Labor with epidural vs. without — The Bump
January 2016 Moms

Labor with epidural vs. without

So my husband would like me to not have an epidural, but I'm leaning towards it if pain becomes unbearable, which of course I imagine it will. I'm a first time mom looking for some advice. Thank you in advance

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Re: Labor with epidural vs. without

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  • Oh of course! I have friends who did it without an epidural, and some who only would do it with. I'm just wondering if anyone waited until the last minute to get one
  • All of the above. Your body, your decision.
    Kellycrazymomma
  • What's your husbands reasoning behind not wanting you to have an epidural ? I've had both one with and one without and the birth without the epidural went far better for me.
    Mommyduclosjeanbug12
  • My first labor was crazy long and so so slow that they decided to give me pitocin- I was so scared of the pitocin that I got an epidural and hoped to rest, of course that didn't really happen anyways. I still barely progressed until they broke my water. Pushing was hard- I couldn't really tell what I was doing and even though I couldn't feel any pain the sensation felt like I was ripping open from one end to the other and that was scary to push through. I tore a little and got a couple stitches- very minor and recovery was hard. Baby was drowsy and that made my milk take longer to come in, which was scary cause my son got so jaundice from it taking a while. Once we were a few weeks in though everything was great. My daughter I had a crazy fast labor, no epidural. Pushing felt so much better, and I didn't tear at all. Labor was very painful and hard BUT Recovery was 1000x easier, my baby was so much more alert, my milk came in so fast and we had no jaundice problems at all. So I'm having my third and I'm planning on no epidural. However it is hard to say if it was the epidural that made my recovery harder or if it just was the way it was. My friend made a good point that the hardest thing about getting through labor without is that we have no idea how much longer there is to go. I labored at home for 4.5 hours with my second went to the hospital and was only 4 cm- I was so pissed! But I had her 2.5 hours later and then other mom's stall out at the end, so you just never really know. There is nothing wrong with either choice and honestly baby daddy shouldn't get much say in that one give it a go but if you decide you want one then get it!
  • I'm going to do what I feel is right regardless of what my husband says, he's a baby himself, if he gets a hang nail he's hyperventilating-- I think he just doesn't want her to be "drugged". One of our friends told him that when the mom has an epidural the baby is messed up after delivery. He knows I'm leaning towards having one if I can't handle the pain, although I plan on waiting until I'm dilated enough
    mamakculbChrissyD1203
  • I'm going to do what I feel is right regardless of what my husband says, he's a baby himself, if he gets a hang nail he's hyperventilating-- I think he just doesn't want her to be "drugged". One of our friends told him that when the mom has an epidural the baby is messed up after delivery. He knows I'm leaning towards having one if I can't handle the pain, although I plan on waiting until I'm dilated enough

    I would strongly encourage you to find some medical literature to share with him on the subject and for yourself, whichever way you plan to go, so that you know the facts beyond one person's input.

    mrhargrjeanbug12cjohnson0177
  • Thank you! I've been researching quite a bit.
  • I had an epidural and my baby came out alert and not "drugged". Labor is hard and imagine if you were a baby being born you would be tired too! The outcomes are different for everyone. I went as long as I could without one but then I was so exhausted I got one and it was much better after that. Hubby has no say he just backed me up on whatever I wanted to do. Don't let one person's bad or good experience influence you. Do your research and have an idea of what you want to do and your hubby should back you up.
    anightintunisia
  • I had an epidural with my first and will again with this one if possible. DD didn't come out "drugged" and was very alert right after birth.
    lwebley
  • I'm a FTM so I don't have any experience, but I don't have a hard and fast rule when it comes to an epidural.  I'd like to get through as much of labor (maybe even all!) that I can without one, but I am happy to get one whenever I get to the point I feel like I can't take any more pain or that my exhaustion from the pain is actually hindering my labor.  

    And echoing all the PP's it is 100% your choice!  I would be seriously peeved with my husband if he told me he didn't want me to get an epidural!  
    Cricket99mahlodSamiya64
  • Both times I have had babies, I went in thinking I didn't want an epidural and both times I have ended up with one because of the back labor pain. The first time was not a good experience because it was a long labor so I was hooked up to the epidural for a long time. I was also given pitocin and a mag drip and I think it was the mag drip that messed me up the most. They had to stop labor for a bit in the middle of it all because the baby and I both had dropping heart rates if you're wondering why I would get magnesium and pitocin during labor. But my DD was born super alert.

    With my second, I got the epidural and my son was born like 15 minutes later. It was awesome. I felt great and was up and walking around soon after. I even left the hospital early because I felt so good.

    Unless I have the baby too quickly, I will definitely get the epidural again. I think it's all about the timing. I recommend waiting as long as you can before getting one because it can stall labor, which can lead to pitocin, which can lead to other interventions.
    usernametaken1
  • I had an epidural with my first after about 9 hours of labor. Unfortunately, things slowed down for me after the epidural and I ended up with a c section. With my second I had a VBAC with no epidural, it was a much better experience for me so I will be trying to avoid it this time as well.

    Epidurals are safe for baby if you end up going that route. My husband has no say in my pain relief!
  • I waited about 8 hours to get my epidural with my first (my water broke and I had to be induced) my contractions were less than 2 minutes apart but I was only dilated to 1.5 cm. my midwife told me it could be a few days of laboring like that and I lost my mind. I got the epidural, labored for 14 more hours before I pushed, I never would have mentally made it without the epidural. Sometimes you just don't know until you are in labor and feeling it. I plan on getting an epidural again, unless for some reason labor goes really quick.
  • I was leaning towards not having an epidural with my first. My labor was so quick and intense, 5 hours from start to baby coming out, that it helped me chill out and relax. I did wait til the very last chance to get mine. I thought for sure the big giant needle would be something I'd remember feeling, but all I remember is hugging the nurse on the edge of the bed while holding perfectly still during a contraction so the anesthesiologist could do the epidural haha! I relaxed and enjoyed pushing afterwards and had a pleasant experience. With this baby I plan to do the same, go through labor and possibly have an epidural. I won't rule it out but I'd like to go as far as I can without it. I wonder if this labor will be shorter as many second births are.

    Good luck in your decision making. Just research and decide what's comfortable for you. While I love to follow my husband's advice/wishes, this is something he will never understand or experience fully on a physical level, so it is my choice, not his on how to manage my pain.



    JCGMPGOGGjrouge12
  • You do what you want to do. When your husband pushes a baby out he can decide on what he wants.
    This x5000.




    TTC #1 10/2014
    Low progesterone
    BFP 05/2015
    Baby boy born 01/2016
    Currently: NTNP





     
    Monilee1017jrouge12
  • 2danielled2danielled member
    edited October 2015
    I decided to attempt the unmedicated route and am prepping by taking Bradley method classes. I hear that helps a lot. Lol . We'll find out in January! ;)
    mamakculb
  • I plan on going as long as I can without. I got one with my son right away and feel like I missed out. 
  • Here's my input. I come from a very "natural" family, and my husband's is very pro-modern medicine, so I was conflicted with this decision with my first. What ultimately made up my mind was this: most first time moms have very long labors. Trying to do it natural for hours on end can exhaust you and stall labor. I decided to go as long as I could without until I felt uncomfortable or unable to relax and then try natural for the next child if i wanted. I believe I got an epidural at a 5 or a 6. My labor was 19 hours total, but once I got the epidural I had the baby within a couple hours. I think it helped me relaxed enough to progress. My memory of birth was really joyful because I was able to play games and watch movies with my husband and just enjoy those hours. Because it was such a joyful experience, I decided to do an epidural with my second. However, I was able to wait even longer before getting one, and my labor was only 3 hours. Because of that, I'm considering natural with my 3rd. My advise is go with your gut and don't give in to any pressure one way or another. I do think it's wise though to not get one at the very beginning.
    maureenmcemamakculb
  • jrouge12jrouge12 member
    edited October 2015
    I kind of have a problem with the selected answer. I have known many women who went in with every intention of having a med-free birth that due to complications and stress to the baby had to have an epidural. Are those women any less "empowered" because they had to have meds? If you go in with this high and mighty idea of being "empowered" by having a med free birth, does that mean you will (or another woman who reads that answer) refuse/delay the doctors suggestion of what is really better for your baby and your health because of some notion of being empowered or more womanly for not using meds. I know not everyone who advocates a med free delivery thinks "less" of women who opt for meds but I get that feeling sometimes. (And I don't think that of the poster who answered, she has seen both sides!)

    I guess to sum up my rant. I feel like a better answer to this post is to create a birth plan based on research (medically sound) and advice from professionals (anecdotes are not a good source!). Be prepared to change all of your plans because anything can happen. Having an "easy" birth or "difficult" birth or "med free" or "medicated" or "hospital" or "home" birth doesn't make anyone better than anyone else. We're all mothers!
    littleloves3
  • Wow I don't know why you are even giving him a choice! Lol you do what you think is best.
  • enkbenkb member
    edited October 2015
    jrouge12 said:
    I kind of have a problem with the selected answer. I have known many women who went in with every intention of having a med-free birth that due to complications and stress to the baby had to have an epidural. Are those women any less "empowered" because they had to have meds? If you go in with this high and mighty idea of being "empowered" by having a med free birth, does that mean you will (or another woman who reads that answer) refuse/delay the doctors suggestion of what is really better for your baby and your health because of some notion of being empowered or more womanly for not using meds. I know not everyone who advocates a med free delivery thinks "less" of women who opt for meds but I get that feeling sometimes. (And I don't think that of the poster who answered, she has seen both sides 


     
    Why aren't people who felt empowered with their birth allowed to say so? I like to read on here what other people's experiences have been so that I get a clear picture of the range of experiences out there, then I can make my own decisions based on as much information as possible. It seems like we are in such a hurry to make sure no one gets their feelings hurt that we are silencing a whole range of experiences. If a mom with an epidural or a c-section felt empowered by that decision or experience (as I am sure some do), I want to hear about that too! Doesn't mean I would rush to get one, but it would mean a better understanding of what everyone goes through. Please lets stop saying 'because I had a different experience then you, you aren't allowed to talk about yours'.
    MrsB915mg137
  • Just to echo what a couple of others have said--the epidural does not drug the baby. It's extremely small doses of medication locally that numb nerves and prevent you from feeling pain. Some have fentanyl but some just have local anesthetic. The baby isn't drugged from it but can be if you get IV pain meds.
    In my experience, I am glad I got one with each because it allowed me to rest a little. Each person is different and there isn't a right or wrong answer. And I know others feel you should decide before hand, but that's only if you really care one way or the other strongly--I think winging it and seeing how things go once you've experienced it is okay. A lot of pain is fear of pain--you may be surprised either way based on your expectations---it may be better or worse that you thought. Just my two cents.
  • Your husband isn't birthing the baby, so in the end you need to do what's right for you. I had an amazing vaginal birth with an epidural. Everyone's experience is different, but I stalled for several hours at 5cm until I had the epidural and then made it to 10 within the hour. I think it finally allowed me to relax enough to dilate.
  • I had an epidural with my son and considered it to be liquid gold. I will absolutely do it again with this baby. I got to sleep for a few hours before pushing, only pushed 4 times (less than 10 minutes), talked with the doctor and everyone in the room the entire time I was pushing (hilarious), and my son came out extremely alert :) it also saved me the pain of internal tears and 3 sets of stitches.
    ChrissyD1203
  • I have what is probably an irrational fear of having a catheter, and I just learned today that catheters and epidurals go together. I was already planning/hoping for a med free birth but the concept of the catheter has definitely spurred me to get back on track with my preparations!! :-S
    Me: 30 DH: 31
    Married: 2012
    BFP #1 Sept 2014, MMC Dec 2014 | BFP #2 May 2015, DD Jan 2016 <3 | BFP #3 May 2017, MC July 2017 | BFP #4 Jan 2018, MC Feb 2018 | BFP #5 July 2018, fingers crossed
  • I am also a FTM, but I am terrified of getting an epidural. I had a very bad spinal tap experience in high school, so a needle going into my spine is so terrifying.
    Married March 19, 2011
    TTC off and on 04/14
    BFP 06/13/14 MC 06/15/14
    BFP 12/14/14
    1st Appt 01/13/2015
    M/C 1/19/15 D&C 1/20/15
    BFP 5/13/15
    1st Appt 06/10/2015 Peanut has HB 150
    A/S 09/02/15 It's a Girl!! Low placenta, but everything else great!

    IAmPregnant Ticker

  • Girl. It's your body do what makes you feel comfortable. I do not want an epidural. I would rather have pain medication. My mom had no epidural and pain medication with both my brother and I and we didn't come out drugged at all. We both have photos of the moment we were born and we are both crying and content as can be. Good luck. Just read but don't freak yourself out. And don't let your husband decide for you!
  • Weighing in late:
    My mom and I had this discussion the other day....
    She basically shamed me for wanting to have medicine.,,,
    I have a very low tolerance for pain, I know this...
    She shamed me, then proceeded to tell me she had an epidural for all the of her children, and then marveled at the fact her best friends daughter delivered medicine free....

    I will wait as long as possible, but I want to be medicated... I CANNOT tolerate pain. This is my first child and it terrifies me to think about giving birth.
  • FTM but there are specific reasons why I hope to avoid an epidural. There's potential for a drop in blood pressure which I'm very concerned about since I've already has episodes of low blood pressure throughout this pregnancy. I tend to be one of those people who gets the most uncommon side effects from medications so I'm very cautious about what I take. Epidural increases the pushing time, increases chances of csection & increases chances of other interventions like forceps & vacuum.

    I don't want to be induced & I don't want an epidural or csection, we'll see how things go. Obviously if the baby is in distress or medical need then I will accept the doctors intervention but I'm not afraid of the pain it's only temporary & pain won't kill me. I'm used to having absolutely horrible menstraul cramps so I'm mentally preparing for contractions to be worse than that. My husband supports whatever I choose so if I reach a point where I elect pain relief he won't give me a difficult time.
  • I keep going back and forth on this.  As a FTM I guess there's no way to really KNOW until you're in labor how you'll do.  One of my dear friends is a total hippie and a big proponent of medication free labor, but she ended up getting an epidural because she had back labor and was shaking uncontrollably from the pain, never got a break between contractions, had an incredibly long labor etc.  She was disappointed initially but felt like in the end it was the right choice for that particular labor experience.  I have no idea how I'll do, so my goal is to go as long as I can without an epidural and then decide how I feel around 6-7 cm and evaluate again at that point.

    I'd like to avoid one if I can so I can be mobile, not get a catheter, pitocin, or, you know, a shot in my spine!  Haha, but we shall see.  I think I'd be also happy getting through 75% -90% of labor all mobile and med free and then have an epidural for the rest of it.  It would especially be nice to have an epidural already in my system if I have tears that need stitches.

    I was feeling anxious the last few days that I hadn't decided firmly on the epidural or not question, but talking to a bunch of my other mom friends they seem to echo my OB's opinion that it's great to have an idea in mind of what you want but be flexible enough to go with the flow of how your specific labor situation progresses, including any kind of medical emergencies, etc.  My only real goal is that myself and baby get through the experience alive and healthy.  In an ideal world that'd be with a vaginal birth and no need of pain medication, but in the world where my labor actually occurs I'm adopting a "we'll see" attitude.  :)
  • It is a very painful experience. Just get the meds
  • Babies are not messed up after the epidural. All drugs, which are used during labor and delivery are safe for a baby
    danasphillips
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