General Question

gailcalled's avatar

How many women have delivered without drugs or some pain management?

Asked by gailcalled (54538points) August 14th, 2008

Would you do it again? Was the discomfort worth the experience of being awake and alert?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

43 Answers

Randy's avatar

My mom had me on a friends couch. No meds or anything. She’s a tough cookie.

Seesul's avatar

I did, but I had no choice. It was worth it because I was aware after my son was born and I wasn’t sure whether he was going to make it or not. Looking back, I’m glad I had those first days with him, drug free.

Spargett's avatar

I imagine the pain over the next 18 years fails in comparison to the actual delivery.

Seesul's avatar

Spargett, it is said a little part of your heart goes with you and when it walks away, that is pain, worrying how the world will treat them.

ladytmerie's avatar

I delivered my second and third babies with zero drugs or pain management. It was tolerable and much different than my first delivery which I had IV pain meds. I was much happier and more alert without the drugs and in the end was happy with my choice. But, I have never been in labor longer than four hours so I can’t fairly say if things would have been different for me with say, a 24 hour labor and delivery.

Eight's avatar

Let’s see. Prior to some time in the 20th century, especially outside the industrialized countries, I’d say <<all>>.

PupnTaco's avatar

My wife had all three of our kids without any meds – 10 lbs 8 oz, 10 lbs 1 oz, and 9 lbs.

flyawayxxballoon's avatar

When my mother delivered me, she chose not to have any pain medication. Would she do it again? I assume so, considering the fact that she also delivered my two little sisters without medication. She says it was worth it because she was alert and knew when we came into the world, and that she wouldn’t have done it any other way.

Judi's avatar

My daughter had both her kids without any pain drugs. I had a para-cervical which they don’t do any more. It was like a local for your cervix but stopped working when you needed to push.

augustlan's avatar

All 3 children, no epidural…but I did get a shot of Lidocaine(sp?) or something that didn’t do a thing to ease the pain, but helped me deal with the pain a little better. My last labor was 12 hours, and the most painful, but I don’t regret it a bit.

Judi's avatar

Spargett;
what do you mean 18 years? My son is 24!

redsgirl4eva's avatar

I never have done it I did try for my daughter but It was too much for me. I would not try to do it again.

gailcalled's avatar

@Eight: You are right. ^^ was a poorly worded question. I meant it for the younger women here who have had babies in the last ten years.

@All: my niece had her second baby on the living room floor…no time to even lie down on sofa. Her husband had the phone between ear and shoulder and was talking to the doulah who was heading towards their house but caught in snow. Biggest problem was how surprisingly slippery the baby was. Husband almost let him slip through hands. He used a sterilized manicure scissors and dental floss for the cord. (First baby took forever – a prolonged and exhausting labor.)

gailcalled's avatar

When my generation delivered children, we were treated as though we had a peculiar disease.. Sterile operating room, everyone masked and gowned, cold, bright lights. We were patients and not mothers-to-be.

Judi's avatar

gailcalled;
There was a short time in the late 70’s early 80’s when women were treated like mothers instead of a medical procedures but now Labor and Delivery departments are run by lawyers trying to make sure no one gets sued, regardless of what the parents want. I feel lucky I had my children when and where I did. I couldn’t believe what my daughters experienced in the hospitals, as if this was a medical process instead of a natural one and as if they (the nurses) somehow owned the baby. Call me a hippie but I was highly offended. I kept my mouth shut for my daughters sake though.

augustlan's avatar

I remembered the shot I got: Demerol.

gailcalled's avatar

@Judi: Interesting. We too only saw the baby for a second (cleaned up and swaddled) in the OR. I didn’t get to peek at my son and all his adorable little parts until the next day. I was nursing-a rarity in those days. The baby was handed to me; the nurse fled; baby and I stared at each other for a while and then we figured it out. My friends thought I was bonkers.

redsgirl4eva's avatar

@ Gail For me that would have hurt I would have probably wanted to do a more natural delivery if it was like that. Not to be mean or anything to anyone.So sorry if this sounds mean.

redsgirl4eva's avatar

@ Judi I agree Judi

Judi's avatar

I was a hippie all the way. Had my kids in a dark room (how do you feel when you go in the sunlight after being in a dark room? I didn’t want the babies eyes to hurt!) and my mom gave them a bath right there. This IS the first time they have ever experience gravity, I figured putting them back in the water would be comforting. Then I nursed them to deliver the placenta. . Also waited for the cord to stop pulsing before cutting it. I asked everyone to be quiet so the baby wouldn’t be exposed to sharp noises. They have been under water their whole life after all and all the noises they have ever heard have been muted!

augustlan's avatar

Judi, you were ahead of your time! Now water births are becoming more commonplace, and because of all the Tom Cruise/Katie Holmes publicity, we all know that Scientology advocates for silent births.

gailcalled's avatar

We were sheep, doing what the male authority figures told us. It never occured to me or my friends to question anything then.

Judi; I envy you those experiences…so sane, of course. The nurse pushed on my really tender abdomen (and I tried to shove her hands away) to deliver the placenta. Barbaric. A great pity that your daughters didn’‘t have that choice.

Judi's avatar

I read a book in High school called Birth Without Violence by Dr Leboyer. It had a great impact on me and on how I chose to have my children. I didn’t have a “water birth” in the same sense as the Scientologists do, but I did get my babies back in the water as soon as possible. My babies didn’t cry when they were born and they looked around the room bright eyed in curious amazement.

augustlan's avatar

@Judi: I realize that you didn’t have a water birth, but you understood the principle of the practice, before it became the “in” thing. I think your way is probably safer. Do Scientologists have water births? I must have missed that one :)

Judi's avatar

auqustian;
I may have been ahead of my time but time stopped when malpractice insurance premiums went through the roof. No more room for the parents wishes, just what mitigates the risk for doctors and hospitals.

gailcalled's avatar

Could your daughters have chosen home births w. doulah, midwife or Nurse-Practioner?

augustlan's avatar

I agree completely, I was lucky enough to have a midwife for my last two kids, and even though it was in a hospital, it was a completely different experience from my first delivery with an OB/GYN who did whatever he thought best, with little consideration of how I felt about it. Shortly after my 3rd child’s birth, the midwives were all run out of town due to crazy malpractice premiums…I found that so sad.

Judi's avatar

gailcalled;

One probably could have, the other knew she wanted an epidural and ended up having a cesarean. That was a TOTAL disaster. They ignored her as she lay on the table after they took her baby (and her husband) away and refused to let me be with her after her husband left. She asked questions and they pretended like she didn’t exist. She is due again in December and will have another C-section. She is planning on meeting with the anesthesiologist before and at least she will have time to prepare herself emotionally. Different hospital too.

gailcalled's avatar

Interesting discussion. Thank you, all.

Judi; your stories about your daughters sound like a return to barbarism. A great pity. My niece enjoyed her birth-on-the- livingroom -floor much more than the first hospital delivery. Her mother (my sister) was treated like a criminal and was practically strip—searched before being allowed on the maternity floor. I guess that babies have been stolen from nurseries.

Judi's avatar

Yes, the attach sensors to the babies legs and if you pass the door I guess it sets off an alarm similar to stealing a purse at nordstroms.

gailcalled's avatar

What was that curse? “May you live in interesting times”?

jca's avatar

i had an epidural and what i did not know is that they can turn the epidural down strength-wise, so you can have it where you can’t feel anything at all, or you can have a lesser level, where you feel more. my doc said you can’t push if you can’t feel it, so he had the epidural at like half way, and i felt it, and it was bad, but i was not going through the roof. it gave me a new respect for all the women in the world who do it without epidural or other meds. women who, nowadays, have a choice and STILL go without. also, another thing i did not know until i actually was in labor is that giving birth feels like taking a giant shit. it sounds vulgar but that was exactly what it felt like, like shitting out a watermelon. nowhere did i read that ahead of time.

Judi's avatar

jca;
sorry no one warned you. Joan Rivers used to say it felt like taking your bottom lip and pulling it over your head.

jeanmay's avatar

I gave birth nearly six months ago. I did a lot of research ahead of time about my options and the kind of analgesics available. I joined an ‘active birth’ group, where natural labour (I’m from England) was discussed every week. We talked about creating the right environment for birth, and we looked at different positions for labour and massage techniques. We did ‘pain training’ by gripping ice cubes for as long as possible and breathing through the discomfort. There was also a session for couples so my husband came along and learned all the things I had been learning. All of this I can say was great preparation, though nothing could prepare me for the pain and shock of the birth.

I had really wanted a home birth, but doctors advised against it as my bump was ‘small for dates’. I wish now that I hadn’t listened! As it turned out I had my son in hospital, and although this wasn’t ideal it was very close. The midwife on duty was amazing, and seemed to know instinctively what kind of birth experience I was hoping for. She took us into the pool room and although I didn’t give birth in water I used it for pain relief, and very effective it was too. I also used chanting during contractions, kind of a hippy ‘hummmmmm’ sound! We learned that in our classes too! By the pushing stage I was yelling, maybe screaming, I can’t remember!!

I had been in labour a long time and the midwife hinted the she would need to call the docs soon. She then left the room. In hindsight I don’t think she had any intention of getting the doctors, she just knew I needed that final incentive to push like hell! Clever really. I got out of the pool, instructed my husband to sit on the sofa (yes, they have sofas in NHS delivery rooms!), and squatted between his legs with his knees in my armpits for support. Well, that did the trick! The midwife heard my cries and came running back in, fifteen minutes later baby Gabriel was born (to Handel’s Messiah which I had requested be in the CD player).

I laboured for 36 hours, with no other pain relief than the methods I have already mentioned, plus the love and support of my partner and a brilliant midwife.

I’m really happy with the experience I had, but I think I was lucky. Other women I know who gave birth this year were disappointed with the system. It seems natural birth is very popular these days. One thing that strikes me though is how competitive it is, as if a woman is a failure if she accepts drugs as pain relief. One woman at active birth class said that she felt a caesarian was the worst case scenario for her birth. ‘Wow’, I thought. Surely the worst case scenario is a less than healthy baby? Though I managed without drugs, I say whatever gets you through, and whatever is best for you and baby, goes.

Sorry this is so long! It’s all so fresh in my mind and it’s something I guess I feel strongly about!

gailcalled's avatar

@Jennifer; I was riveted by what you wrote and read every word (not something I can say about many posts.) Print and keep this..Gabriel might find it useful in 25 years or so.

Judi's avatar

Jennifer;
Did you say you were in England? I want to point to your post every time someone gripes about socialized medicine. I don’t know of any hospital that would be so progressive and receptive to the mothers wishes here in the US.

jeanmay's avatar

Gail; Thank you for such a kind comment. I think it’s invaluable that women pass on their birth stories and I sure hope Gabriel gets to hear about his one day.

Judi; Yes, I am in England and I would definitely be an advocate for the system. Of course there are horror stories, areas where things are working better than in others. But by and large it works really well for us. I certainly am grateful for the care we received and have done since. We have a Health Visitor who comes and checks on us and offers advice or points us in the right direction if she is unable to help. It’s amazing to have such a good post-natal support network. I didn’t have much contact with other mums until the Health Visitor got me going to mum and baby groups, and it’s all free!! I could go on and on…

Judi's avatar

@jennifer
Can my daughter come stay with you until her baby is born?? (Just kidding)

jeanmay's avatar

Judi; We’re about to move! I wish her lots of luck, pregnancy is such a special time. A planned C-section should be much less traumatic than an emergency. I hope she manages to take ownership of the experience this time.

P.S. I couldn’t resist sharing.

jeanmay's avatar

I don’t know if that worked! Try this one.

jeanmay's avatar

Nope, don’t think that one worked either! I failed. Sorry!

Val123's avatar

I did, twice, but I probably wouldn’t do it again.

Val123's avatar

@jennifermay You said, “Other women I know who gave birth this year were disappointed with the system. It seems natural birth is very popular these days.” I’m from America, and I’m pushing for “socialist” health care. All we hear, of course, is how the system doesn’t work in other countries, but everything I hear from folks in other countries is that it DOES work. In the interest of fairness, though, I’d like to hear how other women were disappointed in the system….

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