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BBSDTfamily's avatar

Natural Childbirth- Those that've done it, would you again?

Asked by BBSDTfamily (6737 points ) October 11th, 2009

I’m thinking about skipping the epidural and trying to go all natural when our son is born. Just wondering if there are others here who have tried it or maybe tried it both with and without epidurals and have any insider information. Everyone that has done it told me it’s not that bad with the exception of one girl. Everyone who hasn’t tried it looks at me like I’m crazy for even thinking about it. Supposedly it lessens your risk of a lot of possible side effects, and I think I can handle it!

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87 Answers

le_inferno's avatar

You say that now, just wait til you’re delivering that baby.

sandystrachan's avatar

My wife did natural birth with the 1st two , and she plans on doing it again in December . She managed ok infact with the first child , it must be ok if she wants to do it that way again

tracy_h81's avatar

I’m the mom of 4 and I had my oldest son natural. Take the drugs….why put yourself through all that pain when the epidural has become so sophisticated you can actually enjoy the birth process instead of suffering through it.

BBSDTfamily's avatar

@tracy_h81 The reason why is because there is less risk for the baby.

wundayatta's avatar

My wife did it with our first child. Her highest agenda item the next time was an epidural!

BBSDTfamily's avatar

@le_inferno True, I may have the first contraction and change my mind! But women do it all the time so apparently some people can handle it…. I have a pretty high pain threshold and am interested in doing what’s best for the baby.

tracy_h81's avatar

I would say that were true years ago, but not so much any longer. I mean there is some risk with any medication but to me the benefit far out weighs the potential problem.

BBSDTfamily's avatar

@tracy_h81 My doctor told me last week that it increases the likelihood of needing a c-section for a number of different reasons. I think it positively affects the mother, but it could negatively affect the baby. I’m not interested in doing something to help myself that could hurt my baby at the same time. But you’re right, a lot of epidural pregnancies go smoothly.

MagsRags's avatar

A vote for natural childbirth although you might consider me prejudiced, given my long career as a midwife. I did give birth without medication myself.

I’ve been with thousands of laboring women over the years, and their pre-labor plans and eventual choices run the gamut. If you decide to go for natural, you’ll want to make a contingency plan ahead of time for how your care giver and support person should handle it if you ask for pain medication during labor. They need to know whether to go with what you’re asking for at the time or if they should encourage you to hang in with what you’re doing for awhile.

BBSDTfamily's avatar

@MagsRags Very good point. Thank you that’s a great answer.

BBSDTfamily's avatar

@MagsRags Are there other painkillers that are less effective and far less dangerous than epidurals?

MagsRags's avatar

@BBSDTfamily , epidurals can increase the likelihood of C section. It depends on whether the epidural is given in early or advanced labor, on whether the baby is in a good position at the time of the epidural and on how well the woman is able to push in second stage even though she’s not feeling the urge to push the way she would without epidural. Also, the woman’s blood pressure will drop a bit immediately after the epidural is given, and in a few cases, that can cause fetal stress.

suzyq2463's avatar

I did it both ways. The first time, with my son, I got an epidural. I’m convinced to this day that the epidural slowed my labor down and that my son was in distress by the time he was born. Plus, the doctor gave me an episiotomy. It took me over a month to recover enough that I felt like myself, and a lot longer to feel really good. I think the epidural was hard on my body and the episiotomy gave me lasting problems.

The second time, with my daughter, the anesthesiologist didn’t get there in time to give me an epidural. The pain was hell, and I screamed through the whole birth, but I was up out of the bed 30 minutes after my daughter was born and felt great. The doctor couldn’t give me an episiotomy (he didn’t get there in time either), and although I tore a little, the recovery was fast and virtually painless.

I think doing it the “natural” way made for a much easier recovery for me, BUT, I should say that (1) this was my second baby, so the birth was easier and (2) my daughter came really fast, so I wasn’t in pain very long. Had the birth taken hours or had it been my first baby, I just don’t know if I would’ve been able to deal with the pain.

MagsRags's avatar

@BBSDTfamily , if you decide to go with natural birth, you’ll want to make plans to be up and out of the bed as much as possible during labor. Contractions hurt more and they’re less effective when the woman is laying down, especially on her back. Water, ideally a jacuzzi but shower is pretty good too, can be really helpful. Don’t go to the hospital too early – early labor is very susceptible to slowdowns just from a change in environment, plus if you don’t progress at the rate the staff expects once you’re admitted, there’s a tendency to want to nudge things along.

If you’re unlucky enough to get back labor, staying upright is even more important to encourage the baby to rotate. There’s a great no-risk technique, reasearch supported, for temporary relief of back labor that a lot of doctors don’t seem to know about. Here’s a link.to the google search that will give you some reading on it
http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&source=hp&q=back+labor+intradermal+papules&aq=f&oq=&aqi=

augustlan's avatar

I have had 3 children with no epidural. Yes, the pain was bad. But I was prepared for it, you know? Each time at some point I became a tad hysterical, and was given a shot of Demerol (or Stadol) in a muscle. The Demerol didn’t lessen the pain at all… I just didn’t care about it anymore! I walked a lot while I was in labor, far longer than I would have been able to if I’d had an epidural. I never completely ruled out the epidural, just knew I wanted to try it without.

On episiotomy… I had one with the first, even though I had expressly asked not to. I was so angry. As a result of that little cut, I ripped from one end to the other and required a lot of stitches. I switched to a midwife for the second two, and was allowed to ‘rip’ naturally… I required 1 stitch each time.

Take my advice with a grain of salt… I regularly have dental work done without Novocaine, and had an amniocentesis without a local. I’m widely considered insane for doing such things. ;-)

Most importantly, my labors were full of laughter and love. I wish the same for you. :)

*Edited to add: I forgot to mention that all three of my labors were induced, and I had to have that stuff that makes your contractions harder and faster in the last one. Still, no epidural. You can do this!

le_inferno's avatar

oh God sometimes I really don’t wanna have babies. :X

MagsRags's avatar

@augustlan your experience with demerol/stadol is pretty typical. I would tell women when it works the way we hope, it takes the edge off just a little. But sometimes, I thought the benefit was more for the people around her because she would usually get a bit quieter for an hour or so, and maybe doze between contractions. But if you asked her, then or afterwards, she would never say it was feeling easier to deal with.

My other issue with narcotics in labor is some little known research that came out of Sweden nearly 20 years ago. Basically, they looked at adult drug addicts and non-addict siblings and when they went back through birth records, they found that the more medication the mother had in labor, the higher the likelihood of adult addiction. It’s called the imprinting hypothesis

BBSDTfamily's avatar

@le_inferno Childbirth won’t be the hardest thing you’ll go through as a mother, so if childbirth alone scares you away then you are probably right not to have any. A lot of people make that call, nothing wrong with it.

le_inferno's avatar

@BBSDTfamily so you mean to say my child will do something worse to me in life than inducing awful contracting pains and tearing out of my vagina?

augustlan's avatar

@le_inferno Yep. Most definitely. :P

Worth it anyway, IMO.

wilma's avatar

@BBSDTfamily yes, much worse.

I have had 4 children, all except the third was natural. The third baby was an emergency C-Section because he was in a breach position and in great distress.
I had another natural birth after that for my last baby.
No pain medication at all except a local after each delivery to repair an episiotomy or small tear.
I also vote with @le_inferno for no episiotomy, it was much harder to recover from than the natural tear.

I have had worse pain than natural childbirth. I don’t mean to sound like it wasn’t painful, it was, but not anything horrific, and with the right kind of help and attitude, I believe any woman can do just fine.
@MagsRags has very good advice I would follow it.

BBSDTfamily's avatar

@le_inferno Yes, you can count on it!

Supacase's avatar

@wilma You had no pain meds with a C-section? Holy moly.

I had an epidural at 10cm, but not by my choice. I dilated so quickly and the dumb ass doctor didn’t come down to check me until then. I was at 2cm when I came in, 6cm about 45 minutes later (nurse checking) and 10 cm about an hour later. I had contraction upon contraction the entire time and screamed by bloody head off. If I had known I was at 10cm before I got the epidural (which was a godsend to me, the nurses and the other patients) I would have just gone ahead and delivered. It could not have been more painful than labor, which I had pretty much completed at that point.

And, yes, @le_inferno your child will do much worse things to you. I looked at my daughter about the 3rd day and had a revelation that this tiny little thing had the power to bring me more joy and more pain than any other person on the planet. I called my mom and apologized for all the horrible things I had said and done as a teenager.

preggers's avatar

I thought I had a high threshold for pain. I forgot to account for duration as well as intensity. My active labour lasted 15 hours. No epidural, but had a shot of narcotics to take the edge off. I could have probably done 12 hours without the narcotics. But another hour and I might have asked for the epidural. The natural tearing, pushing and stitching were nothing compared to the contractions. Though they had to induce me and the level of pitocin they gave me was too high. (They lowered it after realizing I was contracting like crazy.)

The scale of pain I came in with was entirely different than the scale of pain I came out with. (They will ask you to rate your pain on a scale of 1 to 10.)

That being said, it was all worth it and I would do it again in a heartbeat.

janbb's avatar

I went all the way through 18 hours of labor and three hours of pushing with no pain meds. It was hard but not unbearable. In the end, I had to have a Caeserean because of CPD – head/pelvis disproportion. For that, I had a spinal. The pain of trying to move in the first days after abdominal surgery was much greater than the labor pains. For my second son, I had a scheduled Caeserean after thinking of trying VBAC and had an epidural.

You don’t know how your going to feel or what’s going to happen when you actually go into labor. Why do you feel you need to decide ahead of time? Surely, the epidural option is open for you to choose at almost any point. I think the best thing is to attempt natural child birth, but then be prepared to accept that you may choose to have an epridural or need other interventions. We are very lucky to live at a time when there are so many options available to us.

ccrow's avatar

I had four, all medication-free. except for a nurse bugging me until I let her give me Demerol after delivery, (I didn’t feel I needed it)obviously thinking it would make things easier for her to drug me up & get me out of the way. Unfortunately I had a panic reaction to the Demerol & my BP spiked so they had to keep me right by the nurse’s station till it wore off. I like to imagine that nurse learned something that day. I really never wanted to do it any other way. It is painful, but for me at least, it was completely different from pain from injury, plus at the end there’s a new little person to love!

juniper's avatar

I have never had children, so I can’t offer my own experiences as answers, here. However, I’ve been researching natural childbirth for quite a while. Please research! There are so many potential dangers for both mother and baby (as you seem to know) that the general public is unaware of.

Of course, there is strong disagreement on this. Make the decision yourself. But make an informed one.

Have you seen “The Business of Being Born?” It’s a great documentary that might give you some interesting insight, both personal and statistical.

shilolo's avatar

My wife has delivered two. With the first, it was an induction, and took a long time (days), but she did get the epidural and the actual labor was manageable (here I am speaking for her, but still…). With the second, it was again supposed to be a planned induction, but somehow she was in active labor. Since the nurses thought we were an induction, they left us alone in a post-partum room. By the time we could convince them that she was actually in labor, it was pretty much too late. It didn’t help that I knew the anesthesia resident (had trained him) and he seemed nervous. By the time he put the epidural in (he actually missed the first time, which was crazy since my wife is thin and her spinal cord readily accessible), it was too late. My wife screamed so loud during the contractions I thought the windows would break. She was in so much pain it was unbearable for me to watch. Thankfully, labor was short (second baby thing), but I’m sure if she had it to do over she would have chosen better pain control.

MagsRags's avatar

It’s very scary to find yourself on the runaway train that is precipitous faster than normal labor, especially when you had a different birth plan.

Here’s an approximation of what I tell my patients: Women have been giving birth for thousands of years, but the more you try to control it, the more out of control it feels. When you’re doing it without medication, the only out is through. The parts of the brain that move labor along are all in the primitive core – you have to turn off the thinking part of your brain, and give in to it.

I remember being in active labor and equate it to being under water. I could hear and see my surroundings from a distance. It hurt a lot, but I was OK as long as I just let it happen. If I surfaced for too long and tried to carry on a meaningful conversation or otherwise tread water, it was much harder to deal with, and I would get testy. Very testy.

You reach a point around 9 centimeters where it hurts so much you really think it’s too much and you can’t keep going another minute. I could tell when the woman I was with was in the last stages, and when she would say “I can’t do it anymore” No puedo if she was latina I knew if I checked her, she was probably within minutes of being ready to start pushing.

Cupcake's avatar

I had natural childbirth… but by the end of my labor I would have agreed to anything (including c-section) just to be done. 2 pushes and he crowned. I had to keep from pushing again until they got the OB back in my room. 1 more push and there was his head. 1 final push and he was out.

He was 8lbs 13 oz.

As soon as I held him I knew that I would do it all over again. Natural childbirth and all.

Val123's avatar

I had two, all natural. I think my labors were easier than most women’s, but I was also in super good physical condition. I was still playing tennis just two weeks before I delivered, and I’m betting that’s why mine were relatively easy. Having said that, go with the drugs! In Lamaze class they told us to come up with a reason that you’re going all natural to hang on to when the transition labor hits, and you seriously want to die (seriously.) I racked my brain, all I could come up with is, “So I can say I did it.” My husband didn’t like that, but what other reason is there?? But, now I can say “I did it!” Nobody has sent a prize yet, though. Not even my chilluns.

BBSDTfamily's avatar

@Val123 Aww, I will GA you since you haven’t recieved a prize yet :) Does that count? :)

The other reason is because it decreases your chances of having complications in most instances and is better for the baby. I see it as moms who get the epidural are doing something that is best for them, and moms who deliver naturally are doing something that is best for their child. I want to be the “best for the child” mom.

janbb's avatar

Childbirth, like parenting, is a constant dance between “should’ and “can”; between the ideal needs of the child and the real needs of the parent. We can all get caught in the “Mommy wars” and beat ourselves up for what we were or weren’t able to do. You hope and plan for the best but have to be willing to compromise. The main thing is getting out a healthy baby; sometimes that means drugs, sometimes that means a C-section. If you can accept that it’s not all under your control, you will learn an important first lesson about parenting.

Val123's avatar

@BBSDTfamily Yay! I finally got a GA award! I’m so happy, I’m gonna run out and get pregnant and do it again! Won’t my (grown) kids and grandkids be thrilled!
Well, I sure understand your logic, but…the drugs don’t hurt the baby. I don’t know about reducing the risk of complications. I guess I don’t see how the drugs could cause complications that are going to exist anyway….but tell me what you’ve learned about it. What kinds of complications can it cause?

MissAusten's avatar

The first of my three babies was born after a very short and completely natural labor and delivery. This was not what I had planned, but to be honest it wasn’t as bad as I’d thought it would be. I had planned on an epidural. Labor and delivery were not fun, but they were pretty quick considering she was my first. She was born two hours after we got to the hospital, with about one hour of intense contractions and only three pushes. No episiotomy or tearing. She weighed just under 7.5 pounds.

My second child apparently had no plans to be born. I had a lot of contractions, went to the hospital, and then felt nothing. They wouldn’t let me go home because I was 4 cm dilated, so we spent the night. The next afternoon they gave me pitocin to induce labor, and that was really not fun. I’d decided to try another natural childbirth since it went well the first time around, but no one told me the pitocin would make me feel like someone was taking a chainsaw to my guts. They gave me stadol, which like someone said above didn’t help with the pain but made me higher than a kite. Anyway, the good news was that once labor got started it went quickly. My son weighed a little over nine pounds, so even though I didn’t have to push much it was very different than popping out a 7-pounder. The whole experience was so awful, I was truly glad we’d decided not to have any more kids.

Well…a short 8 months later, I found out I was pregnant again. I was completely dreading labor and delivery with the last one so fresh in my mind. We knew we were having a boy, and decided to take the doctor’s advice for an induction about a week and a half before my due date. That time, I was a class A wimp! As soon as the doctor would let me, I had that epidural. It didn’t hurt at all, and oh Lord, what a gift from Heaven. Everything about that birth was so relaxed! I wasn’t freaking out because it was new to me, or stoned out of my mind. Our son was born easily with no complications, and neither of us had no ill effects from the epidural. He weighed 8 pounds. That whole experience was so different from the insanity of the first two, that I wished I’d had an epidural every time. However, all three kids are insane themselves, so I don’t see a correlation between calmness in the delivery room and later calmness in the child, darn it.

Now they are 10, 6, and 4. All are healthy and very smart. Anecdotal evidence alert. I breastfed all of them, and the only one who had trouble latching on and getting started was my daughter (the natural childbirth). Both of the boys were born to nurse, and had no problems at all, which I’d worried about with the medications.

I say, plan the labor and delivery the way you want, but stay open to other ideas. If you want a natural childbirth, then go for it! You can always change your mind (unless you wait the the last minute before pushing). Something may come up that will change your mind for you, like needing a C-sections. Make sure your partner supports your decisions and will back you up with the doctors. And congratulations!

BBSDTfamily's avatar

@Val123 My OB/GYN was my source of info, but if you want to look it all up here is a good site to look at: http://www.childbirth.org/articles/sideeppi.html Just Google “epidural side effects”. Why my Dr. said is that it increases the risk of needing an emergency C-section and can interfere with the blood pressure and heart rate of both mother and baby. But the site I listed gives lots more examples too.

wilma's avatar

@Supacase “all except the third was natural”
I did have anesthetic with the C-section.

@BBSDTfamily You are lucky that you have so many options are available to you.
Only a few generations ago women had very few choices regarding how they would give birth. The Infant and maternal mortality rate was much higher back then.

I was happy to be able to give birth naturally, and when my baby’s life was at risk, I felt very fortunate to have an alternative ready and available to me.
Good luck with your little boy!

BBSDTfamily's avatar

@wilma I agree, women today are lucky to have the c-section option. I would only want one if absolutely necessary, and it seems you feel the same way.

wilma's avatar

@BBSDTfamily
Yes, I think so!
By the way the recovery from the C-section was much longer and more difficult than the natural deliveries.

Supacase's avatar

@wilma I got that the last was a C-Section, but you specifically said that all you had to reduce or eliminate pain were locals after the natural births. Common sense says you would have anesthesia, but it wasn’t clear in your post – in fact you implied (obviously unintentionally) that you did not – so I took your words at face value instead of assuming otherwise.

BBSDTfamily's avatar

@wilma I understood what you meant, quite clearly. But I can understand the confusion.

Clair's avatar

@wilma WOW. Bless you. You are a real woman.

janbb's avatar

@Clair Aren’t we all?

Clair's avatar

@janbb Quite right! Wow, I didn’t read yours til just now. That’s amazing. I hope I can hang in there like you awesome Flutherite women.

casheroo's avatar

I think you can do anything you put your mind to.

Now, for my first, I did not prepare myself enough. I did read a TON of literature of childbirth, but not enough on how to handle the pain properly. I decided to “go with the flow” and see how I felt. I ended up completely panicking over the pain. It was so intense for me, that my body shut down and I actually was in labor for over 12 hours without dilating. They gave me Stadol (which I fortunate knew about, and knew out of all the pre-labor drugs, that one would be best…better than Demerol or Morphine, so I could be alert soon after, less side effects. I also got Zofran so I wouldn’t throw up, as narcotics can make that happen)
I got the Stadol and finally my body worked properly. It was less tense so my cervix began to dilate. The Stadol lasted probably 45 minutes, it was an amazing drug that helped me get through a big hurdle of labor for me.
But then it stopped working and the contractions came back, off the charts. I couldn’t handle it, and when I was allowed, I took the epidural. It was a life saver.
I will admit, it did hinder my ability to push properly. I had to push for 3 hours before my son came out, and my son did go into distress at one point…almost needed a c-section…not the epidurals fault though, when he came out his cord was wrapped around his neck twice, so he got distressed inside of me when I laid in a certain position…being on your left side is a good idea always while pregnant.

I will tell you this. Even though I got the epidural, I still got the birth I wanted. I refused an episiotomy. I refused the use of any interventions like Pitocin and Cervidil, and no use of the vacuum (which they were trying to force on me, until my husband had to tell them to back off.) If your child is not in distress, then there is absolutely no need for an episiotomy or the vacuum. You CAN push your child out on your own, and if you tear then let it happen naturally. It’s really not as scary as it sounds.
I have friends who got stitches after tearing, when they had no epidural (so they weren’t numb for it) they say the tearing didn’t hurt but the needle of lidocaine hurt. But, it’s just like getting a needle in your mouth to numb it before they do any work, just concentrate on your new baby, and you’ll be fine.

This time around, I’m more concerned of the after-labor. I had a horrible experience in the hospital. I didn’t see my son for 4 hours, they gave him pacifiers and formula! He had terrible issues with breastfeeding that never got better. I am refusing all treatment for this new baby, and signing a waiver so they cannot take the new baby from my side. That is my biggest concern this time around. I want to keep the baby on my boob pretty much 24/7 lol.

Good luck! And congratulations on having a boy!! They are sooooo much fun! I’m having another boy :)

J0E's avatar

“If you’re unfamiliar with home child birth, it’s when you throw out the hundreds of years of medical research…and you wing it.” – Jim Gaffigan

BBSDTfamily's avatar

@casheroo Wow that is crazy about the after-labor with your first! If you bring it up to them beforehand, will you be more likely to have things go the way you would like? I need to bring this up to my dr. asap! I also had never heard of the episiotomy being a negative thing so I’m about to go look it up now b/c you’ve all got me interested… it makes sense that the natural way is the best way. congrats on your little boy on the way!

casheroo's avatar

Oh! And I forgot to add.
I’ll be reading about Hypno Babies for this next baby, and getting a birthing ball…because I want gravity to help me out more than just laying in a hospital bed. But, while laboring at home (for 12 some hours) I found the hands and knee position to be quite instinctual. I would just immediately do it to ease the pain, or jump in the shower and let warm warm water hit my lower back. My husband played video games while I whined the entire time. lol
BUT, a study proves cursing helps pain so I felt justified in all my yelling of profanities haha

@BBSDTfamily I think being a first time mom, I had no clue they’d keep my son for so long, and after I have birth…the epidural lasted too long and I could not walk at all. Nurses had to help me use the bathroom, which sucked. I didn’t think anything of it at the time, but then realized “wait a minute, where’s my new baby?”
The thing is, I gave birth at a nice hospital, knowing full well the doctor in my practice might not be on call. I thought I had seen all the doctors in the practice that would be on call, but there were apparently more doctors than I met…and also other doctors from other practices could be on call. So you may not even know the doctor that delivers your baby, I didn’t know mine at all! He was a nice guy, other than threatening a c-section every half hour. blah.
I think you need to have a birth plan written out for the nurses (they do the majority of the work, the doctor comes in to catch the baby…literally.) if you have specific things, let your nurse know. It’s your day, be aggressive on what you want from it. And make sure your husband is on board. I’m thankful my husband knew my wishes and stood up for me when they tried to convince me to get the vacuum.

MagsRags's avatar

@casheroo , you said for my first, I did not prepare myself enough…. on how to handle the pain properly.
I think it’s possible to overprepare, in terms of creating unrealistic expectations of the perfect labor and birth. Over the 20 some years I delivered babies, I had to give up on predicting in my head who would do well in labor and who would freak out. Sometimes the 16 year old who never took a class or read a book would just find the zone and give in to labor, and progress beautifully. And then there would be the woman who had everything planned and just couldn’t let go and give up control. I was afraid I would be one of those women, but it turned out that I could let it happen and my body really did know what to do.

The stadol probably helped you stop thinking so your body could take over. Most of the time, I would be helping women give birth with the minimum of pain medication, but every once in awhile, I would need to convince a laboring woman who was totally tense and “in control” and not making progress to accept pain relief with an epidural. Often, she would dilate rapidly as soon as it took effect, after many hours of equally strong contactions and no progress before. In those cases, I felt the epidural was preventing a C section.

casheroo's avatar

@MagsRags I think women can overprepare as well, but I did no research on pain relief…my knowledge of medications is unrelated to preparing myself for childbirth. I should have done something, which I do regret.
I also feel the stadol and epidural did help me, my body needed it. Not everyone is meant for med-free labor, in my opinion. It’s just been my experience with giving birth.
I also didn’t have any issues with the epidural, so that may have made my experience with it better. It didn’t affect my son, and I still had a vaginal delivery. I plan on getting an epidural again, because to me it’s just the way to go when giving birth (for me!)

ubersiren's avatar

Holy crap, I’m so scared. I know now after my first that there’s so much to decide and so much that can be a surprise which determines how your birthing (and recovery) experience goes.

@BBSDTfamily : You can plan on not having any meds, but you’re always free to change your mind. If you think you can handle it, absolutely go for the attempt. But, make the “attempt” your goal, and not necessarily not having any meds at all. You don’t want to convince yourself you don’t need any help if you’re in unbearable pain. Don’t let your decision now dictate how you feel at the time. Congrats, and good luck! Tell us how it goes.

sakura's avatar

I agree with @casheroo a birthing plan is important, so that the doctors and nurses know what you want from your labour. I said right from the start I wanted as natural a birth as possible, and stated it quite clearly in my birthing plan (which I did with the midwife a few weeks before I was due)
I was really lucky, I started labour around 11pm and had my beautiful daughter at 6.30 am so not to long!
I started with just gas and air, but that made me puke!! So I had to stop taking it, I was doing really well, but felt like I needed the toilet all the time, as my daughter was pressing on my bladder, so they gave me a pethadine shot, I slept through all my labour, I woke up wanting to push, but told the nurse it was too soon (I thought I’d only been there an hour!) In just a few pushes I delivered my daughter myself, pulling her onto my stomach, it was incredible! I didn’t tear, just a little graze, I was so lucky!!

You will be fine, just have it clear in your head what options you want to take, and write them down for your partner so he can talk you through your options when you are delivering and can speak for you when you are feeling too tired. Just don’t be afraid to ask if things get too much, the nurses are there to help you, its what they get paid for and I would hope they want to do :)

Good Luck and remember PLAN AHEAD!!

casheroo's avatar

@sakura The birth you had would NEVER happen in the US lol. They don’t use the gas here, which is silly since it has so little side effects and can help ease the pain…also, they cath you (put a tube in you, to collect your urine) about a million times, because doctors seem to be scared of getting urine on them. I think they offered to let me touch my son coming out, but not pull him out….they obviously noticed the cord around his neck twice and kept that from me until it was freed.

Val123's avatar

@MissAusten “My second child apparently had no plans to be born.” LOL! Is she/he still stubborn?
@all Man, it wasn’t that long ago when women didn’t HAVE drug options! Out there on the prairie, having babies. Can you imagine?! And when I had my first, the “natural” thing had just started, and they had this stupid rule then that if you opted for no drugs you couldn’t change your mind. WTH??? By my next one, two years later, that rule was gone. I finally broke and yelled for drugs…but then my son was born before I could get any! It was all really fast for me.
Above all, get in shape.

sakura's avatar

@casheroo that seems a bit barbaric to me, my sister pooped all over the bed whilst giving birth to her son, she was like oh no I just pooped didn’t I? and the nurse just cleared it up no problems!!!

I think I was very lucky that my birth was so “easy” they couldn’t see any problems so it was fine. Although she did develop a lump on her neck as a muscle tore and bled as she was being born which caused a lump and meant she had to have physio on her neck, never know to this day whether it was because I “pulled” her out, but I don’t let it ruin what was a beautiful moment for me and my hubby!

Val123's avatar

@sakura You pulled the baby out???

sakura's avatar

yup!! obviously there was pushing involoved at the same time :) My hands went down between my legs (the midwife was there!!) and I held her head (I think…may have been her shoulders) and pulled her up on to my stomach, the midwife helped but I effectivly was the first person to touch her! It was amazing!!

My sisters friend gave birth at home on her own, the baby came that quick, she did everything by herself, now thats amazing!!

Val123's avatar

Did you pull her by the head?

MagsRags's avatar

The midwife or doctor helps deliver the head – you want it to come slowly so the women’s bottom has a chance to stretch, and you “control” the head by placing your hands to keep the baby’s head flexed so that the smallest possible diameter of the head comes through – if the head is not flexed, the woman is more likely to tear. We check for a cord around the neck at that point – if it’s there, we try to slip it over the baby’s head. If it’s very tight, we might have to ask the women to stop pushing long enough to clamp it and cut it. Then the shoulders have to come and we want to control that too so they don’t “pop”, again to reduce tearing. Once the shoulders are out, the rest of the baby comes easily. If the mom is pushing really hard, the baby pretty much flies out at that point. But if the babe is coming more slowly, it’s lovely to encourage the mom to reach down and help her baby out the rest of the way, lifting her/him up onto the mom’s abdomen. The midwife or doctor’s hands are right there for backup support – brand new babies can be very slippery!

Sometimes the couple would want the father to help catch the baby. In that situation, I would ask him to place his hands over my hands for the head and the tightest part of the shoulders and then back off so I could talk him through the rest. You don’t want anyone pulling on the bay’s head.

Val123's avatar

I wouldn’t think anyone would pull the baby’s head! But your comment about a muscle in the baby’s being torn and bleeding…...anyway, I know how baby’s come out! I had two of ‘em. Didn’t have either an epidural or an episiotomy with either one. (BTW, I know that word is spelled wrong, but for the life of me, I guess I can’t get close enough to it for spell check to correct it! Sorry!) The first one came out so fast she was round headed, like Charley Brown!

MagsRags's avatar

You spelled them both right, @val123!

My husband “helped” my midwife with my daughter’s birth – on the video, you can hear her saying in that calm soothing voice “It’s OK to wait a little for the shoulders, John, you don’t need to pull on her head”. And you’d be surprised how many medical students want to use the wrong kind of traction on the baby’s head to get that top shoulder to come.

A fair number of babies have small birth traumas, mostly from the trip down the birth canal rather than something the attendant did or didn’t do. We see them most often after very long labors, or conversely, when the labor and birth have been really rapid.

BBSDTfamily's avatar

I am so glad I asked this question, I am getting more info than I ever imagined! Thank you everybody!!! I made my birth plan last night and went over it w/ my husband :) Now I just need to go over it w/ my doctor in a few weeks when I see him again.

MissAusten's avatar

@Val123 That kid has depths of stubbornness that most people can’t even imagine. But he’s cute!

Edited to say (just for the heck of it, with all this talk of pulling babies): When my stubborn son was born, his shoulder was somehow “stuck.” The doctor on call was such an ass, and kept yelling at me to keep pushing. I was so out of it and not having a contraction, and just kept saying, “I can’t. I can’t.” It wasn’t until later when one of the nurses told me the doctor thought he might have to dislocate the baby’s arm to get him out that I realized why he’d been yelling. He should have just explained what he wanted. He was always nice during my checkups, but his bedside manner sucked. I think I might have peed on him in my stoned state, but since he acted the way he did, I didn’t feel bad.

augustlan's avatar

I never had any cath during labor and delivery. At some point, during my first labor, they told me I couldn’t get out of bed anymore to go to the bathroom, so they put down those blue absorbent pads under me and made me pee in the bed. It was so hard to do that! Once you do it the first time though, it gets easier. ;-)

Val123's avatar

@MagsRags I spelled ‘em right? LOL! Spell check was saying I didn’t. I guess it never had an episiotomy either!
@MissAusten I hope you pooped on him too!!!!
@BBSDTfamily :) Glad we could help. Hope we didn’t scare ya! I think the important thing to remember is that it’s OK to give in if and when you get to the point that you just can’t take anymore. I’ve heard that the relief is a blessing beyond compare.

MissAusten's avatar

@Val123 No, no pooping, thank goodness!

Val123's avatar

@MissAusten But he sounds like he deserved it! O…in Lamaze class, did you ever hear the one theory (by a man) that contractions aren’t really “pain,” ? WTH??!!

MissAusten's avatar

I’ve never heard that one, but I did have a guy lecture me once that PMS is “all in your head” and that no woman really has any symptoms. She just thinks she does because she’s heard other women talk about it. There are some strange, strange, people in the world.

augustlan's avatar

Ooh, I got “there are no nerve endings in your cervix, therefore, it can’t feel pain”. Bullshit.

MissAusten's avatar

I once had a cervical biopsy, and I beg to differ. Not fun.

shilolo's avatar

Yeah, me too! :P

Sorry, couldn’t help myself.

Val123's avatar

@augustlan Who was the ignoramus that said THAT??!!

casheroo's avatar

@augustlan They made you pee in the bed?! Ugh! I would have flipped out. I had an epidural, so I didn’t feel the catheter going in and out. I know it was done a minimum of 5 times on me. I was GBS+ so I was on antibiotics during labor, and given saline…which probably filled my bladder up. I know the doctor told me not to push and I saw him cath me. I just rolled my eyes.

Funny thing about going to the bathroom while in labor…

My nurse was in the room and I said “uh oh, I think I have to poop” lol She then said, “Nope, that means you’re ready to push” Me, being a first time mother ignorantly forgot it might feel like a bowel movement. I told her “Uh, no I have to poop, please take me to the bathroom or give me something because it’s happening” She refused and checked me and told me my son was past 0 stage and I was 10cm dilated. I infact did not have to go to the bathroom, it was my baby coming out haha. I should have listened and not argued haha

MissAusten's avatar

@casheroo The same thing happened to me when I was in labor with my daughter. No one expected me to be fully dilated so quickly, but luckily the nurse decided to have the doctor check my progress before she walked me to the bathroom. We were all shocked when he said I was fully dilated and ready to start pushing. I will never forget the look on his face. I said, “Does that mean it’s too late for drugs?!” He said, “It’s too late for anything except having this baby.” He said to the nurse, “Call me when the baby crowns.” I think he was going to take a nap (it was 3 a.m.), but he was back in five minutes and my daughter was born about five minutes after that. Three pushes. If I could, I would wish such a quick and easy labor on every woman. :)

BBSDTfamily's avatar

Do they give you an enema before you start pushing if they have time? They did that to my sister, but she was having a scheduled c-section so maybe that’s different.

casheroo's avatar

@BBSDTfamily No, that’s not standard anymore. I don’t know how it is for c-sections though….I suppose if it’s a planned one. But, I’ve never had any friends tell me they needed an enema beforehand (and mothers tend to share every detail of their labor and delivery lol) I didn’t get an enema. My body did that naturally while in labor lol. I labored at home for 12 hours and ate normally, but my body cleaned itself out.

BBSDTfamily's avatar

@casheroo Oh okay, you’re right people DO tend to share details so I guess it is just for scheduled c-sections. The details people share about the pooping on the doctor make me kind of prefer to have one though, lol! At least you could do it in private that way! :)

sccrowell's avatar

I have been through 2 natural child births and yes, were I to become pregnant again. !MOST IMPORTANT FACTOR!
Focus! Focus! Focus!
My last pregnancy, I had back labor, were it not for my husbands voice and hands, which never stopped massagin my lower back (4 hours) I truly wouldn’t have been able to!

MissAusten's avatar

@BBSDTfamily There are so many undignified aspects of labor and delivery. You can stress about the possibility of pooping or peeing on the doctor, having people come in and stick their fingers into your hoo-ha every few minutes, getting hemmrhoids from pushing (I know that’s spelled wrong, but I can’t get it right tonight!), wondering if you will yell and scream or hurl insults at your husband, have your water break in a public place…I’m sure there are more. I worried about all of those things. What really happens though, is your body kind of takes over and you get to a point where you are just beyond caring about any of it. The doctors and nurses have already seen it all. Most likely, none of the above will happen to you.

Just make sure you get plenty of fiber. ;)

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I took a baby/birth preparation class before my first – I learned a lot about the issues with medication, the way doctors view labor and all the issues with the interventionist approach…I wanted to have a natural labor…I labored, I’d say, for about 36 hours straight and it was gradual…eventually I was so exhausted from the pain and the not sleeping and the fact that they made me be on my back (because in hospitals once you’ve got an IV in you have to lay on your back with monitors on your tummy, that’s the awful part)...I said okay to the epidural even though I didn’t want it but it helped to dilate me the last 3 cm that I needed…and I was able to sleep a little…then when I was ready to push, my contraction stopped…they gave me Pitocin to get my uterus back into and nothing…my uterus gave up, the baby was ready to go, but my uterus gave up…my doctor was worried and wanted to do a c-section (don’t they always?!) but I was adamant…there was NO way they would do a c-section to me…I told him look here, doc…if there was ever a person that delivered without contractions by the sheer force of pushing and willpower, than I can do it as well…and he looked at me and this was a doctor who was my gyno since I was 13 and I will never forget it and I said “I can do it” and he trusted me..so we faked our contractions…I pushed for 2 hours and my first son was born 8lbs 6oz without contractions…

with my second, I wanted to labor at home as much as possible and so I did..this was a different labor..I started dilating 2 weeks prior to birth…was 3cm for that whole time…and it was on and off…it would start and stop for a couple of days…eventually after spending a lot of time in the shower under hot water, we went to the hospital…I was already 8cm dilated and I said yes to the epidural…an hour later I was fully dilated, they turned off the epidural and I delivered him within 9 pushes…he was 9lbs…

my advice to you is try to go natural but if you can’t, wait as much as possible to get the epidural…and after all if you get to 10cm, you’re there! it hurts more to get there than to get the baby out…

MissAusten's avatar

“it hurts more to get there than to get the baby out…” That is so true. It’s such a relief to start pushing, because the contractions seem less intense.

It was also always amazing to me how once the baby was born, all the pain stopped. Even after my first, when I had no meds, as soon as she was out, everything stopped. I had minor cramping, not even as bad as menstrual cramps. It’s kind of astounding that you go through so much to have that baby, and then it suddenly ends. It’s a well-earned reprieve!

Val123's avatar

@MissAusten “It’s a relief.” Absolutely. Also, because It is finally happening, and you know it’s almost over. And yes, I believe the contractions are less intense. For someone who’s never been there, or for a man, I’m sure they can’t begin to imagine that it’s a relief! You’re almost giddy with relief! I remember laughing a bit hysterically while I was pushing her out!
My Mom…her second kid. She went in. She’d been in about an hour. She was never very assertive, and at one point she said to the nurse, “Um. Excuse me. I think the baby is coming.”
Nurse blew her off. “Naw! You got a long time to go!”
About five minutes later Mom says, “No. Really. I think this baby is coming, now.”
In a huff the nurse checked her…“Oh shit! The baby’s crowning!”
So they slapped a bunch of drugs in her. Mom said, “Then at least I didn’t have to go through the really painful part of pushing her out.”
I was like, “Oh, Momma!”

sakura's avatar

@Val123

pulled by the head – unsure what I pulled, whether it was the head or the neck, was pretty tired! But as I said, helped her onto my stomach!

muscle tore and bled… this was my daughters neck!! It was called a sterno mastoid psudo tumour.(sorry don’t know technical spelling) it basically means a muscle tore and bled (internally) in her neck and this resulted in a lump of hard tissue forming in her neck which if left would have made her face grow wonky!

She also had talepese (her feet bent upwards) which she also had to have physio on. She is fine, happy and healthy now with no side effects.

Hope this clears any confusion!!

Val123's avatar

Glad to hear it all turned out OK! How old is she now?

sakura's avatar

she is 11

Val123's avatar

Uh oh! Won’t be long now!!

snowberry's avatar

I had my kids at home…That rules out all pain medication. I have 5 kids.

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