I would really, really recommend trying hypnotherapy if you have the time to practice. It was amazing. My birth was intense and hard work (4 hours of squatting to push) but it really wasn't all that painful. I didn't even know I'd been through transition until I started getting the urge to push. The midwives almost left because they didn't even think I was in established labour yet. I can't recommend it enough. I also used a TENS machine in early labour (well, up to pushing, which I consider 'early labour' because I had no idea I was that far along until then), but didn't need it once I hit 2nd stage. I had the gas and air there, but never needed it and didn't even think about it at the time.
I have heard that in some places they will do pethedine at home, but I don't think it's most places (because of the extra risks, I think they get nervous in case baby needs some help when born and they are out of hospital). If it was me, I'd go for the hypnotherapy to try to avoid the pethedine. Honestly, I think being at home, you will be so much more relaxed that you wouldn't even need it (and might not even need gas and air).
And me... I say Natal Hypnotherapy too! My birth story is in my siggy, but to cut a long story short, I had a pain free, drug free and fear free labour and homebirth, having worked all day in labour because I didn't think it could be labour because it didn't hurt!
At the end of the day, labour is a natural thing, and (my favourite reminder before birth) the sensations cannot overcome you because they ARE you! You really are that strong!
Listen, NO ONE gives birth without pain relief. PLENTY of people give birth without drugs.
I recommend looking into yoga or active birth AS WELL as hypnotherapy. Birth is mental AND physical.
Remember that pain is temporary.
Consider water birth - lots of women find it very effective for relief (contractions AND crowning).
Know what facilliates birth and what hinders it. Knows what facillitates release of oxytocin and endorphins and USE IT!
Visualisations, affirmations, acupressure, positive language, positive mental attitude, good support, calm, relaxed environment.... These will ALL help you hugely to stay more comfortable and feel that the sensations are completely manageable!
Most of us go a bit... mad.... at some point in labour. We renege on all our hopes and plans and say something off the wall and out of character. This is NORMAL! It does not make you less strong. It is a physiological response. It's usually a cocktail of hormones causing it. Sometimes it's near the end of labour (transition) when there is often a surge in adrenaline - the baby is almost here! The mother's thinking brain is not in charge at this point (and we don't want to wake it!) Sometimes it's earlier in labour in response to something causing that adrenaline release, in which case whatever it is causing stress for the mother needs to be addressed. In either case, it's not something "wrong" with you that means you request medication. I'd like to squash THAT bug once and for all!
I had 3 shots of meptid (pethidine) at home, so it is possible in my area at least. I'm not a hypnotherapy type person, it just doesn't work for me. I still hope this time round to only need gas and air.
I was told that I could go for the option of meptid at home, but that the mw's weren't that keen on doing it. They felt that if that was needed, then really the best place to be was the hospital - possibly something to do with the side effects/effect on baby, but also the possibility of the need for further pain relief. Don't quote me on that though; I didn't want any drugs anywhere near the house so that I didn't have the temptation (they didn't even bring the G&A into the house!), so wasn't really listening to what they were saying properly!
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