Mum to Mum: Advice on Epidurals
Everybody knows about an epidural and everyone has an opinion of them! Thats what I have learnt through Bumpnbub anyway.
As a midwife, I support women in ALL of their options including women who choose or need to have an epidural. I believe that education and knowledge of available options or having a vague ‘plan’ is always the best option in labour and birth. In Australia, choosing an epidural is a very common occurence in labour and birth, so lets chat about them!
When you’re in labour, chances are high that the thought of how to ‘make the pain stop’ will run through your brain. Many mums will choose to forgo the pain relief, opting for an all-natural birth. Then, there are those who decide the pain is just too unbearable and decide opting for the best method of pain relief possible is their plan of action. The strongest pain relief during labor comes in the form of an epidural block or a spinal block.
Believe it or not, even mums who go through a c-section (scheduled or emergency) will need an epidural or spinal (unless they have a general anaesthetic, in the case of a severe emergency). We posted on Instagram about a week ago, asking mums who’ve had an epidural or spinal for their best advice, tips and stories to share with mothers-to-be who have not yet undergone one.
Here’s some of the brilliant responses we received:
“I had one with my 1st & can honestly say I didn’t feel a thing and made that birth a lot more manageable and comfortable. Go with what your body tells you - nothing wrong with needing one ❤”️
“Had a 50% (half power) epidural with both! No pain but I could move and feel everything! It was amazing!”
“It does hurt, but for way less time than natural labour takes. It hurts for like 5 min instead of hours of labour and you won’t have to feel the ring of fire.”
“My advice is do what feels right. There is no wrong way.”
“I didn’t feel my epidural compared to how bad my labor pain was so honestly it was great to get one.”
“DO IT. It provides great relief. Don’t be ashamed. The drug was created for a reason!
“..It was incredible. My OB was a huge source of help for me. He was the one who performed the c-section with my first and with my second, he suggested a TOL (trial of labor) because the issues that caused the need for the section were no longer there (low fetal heart rate of 60 beats per minute, low oxygen levels, and passing of meconium) after my water naturally broke. I was only 4c dilated and had had no interventions. Goes to show that when labor comes, you don't have full control over anything, including the way baby reacts to labor. My number one suggestion is to get an extremely supportive provider. Second is to see a chiropractor who specializes in Webster technique.”
“My advice would be to not look at the needle and not let your support person look at it either (if you see the look of horror on their face, you might freak out). For me, 100% of my anxiety over getting an epidural was fear of the unknown (and of needles!), but you truly don’t feel a thing and once the anaesthesia starts working BOY is it a relief! As for pushing, your doctor/midwife/nurse will help you, you will be able to push still. I had a wonderful second half of my son’s birth because of the epidural and I would 100% do it again (oh, and I was originally dead set on natural but had to get the epidural for health reasons: hypertension). I didn’t feel a thing as I gave birth.”
“Yes , I have had the epidural when I had my daughter 5 years ago, and I’m planing on taking it again for this pregnancy. When taking the epidural you have to be extremely still you can’t move at all. To be honest I didn’t feel the needle because the contractions was so bad, but at that moment when I’m getting the epidural with that long needle I was so happy for it.”
What was your experience? Would you recommend it? Or didn’t like it at all?
Gorgeous mama @jeanwang