Another question that has cropped up while thinking about this and reading threads over the last week or so:
During pregnancy everyone seems so terrified of eating, drinking or taking anything that might affect the baby (won't drink caffeine even though it's allowed, won't even take full dose of paracetamol) yet as soon as labour starts this often goes out the window and we're main-lining gas & air and injecting massively strong opiates - technically at this stage still pregnant and it may affect the baby?
Personally I eat and drink just about everything I did before and would have loved some drugs last time but they wouldn't let me - just curious?
I see what you are saying. I was dead set against any drugs as i wanted a home birth with my first. But, my daughter's respiratory rate kept decreasing and i got a temperature and we both had strep b so in the end, ending up in hospital was the safest thing for us both (I WAS A MISERABLE COW AND HATED EVERY MINUTE THO!).
I personally dont go out and eat swordfish, but i have had a light beer in the last month, eaten deli meats, drank tea, etc, etc.
I am a nurse myself and used to run a medical practice which included obstetrics and gynae. I have many colleagues who have helped me over the last few months.
Regarding drugs, I would not take anything other than paracetomol willy nilly. But due to a severe jaw infection recently(as 4 dentists refused to treat a pregnant woman over 2 weeks) i ended up in hospital having surgery and needing IV antibiotics, tramadol (VERY STRONG OPIATE) and 4 times a day 30/500 cocodamol, all of which the obstetrician prescribed. It is not ideal but it was neccesary.
All i wanted for my first labour was to be in the comfort of my own home. I know that the research shows that low risk women who labour at home are less likely to require medications, interventions and cope better post natal. Certainly that is what the UK research suggests. More and more hospitals now have a home birth team and promote it. We were unlucky but i still believe it is the way to go.
One problem that does NOT help on your general labour ward in the UK is the total lack of staff. Some women get little attention until the last few hours. This can be debilitating mentaly and physically for the labouring woman. It is frightening and not having someone take you through your labour when you are scared and new to birthing babies is not ideal.
I would expect that if all labouring women got one to one midwives throughout their labour (as much as shifts allow) and not a midwife who was looking after quite a few women at the same time, it would promote less use of medications.
I am not against drugs in labour. As i have said before, we live with the times and we now have meds that can help and prevent still birth and maternal death-a gift.
But for me, having an epidural slowed my labour down-IN MY OPINION-as you can never know of course.
I would only consider intervention/pain relief in emergency or extreme circumstances, I am not of the opinion of 'why experience the pain if there are options not to?' going through that pain is the least I would do for my babies and I would not opt out and pose a risk to them just to avoid pain. That's my stance.
I've had so many friends relay bad experiences with pethidine or epidurals and agree with previous posters that educating yourself and making an informed decision is key.
There are no advantages to the baby if the mother has pethidine. Pethidine is known to cross the placenta and is present in breastmilk. The major problem for the baby is that pethidine can cause breathing difficulties after birth due to its depressive effect on the baby’s respiratory centre. These effects are at the worse if the baby is born one to three hours after an injection of pethidine has been given. This is the reason that pethidine is ideally avoided when the birth is perceived to be close. An antidote can be given to the baby to reverse the effects of pethidine, however the effects of the antidote only last a short time and when they wear off the baby may re-experience breathing problems. Baby’s are more likely to have jaundice if their mothers have pethidine. Pethidine effects the baby’s sucking reflex and can cause breastfeeding difficulties for the first few days. Baby’s may require special care or neonatal intensive care from the effects of pethidine, resulting in separation of mother and baby.
I had pethidine with my first and it didn't work on me...but I did have trouble breastfeeding at first never thought that might have been because of the pethidine! Had a bit of gas and air too but really didn't like that as it made me feel drunk and that was NOT a useful state for me to labour in Second baby was a fast labour with no pain relief and it was quite frankly very easy. I hope I get that lucky with this one. I'm against epidurals because they freak me out. I would have one if my baby's life depended on it but just for pain relief I would never have one. But I do have a really high abdominal pain threshold so that obviously will make a difference.
Original Poster...I have decided to go natural even though I swore up and down I would always want pain relief! What changed my mind were the risk associated with the pain relief, and experience with milder options during my wisdom teeth removal that I did not take well to. I threw up for a week after having anesthesia, and then could not take my pain medications because of similar reactions. My body does not react well to pain meds. It is a very personal choice, and one you should be informed about before making. I would suggest watching The Business of Being Born, and I read Natural Hospital Birth: The Best of Both Worlds by Cynthia Gabriel. I also talked to my doctor about the risks of both sides of the coin. I would suggest you do the same.
To aid in my labor, I hired a doula. I am still giving birth in a hospital, but am laboring at home for as long as I possibly can. If you are worried about traveling a great distance, see if you can't find a doula to help you out at the hospital near you. Most insurances cover at least part of their fee. I've read it really helps with the pain management.
Best of luck to you in your birth plan!
I react VERY badly to pain medications as well. I had the same thing happen after having dental surgery done. Sick for a week throwing up and barely getting any sleep. It was not an ordeal I want to endure again.
I think women should definitely make educated decisions about their birth. Don't let fear take a hold of you is what my mother tells me. She has faith in me and so does my husband. Surround yourself with positive support! If you're comfortable getting an epidural, that's fine, if you don't want any drugs, that's fine too. Both have pros and cons.
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