lb 2 ounce baby and I had didnt even tear. I personally think its because I had the epidural I was able to let my body push the baby out the way it is supposed to instead of trying to force the baby out to make the pain stop. Oh and I only pushed for 4 minutes with my second =)