To Epidural or not to epidural — The Bump
August 2015 Moms

To Epidural or not to epidural

heidiwylieheidiwylie member
edited May 2015 in August 2015 Moms
I have heard so many different things about epidurals and I'm still curious about them. I'll be having my first in August and go back and forth on whether to get one or not. Here's one major dilemma: I've heard from nearly everyone that it makes you kind of feel "high"... And that is definitely not for me. I don't like feeling like I'm out of control of my body and the "high" feeling is not my cup of tea. I hate being numb as well, which is kind of the point of an epidural... Right? Maybe I've answered my own questions here. What are some other reasons you'd opt for one or the other? I've always considered myself to have a pretty high tolerance for pain - though this will be a MUCH different pain than I've ever experienced.

Re: To Epidural or not to epidural

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  • I also hate feeling numb, but for me it wasn't that bad. I didn't feel "high" at all and I used to smoke weed in my college days so, I would say I couldn't compare the feelings in any way. I didn't even feel loopy or whatever. The epi did make me cold and made me shiver uncontrollably until the baby came which I hated, but wasn't a big deal.

    I had planned or hoped to do a natural birth, but my blood pressure was dangerously high during contractions and I was told that if it didn't get down to a normal range it could distress the baby and make a C Section necessary. So I tried pain meds first, which is totally an option for you to try first before committing to an epi. It might be enough to take the edge off for you. It didn't for me, so I took the epi and my BP became normal again instantly.
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  • I never felt high, I too absolutely hate that feeling, probably why I've never even wanted to try drugs but I was induced with DD and got an epidural. With being induced I would not have survived without the epidural. Though I had a few problems, my contractions were so strong and coming even minute, then I had a block where the epidural quit working and went through 3 different anesthesiologist till one got it to work. I'm still on a teeter totter of doing one or not. If you don't do it make sure you know how to breathe bc that was my biggest problem was not breathing which made them worse!!
  • I've done it both ways, and while I'm planning my third med-free birth, the epi with #1 didn't make me feel high at all. I was completely numb from my armpits to my ankles, so could still move my feet. It was weird.
    imageLilypie - (d9io)
    imageLilypie - (3w4O)
  • I went med-free with #1 (and had back labour and she came out with her hand beside her face) because of the risks (yes small but still risks) of an epi and didn't want to even start down the road of interventions. Plan to go med free again with this baby all things permitting. I am also TERRIFIED of needles so the thought of an epi almost makes me hysterical. I would waaaay rather experience the pain of labour then have anyone stick a needle in my back but that's just me!!
  • My first was an epidural and I did not feel high or medicated at all. Just super numb. I didn't feel pressure or pain or contrax. Nothing even when I pushed him out.

    My second was med free by accident as labor was quick. I liked not being bed-bound, I liked that my labor progressed quickly and I liked how I felt after as I didn't need to wait for numbness to wear off. I also wasn't cathed and didn't get pumped full of IV fluids for twelve hours like my first.

    For these reasons I am trying again for a med free birth. The epidural isn't bad and I will use it if I need it, but labor isn't as bad sometimes (you never know what can happen) as people think.
  • I've never heard anyone say an epidural made them feel high. That doesn't even make sense, epidurals are a localized anesthetic. There are other drugs available to you during labor that can make you feel loopy.

    I wanted a med free birth with DD1, but being induced and having such little control over how I was laboring made me quickly change my mind and accept the epidural. I have no regrets and will be open to having one with this baby as well. Going to see how labor progresses and make the decision then. 

    For me, I was kept to my left side for most of labor, only being allowed on my back while pushing. So the epidural made my left side completely numb and my left leg was dead, I could not move it without help. My right side, however, I still felt everything, though I'm sure it was dulled. While pushing I asked for a boost of the epidural and I got instant relief on my right side. My baby was born quickly after that. I've read other stories where they will turn down the epidural during pushing to help you feel your contractions and when to push. Being pain free is what helped me get the energy to push. 

    As PP said, everyone's experience is going to be different though.

  • Just have to say, I've had an epidural not for birth but for a small bowel resection (having a foot of my small intestine removed). I had a choice I coild either have an epidural or IV pain reliver. I choose epidural because it gives you absolutely NO high feeling at all. All it does is block your nerves. Whoever told you it will give you a high feeling is just wrong. Not trying to be disrespectful it's your choice to go med free or not but make sure you have all the correct facts before you choose.
  • There are plenty of resources out there on the Internet that explain the pain relief options available to you. Your reasons for not wanting pain relief are the same as mine (as well as other reasons eg cascade of intervention). In Australia the options are pethidine which can make you feel woozy/high and epidural which obviously makes part of your body numb. Then you can have gas & air which supposedly takes the edge off. Both of the first two, I thought would make me panicky and uncomfortable so I hoped i could do it without having to use them. I got to a point where I was willing to try any drugs to stop the pain, but by that stage I was 10cm dilated and it was time to go! By that point (in my memory at least) the worst pain was over. Except for baby's head coming out - wow, that was incredibly sore - it was manageable once I was at the pushing stage.
  • I had an epidural for my last two pregnancies and I did not feel high with either one. Obviously I did feel numb but only from the waist down and for me I much preferred that to labor pain.

    Each person is different, you can always try to go without but be open to it if need be.
  • I had an epidural with my DD, but I hope to go med-free with this one.
    I was put on pitocin and it made the contractions unbearable. I am hoping that I will progress naturally this time. But I'm open to an epidural.
    DH thinks I'm absolutely CRAZY. I have a terribly low pain tolerance. But I'm prepared for the pain, so I'm hoping that will help. We will see.
  • Yeah I'm a FTM due at the end of August. My fiancé is like your going to want the epidural bc I have a low tolerance of pain but the hospital I'm delivering at offers other alternatives such as the laughing gas and some meds besides the epi so. I'm planning to do those first then is I can't take the pain I'll be open to the epi. I just don't want to be bed bound
  • I'm going to try to do it without an epi well not try my mind is set on not having one n will have other options available and just remind myself that heaps of woman have done it before without anything so I sure as hell can! Plus id like to feel everything going on lol
  • ptelfraptelfra member
    I actually had been hearing from a lot of women that after getting the epidural they now have back pain more frequently so since I already have pretty severe back pain as it is from 5th grade when a 200 lb TV fell on me, I asked my midwife. She said that studies done on this specific topic have not shown direct relation at all, so that made me feel better and I am definitely getting the epidural! I cry over migraines and my back pain imagine labor :((
  • As others have stated, go into it open minded. I labored at home for two days, the second night I got maybe 2 - 3 hours of sleep because of the pain, then during that next day my water broke at home and contractions became unbearable so I finally went in and was at about 5 cm. I was one who was convinced I wouldn't get an epidural, but I had gone 24 hours with getting very little to sleep and still had 5 cm to go, along with the process of pushing. Deciding to get the epidural gave me enough relief to nap before actually pushing (7 hours later) which truly was a blessing because he was face up and it took me three hours of active pushing to get him out. I literally would have been too exhausted to do it if I hadn't, and would have ended up in a c-section.
  • There are risks associated with everything and everyone is different so getting the epi could go fine or not. The pain for you of labor could be tolerable or not. I'm not willing to take any risks and I'm sure it will be terrible but I'm going med free. With MY hospital, an epi also means you can't leave the bed and have to use a bed pan to pee and don't have position options for labor.
  • I will not give birth without epidural .i can't. Handle the pain.
  • This may not be a decision you can make now. Decide on your preference for your birth plan and then be open minded. It never goes "as planned" so don't be so fixated on that plan that you cannot go with whatever happens and decisions you may make as it goes.
  • kezdkkezdk member
    FTM and I will be going the epidural route. Each to their own, but millions of epidurals are given each year and both mother and child come out unscathed. I try not to take any medications that I don't have to in my daily life, and see people taking all sorts of med cocktails for every ailment under the sun...the prescription meds being handed out like candy nowadays just seem so much worse to me (long term and in their potential side effects) than having an epidural to aid in one of the most painful things a woman may ever experience. I say - do what you want to do, and not what you think is expected of you...go with your heart - this is your experience - and your child's birth.
  • Miz_LizMiz_Liz member
    @Seed0824 they put in a catheter. Once you have the epi you don't even know when you need to pee, so it would not be possible to tell the nurse you needed a bed pan, you would just wet yourself.

  • When my epidural kicked in after hours of intense pain, it was the most warm, amazing feeling of my life.  I think I may have told the anesthesiologist  that I loved him. :)  I don't think i felt high, just relaxed after being the opposite of relaxed for so long.

    All of my pre-epi contractions were also pre-pitocin and they were still pretty unbearable.


  • The question that helped me make a decision was: what do you want your birth experience to look like?
    For me, I'd like to be up walking, in and out of the bath as much as possible until time to push. I want to avoid being laid up in bed with a catheter. Im afraid of having a csection. I'll do whatever I can to avoid that. I'm not good with pain, it's going to suck. And if I can't tolerate it, or if it becomes unsafe, I'll do whatever I need to do to have a safe birth.
    I really enjoyed Natural Birth for Modern Mamas, if you are interested in reading up.
  • When I got my epidural, the anesthesiologist gave me something else because my BO was a little low (normal for me, but whatevs). He said people compare it to taking 3 shots of espresso, but the whole experience made me feel warm and happy and I was able to have a little cat nap. I was still able to get up and use the rest room and back labor is no joke. I mean, if you want to experience the pain, go for it. To me, it was no different from getting a shot of lidacaine at the dentist. I wouldn't get a filling without pain relief . . .soooo.
  • I look at it this way. Do I want to hurt for what could possibly be hours? Heck no! If I'm not feeling that much pain I'll go without. I'm a wimp when it comes to pain. I have an epidural class coming up next week so we will see how I feel about it then.
  • I had one and hated it--it slowed labor way down and I didn't feel that it helped with the pain. Labor is hard, if you aren't well-prepared the pain WILL SCARE THE SHIT OUT OF YOU. And it's so strong, the most intense thing I've experienced. I got the epidural to decrease the intensity of labor--bad choice. But be open minded, it's not a bad thing by any means but it does usually mean more interventions will be made. Do your best and ask for help when you need it! Good luck.
  • With my first it was wonderful! I got it and went to sleep until i felt her pushing.I had no pain at all! Though my legs were numb i would try to wiggle my toes or move my feet to help it wear off.
  • msmoleculemsmolecule member
    edited June 2015
    No epidural with baby #1, but it wasn't 100% pain med free either. They gave me a one time IM shot of Demerol to help me relax enough to sleep because I had been awake for 24+ hours and was utterly exhausted. Labor lasted 21.5 hours and I slept for 4 hours. I don't remember feeling pain that I couldn't handle. It was completely manageable. I should mention that with baby #1, I went into labor on my own at 39 + 4 weeks. Water broke at home. No complications. Baby was born vaginally at 8 lbs 3 oz.

    With baby #2, I was induced at 38 weeks. They broke my water in the hospital. Labor was EXCRUCIATING. Several times, I felt like I was going to pass out from the pain. After giving it my best shot, I opted for the epidural. Afterward, labor progressed without any issues and I felt pressure, but no pain. I pushed for about 15 minutes. Baby was born vaginally at 10 lbs even. Only complication was a small tear requiring just 2 stitches. 

    It's a good possibility that I will be induced this time around as well and I am DEFINITELY opting for the epidural.
  • @msmolecule do you mind if I ask why they decided to induce you at 38w the second time around?

  • msmoleculemsmolecule member
    edited June 2015
    lbeach5885 Baby was measuring big on ultrasound. I passed my GTT, too. My first was 8 lbs 3 oz though, so not terribly small. I guess I just make 'em big. Fortunately though, my body seems to be well built for birthing big babies.

    If you recall from the "refusing the 3 hour glucose test" thread, I have opted out of the the GTT this time and instead am checking my own blood glucose 4 x a day because it's a more accurate representation of what my blood sugar is doing. I'm thinking that I may have had some issues in my last pregnancy with glucose tolerance that went undiagnosed because my GTT came back normal and screenings can be wildly inaccurate. This time, I want to be sure.

    The reason I say I'm most likely to be induced again, is because my OB is wary of letting me go too long with the knowledge that my last baby was born 2 weeks early and still weighed 10 lbs.
  • I had my daughter natural, and let's just say I'm opting for the epidural with this baby! My friends told me they felt numb with the epidural but never said they felt "high" so I don't know about that. I DO know that they gave me Demerol to "take the edge off" with my daughter, but that just made me feel so out of it I could hardly communicate =/ I'm avoiding that at all costs this time. There are risks associated either way so it's really up to you, everybody is different so just go with what you think is best for YOUR birthing experience.
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