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Natural Childbirth..What are your thoughts?


Forum: 2009 Playroom

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  #1  
March 23rd, 2009, 08:53 PM
*Jennifer*'s Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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Being that this is my first pregnancy, I would like to know more about natural childbirth. Do breathing methods really help? Does an epidural really take away from the experience? Any advice would be appreciated.

Thanks!
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  #3  
March 23rd, 2009, 09:55 PM
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I don't find that breathing METHODS work, exactly, but that having a nice, slow, and calm rate of deep, controlled breathing works best (I don't even bother teaching breathing methods in childbirth classes). Being relaxed is the key - the more you tense up, the worse a contraction feels, and the more relaxed you are, the less it will hurt.

As far as the epidural goes, everyone is a bit different. For me PERSONALLY, I don't like them. I like to feel like I know what is going on in my body all the time, and feeling like I'm in control. The only time I had an epidural it felt like I went from being in labour to having labour happen to me, if that makes any sense. Plus I felt so much better afterward, being able to move right away without a dead feeling in my legs.

However, like I always tell my doula clients - the epidural is there for a reason. You never know what you are going to go into labour with. You might wake up from a great sleep, well rested, and go into labour that day, and deliver by the evening. In that case, you are in a great position to be able to tolerate labour. Or, you could have had crappy sleep for a couple of nights because you have a bad cold, and go into labour an hour before you normally go to bed. Labour could be really long, and leave you feeling exhausted long before it's time to push. In that case, i would really recommend an epidural, because it will allow you to sleep and gain some strength for pushing.

My suggestion? Have someone there with you that has given birth before, and is supportive of natural childbirth (a doula if you can afford it, an experienced friend or family member if you can't). Husbands are great in the delivery room, but depending on them to be the coach when they haven't given birth either is hard on them. They just try to do everything they can to "fix" it for you, and usually that means getting pain meds since they can't remember anything else in the heat of the moment. Try to give birth without the epidural, but if you can't don't beat yourself up over it either.
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  #4  
March 24th, 2009, 03:25 AM
TulipDawn's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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I had "natural" childbirth with both of my boys. I say "natural" because with Derrick I did get a shot of demerol however that was a good 1.5 hours before he was born and it had worn off. With Xavier it was "natural" only in the sense I didn't get pain medication, I was induced with cytotec and pitocin. My labors are very quick and I have been told even if I WANTED an epidural they would never have time to give me one. With Xavier I went from 3-10cm in less then 45 minutes - total labor Stage 1 to Stage 4 was 4hrs17min. With Xavier I had a doula since dh was in Iraq and she was the best thing I could have asked for. She helped me concentrate on relaxing. I also did love the fact that the minute they were done sewing me up I could get up and walk around with no issues. I didn't even feel like I just gave birth. It was a great feeling. I am scared of epidurals. When I had Derrick there was a HUGE scare at one of the hospitals in Columbus because they had a high success rate for injured spines. Turns out that is VERY rare but it scared me to the point that I just don't think they are for me, however, I sometimes wonder what it's like to have a "pain free" birth...
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  #5  
March 24th, 2009, 07:45 AM
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I've had 2 natural births and plan on this one being the same. Breathing did nothing for me. What helped me with both was walking and the shower.
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  #6  
March 24th, 2009, 08:04 AM
*Hayley*
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i didn't have a natural childbirth, but i believe it's totally doable. Epidurals are not 100% pain relief. In fact, they only like to give you so much so that you still know when to push (at least that was my experience). Also, my epidural only numbed my left leg. The doctor came in to adjust the medicine, but it did nothing and i felt everything when cohen was born. I got the shot when i was 5-6 cm dilated and didn't need it by any means. This time around I would like to try it without, but i'm not against getting another epidural.
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  #7  
March 24th, 2009, 08:19 AM
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well, i labored for 18 hours with my son before have a c-section. During those 18 hours I chose to have no pain medication. Breathing didn't work for me, but instead I faired better with lots of distractions. Like taking a walk around the room, bouncing on the birthing ball during contractions, things like that.
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  #8  
March 24th, 2009, 08:53 AM
*Jennifer*'s Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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Thank you for all the great info ladies. I really appreciate it.
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  #9  
March 24th, 2009, 09:48 AM
SusieQ2's Avatar Jersey Girl
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I ended up getting an epi last time and by the time they got it in right they had to turn it off because it was time to push.

Breathing didn't help much during labor. I'm hoping to go natural this time but I'm not going to swear off meds and make myself feel guilty for needing them if that happens.

I've heard hypnobirthing is great. My cousins wife is going to send me the book.
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  #10  
March 24th, 2009, 09:49 AM
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I didn't get the epidural with Olivia until I was 8cm and in transition. There are pros and cons to each.

I did not take ANY childbirth classes (I was getting an epidural, lol). But I was able to cope fairly well. I held my husband's hand, squeezed the bed rail and concentrated on slow deep breaths. The contraction starts out mild, and gets stronger and stronger until it peaks, then it goes back down and then completely disappears. Once I got to the peak I knew I would make it because it was all downhill from there. I actually really enjoyed the laboring process (there's just something about knowing each contrax is getting you closer to FINALLY meeting your baby that makes it easier than if it was just pain for pain's sake). I felt so womanly and powerful when in labor. I am glad I got the epidural when I did due to pushing issues, but I am strongly considering doing a completely natural childbirth this time.

I went into that birth wanting the epidural immediately but am glad I didn't get it when I wanted it. Now my labor wasn't easy, I was shaking and throwing up with every contraction (stupid nurse didn't give me the zofran when my doctor ordered it...ooops!) but I was still on such a natural high. As soon as she was born I knew I wanted to do it again, it was one of the best experiences of my life.

I am also glad I got the epidural at the end. I was already exhausted (22 1/2 hours of labor). Once the epidural kicked in I was able to rest for the first time in days and caught a couple hours of sleep. It enabled me to rest up for a long pushing session as my child's big head was stuck for awhile, it just would not come out any farther for over an hour. lol.

My epidural experience was great. The doctor was a pro. I didn't feel a single painful contraction after it kicked in. I literally went from trying to breath through them and telling the nurse I didn't know how much longer I could do it one minute, and the next minute feeling no pain at all. I could still feel my legs and hips and could lift them up and move them all around. They just felt warm and tingly and a little strange (not in a bad way).

The only thing I didn't like about the epidural was the delivery nurse pushed the button for an extra "hit" when I started to push without asking me. That delivered a new dose of medicine that I didn't want. I wanted to feel to push. Thankfully it wore off long before she was born and I could feel my body pushing my daughter out without my help, I could feel her head come out (but not painfully) and I even felt her sharp little shoulders and then felt the rest of her body come flying out.

Once they finished stitching me I was able to get right up and walk around. I did have a slight sore spot in my back from the epidural - but it only lasted a day and felt like a mild bruise.

You can have a great experience both ways. I would recommend doing lots of research and being open to different possibilities. Natural childbirth is definitely possible and it can be a GREAT experience but for some women epidurals are just as wonderful for them.

I had a friend who swore up and down that she would never get an epidural - that when I got one I was giving my child drugs that could have harmed her etc. Gave me a major guilt trip. Well she just had her baby five weeks ago. And guess what? She got several doses of narcotics and then ended up with the epidural after all. Now she says she would never do it without. It's hard to know exactly what you'll want to do until you're in the experience.

There is a natural childbirth board here that has a lot of helpful information too and the girls seem very nice if you're looking for more information. They also have lots of birth stories which I found very insightful.

Sorry so long - I just cannot write a short post lately. Sorry.
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  #11  
March 24th, 2009, 10:05 AM
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Thanks for asking that question Jennifer. i have been wondering the same thing. Thanks to all the ladies that posted, i found them very insightful on both ends of the spectrum. I think the most important thing is to be open minded. If your labor is too difficult and you are not progressing, then an epidural might be necessary to dilate you more. I hope to do it natural and maybe labor in a tub but I've never given birth so I don't know what to expect.
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  #12  
March 24th, 2009, 10:13 AM
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BREATHING EXERCISES ARE NOT TO RELIEVE PAIN.
Breathing exercises are to distract you from thinking about the pain and attempt to relax your body while it does its job, it does not work for people who are not in touch with their body or assume its to help ease pain.
I went to childbirth classes and was in labor for 18 hours with my son, after 8 hours getting an epidural and my anestesiologist was great, he kept my epidural running until I felt the urge to push, I pushed for two hours to no avail because my son was facing the ceiling instead of the floor. Epidurals also slow the process of labor down because you are that much relaxed. Everyone has different experiences though....
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  #13  
March 24th, 2009, 10:53 AM
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I have had both, a medicated and a natural birth and I prefer a natural birth, my epidural got all screwed up.
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  #16  
March 24th, 2009, 12:52 PM
mommy2Breana+Brandon's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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I had natural with Breana and I found that the breathing didn't work for me
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  #17  
March 24th, 2009, 01:01 PM
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I have been through both.

1st birth:
Epidural: was told I was 8 cm, epidural placed, told I was 10 it was great because I was told I could push or take a nap :LOL: I took an hour nap, and was really relaxed when it came to pushing. though it hurt like hell, despite the epidural, I pushed for 45 minutes.

2nd birth:
Natural: was told I was 4 cm, I was in more pain than I was a 8 cm with my 1st. I asked for the epidural, told it would take 20 minutes, the anes. doc was in surgery. Deep breathing with dim lights helped, but didn't make it much easier, after just 10-15 minutes I let them know I needed to push, checked and at 10 cm, I was told I would not be getting the epidural. I pushed like I was constipated and finally had the urge to poo, and out came my sons head, other than the pain of pooping after not being able to go for a while, it was not bad at all. the 2nd push my sons shoulders and the rest of him came out.


I plan on learning more about breathing and other positions for labor, I never want to get the epidural again.
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  #18  
March 24th, 2009, 01:05 PM
Mrs.Shirley's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
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I had an epidural during both of my previous pregnancies, BUT neither worked. With my dd I requested the epidural at 6cm, 45min later my epidural was in place, but it was not doing anything and I felt the urge to push. The nurse checked me and I was 10cm and engaged. Long story short, I got the epidural too late and it never worked. With my ds, the epidural only worked on the left side of my body for about an hour. I was in a car accident in 03' and they think that's why it wasn't effective. This time I'm not even going to bother.
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  #19  
March 24th, 2009, 01:29 PM
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I had an epidural with Karsyn and I am grateful I had it, I didnt want it, but my body wouldnt dilate after a 4 until they broke up scar tissue from previous surgeries and they recommended me getting one....my epidural didnt hurt at all and i didnt even feel it. I got to control the epidural tho, it was like a morphine button i got to push whenever i wanted more, which i didnt even use when pushing bc i wanted full control over my body!
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  #20  
March 24th, 2009, 01:39 PM
Adriana's Mommy's Avatar I <3 my kids
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I think it all depends on the type of labor you have..

If your getting induced, my advice is to get the epidural.. I was induced at 39 weeks and 1 day with Adriana due to me having gestational diabetes. My labor lasted 32 hours!! I did the first 12 hour without a epidural and the pain was awful.. Once I got the epidural I was pain free.. I don't regret doing it to this day.. Plus, I think not to many women can go 32 hours without any source of pain relief..
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