One of my biggest fears in getting an epidural with my firstborn was that if I received a spinal block, I would get so relaxed that my labor would slow down and I would have to have an emergency C-section.
I waited and waited until I was absolutely sure I wanted one-at 6 centimeters dilated-and then caved.
Four hours of fast labor later, I held my boy for the first time. It was the right choice for me, for the birth. I don’t regret the epidural, and my labor did not slow down-in fact, my contractions stayed at 90 seconds apart until my boy was born. It was a blessing.
Two boys later, I do things a little differently now. My labors are much, much faster and the pain I felt with the first was by far the worst. My second and third boys came quickly and “easily” after just three hours of labor for my second, and just under two hours with my third. Both I had natural, no drugs, no anesthesia, no epidural, no forceps, vacuum, or any other kind of help. And my recoveries were about 1,000 times better.
I am set on another natural birth for my fourth, but wouldn’t turn my nose up at another epidural should I feel the circumstances call for one.
So when do they? Well, research says, that’s up to the mother.
According to recent article on KSL, “The right time to give the epidural is when the woman requests pain relief,” said Dr. Ban Leong Sng, lead researcher on the study and deputy head of the Department of Women’s Anesthesia at KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital in Singapore. “If they request an epidural early during their labor, the evidence we have does not provide a compelling reason why this should be refused.”
There used to be some dispute about early epidurals leading to delayed labor and an increased risk for piton, forceps, or a cesarean. But after surveying 15,700 women, researches in Singapore found the timing didn’t seem to matter.
“The takeaway message is that when women experience labor pain, and they choose to have early epidural pain relief, they [should] be reassured that this does not have any adverse effects to their labor outcomes,” Leong said.
I’m sure many women would be thrilled to hear that, according to this research, the best time for an epidural is the moment they want it.
I’m not totally sold…but that’s another blog topic.
When did you decide to receive pain relief from labor? What was your experience? Have you done it both ways? How would natural vs. medicated compare in your book?