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Old 10-07-2013, 12:08 PM   #41
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Unhappy fear of epidural

I am a nurse and I saw many things go wrong with epidurals when I was doing my labor and delivery section in nursing school. That instilled a fear of epidurals due to their complications. I really didn't want to have a c-section, and I was also afraid that I couldn't feel well enough to push with the epidural.

I found natural labor to be a very bonding experience with my husband since he was my coach and helper with the pain. I had a long labor but the time allowed me the ability to adjust to each stage. It was a wonderful experience that I would recommend.

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Old 10-07-2013, 12:11 PM   #42
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I had a c-section with my first and I blame the cascade of interventions so I went med free home birth for my next.
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Old 10-07-2013, 12:38 PM   #43
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Re: If you chose a natural birth....

I have several reasons, most of which were based on research & reading books like The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth by Henci Goer and her more technical book directed more towards healthcare workers (yeah I'm that kind of nerd, lol) called Obstetric Myths Versus Research Realities as well as Dr Marsden Wagner's book Born in the USA and many other sources. I don't in any way mean to say nobody should get epidurals, but you need to know the risks before making a choice and know that the timing of the epidural can affect your outcome (see#2 & #4). Epidurals have their place, and they can be wonderful for the prolonged labor, but there are also other options that can be tried before you take that plunge. It's easy to give up on trying different positions or getting out of the tub, but if you later decide that you don't want an epidural anymore, it's not as easy as turning off the pump and taking out the catheter. Some women will shake off the effects in a few hours, but some will still have decreased sensation and rubbery legs for more than a day afterwards. So, do the research, find out what the risks really are, and make an informed decision before going into labor. Going into labor without a plan usually equals agreeing with whatever the doctor suggests, regardless of whether you may have thought it was a bad idea before labor.

Here are a few of my reasons, in no particular order:
1. Epidurals can cause low blood pressure (hypotension) in the mother which can thus lead to a decreased blood supply to the baby resulting in a need for interventions (pushing IV fluids and possibly even medications if BP does not respond).

2. Epidurals interrupt the natural flow of hormones and thus cause a longer labor, often leading to Pitocin which causes harder, longer contractions that are harder on mom and harder on baby and may lead to a viscious cycle of needing to up the epidural to compensate, then upping the Pit, then upping the epidural until either baby is finally born or the meds don't work as quickly as the professionals want it to and they then recommend C-section.

3. Epidurals can cause an elevated temperature in the mother which leads to increased monitoring of the infant for infection, possibly a longer hospital stay, and possibly blood draws on you and baby to test for sepsis (infection that has spread to the blood and thus the whole body, can be lethal so must be ruled out or treated asap).

4. As mentioned in #2, epidurals can sometimes lead to a cascade of interventions that may ultimately lead to C-section due to "failure to progress," and while obviously not every woman who gets an epidural has a C-section, there is a definite correlation between an epidural (the sooner she gets one, the higher the correlation) and risk of C-sections. Most sources I've read say to not get an epidural until you are in active labor and at least 4 cm dilated because there is less likelihood that your body will slow or stop labor in reaction.

5. You cannot get up an walk or use most positions that you normally could if you have an epidural. Most hospitals will restrict you to the bed because of your increased risk of falling because your legs may give out at any moment and/or you may not be able to put any weight on your legs. This also can cause labor to slow or stop.

6. You often are also required to have an IV running with fluids when you get an epidural, which also restricts your movement.

7. You cannot predict how your body will respond to an epidural. You may be with the majority of women where the epidural numbs you just fine from the waist down, but you may be in the select few who are only numb on one side or may not get numb at all. You may be a "hard stick" where the anesthesiologist has to try repeatedly to get the catheter into the right spot, which means you have to sit very, very still through many contractions in a not so comfortable position (sometimes can lay on your side, but most docs prefer a hunched over sitting position).

8. You may turn out to be allergic to the meds in the epidural, and you may get very itchy & uncomfortable because of that. Rare, but it does happen on occasion.

9. There is always a chance that they advance the needle too far or too high and damages the spinal cord.

10. You usually can't feel how or where or even when to push with an epidural, so you will have to be coached through it which means a much higher incidence of tearing, higher chance of a larger tear, and an increased chance of straining other muscles in your back, abdomen, etc. because you can't feel that you are pushing too hard. Oh, and because you may be pushing too hard, you can cause some pretty horrendous hemorrhoids too. All that can mean way more pain after birth than what you may have had during, and you don't get the endorphins to help you through it. They may give you painkillers, but they can pass through breastmilk to the baby, so be aware that you may not have as good of pain relief due to the choices they have to make based on your breastfeeding preferences and/or your personal choice of whether to risk it or not, and they may not be willing to prescribe pain meds for longer than a couple days, so you may be stuck with a very sore perineum and just Ibuprofen or Tylenol for options. (Oxycodone or 800 mg Ibuprofen are the most common choices they use postpartum)

EDIT: Here's a website that is kind of a summary of the studies and such and puts it way better than I ever could: http://chriskresser.com/natural-chil...ects-and-risks

Last edited by bazil323; 10-07-2013 at 01:17 PM. Reason: added website
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Old 10-07-2013, 01:33 PM   #44
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Re: If you chose a natural birth....

I had a epi with my first and I did not like the experience. I chose to do homebirths with my next two children
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Old 10-07-2013, 09:01 PM   #45
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With my first I planned a natural birth. At about 14 hours in of natural labor and 4 hours of pushing they tried to move him manually. I couldn't handle it and got the epi to try again, both times he flipped back to an angle where I could not push him down from. I was absolutely exhausted and decided on the c/sec.
Ds2 was really about 4 hours o hard labor. Water broke in the car and he was born 45 mins after arrival to the hospital. Perfect! Why did I want natural births? Because I feel that our bodies are made for it, and can tolerate it to the best of our abilities. My natural birth recovery was SO much smoother! I remember being Ina drugged haze for days until everything wore off after my c/sec, and I only took Motrin for pain at home, I skipped the Vicodin and everything else offered.
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Old 10-08-2013, 03:39 PM   #46
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Re: If you chose a natural birth....

I'm not dissenting, b/c I think that everybody who has already posted is correct. I will however say that despite every intention of going natural & no apparent reason that she couldn't, DP's epi is the single biggest reason she was able to avoid a cs. There are a lot of reasons to go natural & avoid the epi, but there are a few situations where the epi can be helpful, and not just as pain relief.

*She was absolutely stalled at 3cm for about 18 hrs w/ ctx 3 min apart...she went to 7 or 8 in a couple hours after getting the epi.

*She never dilated past 8 cm--the MW manually dilated her from 8 to 10, allowing her to have a vaginal birth & could only do it b/c of the epi.

*She did have s/e (hypotension that required 2 rounds of epinephrine) but no complaints of any lingering problems.

*She was able to feel to push & says she still had quite a bit of sensation.

I think that, to do it again, she would try for a natural birth again, but I don't think she'd hesitate to get an epi if she found herself in the same kind of stalled situation, nor regret it at all afterward.
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Old 10-08-2013, 07:09 PM   #47
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Re: If you chose a natural birth....

I homebirth, so meds are not an option. Since they are not an option I don't even think about them.
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Old 10-08-2013, 07:30 PM   #48
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There are a few reasons why I chose unmedicated births.

I know that I CAN get through it. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. I'm only going to be in labor for so long.

Epidurals scare me. I am afraid of any possible side effects. I also don't like being numb.

With my first, I wanted to prove to myself that I can do it. I don't take medications usually, nor do I hardly take pain reliever for headaches, cramps, etc. PLUS everyone was telling me "that's what I said, and I ended up getting one. You are going to get one" which really pissed me off. I know my body and my intentions, don't tell me what I'm going to do.

I totally get why people get meds for a birth. I was so close to giving in with my second. I had wonderful support from my husband, midwife and hospital staff who kept me on track and I was able to get through my second birth med free also.
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Old 10-08-2013, 07:37 PM   #49
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Originally Posted by Michele123
Most of my reasons have been listed already. I hate needles, especially in the spine. I want what's best for baby. I hate unnecessary drugs. I believe my body was created to do this

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Old 10-08-2013, 07:40 PM   #50
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Re: If you chose a natural birth....

The epi caused many issues with my first birth. A bit of pain from labor was not worth going through the recovery from an epi.

Quote:
Originally Posted by carriek38 View Post
I'm not dissenting, b/c I think that everybody who has already posted is correct. I will however say that despite every intention of going natural & no apparent reason that she couldn't, DP's epi is the single biggest reason she was able to avoid a cs. There are a lot of reasons to go natural & avoid the epi, but there are a few situations where the epi can be helpful, and not just as pain relief.

*She was absolutely stalled at 3cm for about 18 hrs w/ ctx 3 min apart...she went to 7 or 8 in a couple hours after getting the epi.

*She never dilated past 8 cm--the MW manually dilated her from 8 to 10, allowing her to have a vaginal birth & could only do it b/c of the epi.

*She did have s/e (hypotension that required 2 rounds of epinephrine) but no complaints of any lingering problems.

*She was able to feel to push & says she still had quite a bit of sensation.

I think that, to do it again, she would try for a natural birth again, but I don't think she'd hesitate to get an epi if she found herself in the same kind of stalled situation, nor regret it at all afterward.
I just wanted to point out that you can be manually dilated from 8 to 10 without pain meds of any kind. Ask me how I know.
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