– Labor hurts!
This is what I always hear, and I always turn back to them and say, no, it is easy and doesn’t hurt at all. I was 18 years old when I had my first baby, nothing hurt, it happened very fast and it was easy, I didn’t even notice when it was over.
I had that opinion until I was 35, when I had my second baby… and it hurt!
Because I already had experience with my first child and no pain, I decided that I do not need epidural, and now I think that was a mistake, because when in pain you can’t have pleasure with delivery, of course in my opinion. I was screaming for epidural, and I got it too late, I remember only pain and only towards the end it finally stopped.
If you do not know how to deal with pain and you don’t want to experience it take epidural, it makes delivery more pleasurable. Now that I know how much labor can hurt, If I would definietely take it at the beginning of labor and not by the end. However, there is another issue that about 60 percent of laboring mothers have with the aid of an epidural, I also have a dose of guilt.
When I was researching this topic here is what I found:
Katie Brown, mom of one in Baltimore, says:
“I felt almost bullied into not having an epidural—not by the medical staff but by my friends and sisters, who kept talk-ing about how superior a natural birth is.”
Going drug-free in the delivery room is a trend that’s becoming increasingly popular, and it’s a great way to give birth.
But that doesn’t mean it’s right for everyone. “Natural birth is amazing,” notes Erin Petti, mom of one in Winthrop, Massachusetts, “and women who choose that path are right to have a lot of pride in the decision. It just wasn’t for me.”
There’s no shame in asking for relief from what has the potential to be the most painful experience of your life. Epidural moms are awesome, too, and here are just a few reasons why.
Some moms veer away from epidurals due to a fear of something going wrong. No medical procedure comes without risk, but for the most part, epidurals are a safe and effective way to manage pains associated with labor and delivery. “An epidural is completely safe for you and your baby,” says Sheryl Ross, MD, FACOG, a practicing physician in Santa Monica, California. It does carry some risks, which range from easily fixable to pretty darn scary, but it’s important to remember that these side effects are rare. That freak epidural horror story you heard about your neighbor’s second cousin’s college roommate is definitely not the norm. The most common epidural byproduct is a drop in blood pressure, but hospitals are prepared for this. Many even try to prevent it by giving IV fluids prior to insertion of an epidural.
It’s also widely reported that epidurals slow down labor. And it’s true: An epidural might prolong your labor a bit. But that isn’t such a bad thing for many moms. Once your pain has been lessened, labor takes on a whole new pace. Lisa Bauman, mom of two in Glenview, Illinois, recalls, “Getting an epidural made my labor enjoyable. I was coherent. I was able to talk. I was able to think.” Before the administration of her epidural, that wasn’t the case. “I would have been willing to stick that needle straight through my eyeball if it promised to reduce the pain by even a fraction of what I was feeling” she says.
Some moms make the epidural call in the delivery room, but others know they’ll be asking for the needle long before they head to the hospital. It’s no secret that labor hurts, and some moms feel better equipped to handle that discomfort than others. If you’re thinking you want to pass on the pain, you’re not alone. It’s normal to fear hurt; most people do. Plus, according to Ross, “Knowing ahead of time that you’ll be getting an epidural during labor reduces any apprehension or fear that continues to build up throughout pregnancy. Not knowing what is coming can be scary to a new mom.”
However, many women choose to try to labor naturally before opting for an epidural, which is also a respectable choice. Bauman shares, “For both of my children, I wanted to first attempt a natural birth. I didn’t want to numb myself to one of the most amazing experiences I would ever know in life.” However, she decided to get an epidural both times and has no regrets. “I still had amazing birth experiences, and I was not ‘numb’ to my labor and delivery at all. [The epidural] just made it more enjoyable.”
Here’s the bottom line: Laboring and giving birth is going to hurt. You might want to experience that pain, and that’s OK. A lot of women do. But you might not want to, or you might be nervous about how you’ll handle it, and that’s also OK. Your labor is not like anyone else’s, and your body is not like anyone else’s. Just because your sister or best friend or coworker delivered drug-free doesn’t mean you should—or that you’ll be any less of a mother (or woman) if you don’t.
In some ways, an epidural can significantly enhance your labor experience. “[My epidural] allowed me to focus again and be present,” attests Petti. “The epidural was an immediate relief. I was shocked at how quickly the pain subsided,” agrees Bauman. Women who receive effective epidurals are able to lie back, relax and savor the labor experience. Some lucky gals are even able to sleep, storing up much-needed energy for the physical exertion of delivering a baby.
“[From] my 22 years experience, I can tell you that the less pain a woman feels during labor and delivery, the better,” notes Ross. “Epidurals are, hands down, the most effective and safest way of providing pain relief during labor.” No one is handing out awards outside the delivery room, so don’t opt for the full-feel labor experience because you’re looking for a medal.