3rd Trimester

Epidural/Medication?

I'm planning on not having an epidural. I've got my mind pretty much set in stone that I'm more worried of the potential side effects than the labor itself.

What are you plans for medication, if any?

Second timers...any advice/word of wisdom?Big Smile

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Re: Epidural/Medication?

  • I did a natural childbirth at a Midwife center.  My decision was made because when you have an epidural it is a spinal tap, it does affect your baby when it comes to things like latching and their overall energy level.  Also even if you have an epidural you still feel a lot f the labor pains.  Lastly, I wanted to be able to be with my baby right away and be the one taking care of her.  I didn't want to be stuck in bed because i couldn't feel my legs.  I was walking around maybe 20 minutes to a half hour after I had her, she started nursing right as she was laid on my chest.  It was amazing! I understand some women just really want the meds, but for me personally, going through it naturally was the right choice and I am doing it again in a few weeks :)  The only thing that was necessary was a shot of pitocin in my leg after birth to stop bleeding.  (i didn't even feel the needle at that point
    )    Good luck!    
  • Went pain-med free with my first (9lbs.8oz) and was induced. Planning on doing the same for this one. I loved being in control of my body and being able to feel when I had to push. This time around though, I have a birth plan - many of my wishes were not taken into consideration and many, many things were done without asking, so this time I'm prepared. I'm not delusional about how unpredictable birth can be - but there are certain things I'd like if they are possible. I'm also doing everything I can not to be induced this time around - the contractions were very hard to handle.

    My best advice is to make sure you are emotionally and physically prepared. I would recommend taking a Bradley (or whatever) kind of class or at least read up on it. A lot of people go in thinking they don't want medication and end up getting it because they weren't prepared or trained. It really is better for mom and baby to go without meds, so good luck to you :)

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  • Learn your options so you are prepared to make different decisions than you expected. I never want an epi, but I won't rule it out if I end up having back labour or something.

    With DS1, after 12 hours of labour I ended up throwing up constantly, so much that I could barely catch my breath. I was exhausted and miserable. A dose of morphine let me sleep for 2min, have a 1min contraction and repeat for about an hour and a half. I was stunned that I was able to sleep between contractions. I got the morphine when I was about 6cm and it was completely out of my system before transition, so by the time I was pushing, it was natural and DS1 was born without any side effects of being affected by medications. It was ideal for me for that delivery. DS2 was natural.


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  • I wasn't prepared with DS mentally for what was actually going to happen. So they induced b.c the labor was not progressing fast enough and he was going into stress. Once the induction took place I tried walking and the water tub and I could not handle it. I did get a epi. 

    I can agree that I could not walk around afterward and that did suck! I had to have a catheter b.c I was not able to pee for like the whole day. But as far as the alertness of the baby and not being able to latch on I don't know if it was just my experience but that was not the case. He latched on the minute he was put on my chest and was awake to greet all the visitors well into the evening (we had him at 11-am).  I didn't feel drugged or like I was not able to respond to the gravity of the situation it was very emotional. I also had zero pain, and was able to push with control. 

    If you are set on it I DO highly recommend a birth plan b.c some nurses are very pushy, and just want it to be easier to deal with you.  

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  • I had an epidural.  I didn't go into labor thinking "I'm going to get an epidural", but I made it a priority to just kind of go with the flow and see what happened.  I ended up asking for the epi at about 3 cm. and the only side effect I can really say that I had was some shivering as it wore off.  My labor, from the time my water broke until I was holding the baby in my arms about 10 hours.  So if the epi did slow down my labor, I guess I'm okay with that.  I'm not sure I could have handled it moving any faster. 

    I did not use pitocin, because I was already moving along pretty fast and that is a drug I really would like to steer clear of.  I also didn't want any IV narcotics/opiates.  The latter was strictly because I didn't want those drugs circulating through the baby (who has a heart defect).  However, completely anecdotally, I think not using IV meds made that first post partum poop MUCH easier.  Narcs and opiates can constipate you and just comparing notes with pepole who used them, it seems like my post partum poop was NBD where there's was like birthin' another baby. 

    FWIW:  I'm a pretty firm western medicine disciple, but I did breast feed for over a year, co-sleep, use cloth diapers, I would have done the "baby wearing" thing if DD would tolerate it, but she preferred to be held, so I held her.  For me, the use of the epidural during labor was strictly a matter of personal comfort.  I was nervous about the actual needle, but I did not have any apprehension about "side effects" from the epidural, and I really didn't have any. 

    ETA:  You can also ask for different kinds of epidurals.  You can get a "walking" epidural or a "low dose" epidural if you're worried about feeling completely numb. I don't actually know what kind of epidural I had, but it was perfect.  It was connected to a PCA pump, so I clicked a button if I wanted to receive it (though you could only click the button so often or it would lock you out).  The epi itself took the intensity away from the contractions, but left both the feelings of pressure and the urge to push.  My aunt had a very bad experience with her epi in that it really made her pretty much numb and she hated it.  So I think there's a pretty wide spectrum in experiences.  I think if you want to go without an epi/meds go for it, but there's no reason to be "afraid" of it.  There are benefits and draw backs like anything else.  Have you talked to your OB/midwife about your concerns?

  • image ItalianDumpling:
    I did a natural childbirth at a Midwife center.  My decision was made because when you have an epidural it is a spinal tap, it does affect your baby when it comes to things like latching and their overall energy level.  Also even if you have an epidural you still feel a lot f the labor pains.  Lastly, I wanted to be able to be with my baby right away and be the one taking care of her.  I didn't want to be stuck in bed because i couldn't feel my legs.  I was walking around maybe 20 minutes to a half hour after I had her, she started nursing right as she was laid on my chest.  It was amazing! I understand some women just really want the meds, but for me personally, going through it naturally was the right choice and I am doing it again in a few weeks :)  The only thing that was necessary was a shot of pitocin in my leg after birth to stop bleeding.  (i didn't even feel the needle at that point
    )    Good luck!    

    An epidrual is not a spinal tap.  No fluid is removed from your spine.  It is a spinal block. 

  • TwoSkisTwoSkis
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    image swimbikepuke:
    image ItalianDumpling:
    I did a natural childbirth at a Midwife center.  My decision was made because when you have an epidural it is a spinal tap, it does affect your baby when it comes to things like latching and their overall energy level.  Also even if you have an epidural you still feel a lot f the labor pains.  Lastly, I wanted to be able to be with my baby right away and be the one taking care of her.  I didn't want to be stuck in bed because i couldn't feel my legs.  I was walking around maybe 20 minutes to a half hour after I had her, she started nursing right as she was laid on my chest.  It was amazing! I understand some women just really want the meds, but for me personally, going through it naturally was the right choice and I am doing it again in a few weeks :)  The only thing that was necessary was a shot of pitocin in my leg after birth to stop bleeding.  (i didn't even feel the needle at that point
    )    Good luck!    

    An epidrual is not a spinal tap.  No fluid is removed from your spine.  It is a spinal block. 

    This.  There is a lot of misinformation here.  If people want to go natural, more power to them, but there is nothing wrong with wanting pain relief or an epidural either.  I really, really resent when people imply my baby was put at risk because of my epidural.

    Epidurals are placed directly into your spine, and little to no medication enters your bloodstream to affect the baby.  Though some people do have some lingering pain, many feel no pain at all.

    And, to go further, with the amount of malpractice issues at hand, if a doctor felt the epidural put my baby at any risk, he wouldn't have let that needle within a one mile radius of me.

    FWIW, my DS came out happy, and "energetic".  He latched immediately, and was quite content to nurse for the next hour.  (Between eating and a quick newborn check, poor DH didn't get to hold him for an hour and a half!)  I had no desire to get up and walk around immediately after birth; all I wanted to do was cuddle my baby.

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  • I loved loved loved my epidural.  It is NOT a spinal tap nor is it a spinal block.  They are 2 totally different spaces.  A spinal block is used for c-sections if you don't already have an epidural or if they cannot get the appropriate level of a block from the existing epidural.  If you get a spinal tap then you get a crazy headache that won't go away without a blood patch.  Spinal taps can happen during an epidural placement (when the needle has gone too far) and during lumbar punctures.  It's an oops and is never done on purpose.  Anyway, I had an epidural and no other meds.  They took the catheter out right after delivery and I got right up and went to the bathroom.  I pushed with no problems, baby latched right away and I continued to breastfeed even while pregnant with this baby.  I am not saying one way or the other is better but I really hate when the med route or intervention route is demonized.  If I were you I would totally take some good classes on techniques to get through labor med free and really prepare yourself mentally.  Like people said, have your birthplan ready and let the nurses know your wishes immediately so they will know how you feel and can help you achieve your med free goal.

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  • I went into labor w/ DD fully planning on a natural birth.  I was very much scared of and philosophically against the epidural.  Without writing a novel, things did not go as planned, and after several hours I did get the epidural.  And it did end up being the right thing at the time.  It was a good experience, and I don't beat myself up about it.  That being said, I am very grateful that I made it so far w/o it, b/c I only had it in for maybe an hour--and I also requested the smallest dose possible--so after labor/delivery, I was able to regain feeling very quickly, and DD did not have any after affects whatsoever, simply b/c she was not exposed for long at all.  My plan this time is still for a natural birth, and I have communicated that w/ my care providers, and they are very supportive of that.  If things go the way they did last time though, I will just make it as far as I can on my own, b/c I really want 'assistance' of that kind for as short a time period as possible.  I'm definitely not one to walk in the door wondering where the anesthesiologist is.  And I think that for me, too, even though I had a good experience the first time does not guarantee I would the second--so I would prefer to deliver naturally and avoid the potential consequences of that choice altogether.
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  • I totally plan on the epidural and hope it works well!
  • I had an epi with my first and it went great! I was worried about the side effects too but after doing some reasearch and talking at length with the doc, I decided that the statistics and percentages were so small that it was worth it. I plan on having another one if I need/want it.

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  • image TwoSkis:
    image swimbikepuke:
    image ItalianDumpling:
    I did a natural childbirth at a Midwife center.  My decision was made because when you have an epidural it is a spinal tap, it does affect your baby when it comes to things like latching and their overall energy level.  Also even if you have an epidural you still feel a lot f the labor pains.  Lastly, I wanted to be able to be with my baby right away and be the one taking care of her.  I didn't want to be stuck in bed because i couldn't feel my legs.  I was walking around maybe 20 minutes to a half hour after I had her, she started nursing right as she was laid on my chest.  It was amazing! I understand some women just really want the meds, but for me personally, going through it naturally was the right choice and I am doing it again in a few weeks :)  The only thing that was necessary was a shot of pitocin in my leg after birth to stop bleeding.  (i didn't even feel the needle at that point
    )    Good luck!    

    An epidrual is not a spinal tap.  No fluid is removed from your spine.  It is a spinal block. 

    This.  There is a lot of misinformation here.  If people want to go natural, more power to them, but there is nothing wrong with wanting pain relief or an epidural either.  I really, really resent when people imply my baby was put at risk because of my epidural.

    Epidurals are placed directly into your spine, and little to no medication enters your bloodstream to affect the baby.  Though some people do have some lingering pain, many feel no pain at all.

    And, to go further, with the amount of malpractice issues at hand, if a doctor felt the epidural put my baby at any risk, he wouldn't have let that needle within a one mile radius of me.

    FWIW, my DS came out happy, and "energetic".  He latched immediately, and was quite content to nurse for the next hour.  (Between eating and a quick newborn check, poor DH didn't get to hold him for an hour and a half!)  I had no desire to get up and walk around immediately after birth; all I wanted to do was cuddle my baby.

    This exactly!!! I would also like to add that I was taking care of my baby right away and was up and moving around about an hour after giving birth. It would have been sooner but I went into shock because I was in hard labor for so long. GL!!!

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  • I am planning a med free natural childbirth. It is important to me to welcome my baby into this world as naturally as possible.

    I do not however feel it is fair to demonize women who have had epis/medication, because it may be the right choice for them when they make the decisions to use it.

    I do view birth as a normal, natural process and I feel that if we, as a society, dramatize birth as being this scary, painful thing, when it doesn't have to be.

  • jdubhjdubh
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    I hope that no one thinks that I was trying to "flame" or be ugly to the women who plan to get an epidural. That was NOT my intention when I posted this. I was just trying to see what everyone's plans and experiences are. I am a first timer and I've of course never been in labor before. I may get there and decide that I need medication. Like I said before I'm just more worried about the medicine side effects than the pain of labor. As a PP said "I like to be in control of my body."

    It's normal to be nervous about labor, and I just wish everyone the best of luck!!!

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  • image ItalianDumpling:
    I did a natural childbirth at a Midwife center.  My decision was made because when you have an epidural it is a spinal tap, it does affect your baby when it comes to things like latching and their overall energy level.  Also even if you have an epidural you still feel a lot f the labor pains.  Lastly, I wanted to be able to be with my baby right away and be the one taking care of her.  I didn't want to be stuck in bed because i couldn't feel my legs.  I was walking around maybe 20 minutes to a half hour after I had her, she started nursing right as she was laid on my chest.  It was amazing! I understand some women just really want the meds, but for me personally, going through it naturally was the right choice and I am doing it again in a few weeks :)  The only thing that was necessary was a shot of pitocin in my leg after birth to stop bleeding.  (i didn't even feel the needle at that point
    )    Good luck!    

    I'm all for people who want to go natural but those are some pretty general statements, don't you think? Hmm I had an epi with my 1st and had an easy, fast, safe labor with NO labor pains. Also LO latched like a champ immidiately. I'm not saying it always happens like that--but it did for me--and those are some pretty scary overgeneralizations for those considering an epi.

  • image swimbikepuke:
    image ItalianDumpling:
    I did a natural childbirth at a Midwife center.  My decision was made because when you have an epidural it is a spinal tap, it does affect your baby when it comes to things like latching and their overall energy level.  Also even if you have an epidural you still feel a lot f the labor pains.  Lastly, I wanted to be able to be with my baby right away and be the one taking care of her.  I didn't want to be stuck in bed because i couldn't feel my legs.  I was walking around maybe 20 minutes to a half hour after I had her, she started nursing right as she was laid on my chest.  It was amazing! I understand some women just really want the meds, but for me personally, going through it naturally was the right choice and I am doing it again in a few weeks :)  The only thing that was necessary was a shot of pitocin in my leg after birth to stop bleeding.  (i didn't even feel the needle at that point
    )    Good luck!    

    An epidrual is not a spinal tap.  No fluid is removed from your spine.  It is a spinal block. 

    Actually, it's neither! :)  A spinal block, which is used for c-sections, involves injecting anesthetic in the subarachnoid space. Epidural anesthesia is injected into the epidural space, which is 2 additional meningeal layers away from the spinal cord.


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  • image TwoSkis:
    image swimbikepuke:
    image ItalianDumpling:
    I did a natural childbirth at a Midwife center.  My decision was made because when you have an epidural it is a spinal tap, it does affect your baby when it comes to things like latching and their overall energy level.  Also even if you have an epidural you still feel a lot f the labor pains.  Lastly, I wanted to be able to be with my baby right away and be the one taking care of her.  I didn't want to be stuck in bed because i couldn't feel my legs.  I was walking around maybe 20 minutes to a half hour after I had her, she started nursing right as she was laid on my chest.  It was amazing! I understand some women just really want the meds, but for me personally, going through it naturally was the right choice and I am doing it again in a few weeks :)  The only thing that was necessary was a shot of pitocin in my leg after birth to stop bleeding.  (i didn't even feel the needle at that point
    )    Good luck!    

    An epidrual is not a spinal tap.  No fluid is removed from your spine.  It is a spinal block. 

    This.  There is a lot of misinformation here.  If people want to go natural, more power to them, but there is nothing wrong with wanting pain relief or an epidural either.  I really, really resent when people imply my baby was put at risk because of my epidural.

    Epidurals are placed directly into your spine, and little to no medication enters your bloodstream to affect the baby.  Though some people do have some lingering pain, many feel no pain at all.

    And, to go further, with the amount of malpractice issues at hand, if a doctor felt the epidural put my baby at any risk, he wouldn't have let that needle within a one mile radius of me.

    FWIW, my DS came out happy, and "energetic".  He latched immediately, and was quite content to nurse for the next hour.  (Between eating and a quick newborn check, poor DH didn't get to hold him for an hour and a half!)  I had no desire to get up and walk around immediately after birth; all I wanted to do was cuddle my baby.

    THIS EXACTLY. I am all for woman having a choice but hate when people imply that my baby was put at risk....there is no risk to the baby or I wouldnt have gotten an epidural. I love modern medicine. I dont see any reason to put myself threw the pain when there are safe options out there.

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  • correct there is alot of misinformation about epidurals, but an epidurals medication does not go to the baby it is a localized to the  mother only... but anything you have put in your IV does (ie: pain meds)...  I had an epidural but no iv meds and my baby was VERY alert and latched right away and honestly once I started having the pain of contractions I wanted the epidural.

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  • I had an epi with both DD1 and DD2 and was induced both times

    with DD1 I was induced at 8 am and had her at 1058 pm after only pushing 7 times

    with DD2 was incuced at 8 am and had her at 943 am they had to lay me on my side because her head was crowning and my OB wasnt there yet.. with her I only pushed 3 times

    with neither one of them I felt any pain nor pressure I was pretty numb also I had a small episiotomy both times

    and of course if you know your body IMO whether you have feeling or not you will know which part you need to push

    also in my case having an epidural didnt cause any adverse reaction or stalled my labor but of course everyone is different

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  • forgot to mention im planning on an epidural when its time to deliver my twins =)
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  • I'm going med-free too. However, if I have to have intervention for the baby's sake - or because my own health is at risk - I'll welcome it. And I think you would too, so I feel you should try and make your peace with the pain meds and the c-section, so that you don't freak out if they turn out to be necessary. I know women who got severely depressed over not being able to give birth naturally when they had planned on it.

    That being said, I am so much of a freak that I am actually looking forward to it (butterflies in my stomach, though, obviously). It's like a mad scientist kind of thing. I want to feel everything. I want to see what happens when the animal in me takes over my body and the rational me only gets to watch. I want to know what people are talking about when they say things like "labor pains" or "ring of fire". It's more of a morbid curiosity than anything else. It is a pain your body was built to feel and endure, it is a pain you are supposed to feel when everything is in order... as opposed to a "wrong" pain, like the pain of breaking a bone or something. I want to see how that feels for me. In me. I am not a masochist, I'm just really really curious. When you think about it, it is fascinating, isn't it?

    And of course I want to have my baby as naturally as possible - anything to boost my chances at BF and lower my chances at PPD, even if by a very small percentage. Plus, I want birth and newborn procedures to be as gentle as possible on my baby, and for that natural is really the way to go. But the awful truth is... I mostly want it for myself.

    Good luck to us all whichever way we choose to go!

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  • jdubhjdubh
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    I know what you mean...I know that modern medicine is great, but I almost feel like I would be "cheated" out of my labor experience if I didn't get to feel it. BUT Like I said, I may change my mind as soon as I go into labor lol :)
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  • image Humor Me:

    correct there is alot of misinformation about epidurals, but an epidurals medication does not go to the baby it is a localized to the  mother only... but anything you have put in your IV does (ie: pain meds)...  I had an epidural but no iv meds and my baby was VERY alert and latched right away and honestly once I started having the pain of contractions I wanted the epidural.

    This is not true.  Epidural medication DOES reach the baby.  While it may not make it into the blood stream, it does diffuse over cell walls and crosses the placenta that way.

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  • image gymnst1013:
    image Humor Me:

    correct there is alot of misinformation about epidurals, but an epidurals medication does not go to the baby it is a localized to the  mother only... but anything you have put in your IV does (ie: pain meds)...  I had an epidural but no iv meds and my baby was VERY alert and latched right away and honestly once I started having the pain of contractions I wanted the epidural.

    This is not true.  Epidural medication DOES reach the baby.  While it may not make it into the blood stream, it does diffuse over cell walls and crosses the placenta that way.

    Agree.

    I would like to avoid an epidural because it can slow labor in some women (and I may be one of them) which would then lead to the need for pitocin which can cause distress in some babies (and mine may be one of them) which would then lead to a c-section.

    I definitely second the PP who recommended taking some sort of classes geared towards natural childbirth - like Bradley, Brio, or Hypnobabies.  Not going in prepared is really setting yourself up to, well, not be prepared.

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