Epidural Vs Narcotics Vs Natural

8 Replies
DaBonkElsMe - November 5

I have recently been researching my options for pain relief during labor. From what I understand, epidurals are the only ones that do not make you feel loopy and groggy and do not have an affect on the baby, but they could slow down labor and they increase the possiblilty for needing aids such as the vacuum, or even a c-section. Narcotics let you continue to feel most of the contractions so they won't slow labor down, but the baby could feel the effects and I might be too out of it to be fully aware of what's going on. BUT narcotics don't usually change your chances for needing aids or a c-section. And natural is obviously better for both me and the baby, but I have an EXTREMELY low pain tolerance. Many women I know have said they used the epi and would do it again in a heart beat. Some even say they went natural with the first and then epi with the second, and would DEF choose the epi again. I'm just wondering what you all are thinking about this. I DO NOT want a c-section just because the recovery time is so much longer and if I can do something to lower my risk of needing one, I would opt for that, but the prospect of doing this without anything really freaks me out! Have you guys planned for this stuff yet? Have any of you had experiences with any of these things?


tryin44 - November 5

I have had four kids. Three natural all the way and my fourth just for the hell of it and arguments sake when for the walking epidural. It is a one time shot in the spine that lasts for a couple hours. I personally feel natural was MUCH more rewarding but the epidural did take away my labor and back pain. If I were to have more kids I would try natural again. I feel I missed out on alot of the feelings and emotions (good and bad) that going natural takes you through. However the feeling of love when you see your little one for the first time is just as strong either way. It is a personal choice that onl;y you need to be ok with. I will say however that my experience is if you are not totally strong about going natural you will give in. Labor is very painful and it is EASY to give in. My first I did because everyone kept saying I couldn't do it. I had a point to prove in my mind. Good luck and enjoy whatever you decide.


kim00 - November 5

I am a huge advocate for the epidural. I just had my 2nd, both with epidurals. For me, it speeds up my labors. My body just doesn't relax in labor, even if I try all the techniques. Both labors were under 5 hours, both having to be induced. I think it's bologna when people say it's more rewarding to go 'natural.' I have had the most rewarding labors ever, because I have enjoyed every second while in labor. Make it your own rewarding experience. Even if you end up with a c-sec, it can still be the best experience ever, but it has alot to do with your own expections going into the labor process. From a l&d nurse point of view, I would caution you not to get too stuck on a 'birth plan', because things happen you don't expect, and if you're not prepared for them, you might end having a horrible experience. Again, from a nurses standpoint, I don't see much releif come from IV narcotics, it just makes most people loopy. Never feel like you failed if you opt for the epidural. Hell, no matter how you look at it, childbirth is childbirth no matter what you have to do to get them here. This might sound weird, but the labor process is my favorite part about pregnancy. I think it is so amazing what we are able to do.


DaBonkElsMe - November 5

Well, I have no issues with the "rewarding" experience thing. The way I see it, no matter how he gets there, when my little boy is in my arms, i will feel rewarded!! I don't feel like opting for the epi is a failure at all! I just didn't want to increase my chances for needing a C-section. And I don't feel like a c-section is failing either, I just would rather not deal with the recovery time afterwards. I want to be able to move around and get back to normal ASAP. So, I kinda wondered about the epi increasing the need for the c-section. I thnik I have pretty much decided NOT to use the narcotics, as they do reach the fetus and I'd rather my baby wasn't all lithargic after birth. And I know what you mean, tryin44, I do think that if I am not completely set on going natural, I will opt for that epi whenever they say I can have it!! I think I am going to try to hold out but keep the epi in there as an option. I know that means I'll probably go for it, but I will be totally freaked out if I start thinking I have no option for relief b/c I am trying to stick to some birth plan. It's hard to make this decision when I've never been through this before and I really have no idea if I can handle it or not.


Buffi R. - November 5

With my first, I meant to have an epidural. However, I went into labor suddenly at 32 weeks, and I wasn't allowed to have an epi because they didn't want me sitting on the side of the bed to have it administered for fear I would dilate quicker. They gave me Nubain (IV narcotic) and yes, it definitely made me loopy and tired. They say you'll still feel the contractions but won't care about them. Bull S***!!!!! I cared DEEPLY about some of them. By the time they decided my labor wasn't going to stop, they finally allowed me to start the procedures for the epi which included 45 minutes on an IV bag for fluids, then what seemed like 45 minutes for the anesthiologist to explain all the cautions. I could have kicked him in the face I was in so much pain and I just kept saying, "yes, I want it, where do I sign!?!?!". By the time he was ready to administer it, they checked my dilation and I was already at nine, too late to receive it. So I pushed out my son out without it, which wasn't too bad. He was only 4-1/2 lbs, so he sort of "slid right out". But his apgars were really bad and it took several minutes for him to cry. Not sure if this was related to his prematurity or the drugs though. This time, I've researched this more, and I've also heard the same things you did about IV narcotics vs. epi for the loopy factor and a tired baby. Things are looking good that I'll go full term with this baby, but being a diabetic I might need a c-section if the baby gets too big, so I've come to terms with that. I want to try b___stfeeding right after birth, which I imagine would be harder with a sleepy baby (and mom!). I also figure if I end up needing a c-section anyway, I'd rather have an epi placed ahead of time so I don't need a general anestesia if an emergency c-section becomes necessary. I'll try for a natural birth for a while, but if I need pain management, I'm definitely getting an epi.


Mrs.Steve - November 5

DaBonk...I just had my baby 10 days ago. I had an epidural. It was the greatest birth experience I could ask for. I felt no pain. I was able to laugh and talk with my family during some very intense contractions. Everyone in the room with me watching the monitor was amazed at some of the contractions I was having. Some of the measurements were going off the paper chart. And I cannot tell you how glad I am that I could not feel them. I have a VERY LOW pain tolerance. I cried when they put my IV in. I had her at 1:53. I was walking by 4pm. The only side effect I had was itching. That was annoying, but bearable. I itched all over my body right before I started pushing. So I spent the better part of an hour scratching myself silly while waiting for my ob to arrive, LOL. If given properly, an epidural can be awesome. I had an 8lb baby. I tore. I was sewn up afterward. At the very worst, I felt as if I had to take the most ma__sive poop ever. I felt ALOT of pressure, but no pain. So there are positive epidural stories. If you want to feel no pain, you have every right to have your birth that way. My ob is big on not having a woman go through pain if she doesn't want to. It's not a weakness at all. And guess what, after I had my daughter, I was able to enjoy her. I was sleepy from 2 days of no sleep, but I felt an emotional high you wouldn't believe. Everyone kept saying that I looked really good for someone who just gave birth minutes before. If you want an epidural, go for it, Honey.


LIN - November 5

Natural is all fine and good if you're lucky enough to have a reasonable length labor. Mine was 22 hours long, and I was at 1 cm for the first 14 hours. I had to be induced, and when I finally got the epidural (pure bliss!), I think it actually sped my progress up (hard to say, because they also increased the Pitocin). Sometimes it can slow it down, but sometimes it speeds it up. I think it depends a lot on how late in the game you get it. I have a very high tolerance for pain, but I still don't see the point in putting up with such intense pain for so long. I don't understand the desire to "know what it feels like." I did have a c-section, but it didn't have anything to do with the epidural. I went to the hospital because my water broke, and after almost a full day of labor, I was getting an infection. My temperature was increasing, the baby's heart rate was up to 190, and there was blood in my urine. Hopefully you won't have to go through any of that!


LIN - November 5

I just thought I'd add that before I had the epidural, I did have some Fentanyl, because I wanted to hold off on the epidural as long as possible to make sure it didn't hinder progression. The Fentanyl was great. My contractions were pretty strong at that point, and it really did take the edge off. That said, it only lasted an hour or two, which was just a blink of the eye in such a long labor. I didn't really feel woozy, just a bit high, which was nice as it took my attention away from the pain a bit. As far as I can tell, it didn't seem to have any effect on the baby, though the baby wasn't born until several hours after the shot. The epidural was awesome, though, and I'll be doing that again next pregnancy. Wouldn't miss it.


DaBonkElsMe - November 5

Thanks girls, all of your stories help alot. I don't really want to plan on anything, really, but I am definitely going to keep the epidural option open, I will probably end up getting it, I know myself, when the going gets tough, I cry like a baby!! But I am OK with that. About the side effects and stuff, of course anything you put in your bady can have side effects, but from what I am reading and hearing, lasting side effects from the epi are rare, and usually occur if the shot was administered wrong. All 3 of my SILs and two of my close friends had epidurals and only one ended up with a c-section, so that's pretty good odds. I do feel that if something can be done to make things easier without causing any major problems, then I'd just be silly to NOT do it!! Well, thanks again, in just a few weeks, I'll let everyone know how it went!!!



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