Anyone else have a crazy summer? For some reason this post was much harder for me to write than my last and then some big, intense personal stuff happened too. But I’m back!!
As a follow up to m last post, 6 reasons to Get an Epidural, I wanted to write about the reasons NOT to get an epidural. I know, you’ve been told your whole life how miserable birth is and how you’ll be begging for an epidural before you even walk in the door. Just stop. Birth is different for everyone and it really truly isn’t always miserable and you really truly can do it if you want. ( Looking for childbirth classes to help eliminate fear?) Sure, there are real, compelling reasons to get one but there are also real, compelling reasons to avoid one if possible. Here’s 5:
1) Recovery. A natural birth, without an epidural and all the extra fluid that comes with it, almost always has an easier, quicker recovery. After that baby comes out, you are nearly back to your normal self. You can take care of your baby right away, you can use the bathroom and shower as soon as you’re ready. It really is amazing how much added recovery comes just with an epidural.
2) Mobility. This is a big one. A birth without an epidural gives you freedom of movement. You can walk, you can stand up, you can use the shower or the tub. You aren’t tied to as many machines. You can change positions as you feel the need. You are NOT CONFINED TO A BED. Being able to change positions during the second stage of labor, when you’re pushing you baby out, can mean the difference between a vaginal birth and a cesarean. Now, a good labor and delivery nurse and your doula can do lots to help you change positions even with an epidural, but you are more limited.
3) It’s close to the end. There’s a point in labor, sometimes called transition, when every woman doesn’t think she can do it anymore. Often, that’s when things go very quickly. If you have any doubt all about getting one, get a cervical check first. You may be much closer than you realize and it’s possible that the baby may arrive just after the epidural kicks in. If you think you can push through, do! If you won’t regret an epidural at this point, that’s okay too.
4) You don’t need one. Everyone experiences labor differently. Everyone’s labors proceed differently. Some women are quite comfortable until very near the end. How you expect it to be is very often how it is. If you don’t need one, don’t get one! Birth is a natural, normal process and while it’s not usually easy, it also isn’t necessarily torture.
5) You don’t want one. Having a natural birth may be very important to you for a variety of reasons. You may be concerned about the particular medications used, the potential risks, etc. You may feel like women have been doing this since the beginning of time, etc. It doesn’t matter why, YOU know that it is not the right decision for you. Plan and prepare but if you don’t want an epidural, don’t get one!
All births are incredible. It’s the beginning of a new family! I’m always so amazed at the strength of the women I serve whatever their birth choices. Epidural or no epidural doesn’t matter to me. What matters to me is you being part of your care and feeling good about your choices!
Looking for childbirth classes? Or planning a VBAC? Click these links!
Adina Nelson, CD(DONA)
I am a birth & postpartum doula and chlidbirth educator practicing in North Idaho.
She was there every step of the way for me and my husband...I thank Adina for everything she helped us with. She truly is a special person and we will be forever grateful for her! ~Erin