During my first pregnancy I was adamant I wouldn't have an epidural. The thought of having a needle in my spine terrified me but at just 19 years old I lacked the knowledge to actively seek out information on pros and cons.
However, after a long, induced labour I was practically begging for an epidural. I shakily signed the consent forms with the obligatory warnings of side effects. I had to wait about 15 minutes for an anaesthesitist to become available. I then had to sit on the edge of the bed with my back sort of hunched over and keep as still as possible whilst the doctor worked his magic. Within 5 minutes, I could feel nothing. It was heaven!!
Even my Mum, who had also been anti epidural commented on how relaxed I was and if she had known it would be like that she would have suggested it ages ago!!
An extra plus for me was that the birth ended in an emergency forceps and ventouse delivery, which if I hadn't of had the epidural would no doubt have been extremely painful. Unfortunately, this could have been down to the epidural as you cannot feel the natural urge to push and emergency deliveries are higher where epidural a have been administered.
I couldn't feel my legs for a good few hours afterwards and was advised by the midwives not to attempt to get up and to call for help if I needed assistance. I woke a few hours later to my baby crying and attempted to walk round to her where I collapsed. This was put down to a mixture of the epidural still affecting my legs and a low blood pressure reading. Having already suffered with low blood pressure an epidural can lower it further and because of this I had to stay in hospital an extra day. I have suffered no adverse effects since.
Since this, I have had two more children but have not had the need for an epidural. However I wouldn't hesitate to have one again if need be it recommend one to someone else.
in my birthing plan i wrote that the Epidural would be my last option no matter what I said in labour. I wanted to do everything I could do to go natural but being tiny framed that wasn't going to happen. I begged from 8cm - fully dilated for the epidural and was given it just before the period where I couldn't, because I was still begging. I was on gas and air just before that but being tiny, I really felt it below my tummy and felt like I was literally going to die! :( .. they inserted the needle into my spine and I felt a cold sensation running down my back which the anesthetizer explained beforehand. I then had monitors taped on to my back and was hooked up and given a drip.
Having the Epidural complicated my delivery so much! But then again was so worth it! The pain instantly went away until the pushing stage where it wore off and I had to be topped up again. Because I was high on gas and air and was numb waist down I didn't feel a thing apart from sickness. I was sick a few times because the pain was so sudden where it had worn off but was fine after a top up.
I had to have suction cap, which failed and then forceps, they were on there last attempt of forceps after giving me a 3rd degree tear, before they were thinking about a C-Section which luckily they didn't need to do.
The Epidural is really great for those who have problems handling immense pain, but it must be remembered that it may complicate delivery and often suction cap or forceps are needed. Please do think about having it because you will NOT feel the pushing sensation that so many find is the best part. For me I was just happy to get Angel out because it was getting quite dangerous for the both of us.
The Epidural - Great pain relief, but a pain in the bum!
In my Birth Plan (a simple summary of how you want things to go when you're birthing your baby) I stated very clearly that I DID.NOT.WANT.AN.EPIDURAL.
I wanted to go all the way from 1cm dilated to pushing with no drugs involved and using simple breathing techniques I had learned from HypnoBirthing to control any discomfort I would feel from labouring.
And as all best laid plans seem to go off course at one point or another, so did my birthing plan.
I went into labour at 11am on a Monday morning. I remember being on all fours and yelping a little helplessly on mine and my husbands bed when it all started, however I did manage to control my pain levels in the way I wanted too; with breathing techniques.
I had wanted to birth at home, but my husband was against the idea and seeing as I have other health related complications the decision had been made fairly early on in the pregnancy that I birth in the hospital - I made peace with this decision and made a few compromises about how I wanted the birth to be. This including never having the epidural unless we needed it for anything other than pain.
However I did manage to see out a large proportion of the labour at home and was dilated to 4cm when we arrived at the hospital - which was perfect for me because I felt like things were progressing beautifully. The strange thing is that I had built up a lot of anxiety about going to the hospital, but as soon as I got there the fear of giving birth and the pain of what that final push would be like actually dissipated. So much so that I began to wonder if I was actually in labour (I'd had a few pre-term labour scares and had been in on my due date for a "trial run" all to be sent home once examined).
Once I was taken into triage and the necessary checks were done to establish the fact that I was indeed in labour - hooked up to a trace monitor to monitor the intensity and timings of contractions, given a cervical check, blood pressure and temp taken - I seem to recall the midwife disappearing behind a curtain and making a phone call that seemed very excitable. She announced to the Labour Ward that she had a "woman who'd gone into spontaneous labour." Spontaneous? Didn't that mean suddenly, something that came and went all of a sudden and...also; LABOUR?? What the heck!
Even though I'd been contracting for some time, I just didn't connect what I was going through to be labour - as I'd had so many close calls before and had spent 10 months being pregnant I just didn't believe it would all conclude.
Alongside all my other checks they didn't "like" my blood pressure - what had it done to them? - so they asked me to do a urine sample (which took forever because baby was kinda pressing down on my bladder at this stage of the game) and they took some blood from me. The midwife then checked my urine on the spot and didn't like what she could see; "There's some protein in your urine," she announced to me. I knew this could mean pre-eclampsia. I knew this might mean the dreaded "C" - or Caesarean Section.
I was sent down to the Labour Ward and within less than an hour my blood test results came back and revealed I didn't have pre-eclampsia. However my blood pressure wasn't going down, nor was my heart rate. They got worried, but me? I was fine. I breathed through the stronger and stronger contractions and every one said I was dealing so well with the pain that I didn't need anything - which I was perfectly peachy about.
My midwife appeared looking very serious and solemn, checked all the monitors I was hooked up too and said that I may need to start considering the epidural. They were really lovely around this subject and kept quoting my birth plan (I had been told they don't really give two monkeys about the birth plan so I was surprised) throughout. I broke down into tears and asked if it was entirely necessary - she said there were medications they could give me but that the choices were limited and the epidural was faster acting.
I asked to be alone with my Mum (our hospital had a lame policy in which only ONE birthing partner can be present) to make the decision and as she'd had 4 epidurals (and 4 C-sections, yes she is Wonder Woman to me) I honestly couldn't have had anyone better there with me making the decision. She said it was completely up to me and briefly recapped me on her experiences of it and I decided to consent to it.
In marched a charmingly camp Anaesthetist , who strangely reminded me of my cousin, with dark red scrubs and the trolley where all the needles and equipment required to set up the epidural was housed. Behind him was the Consultant Anaesthetist who ran through the procedure step by step and didn't speak in jargon. I was asked to sit up in the bed and face the window - two "assistants" (one was the camp Anaesthetist) wearing dark scrubs faced me and a rather sour-lemon faced woman asked me to put a pillow on my lap and hold onto her arms. My midwife stood to the side of them and spoke gentle, reassuring words to me meanwhile my Mum had turned green at the sight of the needles.
The first thing I remember feeling is a very, very sharp feeling at the base of my spine. Then it felt as though I'd been sleeping the wrong way and it was out of alignment. The Anaesthetist asked me to say in what direction the needle was going and to let him know if I felt it going more left than right and vice versa. He pretty much got it in there first time without much event. He then said I'd feel a very cold sensation run up my spine and that was okay - compared to the rest of the procedure. I'd been told it would take up to 15 minutes to do but it actually felt like seconds.
I couldn't eat once I'd had the epidural and by this point I was feeling no discomfort or any contraction and I really wanted to eat having not ate a thing all day! I didn't feel sick, dizzy or have a sore head as a side effect and managed to cat nap until I hit 10cm dilated.
My epidural wore off once and so they topped up my epidural - I started to feel the edges of pain when it wore off. It wore off again and I was 8cm dilated at this point and was dilating at 1cm every half hour. They didn't want to top it up and insisted I have gas and air at this point - which worked wonders for me!
As the epidural worked quickly for me, so it wore off quickly for me. I felt every jolt of fiery sharpness as my son made his way into the World. I felt every push and shove to get him nearer from my womb into my arms. And this part of the delivery was exactly how I wanted it to be.
After birth I was able to get up to the toilet fairly easily, walk around and use my legs. The midwives were surprised at my recovery and looked frightened when I ventured out of bed for my first pre-birth pee (that hurt like hell!).
I had none of the after effects that I had been warned about; no back pain, no headaches, nothing! Only after effects associated with giving birth to a 10 lb one and a half ounce baby boy!
I recently gave birth to a beautiful baby girl she weighed 6lbs 7oz. I had developed high blood pressure at the end of my pregnancy so I had to stay in hospital for 2 weeks before she was born. I then was induced so that she came 8 days early as they were finding it hard to keep my blood pressure down even though I was on tablets.
The consultant came to see me and told me that I was being induced so I was and my labour started. My labour was strange and all my pains were in my back and not across my stomach.
I had tried to take gas and air but it wasn't really working. This may have been because the pains came in waves but it wasn't really gradual so I couldn't feel them coming on just strong pain all of a sudden. This is not the way labour pains usually go though I am not sure if it was because I was induced or maybe that is just the way it is sometimes. As I couldn't feel the pains coming on it was very hard to work the gas and air. You are supposed to suck in when you feel the pain come on and it works when you are in the worst pain. As I couldn't feel the pain coming on I was sucking in the gas and air at the wrong time. The whole thing just wasn't working for me and my blood pressure started to get very high which was putting me and my baby at risk so I was advised to get an epidural.
I was very against having to get an epidural as I had heard all the bad stories and to be honest the thought of getting a needle through my back and not having feeling in my legs really petrified me so I wasn't keen on the idea. The gas and air was making me feel that I wasn't in control and I felt very panicked and when they told me that the epidural would make me feel more in control and would lower my blood pressure I decided that I needed to do it to keep my baby safe.
I was given a sheet telling me all the dangers of an epidural but I refused to read it as I didn't want to know the bad things that could happen and made my husband read it instead. It was telling me that some of the side effects could be headaches. Thinking now any pain relief has side effects as it is medication and you don't know how you are going to react to it.
I was told that if I didn't get my epidural then it would be too late so the anaesthetist came in and started the process. It took about 20 minutes to put in and as I was in pain I didn't even feel that it was this length of time as I had no perception of time.
The man who set up the epidural for me checked that I was sure that I wanted to get it and explained the process to me. He froze my back and put the needle in and I didn't feel it going in or being taken out. I then had a drip put in as sometimes your blood pressure can drop too much and they have to raise it again.
I had to have the drip attached to me and to be honest what they put into my body I am not sure but it worked. I had to get the blood pressure machine attached back to my arm so they could keep an eye on it.
My blood pressure dropped and I felt instantly relieved as I was so worried that something bad was going to happen I felt more in control of the situation straight away.
The pains then stopped and I couldn't feel anything I did have something attached to my back and it was taped to me and I could feel a cool sensation which I freaked out about but I was told that this was a good thing and perfectly normal. I then got the catheter put in and I am glad that I got it after the epidural was put in as I didn't feel it being put in at all.
Then the middle of my labour was fantastic as I couldn't feel anything I was able to stay calm and talk to people around me with a clear head. In fact I was able to read a magazine and if I had of wanted I could have slept. It was a great chance to stay calm before the delivery of my daughter.
Gradually I started to lose the feeling in my legs however I still had some sensation which comforted me as I didn't like the thought of this. Every so often they checked how effective the epidural was working on me. They did this by taking an ice cube and moving it from my foot up the side of my body to the top of my stomach. Thankfully I couldn't feel the ice so my epidural was working very well. I heard them saying I had got a good block. I was very relieved as it took the pain away completely.
As my pains got stronger and were coming closer together I did feel something but I wouldn't say it was pain as such just was uncomfortable just below my ribcage which obviously was my contractions. This however was only half an hour before I delivered.
Just before I delivered I felt that the pains were coming back like they had turned the epidural down and I asked for the gas and air again however they said that I couldn't have it as I was about to deliver my baby and I needed to be aware of what was going on as I would have to concentrate.
I then had to push which lasted 20 minutes and my baby was born. I did feel some pain but to be honest it wasn't horrendous or unbearable. I did however have to have my baby moved as she wasn't in the right position for delivering.
About 10 minutes before my daughter was born there was panic on the nurses' face the baby's heart beat had dropped. The consultant was called and she moved the baby into position and then she moved back. So they had to move her back again but then they were getting concerned as she wasn't coming out correctly and they had to use forceps.
This wasn't a nice experience as once my daughter was born she had lots of cuts on her head that still haven't healed properly and she is 5 weeks old plus she had black eyes where the forceps had bruised her. Though it did save her life as her heart rate had dropped and she needed to be delivered quickly.
I don't know if this was just going to happen or if it was because I had the epidural. I didn't feel much pain when the forceps were pulling her out but I could feel pressure and tugging. I felt it sorer after when I was healing.
After you delivered the needle was taken out before I left the labour ward again I did not feel this and it didn't bother me at all. My legs had got very numb by this stage and I had to be lifted into the other bed. I could still move them and was able to move a small amount but this was very limited.
It wasn't until the next day after I had a drip put into me with a bag of something was put into my system (I still have no idea what it was) that I was able to walk again. For anyone who would be scared about this like I was it really isn't as bad as you would think.
Thankfully my daughter was born very healthy and is doing really well plus I am starting to recover from the whole thing. I am very glad that I got the epidural and would tell anyone who is struggling giving birth to get it as it really worked well for me and took the pain away.
I liked it because I felt more in control and I was calmer. The main thing is that it made my blood pressure go back to normal and thankfully it hasn't went up very high since. If I was every in labour again I would definitely consider an epidural again.
Having vowed never to have an epidural, after what to me was a 3 day labour (waters broke at 2am on a bank holiday morning and my baby was born on a Wednesday evening!), I was quite frankly exhausted and my pain threashold was zero. We'd been in and out of hospital like yo yos, but the contrations were too mild etc etc - huh, I beg to differ! Anyway, to cut a long story short when the contractions were getting way too much for my zombie like state (the sign of which surely had to be the monitor I was wearing around my bump pinging off across to the other side of the hospital room), I shouted the words 'EPIDURAL NOW!' All concerns about the side effects went out the window. I just wanted pain relief, no make that needed pain relief and I needed it NOW. The anaesthetist was rather annoyed with me for not sitting still when it was administered, but he was a guy who'd probably never experienced such pain and so it was that just a few minutes after he finally injected the needle into my spinal block, I felt immense peace. Oh the feeling! There are no words to describe the dulling of the pain and then from dull it went to absolutely nothing.
I didn't for one minute feel mad with myself for not doing it naturally. To those women who have the ability, you are amazing! But after 3 nights of no sleep, I was only human and I was more than happy to give in to the medical delights of the epidural - and I wouldn't hesitate to do it again (even despite the fact that I did feel as though I had slightly lost the sensation in the flabby spare tyre bit around my hips), that soon came back and the flab went as well (bonus!)
From there on in, I wish I could say it was a quick labour, but it wasn't. Still although being stuck to a drip and attached to a cathetar (not so nice), I was bedridden and couldn't move about, for me it was manageable. I was so scared of giving birth, I am not brave when it comes to pain and for me this worked and if something works, it shouldn't be knocked. The help is there to women in this day and age, so if we feel we can't go on and need a little help, then we shouldn't feel guilty about it...
I was in labour for 24 hours and no pain relief helped in any shape or form until I had an epidural.
I went through 2 cannisters of gas and air, 2 shots of pethadine - an incredibly strong pain releif, was on drips and antibiotics prior to having an epidural and it eventually became the only option to releive my pain as it was so excrutiating and relieve it did indeed if not rid me of pain.
The procedure is straight forward where you are sat on the edge of the bed slightly bent over so your spine is clearly shown and a swab of anethestic is rubbed onto the area, a small needle is then inserted as an anesthetic and then the epidural needle inserted into the spine.
The initial needle is like a bee sting, nothing to worry about and especially if you have gas and air before hand.
The epidural is then administered either through one hit from a large syringe or through a drip line where it can be topped up if required.
Within ten minutes I was numb from the mid stomach down, I didnt feel pain only pressure when I had a contraction and then when pushing but again no pain was felt.
A cold spray is sprayed over you from your stomach to your feet regularly to check the epidural is containing and numbing the area continually, this is fine and again nothing to worry about.
When I gave birth it was a very strange experience as I could feel the pressure considerably and it felt more shocking in a way as I felt no pain with it, so my body was almost not reacting as it naturally should, however no 'ring of fire' was felt - a term for when the baby crowns which can be awful and when I had an episiotomy that also was not felt at all.
Overall I would recommend an epidural without a doubt for childbirth relief as it is the only pain releif that truely takes the pain away and is safe for the baby.
The downfall of an epidural is of course the risk of it being injected into the spine, potentially being dangerous and a slight risk of paralisation. However a disclaimer is signed beforehand and when having any drug administered there is always a risk so the pros outwieght the cons by far.
Secondly when an epidural wares off many women experience the most awful headache, and it can take some getting used to for a while whilst your legs are numb but this soon wares off afterwards. Drugs such as paracetamol can be given for the headache.
It is the best drug and the only one that will help and save you during childbirth - recommended without a shadow of a doubt.
I had an epidural for the birth of my son just under three weeks ago, so it's all fairly fresh in my mind.
My birth plan involved a birth pool and gas and air, however my son had other ideas and a combination of meconium in the waters and having to be induced meant that I ended up having to be constantly monitored and unable to move. This intensifies the pain of labour, and so I had no hesitation in opting for an epidural, 34 hours into my labour!
Firstly a local anaesthetic is adminstered to your back- this feels like a scratch or a wasp sting. Not very nice, but on the scale of labour really nothing to worry about. The rest of the procedure was completely painless for me, although you can feel the pressure of the tube going in. It is really nothing to be scared of, and less painful than having a canula inserted in my opinion.
The relief from the contractions was quick-within 15 minutes or so for me and it is certainly a welcome relief! Of course you also lose feeling in your legs, which is bizarre but not particularly unpleasant.
I went on to have a c-section with my epidural and I was so grateful to be awake for the birth of my son. It was a terrifying but amazing experience.
Before I went into labour I had honestly not even considered an epidural as I had planned a birth with little intervention of lots of moving around. However as this was not to be, I am delighted that I opted for an epidural when I did and would recommend it to anyone.
I was also really lucky that I suffered no ill after effects. The epidural itself wore off after a few hours and I was up and out of bed that same day.
As my midwife said to me, no-one comes round with medals for those who get through labour with no pain relief- you do what you need to in order to get your prize, which is of course your baby!
I was terrified of having an epidural and was determined to have a natural water birth... the best laid plans and all that.
I had to be induced and so the contractions came on strong and quickly and I wasn't even 3cm dilated before I was screaming out and my husband begged them to do something. Bring on the epidural!
I had had a pethadine injection beforehand because there was a delay in the epidural so I cannot say whether it hurt or not - I was just far too spaced out to notice to be honest!
The numbness kicked in instantly. It was such a wonderful release from the pain. It meant I could not labour very effectively but the relief from the pain was worth it.
The downside was that my legs felt numb in one place for several weeks after the birth which was scary.
I also slipped on the needle slightly during labour and it affected how much of the drug was released which meant my baby's heartbeat suddenly dropped. This was terrifying but the midwife was on hand and reacted immediately.
It is scary and something could go wrong but they are pretty safe and there are times when you really cannot cope without one. I know!
I have had two epidurals in my three labours. The last one was just over 3 months ago so still fresh in my mind.
My first epidural was perfect. I arrived at the hospital at 12pm that day, by 2pm i was pain free. I felt no needles, though it was a bit uncomfortable with the amount of pushing on my back to get it in. The IV drip wasn't much fun either, but necessary to keep your blood pressure in check. I was totally numb but could still feel the pressure of a contraction which helped me know when to push. It does restrict you from moving about much if it is not a mobile one.
When the pushing stage came, I felt no pain and gave birth to my middle daughter, with no complications or need for medical intervention. Not even a tear. Shortly afterward the epidural was removed in seconds and apart from a sore back the next day, all was well.
With my last labour of my third child, I had my epidural at 9am in the morning. By 10am, I had a 'window' of pain, about 2 Cm's wide, on one side of my belly. It was absolute agony feeling the pain of a contraction centralised in one spot. Unfortunately the anesthetist was busy so couldn't come and adjust it. I was turned on my side in a bid to try to help it, but it just made one leg go totally numb....and stay numb for 12 hours after the birth! I was given gas and air, and at 11.30am my little man arrived, pretty much pain free, as i found when he moved into the birth canal the pain stopped in that area. Again a quick removal and apart from a numb leg for 12 hours, there was no sore back, all was well.
A comment I have had to this review struck a cord. I did forget to mention that epidurals DO have risks, I was lucky enough not to experience them, but epidurals have a much higher chance of bringing about medical intervention in your labour, also there are possibilities of headaches, which can be sorted with a minor procedure to put a little bit of blood into your back to seal the hole, and nerve damage. Do your reearch before opting for one.
I consider myself to have a fairly high pain threshold, but by the time I was about 20 weeks pregnant with my first, I knew that I wanted pain relief during the birth. Although I knew it would be nice to say that I had got through with just gas and air and a lot of gritting of teeth, I wasn't at all sure that, actually, that was what I wanted.
At parentcraft classes, from about 30 weeks, I was surrounded by mums-to-be who frowned upon my decision, saying that I should at least give it a chance "naturally" before deciding on something so invasive.
Thankfully, I stuck with my decision, and did my own thing. As soon as I arrived at the hospital, I asked for an epidural quite firmly, and was given this without any problem. I did have complications at this birth, but none of them related to the epidural, and I am glad that I did not have the pain element to deal with as well as everything else.
With my second child, I knew almost straight away that I would opt for the same. A friend of mine suggested I try and experience the "whole thing" meaning go without the epidural, but I knew what I wanted, and I can be a stubbon mare when I want to be. Anyway, events overtook me and my baby was breech. Because of the complications with my first, I was advised to have a Cesaerian section. I took this advice and was then given a choice of having a general anesthetic or an epidural.
For me there was no decision to be made - I could not bear the thought of "going to sleep" pregnant, and waking up not pregnant - I wanted to know what was happening if nothing else! So I elected for the epidural.
This was amazing - I could have my baby delivered safely in the operating theatre, yet I could be awake throughout the whole procedure. OK, it was a little surreal at times, seeing surgeons rummage around in your tummy, but the experience was actually very positive. I was aware of my baby being born just the same as I would have been if I had had him "normally" - and that is thanks to the availability of an epidural
The epidural takes a while, like any painkilling process, to wear off, but can be topped up as and when needed if labour goes on or, if like me you have had a section, you need the pain relief afterwards (I never realised what a major operation a C-section was until then!). This, of course, means that you can't get up and about, and going to the toilet and the shower is impossible, so you are stuck with a few hours of catheters and flannel washes - not ideal, but it doesn't last for long!
Some people claim that an epidural leads to back problems and headaches. I was not affected in any negative way whatsoever, but I can understand that this could happen due to the location of the painkiller being inserted - your spine and the nerves around it is a very precise area.
Since my children were born, I became a reflexologist, specialising in maternity reflexology - of course many of my clients come to me wanting a completely natural birth and for eveything to be perfect and lovely. Most of them are also attending NCT classes where mums-to-be are sitting discussing birthing pools and the like. But I always tell them that it is THEIR body, THEIR baby, and THEIR birthing experience - no one else's and if they either choose (whether ahead of going into labour, or once the pain starts to kick in) to have an epidural, or if one is advised for any reason, that is FINE! No one should ever feel guilty, either for themselves or their baby, that they did not go through the whole birthing experience naturally.
If ever you have any queries about epidurals, ask your midwife to arrange a chat with the anaesthestist - he or she will be happy to answer them and to explain the procedure so you don't worry.
An epidural is a form of anestetic primarly used during child birth to reduce sensation from the stomach down, it is also used as an alternative to general anestetic for certain operations and as a form of pain relief for chronic pain.
This review is based on my opinion and own personal experience and the reason I had an epidural. I am writing this because I feel there is a stigma against women who choose pain relief during labour as oppossed to those who choose the natural option. I felt women would chose the natural option feel they are somewhat better than women who have epidurals, they arent, they just did what was right for them. I went into labour with an open mind that I would be willing to consider any form of pain relief should I need it. I was also point out I was absolutely terrifed.
This was my first baby and it was not straight forward from the start. At 5 weeks pregnant I was hospitalised with Hypermesis (severe morning sickness) I was then hospitalised again at 34 weeks with Pre-eclampsia I was in and out of hospital for the last 6 weeks up until the date I was induced.
When labour is induced it is often that the body is not ready for it, this is exactly what happened with me I was 2 and half centimetres dilated when I was induced and 8 hours later I was the same, I had already had pethadine and gas and air, but I could simply not relax, the contractions where extremely intense they where strong due to the induction drugs. It was at this point I was advised by my consultant to consider an epidural she said that in her professional opinion I would be in labour for a long time, but not only would the epidural relieve the pain and allow me to rest, it would also relax my body and help me to dilate.
OK so the epidural itself was straight forward, you just lean forward whilst the anethetist places a needle in your back and a small tube is inserted the epidural drug is set up on a drip to administer a certain amount at at a time this can be increased depending on your pain, the idea is to relieve the pain not block the sensation completely. The process took about 20 minutes in total as they work between your contractions, the reaon being you have to stay still so the needle goes in the right place (anyone who has had a baby will understand this is easier said than done haha!!!)
From then on the labour was fantastic, I had a rest and a sleep, could still feel the contractions but they where bareable and within 3 hours I was ready to push, and within the hour my beautiful baby boy was born. I still used the gas and air whilst pushing as it was slightly uncomfortable but not painful. I was up and having a shower within about 90 minutes (my other half had to hold me up as my legs where quite wobbly!)
* Pretty much complete pain relief from stomach down
* Makes the experience enjoyable, less traumatic
* You can stay focused, not disorientated as with other methods
of pain relief
* Can cause headaches
* Takes a while to wear off so you cant get up straight away
* There are studies to imply epidurals can cause long tem back problems
I would personally say dont rule the epidural out all together labour cannot be planned everyone is different, so just go with the flow. I found the worst thing when I was pregnant was people telling me not to have an epidural as it would harm my baby? and how when they had a baby (most people saying this didnt have kids!!!) they would do it with no pain relief. My midwife made a valid point when we where discussing pain relief options, she said "if you need something have it, no ones going to give you a medal for doing it natural, do whats right for you" Thats exactly what I did and this helped me to have a positive child birth experience.
If you are pregnant and are rubbish with pain, definitely consider an epidural. Even if you are ok it is definitely worth thinking about when and if you would have one before you go in to labour.
My experience was really good when I had one and if I have baby number two I will be having one as soon as I can!
First things first. Not all birthing centres offer the facility to have an epidural. I had a choice between my local hospital that did or a midwife led unit at another hospital that didn't. I chose the one that did just in case.
You have to be quite insistent that you want one as there are stories of midwives trying to persuade women not to have one. It is more costly for the hospital and more time consuming, so be bolshie and ask for it if you want it.
My friend had had one and said it was great but I thought I would probably be able to manage without. However 5 hours into labour I knew the pain was not for me. I didn't even bother with gas an air and demanded an epidural. The midwife was really good and said that's ok.
You might have to wait a while if the anaesthetist is in theatre - luckily for me she wasn't and within half an hour she was there. My saviour!
You have to sit up and lean forward and they insert the needle / tube into your spine in between contractions. It doesn't hurt anymore than the contractions. They tell you the possible side effects and that it might not work . Mine didn't work 100% initially so she came back and adjusted it and it worked perfectly. Drugs are released by a timed mechanism but you also get a button to top it up.
From then on I was strapped up to a baby monitoring machine. But..
The pain had gone and I went to sleep for a few hours! My contractions stopped as I was so relaxed so they had to give me more drugs to start it off again. I lost all control of my legs so needed support to hold them up at the pushing stage. You have no sensation below the belly button so you have to told when to push but you can't feel the push so you have to imagine you are going a number two.
You are more likely to need assistance if you have an epidural and I needed forceps.
After the birth it was over an hour before I regained sensation in my legs and they were still a bit jelly like.
The wonders of modern medicine!
During my pregnancy I never worried about pain relief I knew I was open to everything, except maybe Pethadine but my midwife talked me into it during my labour.
I was induced on the Syntocin drip so therefore had a more painful labour than a natural one. I managed to start off on Gas and Air, pethadine and 7 hours in finally asked for an Epidural. Now I have to say, the pain at that point wasn't immense but I thought they were going to get worse and now was the time to ask for it. I didn't have to wait long and the pain immediately stopped. I found out an hour after having my epidural that I was 10cm dilated so I possibly didn't need it but I am glad I had it for the stitches! My daughter was born after a 10 hour labour and the pushing part was an nearly 2 hours long as she got stuck and because I had the epidural I was finding pushing hard as I couldn't feel the contractions. She was eventually born with an episiotomy and as I said, I was grateful of the epidural during the stitching.
My recovery afterwards felt like I had run a marathon, I didn't know if this was down to the epidural or that I had had my legs up in the stirrups and my chin right down to my chest with my knees around my ears! I couldn't stand up straight for days, whenever I bent over to change my daughters nappy I really struggled to get back up as my back locked. I do still get the odd bit of back pain if I have been stood up for too long and my daughter is nearly 11 months old but this does not stop me wanting one next time. I loved the epidural.
We talked throuhg pain relief with my consultant however i was told regardless of choice unless i didnt an anastheatic to go to sleep i would have to have the epidural as i was giving birth to twins, and there can be many complications. Complications can result in you having to be sent for an emergency c section so it was my safest choice although i think i would have had it any way. My motto is why go through pain if theres no need to. A lot of peoplle told me the epidural really hurt when going in but to be honest i was concentrating so much on my contractions that i didnt feel any pain whatsoever. The epidural was like magic all the pain disappeared, i had to be taken to theatre anyway for them to use forceps to trun the first baby but i didnt feel a thing, i thought it was amazing. The only part i didnt like was afterwards it takes a while to wear off and i didnt like not been able to get up and see to my girls. I would definately have it again and it would be my number 1 choice.
I knew from the beginning I was going to have an epidural as the midwife explained to be that this would be the safest and less painful pain relief for me as I was expecting twins. They said I should have an epidural as there can be lots of complications when you're giving birth to more then one baby so if anything happened then they would need to act fast etc and its hard enough pushing out one baby let alone two.
The nurses broke my waters nine days before my due date as there are a few complications with the smaller of the twins so they wanted to start me off just to be on the safe side. The pain at first was painful but wasn't to bad if you no what I mean then a couple hours in they gave me the epidural, the first time he put it in right so had to do it again all I can say is it feels like hot wax going down your spine. To be honest it didn't really hurt that much as I was in enough pain anyway. When the epidural kicked in for some strange reason it hadn't worked on one side of me so I could still pain down my left side which was very weird. So I sort of had control over what was happening all I remember is my right leg being totally numb. I think that having this did help take away a majority of the pain luckily both of my girls were born safely and without any complications. A lot of people say that having an epidural can cause back pain in the future I'm not sure if this is true but I have had a few pains in my back since but I suppose it could be down to anything.