View Full Version : Midwife trying to talk me out of Epidural
I am 13 weeks preganant with my second Bub and last week I went to see the Community Midwife at my local hospital. The visit was great and she asked all sorts of questions about how I felt my last labour went. Although it was not too bad I decided that in order to somewhat enjoy my next experience I want to have an epidural as soon as I possibly can. She didn't really tell me that I couldn't, only that "Well you did it ok with just gas last time, so I am sure that you can do it again". Are they told to suggest drug free births to women? I know that she was only trying to be helpful but I really don't want my decision to be influenced by anyone this time round.
Has anyone else experienced this? Love to hear everyone's thoughts on this.
Mum of Ella (6)
EDD 14th February 2006
I had a midwife tell a doctor that I didn't need drugs and I didn't get any till her shift was over. It is not their choice, it's yours. Thank her for her advice and make it clear to her that this is what you want. She isn't the one who has to give birth.
Sounds like you could have enjoyed your first labour more, I'm sorry it wasn't as good as it could have been. Hugs to you! There are lots of pain relief options before you get to epidurals which are pretty strong drugs that are not very good for babies or mums. If you have an epidural really early in labour you risk slowing your labour down, then being hooked up to syntocinon and then having either a caesarean, forceps or ventouse. None of those are very pretty :( So your MW, while she isn't explaining herself very well, or offering you alternatives, is trying to save you from those scenarios which are sadly very common.
This is some more info on epidurals, and below it, a very big list of other options that are safe for mums and babies. Don't forget, we're designed to give birth or we wouldn't be such a huge species across the globe! And since you've already done it once, you will possibly have a shorter labour this time too :D Ask the MW next time whether you can have heat packs, massage, acupressure, be active, shower, bath and many other things. A doula is also essential and women use next to no pain relief when they have doulas! And have much lower rates of other interventions.
A little excerpt
Generally, it is true to say the epidurals are a safe and effective method of relieving pain in labour - but safe does not mean risk free - the risks are there - it is wrong to say there are "none" (re the hospital employed childbirth educator) See Thorp, J.A. & Breedlove, G (1996) Epidural Analgesia in Labour: An evaluation of Risks and Benefits 23(2) 63-83. for a good review of the literature.
hypotension 12 - 23%
maternal fever - (then unnecessary antibiotic therapy - then the yeast infection - then.....) one study cited an increase of 0.07 Celsius rise per hour exposure to epidural anesthesia. another reported 5% of fetuses reached cores temp in excess of 4Celsius, another found a statistically significant increase in maternal temps > 38C associated with EA.
inadvertent spinal ( and headache to follow - which a blood patch does not always cure - the incidence depends on skill of operator.... July - new residents - expect a huge increase in spinals in the teaching hospitals..... )
pruritus, nausea and vomiting. (no numbers here - but more likely with spinals)
backache - significant more women c/o backache following EA (RR 1.8)
fluid overload- ?pulmonary edema???
infection from epidural site
Henci Goer on epidurals
Epidurals: can they impact breastfeeding?
Epidurals: real risk for mother and baby - Sarah Buckley
The Epidural Express:
Real Reasons Not to Jump On Board
by Nancy Griffin, M.A., AAHCC
Medical Risks of Epidural Anesthesia During Childbirth
Here are few links to great info on dealing with pain in labour. Don't forget that studies into pain relief show clearly that women with lots of emotional support, particularly from other women and known caregivers deal with labour pain very happily. Labour is hard work but it need not be awful. It can be beautiful and fun and inspiring! I hope you have a beautiful birth!
Natural pain relief in labour
Pain relief and home birth (useful in any situation though)
Comfort measures for labour the most complete list Ive ever seen, a must read!
Water birth stories
The importance of relaxing by Grantley ****-Read MD
From MIDWIFERY MATTERS, Summer 2000, Issue No. 85
Pain in Labour - Is it Insufferable?
By Margaret Jowitt
"Ecstatic Birth - nature's hormonal blueprint for labour" Dr Sarah Buckley
"Help - it hurts! ... get me the complementary therapies!" Andrea Robertson
"The Pain of Labour: A Feminist Issue" Andrea Robertson
"No gain without pain" Nicky Leap
At the end of the day it is YOUR decision, it is not like you haven't been there before.
You know how much pain you can handle and what to expect. If you want the epidural I reckon you should have it.
There are risks in everything. Doulas are a nice idea, but not an option everyone can afford.
I agree, if you want it you have it. I also had a hideous first birth with MW point blank refusing to give me an epi. Finally when they realised bub was not coming out the OB came in and took over- epi (bliss)!!!
Next time I am insisting on an epi much earlier in the piece. I will be very vocal as will my hubby as it is my choice and it is what I want. I'm glad other women choose to give birth how they want to and so will I.
Go with what you want!
Thank you all for your support and advice.
JanetF - I know that you mean well with your advice and I do know what alternatives are available to me and I know that this time might be completely different from my first. The thing is that this is not my first and I know very well what labour feels like. Well done to the women who choose to do this without any pain relief, I think that's great. However, why should a women be expected to deal with the pain in this day and age. If you went into an Emergency Room after breaking a leg or something would you be expected to deal with the pain or breathe through it, I don't think so. Birth is a wonderful experience I admit it but I would like to be there this time to experience it fully and not be off with the fairies because the pain is all consuming. I would like to be able to speak with my partner and support people instead of not being able to communicate because of the excruciating pain. The main thing that I do not want is trying alternatives and still finding that I want an epidural only to find that it is too late! There are risks in everything, even in child birth itself but we still choose to do it.
I am sorry if I sound like I am having a go at you, because I am not. I suppose a lot of this post is influenced by hormones at the moment too. My plan is at my next Midwives visit, take a one page 'birth plan' that clearly states my wishes and that I (if possible) do not want to deviate from this.
Thanks again for your words, sorry if I have rambled on.
Its YOUR choice. You tell them what YOU want. After all, its YOUR baby.
I had an epi with both my deliveries and I can say that they were great for me. After the first one, I had thought that I would try to avoid it with my second, but I changed my mind once in the delivery suit! Like you, I think "why do it without drugs"? I know that some women get a tremendous feeling of empowerment by going drug free and I would never rob them of that, but its just not important to me.
I can say that I remember all of my labours and we were all very calm and relaxed all the way thorugh. The catheter was the most inconvenient part of the whole thing (as I don't really like being connected by tubes to anything). I never had any side effects (although I know that on this forum there are ppl who complain of headaches, backpain and numbspots), but as you say, we choose to accept risk everyday, whether it be driving a car or having a baby.
Noone should force you to have your child any other way than the way you want. You are the one who is going to be in labour. Everyone should just present you with all the facts and let you make up your own mind.
Best of luck (or change midwives :) )
Hi, your birth, your decision, if you want to have an epi then go for it. I think all janet was trying to say though was that subsequent labours after a first are usually extremely different from your first and you may find that you dont need it! they often go much quicker and you are able to work with it rather than fight it because you know what to expect (at least that has been my experience), there often isnt nearly as many complications with subsequent births either. I had an epidural with my first and it made my labour drag on for hrs, i had to have a catheter, forceps eventually had to be used and i wasnt allowed to get up till an hr or two after to have a shower, which was all i wanted to do! so my decision was to not have one the sec and third time around but that was just my choice , the point is we live in the 21st century, if you want it you should be able to have it, just like if you dont want it you dont have to have it (my drug of choice was actually pethidine, ah i loved everybody, it didnt make the pain go away, but i sure didnt care about it as much for awhile!)but some people hate it, if a man presented to hospital with kidney stones or something i bet they wouldnt tell him to sit there and take it! Dont have anything set in concrete, be prepared to do whatever you think is best for you and your baby once you get in there and you cant go wrong :)
I thought I might comment here...
When I had my DD I had an epi and it went well, no side effect (I thought that birth hurt cause it wore off at the end because the mw thought I should feel so I could push!)
So I was pretty sure I wanted to have an epi with my DS, well they fiddle farted around so long admiting me (they didn't believe my waters broke and didn't even check to see if I was diolated!) that I had him in 50 minutes with NO pain relief and IT HURT HEAPS!!!!
IF YOU CAN HAVE DRUGS HAVE THEM!!!!
I did it but I will NEVER have another child because of it. :D
I'm surprised and saddened that the mw dismissed your wishes so quickly.
I hope you get more support for the birth you want on further visits - if not, I'd see if I could change carers/hospitals.
With the births of my 2 girls i had one with epidural and one without. My 1st born i went private (OB) and received an epidural which was fantastic. My 2nd i had natural and i went public. I have to admit labour HURT a lot and i will definatly only be having the 2 kids i have now.....
I have to say i recovered 100% faster and 100% better after the natural labour, if i was every pregnant again i would TRY to do it naturally.
But being your 1st one, it can be a little scarry.
Hi Jackie, every pregnany is diffrent, just because you has gas last time doesnt mean a thing, that was 6 years ago. When it comes to the time just be firm and demand an epidral, make sure you yell and scream heaps so you get one quicker!
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