Labour: To pain relief, or not to pain relief?

Date Posted:1 May 2015 

Labour is painful! Even if you plan to have a natural labour, it is good to become aware of the alternative labour pain relief options available to you and the pros and cons of each.

If you were to ask a group of pregnant women, I am sure you will find that most would have a natural labour preference. In saying that, everyone has different pain thresholds and coping mechanisms and in reality, especially first time mums, you have no idea of what labour is really going to feel like.

I think an open mind going into labour is crucial in remaining as calm as you can. You don't know what to expect, so why have an expectation. Have ideals and preferences but also have a backup plan. Do you agree?

My first birth was by elective caesarean. I didn't want a C-Section, I couldn't think of anything scarier! But my son was breech and after so many unsuccessful attempts from various activities to turn him, he was stubborn! So I decided that this process was in the best interests of my son, and me for that matter. Although the end result was just as amazing to meet my son as any other end result, I did not cope with the caesar recovery well at all. I was depressed that I had missed out on a natural labour and didn't feel like I was a real woman for not "birthing" my son. A controversial statement, but it is how I felt at the time, for me personally, not how I saw caesarean sections as a whole. 

So for my daughter, I was convinced to try natural labour. And I did (try that is). At the start of labour I remember calling my mum, giggling and saying "if this is labour, this is easy". Obviously I was only just in the early stages! And then.... oh my god, the pain! I was so panicked during labour. After seeing my baby's heart rate drop to practically 0 in a few seconds (which after being maneurvered around, turned out was probably her playing with her cord!) with every contraction I became so stressed out that I was making the labour worse. I think it would be ok if you were told how long your labour was going to last, but after being in hours and hours of excruciating pain and being told you are still only 3cm dilated so it could be a very long night, there was no way I was going to cope. The midwives even had to turn down the gas machine because it was nearly running empty! Epidural please! 

At 5pm and after the 3rd attempt of inserting the needle, I was relieved for some of the pain to reduce, although the epidural only worked on the right hand side of body. I didn't mind this as I could still feel everything, but with less pain! At 10pm, out came my baby girl. This would have taken a lot longer if I didn't have the epidural! You may know that an epidural should only work for a few hours. But still, 12 hours after having the epidural, I had no feeling at all in my right leg. I was so scared that I was about to become one of the statistics in epidural fail and never get my feeling back! A little bit of over exaggeration maybe, but everything is scary when you just have a baby! Luckily, by about 9:30am, I started to get some feeling back. Phew! I vowed never to get an epidural again! 

But will I? Maybe. If I get the chance to have another baby, I would prefer to try natural again, but who knows what experience I will have. I do know one thing for sure, all of those mums out there that do have natural births... I commend you on your courage, strength and determination! 

So if you are unsure about your labour and options, just don't let anyone judge you for your birthing choices. Do what is right for you and your baby. Ask the midwives and other resources for information on your options, so you can make the best decisions to suit you. After all, we all want the same result, to meet our precious bundles of joy the safest way possible. So Tens machine, water injections, Pethidine, Gas, Epidural, Panadol... whatever you choose, good luck! 

To get you started, here is some information of the options available:

We would love to hear your birthing and pain relief stories so we can all learn from real experiences.

Comments (1)

WOW!!!By far, this i

7 April 2017
WOW!!!By far, this is the best argument that I have ever seen for ouutosrcing. How can we dispute the collective good of raising other less fortunate people out of a miserable position? Now I can feel better about working for minimum wage, living in a small apartment, and driving a car that is ready to fall apart. My ramen noodles for dinner tonight will taste even better knowing that the people in Cambodia will make some extra money.

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