Med-Free Birth — The Bump
February 2020 Moms

Med-Free Birth

daffodil_shoedaffodil_shoe member
edited November 2019 in February 2020 Moms
Are you hoping to have a med free birth? What questions do you have?

Have you had a med free birth? Share your tips!
brookert615

Re: Med-Free Birth

  • Thank you so much for starting this! So FTM here and hoping to go med-free if possible. Everyone says breathing exercises but is there anything to do to help prepare? Make things go smoothly? Also I've heard a lot about c-section and recovery after epidurals but hardly hear about recovery going med-free!
    TW
    BFP 6/3/19 EDD 2/14/20 BFP 4/15/21 EDD 12/20/21
    Diagnosed with PCOS & Hashimoto's
    mandk1233craftywitch
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  • I tried for a med-free birth with DS1. To prepare I did the following:
    *Read “Guide to Childbirth” by Ina May
    *Tried learning hypnobirthing (I don’t think I was doing it right?)
    *Hired a doula
    *Did prenatal yoga
    *Took a birth class at my hospital 

    What worked best for me to get through each contraction was the “ohm-ing” I learned in yoga. It was more of a low moan/hum during labor, but it really helped me stay in control and vocalize without screaming. 

    My doula and husband took turns applying counter pressure to my back during contractions which eased them a little.

    A little back story: my water broke first. Generally contractions are stronger after water breaks. Contractions started within 30 minutes and they were all 3 minutes apart or less the entire time. In the end, I was stuck at 8cm for hours and I was just so frustrated so I opted for the epidural. My body could finally relax and do its thing, I was complete within an hour, and pushed him out 1.5 hours later with no problems. No regrets.
    craftywitchbrookert615mandk1233leksiL
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  • @brookert615 I don’t notice any difference in recovery between my patients who had an epidural vs med-free. The biggest difference is immediately after baby is out. Without an epidural, you will feel more uncomfortable while your provider/nurse does a uterine massage to help the placenta get out, to get blood clots out, and to make sure your uterus is firming up (so you don’t hemorrhage). And if you tear (most first time vaginal births do), you will need to get local anesthetic in your vaginal area so you don’t feel the stitches. But I mean, either a needle in your spine for epidural or a needle in your vagina for local 🤷🏼‍♀️

    But concerning how patients feel, I don’t see any difference. 
    brookert615mandk1233
  • @daffodil_shoe That's good advice. I'm definitely one of those "how fast can you drug me so I feel nothing" people, but I didn't realize that labor could go that fast. I'll need to do some research now.
    brookert615daffodil_shoemandk1233clee5711
  • So the perineal massage - worth it? When does one start? Lol
    TW
    BFP 6/3/19 EDD 2/14/20 BFP 4/15/21 EDD 12/20/21
    Diagnosed with PCOS & Hashimoto's
    craftywitch
  • I've been watching this documentary (not in English) on Youtube about women delivering. The ones that want to go med free are in serious effing pain. It scares me. Each contraction looks like someone is ripping them open. Most of them end up begging for an epidural. I will say that their labor isn't going fast though. Once they are fully dilated, the pain doesn't seem to be so bad.
    TTC#1
    10/2018: MFI (2 SA under 9 million/ml)
    11/2018: HSG shows right Fallopian tube slightly damaged 
    1/2019: Husband diagnosed with grade 3 varicocele
    4/05/2019: varicocele repair surgery
    6/13/2019: BFP!!! EDD: 2/22/2020 <3  Baby girl born 2/27/2020
    7/18/2019: Total Motile Count at 3 months post surgery = 51 millions!! (number must be >20 millions to conceive naturally).

    TTC #2
    9/07/2021: BFP - CP: 9/10/2021
    10/07/2021: BFP - CP: 10/23/2021
    12/23/2021: BFP! EDD: 08/31/2022

    brookert615
  • @brookert615 I agree with @daffodil_shoe about not pushing super hard and fast. That’s the mistake I made because I had a “I just want to get this over with mentality”. Your body is going to tell you to push like crazy and it’s hard to fight the urge to listen to it, but if you do then you’ll likely tear. I did. 
    brookert615daffodil_shoe
  • @daffodil_shoe @doodleoodle Good to know! As for the whole lube thing - do doctors keep that on-hand or is that something that has to be requested ahead of time? Sorry I feel silly asking that but just curious haha
    TW
    BFP 6/3/19 EDD 2/14/20 BFP 4/15/21 EDD 12/20/21
    Diagnosed with PCOS & Hashimoto's
  • @brookert615 you will need to ask your provider. I only know what my hospital does. We keep lube in every room and providers routinely use it.
    brookert615
  • @daffodil_shoe Thank you! Sorry for all of the questions!
    TW
    BFP 6/3/19 EDD 2/14/20 BFP 4/15/21 EDD 12/20/21
    Diagnosed with PCOS & Hashimoto's
  • @brookert615 questions are literally what this forum is for!
    clee5711brookert615
  • @daffodil_shoe definitely a good idea to plan for no epidural. 

    @brookert615  with my first the second used lube without me asking and I have no clue for my second. I had Slight tearing with both kids. It isn’t something I would have even thought to ask about before now. 

     I’m someone who the epidural only numbs half my body. They came back to fix it twice with my first which is probably how I was so numb I felt nothing-still pushed out an 8lb6oz kid in 45 mins.  With number 2 it barely started numbing half and there wasn’t time for adjusting bc it was go time. At that point I was in enough pain that I’m not sure I would have remembered any labor tricks besides closing my eyes and swearing. Kid came fast and furious so getting up to move or even change positions was the last thing I wanted to do once contractions started. 
    brookert615daffodil_shoe
  • @craftywitch Dang girl - that's seriously so awesome you didn't tear! Thank you for sharing your experience... it's really nice to hear a good med-free experience. I'm stealing all of your affirmations, too! Lol!
    TW
    BFP 6/3/19 EDD 2/14/20 BFP 4/15/21 EDD 12/20/21
    Diagnosed with PCOS & Hashimoto's
  • Thank you everyone for sharing your experiences. I am not opposed to a med free birth but it really scares me and watching these shows on YouTube isn't helping  :D
    If you request a med free birth, are nurses and midwives using all the tips mentioned above or do you need to advocate for yourself like request to deliver on your side?
    TTC#1
    10/2018: MFI (2 SA under 9 million/ml)
    11/2018: HSG shows right Fallopian tube slightly damaged 
    1/2019: Husband diagnosed with grade 3 varicocele
    4/05/2019: varicocele repair surgery
    6/13/2019: BFP!!! EDD: 2/22/2020 <3  Baby girl born 2/27/2020
    7/18/2019: Total Motile Count at 3 months post surgery = 51 millions!! (number must be >20 millions to conceive naturally).

    TTC #2
    9/07/2021: BFP - CP: 9/10/2021
    10/07/2021: BFP - CP: 10/23/2021
    12/23/2021: BFP! EDD: 08/31/2022

    brookert615
  • Sorry, thought of a few more things...

    Please let your nurse place a saline lock. Nothing has to go in the IV right then, it can be locked for later use. But if things go south, you don’t want them searching for a vein while trying to rush you back to OR.

    Ask your provider options for monitoring baby’s heart rate and contractions. Generally something like these will be used:

    But then you’re tethered to the machine. So changing position is tricky, and you will have to be taken off monitoring to walk.

    BUT ask if they have a wireless monitor! We don’t have enough for every patient, but we do have a few Noviis that look like this:


    A wireless monitor system would be more ideal so that you can move around.
    brookert615clee5711
  • @rikiteacup unfortunately that depends on the nurse’s experience level. And your nurse is really the one who is with you the whole time. As for your provider, that’s a good question for them right now. That’s also why having a doula for a med-free birth is a great idea. It’s really hard to advocate for yourself when you’re in that kind of pain, so your doula advocates for you.
    clee5711brookert615
  • @rikiteacup I delivered both kids at a women’s hospital and with my first I made it very clear I would be getting an epidural ASAP but until the pitocin kicked in I walked the halls with a wireless monitor and sat on a birthing ball for a bit. My delivery room also had a tub you could labor in and shower in the bathroom. This was all offered without my asking when I first got to my room. Most of the drs in my practice are pretty traditional with the standard birthing position so that’s where a midwife or doula would be needed if I wanted something else.  
    brookert615
  • @craftywitch Honestly it is seriously so refreshing to hear! 

    @daffodil_shoe The hospital mentioned that they have one of the wireless ones but to request it if we wanted one, just hope I remember to ask lol.

    So kind of in relation to moving around... at what point are you unable to get up on your own (if applicable) and does a catheter always gets placed even if you're med-free in a hospital/birthing center? 
    TW
    BFP 6/3/19 EDD 2/14/20 BFP 4/15/21 EDD 12/20/21
    Diagnosed with PCOS & Hashimoto's
  • @brookert615 There is no reason to get a catheter unless you physically can’t get to a toilet. At my hospital a catheter is only placed if you get an epidural. And even then, not always. Because I didn’t get the epidural til 8cm, I didn’t get one. My midwife just straight-cathed me with a red robinson before I started pushing.
    brookert615clee5711doodleoodle
  • @kiwi2628 I second not looking at the deflated body after delivery, after my first i cried at how cartoonish my belly looked. Like a balloon left to deflate too long, the weird wrinkly overstretched skin look especially.

    I had two epidural free births and one with epidural, I was induced all three times so I can't comment on natural labor. But I can say that the after recovery was easier for me with the epidural free deliveries because I was able to walk sooner on my own and I really need to have my faculties after pushing a human out of my body. That said the uterine massages were more manageable with the epidural birth. I want to try for no epidural this time, but if babe is stuck in a bad position like my last one I am also open to pain meds if needed. 
    brookert615craftywitchleksiL
  • I am going for a med-free VBAC birth this time! I've done the following to prepare -- although I am treated as a FTM when it comes to birth since I haven't ever gone into labor so take what I take with a grain of salt.

    - Reading the Ina May book referenced by @daffodil_shoe . @rikiteacup - I'd suggest this instead of the videos. There are a lot of birth stories and it is very empowering. She talks a lot about the cervix being a sphincter muscle which can stay tight/closed if you have too much fear/anxiety/etc.  We took Bradley classes for #1 so I would suggest those if you didn't they were very helpful.

    - Hired a doula. She is bringing aromatherapy, electric candles, and will take pictures too. Our hospital has a laboring tub that I hope to use. 

    - Go as intervention-free as possible. 
    - Using midwives only. I saw a doctor for our level-2 ultrasound but with luck I won't have to see any more.

    - My doula is helping us do a birth plan that will be flexible. While I hope to not have an epidural, I'm open to having one if it can avoid having a cesarean, which I care about avoiding x1000 more. 

    - I'm working really hard on learning to relax and meditation. I've never been in labor so I don't know what the heck I am doing but it helps me deal with pain a lot so giving it a try.
    Me: 38, DH: 36 
    Married Jan 2008 
    DD Baby Bells born Dec 2016 5 lbs, 12 oz, 18" <3 so in love <3
    Due with #2 Baby Arya EDD February 2020


    craftywitchbrookert615doodleoodle
  • Didn't mean for this to get so long! I had a pretty amazing unmedicated (i did use nitrous) water birth with my son. Part of it is luck: my labor was straightforward, shorter than average, he was in a good position, and I had a really supportive birth team. But I did do quite a bit to prepare which helped, more mentally than physically. Key things were:

    - Having the right provider. I delivered at a hospital but with a midwife group; I would never use an OB unless there was a medical reason to. Everyone was accustomed to the idea of an unmedicated birth so I didn't have to do a ton of advocating to get it. Along with this is the right environment, which is easier some places than others. Low lights, ability to not have constant checks/tests, nice music, calmness. Not a lot of people in the room, intimate.

    - As everyone has said, a doula is so helpful. Not just for you but for your partner. Mine helped us navigate a few situations at the hospital, helped us know it was time to leave home, and answered some of my husband's questions when he was getting nervous about things (i.e. how intense transition was.)

    - Read all you can! I devoured books about unmedicated birth and they just helped me feel confident and prepared, really reduced the fear that people are mentioned. Anything by Penny Simkin is fantastic, but there are a lot out there. Also read birth stories of unmedicated births to normalize it for yourself.

    - Most important be informed, and make sure your partner is informed. Understand the different stages of labor and what to expect, know a slew of possible coping mechanisms and write them down, and talk to your partner about what you think you will like best (but know you may feel differently in the moment.)

    - For me using nitrous for a bit and then being able to labor in the tub were game changers. I'm not sure I would have made it unmedicated without those things (of course plenty of women do,) but getting to use those were key moments in my labor.

    I delivered in the tub on hands and knees and did tear a bit, but didn't know it (my biggest birth fear was the ring of fire and I didn't even feel it!) One perk of having nitrous available is being able to use it afterwards while they're stitching and massaging your uterus. I wouldn't change a thing about my first birth and am hopeful to have a similar experience this time. 
    brookert615craftywitchdaffodil_shoeleksiL
  • I am just reading along here because I think it’s interesting to hear everyone’s experiences. I couldn’t do it med free....major props to those of you have and will do it this time!! Y’all are amazing! 

    (I’ll be over here all numbed up for my RCS 😬)
    Me:33
    DH: 34
    Married: May 2011
    TTC #1: May 2015
    DS: 10/20/2016
    TTC #2: June 2019
    #2 EDD: 2/20/2020
    brookert615daffodil_shoefallonpartyfor2Swiftlet
  • +1 to be prepared to go med free even you don't want to. My only plan with DD was get an epidural & keep both of us safe. Long story short, they sent me home from the hospital when I went the first time, labored through the night by myself and went back in the morning to be 10cm and there was no time for an epidural (they did have to break my water). Thankfully I had signed up the Doula program our hospital offers and that was a lifesaver. But never did I ever plan to go med free. 
    brookert615craftywitch
  • @zseirecarg this happened to a girl in my Bradley class except she gave birth in her own bathtub by accident! She was like husband wake up!!
    Me: 38, DH: 36 
    Married Jan 2008 
    DD Baby Bells born Dec 2016 5 lbs, 12 oz, 18" <3 so in love <3
    Due with #2 Baby Arya EDD February 2020


    brookert615craftywitchzseirecarg
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