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the latest research on epidurals


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  #1  
January 17th, 2012, 03:24 PM
Quantum_Leap's Avatar frequent flier
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Suggests that they don't actually increase the risk of C-section and don't make newborns sleepy: The truth about epidurals - Slate Magazine What do you think?
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  #2  
January 17th, 2012, 03:41 PM
*Jillian*'s Avatar Baby #3 on the way
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It didn't make my newborn sleepy or slow my labor, but I realize this is anecdotal. I was progressing nicely before I had the epidural.
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Last edited by *Jillian*; January 17th, 2012 at 03:45 PM.
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  #3  
January 17th, 2012, 03:42 PM
WineKeepsMeSane's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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I'm not at all surprised. I'd already heard/read all of this. That's why I was comfortable with accepting an epidural if I needed it. Turns out I felt I did - I'd had no sleep, and am quite sure I wouldn't have had the energy to push if I hadn't gotten some relief.

Contrary to what some seem to believe, I could feel enough to push - and I actually had a pretty high dose because I was so far along labour before the epi was administered. Couldn't feel my legs but I could feel Mackenzie and the pressure of contractions
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  #4  
January 17th, 2012, 03:52 PM
*Jillian*'s Avatar Baby #3 on the way
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I could push anyway. I did practice pushes and he almost came out before they were ready for me to start real pushes. lol
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  #5  
January 17th, 2012, 03:52 PM
HappyHippy's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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This really wasn't "new research" it was an opinion piece siting other studies. The only thing that bothers me about this article is that she keeps saying "natural birthers say". While many women who have unmedicated births do say things like that, I've heard these very same things from Doctors and women who've had c-sections. My own OBGYN with ds1 kept saying that ds1 was so sleepy at birth was because I had a epidural.

The arugment of c-section, I don't think the epidural increases the risk. There is research that says that it doesn't, it may in individual cases, but I don't think it does for all cases. And in recent epidural research having to have assistance like vacuum is still increased during epidural use.

Some of the studies she sites are too low, and usually with ones that are that low it will say at the end of the study "needs to be studied more".

"The review identified 38 randomised controlled studies involving 9658 women. All but five studies compared epidural analgesia with opiates. Epidurals relieved labour pain better than other types of pain medication but led to more use of instruments to assist with the birth. Caesarean delivery rates did not differ overall and nor were there effects of the epidural on the baby soon after birth; fewer babies needed a drug (naloxone) to counter opiate use by the mother for pain relief. The risk of caesarean section for fetal distress was increased. Women who used epidurals were more likely to have a longer delivery (second stage of labour), needed their labour contractions stimulated with oxytocin, experienced very low blood pressure, were unable to move for a period of time after the birth (motor blockage), had problems passing urine (fluid retention) and suffered fever. Long-term backache was no different.''
Epidural versus non-epidural or no analgesia in labour - The Cochrane Library - Anim-Somuah - Wiley Online Library

I had an epidural with ds1 and could not feel the urge to push or even pressure. It completely numbed me past my chest. The OBGYN used vacuum on me which caused a host of problems.
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Last edited by HappyHippy; January 17th, 2012 at 03:55 PM.
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  #6  
January 17th, 2012, 03:54 PM
*Jillian*'s Avatar Baby #3 on the way
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They told me to push like I was using the bathroom. It was really no problem whatsoever. I couldn't feel a thing.
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  #7  
January 17th, 2012, 03:56 PM
BittyBugsMama's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
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I think its too case by case. I've heard women who've had both say their NCB babies were more alert and less sluggish than those who were born with epidural help. I don't think its the epidural alone that increases the c/s risk, I think its the one medical intervention after another that leads to the c/s.
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  #8  
January 17th, 2012, 03:56 PM
HappyHippy's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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When I pushed with ds2, I had no medications at all and was standing, the feeling was 100% different and I did not have to push at all, my body did it on it's own and felt nothing like using the bathroom.

^ That's how it was with my kids. ds1 was epidural baby and was sleepy at birth, he was on oxygen for the first minutes and then wouldn't wake up to nurse. ds2 was wide awake at birth and stayed awake for 5 hours after birth looking around, nursing and sucking on his hands.
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  #9  
January 17th, 2012, 03:57 PM
*Jillian*'s Avatar Baby #3 on the way
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I never said it felt like using the bathroom. They told me to use those muscles and not push with my face.

And I was in a bed so your experience and mine were different. I am just commenting that you don't necessarily have to have a sensation of feeling in order to do something with your body that you know you can do.
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  #10  
January 17th, 2012, 04:02 PM
HappyHippy's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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No, I know what you're saying. However, you shouldn't push down like you're going to the bathroom/same muscles or push "in your butt" like I've heard a lot of nurses say, because it can cause or increase hemmroids (sp). That is the problem with epidurals and pushing laying down, it makes you push the "wrong" way. I don't really want to say wrong, but I don't know how else to describe it. You should more of "breath" baby out rather than push, but without feeling it you can't really do that. I believe it also increases tearing when you do that, but I'd have to look that up to be 100% sure.
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  #11  
January 17th, 2012, 04:04 PM
*Jillian*'s Avatar Baby #3 on the way
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Hmm. May be. I'm only telling you my experience and how it isn't always some horror show to have an epi and push a baby out. I pushed 3 times and he was out. No hemorrhoids. Minimal tearing. Dr told me I had strong pelvic floor muscles and the baby was ready.
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  #12  
January 17th, 2012, 04:06 PM
HappyHippy's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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This is from a "NCB" site so probably not as credible, but it shows a picture of pushing on your back and why it's not the best position. Followed by "Better" positions to push in. Childbirth Positions: Giving Birth On Your Back Is Just NOT COOL!
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  #13  
January 17th, 2012, 04:11 PM
*Jillian*'s Avatar Baby #3 on the way
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I know it isn't the best position and I know some need to move all around the get the baby to come down. I get that.

It's just the one position available if you have the epi. And my story is anecdotal. I realize that too.
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  #14  
January 17th, 2012, 04:11 PM
HappyHippy's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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Oh of course it is not always horror stories, and I really hate that it seems to be an all or nothing thing these days. I've been with women who've had wonderful epidural births, probably more good than bad I've seen, and even in the "bad" ones it wasn't that bad. I know with my experience it sometimes puts a bad taste in my mouth, but it really wasn't the epidural in itself with my experience, it was really the Doctor. The epi did make me disconnected as it affected my hormones, but I do have a hormone imbalance already, so that is probably why.

For us it's the only position available if you have a epi, which sucks. I really wish they'd allow the squat bar. I understand not allowing standing, squating without the bar and all fours because it can make the legs go numb, but the squat bar with assistance should be just fine.
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  #15  
January 17th, 2012, 04:16 PM
*Jillian*'s Avatar Baby #3 on the way
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I have birth anxiety. I was the girl that feared it so much that it made me dread it. I don't know if this is a real condition or just me being a worrier, but i can't discount that some women need an epi for their mental state.

Once I got it I was so relaxed and focused. It's something a lot of people don't talk about because we already get stereotyped for not being as tough as a natural birth mom, but I've never been worried about being labeled as anything for my birth choices. I just wanted to say that anxiety can ruin your experience and sometimes and Epi can be a cure to that.

And if you are fearful that you will end up on the operating table because of it then this research can ease a lot of people's minds. I'm glad about that.
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  #16  
January 17th, 2012, 04:19 PM
HappyHippy's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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^ That is very true, and I do believe there is a lable given to that condition, I'm not sure what it is. I hate the "you're weak, a wimp, not as tough" crap. Having a NCB isn't about being tough, and having a epidural isn't about being weak. It's personal preferance and a lot of different factors goes into the decision.
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  #17  
January 17th, 2012, 06:12 PM
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My natural child birth babies were far more sleepy than my epi and spinal block babies.
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  #18  
January 17th, 2012, 07:22 PM
K.A.T's Avatar Enjoying her Sticky Bun
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Hmmm I have no issues getting one. Never had one before but I would like to get it this time. With DD it was a fully NCB, and that was the hardest labor I went through. I was pushing wrong for a while and was exhausted by the time she was out. I was not given any option other than to lay on my back and push. With DS I had demoral, got to the hospital too late for the epi, but nurse convinced the doc give me half a dose of something so I could be pain free. I pushed him out with ease and felt no pain at all, just the pressure to push. He was out in 3 pushes. Just like all pregnancies are different, so are all births. We don't all fit this one mold of how birth should be.
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  #19  
January 17th, 2012, 10:24 PM
Tofu Bacon's Avatar Enigma... or oxymoron?
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Anecdotal:

Ds1: scheduled c-section
Dd: drug-free for 18 hours, walking epidural for 3 hours. Born VBAC and non-sleepy after 21 hours of back labor
Ds2: drug-free for 21 hours, epidural and spinal block for 5.5 hours. Born VBAC and non-sleepy after 26.5 hours of back labor and turning breech, vertex, transverse and back to vertex.
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Last edited by Tofu Bacon; January 17th, 2012 at 10:26 PM.
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  #20  
January 18th, 2012, 07:28 AM
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My midwife, home birth midwife (I had wanted a home birth, but ended up having a drug free hospital birth), and my nurse (who was in midwifrey school) all told me that having an epidural was one of the only drugs that would NOT make the baby sleepy. That wasn't the issue. They did say that it could lead to issues with BFing (although right now, I can't remember why) and that other drugs they could offer would make the baby sleepy.

That said, I did not have an epidural and had a drug free natural birth. I'm about 99% sure if I HAD gotten an epidural that I would have had a c-section. However, that was entirely circumstancial to my labor. DS was born posterior with his hand over his face. It took me over 12 hours to dilate from a 5 to a 6, but once I did I went from 6-10 in a few hours. I pushed for 3 hours becuase he got stuck on my pelvic bone from being positioned incorrectly. I HAD to be able to get up and change positions and walk to get him to drop and to get him out.

I realize, however, that my experince isn't common enough to make a significant effect in the numbers. I could get on board with the idea that epidurals don't significantly increase the number of c-sections. I figure it's a wash. For some women, like my experience, they probably WOULD lead to a c-section. For other women, like Jillian explained, they probably helped reduce the possibility of a c-section. I have a friend who doesn't dilate until she gets an epidural. Without one, she would probably end up having c-sections. The numbers probably come out close to equal.
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