How to have an Epidural Free Birth!
Client: I want to have an epidural free birth, but I'm really worried about giving in and getting the epidural. And I really don't want to.
Me: I can help you with that! Let's start by discussing your personal reasons so I can get to know you a bit.
Client: sounds great! I'm nervous because I wanted to not get the epidural last time, but they wouldn't stop asking, and I finally just gave in! I feel if I had support I'd have been fine, that's why I hired you, for personal support!
It's a conversation I've had so many times! When I talk to women who didn't hire me, I hear the same story, after the fact; that they planned to not get the epidural, then caved, but felt if they'd had more support they'd have been fine. Mama, it's OK! We got this!
I will start out by saying that I'm not against an epidural! There are pros and cons to getting one, and for me personally, the risks aren't worth it, BUT it's OK it you make different choices than me and I will support you through this birth, epidural or not! That's part of what a doula does!
Another thing doulas do is help you find all the information. If you want the epidural, I'm going to help you understand the risks, as well as the benefits, so that you have all the information to make an informed choice.
Side effects to mom and baby? Yes. All pharmaceuticals have side effects. Even Tylenol! This post is about how to have an epidural free birth, not to give you the info on whether or not you should get one. For info about that, please check out evidencebasedbirth.com
I do want to point out a few side effects here.
- Having an Epidural lowers the mother's production of oxytocin, which is then artificially replaced with Pitocin. Pit keeps your body from producing the beta endorphins that come along with oxytocin. Beta endorphins are the hormones that build up in natural labor to help the laboring woman to transcend pain. They're what takes the woman to "labor land" as I call it. That place where the rest of the world fades away and you and your baby, and your support people (maybe) are all that exist. Sometimes even the knowledge of your support people being present is pushed away, to let your instincts take center stage and help you achieve maximum pain reduction and mental awareness as to the safety of your preborn baby! How cool is that!?! I go over more pros and cons of Pitocin in my Movement and Rebozo for Birth Class!
- Epidurals increase the chances of having an instrumental delivery. With the epidural, you'll be stuck in bed, on your back, unable to feel what's going on, including when to push. Then your doctor may use vacuum or forceps to extract your baby. This can increase the risk of bruising, facial injury, displacement of the skull bones (!) and cephalohematoma (blood clots under the scalp).
- With an epidural, you're twice as likely to experience postpartum hemorrhage!
- Epidurals can cause drops in blood pressure
- Epidurals can cause breathing difficulties, especially if you have asthma!
10-15 % of women who have an epidural, report not having adequate pain relief!!
3 Reasons why everyone should learn some
tips and tricks to help with pain relief:
- You may want to stay home to labor before you head to the hospital. You can use some simple techniques to help with pain without medication! They're simple!
- Fast birth! - if your labor progresses quickly, and you birth in the car or at home, these tips can help you feel more comfortable during those intense moments!
- If you want a shorter labor, and plan to get the epidural, but want to wait "as long as possible", you can still use these to help you get through until you're ready.
Why would anyone want to NOT get an epidural?
I have a listed a few common reasons. Your reason may or may not be on this list. Its' ok if your reason doesn't match anybody else's! This is YOUR birth! You do NOT need to explain your reasons to anyone!
- Nature knows best and it works.
- Safer for my baby to not use meds
- Faster birth if I'm free to move around
- The ability to be free to move around and get comfortable, use the bathroom, do whatever I want to do.
- The ability to experience birth in all of it's glory! I know this doesn't appeal to all of you, but for some, it's a very real part of why they want to avoid the epidural.
- The ability to feel the urge to push, and to not have coached pushing
- Medical Reasons. These are numerous! If you plan to get the epidural, talk to your doctor early in pregnancy about your health and concerns you may have about the side effects of the epidural. Also, see evidencebasedbirth.com for results of studies about pros/cons and side effects of the epidural.
You'll need to register for my class to get some hands on coaching about how to use Movement, the Rebozo, and your mindset of birth to help you get that epidural free birth you've been dreaming of! We'll talk about Cervical Exams, Inductions, Pain. I'll show you and your birth partner some tricks, tips and techniques to help! They include movement, counter pressure, using a rebozo, your mindset and your plans and goals!
Marsena Beck lives in south central Nebraska with her husband and 6 kids; she is a Birth and Postpartum Doula, Childbirth Educator, Lactation Counselor who loves talking about birth, breastfeeding, mothering, homeschooling, and being a doula in Nebraska. She understands the frustrations of not having a birth you wanted and the freedom that comes from an empowering birth. She's had three births with family doctor, one with a midwife (CNM) and a doula, two unassisted births at home; one of them she was completely alone, the other she had a friend/doula/photographer. She's a homebirth advocate, and shouts to the world that yes! homebirth in Nebraska is an option! She also loves helping moms to have that "homebirth in a hospital" experience, as she had with her 4th baby. She loves working with moms as they walk on their parenting journey.