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!
I am passionate about positive birth experiences and helping women achieve them in my work as a doula. A positive birth can look so different than you expect it to too! Birth is often normal and straight forward but it can be unpredictable. That doesn’t need to mean negative. GentleBirth is the childbirth education course that I am privileged to be bringing to Indianapolis this spring and it’s all about planning — and having — a positive birth no matter what. Here are 6 reasons to plan a GentleBirth:
1) It has a proven hypnosis component. As we’ve seen for years now with other childbirth preparation programs, and even some surgical procedures, hypnosis works. GentleBirth is at it’s most basic, a hypnosis based program.
2) It’s based on brain science. GentleBirth, if you do the daily work, helps you literally rewire your brain. Our thoughts are pattern based and those patterns are ingrained. It is easier for our brains to think along our normal thought patterns. It takes effort and practice to break our brains out of those ruts. GentleBirth gives you the tools to do that.
3) It helps eliminate fear. The messages we get from our culture reinforce the idea that childbirth is hard and painful. That’s it’s something to be feared and avoided. Those are messages you need to counteract! Birth is normal and something our bodies are built for but sometimes our brains need a little encouragement to remember that. GentleBirth provides that encouragement.
4) It fills your toolbox! I am so excited to be part of sharing a program that promotes doulas, teaches hypnosis, mindfulness, and CBT as well as hands on tools like acupressure and TENS machines as well as all the more common positioning, massage, and ball use.
5) The App. The app has everything you need. The daily brain training, the guidebook, the workshop schedules, everything you need. There’s no more putting it off because you can’t find what you need right then. It’s in your phone.
6) Finally, it’s modern and understands your busy life. The GentleBirth classes are a one weekend commitment. That’s it. It was developed that way on purpose. We know you and your partner are both running all which way with the demands of your lives and finding time that matches up over several weeks is hard. This is a one weekend commitment. Everything else is on your app. Your practice is all laid out for you and parts can be done in as little as 5 minutes at a time.
GentleBirth gives you the tools you need for a natural, normal birth AND the tools to transition from that, if necessary, and still have a positive birth. You and your baby are worth it! If you are interested in finding out more, come by one of our meet ups or contact me through Facebook or the contact page. See you soon!
Looking for a comprehensive childbirth class? Thinking about a VBAC?
Every woman is different and every birth is different. But consistently there are a few items that seem to be very helpful for women to use or bring with them to their place of birth.
1) Your pillow. Yes, the hospital or birth center has pillows. They just won’t be the same. You’ll need all of their’s for positioning and all kinds of stuff. Bring your own pillow so you’ll be comfortable and sleep better. Bring an extra pillow case too.
2) Oil for massage. While lotion works, I really prefer oil for massage in labor. Touch is very helpful for most women. Occasionally there is someone who finds that she does not want to be touched but most women find massage to be relaxing and distracting. Oil provides a nice gliding massage that lotion just doesn’t do. Jojoba oil, coconut oil, grapeseed oil, really any skin care oil will work. Do a patch test ahead of time to make sure you won’t react to the oil you’ve chosen.
3) Hot/cold packs. Depending on your birth place, there are several things you can use for these. My favorite hot pack is still a rice sock. It comes off easily so you can put it on and take it off as is helpful. But this depends on having a microwave easily accessible and some hospitals don’t have that. Another option are the stick on chemical heating pads that last hours or some version of toe/hand warmers. For cold packs, my favorite is a small bin of ice water to put washcloths in. Bring lots of washcloths or make sure your hospital has lots you can use. This way you can use them as compresses on your back or as a cooling cloth for your neck/forehead. Another good option here is wet wash clothes in the refrigerator for later use. But this is dependent on having a private fridge.
4) Tennis Balls. This may seem a bit odd but a tennis ball is firm but flexible and a wonderful massage and pressure too. It will make it much easier on your birth partner and doula as they use pressure to ease you through contractions.
5) Music. Bring a playlist and something to listen to it on. Keep in mind that any kind of personal listening device is going to get annoying by the end of labor and sharing your music shares the energy it creates. Music creates atmosphere and can change the energy of the room. Depending on the choice and what’s going on in your labor, it can be encouraging, uplifting, relaxing, joyful. It can give you that last boost of energy you need. I’ve been introduced to so much music I love at clients births and it helps me get to know them just a little bit better. Choose music you love, that makes you smile, and what you’d potentially like to have your baby hear as soon as they are born.
Above all, bring things that you find relaxing and comforting. This is by no means a complete list. Happy packing!
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