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 Post subject: Unmedicated childbirth?
PostPosted: Wed Jun 21, 2017 5:17 pm 
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Hey all. I was curious if there were any experiences here of natural, unmedicated childbirth. I am 27 weeks along and on 8-12 mg of Subutex a day. I am not opposed to an epidural or wanting to go unmedicated for anti-drug reasons. I am simply terrified of the side effects of an epidural; slowing or stalling labor, vacuum assisted delivery, not being able to move around, needing a catheter, lack of movement on my part affecting progression of labor resulting in need for Pitocin >>needing more epidural>>causing distress in baby>> needing emergency C-section. I am hoping for as few unnecessary medical interventions as possible. Initially my bf and I agreed we'd wait and labor at home as long as possible as to avoid getting the epidural too early. The more research I did, the more I found that, in order to prepare for this part of labor I essentially needed to prepare for an all out unmedicated delivery.
I don't know what my pain tolerance is. I have never experienced real physical pain. Ironic considering I developed an addiction to pain medication but there ya have it. My boyfriend thinks I'll end up wanting/needing/getting epidural because I take ibuprofen at the first sign of a headache. I explain to him that a headache serves no purpose so of course I am going to take something to be rid of it. Labor pains are helping my body deliver a baby. At the end there is a goal and once she's here I'll forget all about the pain. I told him if the pain becomes greater than my fear then bring on the epidural {I'm aware that this usually does happen but that by that point it is too late for an epidural... by that point it's almost over and if I can make it that far then just a little more won't kill me}.

I was just curious if there were other sub moms out there who had unmedicated deliveries.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 21, 2017 10:59 pm 
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I'm not a sub mom, but I'm the husband of a woman who had three babies-- the first totally unmedicated. That was back in 1988, when many hospitals didn't offer epidurals. For some reason they put her on pitocin; I think they thought she needed the boost in labor because she wasn't screaming, but the labor progressed fast enough that I don't think pitocin was necessary. We got to the hospital about 8 AM, and my son was born about 3 PM.

My wife is pretty tough. When she had a kidney stone, she didn't take any of the Percocet that they gave her because she doesn't like feeling medicated. I know that the birth was tough, but as you wrote she was motivated by the end result.

She had epidurals for our next two kids. She would say now that she would have preferred not to have epidurals. But at the time, she was grateful for it.

I was an anesthesiologist for over ten years, as many people here know. I enjoyed doing epidurals because of how much they were appreciated. I would give lectures about them at birthing classes and most moms would say they wanted to go natural... but most of those women changed their minds during labor.

I don't do that job anymore, so I won't preach too much about epidurals-- but most of the negative stuff out there isn't supported by evidence. There has been a debate for 20 years on whether epidurals slow labor; most studies found that it wasn't the epidural, but the hydration. Before getting an epidural most anesthesiologists want women to get a liter of IV fluids, and that bolus of fluid slows labor, but only temporarily-- for 30-60 minutes. Most studies show no significant increase in use of pitocin, use of forceps, use of suction, etc in women who have epidurals. The findings are hard to clarify because of the fact that you can't do a blinded study with an epidural, and you can't ethically randomize patients-- so the women with longer labors, and with history of more difficult labors, tend to get more epidurals than the women who breeze through labor. They try to adjust for those variables statistically, but there are always arbitrary decisions about how to apply those statistics.

Bottom line-- any differences in time, use of procedures, or complications are so minor that people argue whether they are present at all. So if there ARE side effects, the incidence is tiny.

I recommend that you go in with an open mind. The main advantage to epidurals that I saw was that in long labors, women would be simply exhausted by the time they had to push, and they had nothing left to push the baby out. On the other hand, women with epidurals could sleep on and off through the early stage of labor, when the cervix is dilating, and then have plenty of energy when it was time to push.

Just a man's perspective... Oh-- and for men, the advantage of epidurals is that you get to play cards with your partner during labor, rather than feel guilty for hours and run up and down the hall to deliver ice chips!

Good luck, whatever you choose!


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 22, 2017 9:19 am 
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I wasn't addicted until after I had all three of my children thankfully. I had epidurals with all three and pitocin with the all of them too because I never went into labor on my own. I never had my water break naturally, it had to be done at the hospital.

I think you'll change ur mind and be wanting the epidural before it's done. That's just my opinion, I don't know u of course. I don't think the epidural made anything prolonged in any of my births. The first was 17 hours, the second was about 5 hours and the last was about 12 hours. Those aren't long periods of labor compared to others. I also had the vacuum used with my first birth but nothing with the last two. I don't feel the epidural had any ill effects during any of my experiences. Why suffer if u don't have to?

Another thing, with my epidurals, I was able to move my feet and toes... can't remember about my legs... but it's not as freaky as it sounds I promise. Reading horror stories isn't a good idea. People online will scare the bejeebies out of u, try not to research it to death.

Good luck with ur baby!!!!

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 22, 2017 4:55 pm 
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Quote:
Reading horror stories isn't a good idea. People online will scare the bejeebies out of u, try not to research it to death.


This is superb advice. The Internet is the world's worst place to get a fair and balanced view. Main thing is
to speak with qualified professionals with loads of experience.

Even assuming that some horrifying experiences found on the Internet are true....which is a big assumption...it's important to remember that such stories still make up an infinitesimal fraction of folks who've been through something, or tried this or that medication.

Many doctors recommend that people do no medical research on the Internet at all, especially by googling symptoms. Perhaps that's taking things too far, but if someone's the anxious, worrying type, such research can often do great harm.

This forum by the way is certainly an exception. There are too many knowledgable people including dedicated moderators and two highly qualified physicians to let much misinformation go unchallenged


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 22, 2017 5:50 pm 
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jennjenn wrote:
Many doctors recommend that people do no medical research on the Internet at all, especially by googling symptoms. Perhaps that's taking things too far, but if someone's the anxious, worrying type, such research can often do great harm.


I understand where everyone is coming from by warning me not to read too much into "horror stories" but that's not what I'm doing. I'm reading into both sides of the matter.

But it is rather frustrating to mention planning for an unmedicated delivery and being looked at like I have a 3rd eye. I've had friends tell me they couldn't read or look into anything to do with labor and delivery while they were pregnant because it freaked them out too much and those same friends ended up with delivery experiences they wish were different. I am simply trying to go into this with as much knowledge and information as I can. That way if a doctor tells me something needs to be done then I know enough to ask the right questions.
Too many people I know have gone in to have their babies and just done whatever the doctor recommended with no questions asked about it and came out with a C-section in the end.

Researching and looking into sites with evidence based information actually eases my anxiety and gives me an idea of what to expect. It's strange to me that wanting to be informed or educated about something that is going to happen to my body, as well as my child, is considered worrying too much or researching it to death.
Again, I'm aware that not all deliveries are the same and I am in no way expecting to get a one size fits all answer or view of what mine will look like. But hearing positive birth stories is beneficial to a positive mindset when it comes to having a natural childbirth.

Our society sees childbirth as a medical issue and just believes all of the practices put into place are for our benefit but there are some practices that are not evidence based at all. They've just been going on for so long that it's the standard. There is no real evidence supporting it because there just aren't real studies done during pregnancy for obvious reasons.

I did research before having my wisdom teeth surgery because I wanted to know what to expect before, during, and after. I don't understand why labor and delivery should be any different.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 22, 2017 6:11 pm 
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edit: see below


Last edited by godfrey on Thu Jun 22, 2017 6:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 22, 2017 6:11 pm 
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"The Internet is the world's worst place to get a fair and balanced view. Main thing is
to speak with qualified professionals with loads of experience. "

The issue I have with only talking to "qualified professionals with loads of experience" is that OBs are trained surgeons and are trained to see the emergency or urgent situation in a delivery. They would rather do something "just in case" to "be on the safe side" than to let things progress naturally. I'm not saying that's every OB, but when the C-section rate in the US is over 30%, it seems there is reason to question what's causing it.

Even if there aren't studies proving the epidural itself slows labor common sense tells me that being able to walk around and move with labor and let gravity work must be beneficial. Therefore having an epidural and being stuck in bed can't help with things. Like I said in my first post, it's the unnecessary medical interventions that I am most afraid of. The ones that are done "just in case" that cause a cascade of other interventions that all have an effect on the natural hormonal progression that happens when a woman goes into labor.

So, it's not the "horror stories" that have given me reason to question these things. It's the low risk, first time deliveries of my sisters and my friends, who weren't better informed and got the Pitocin to "speed things up", got the epidural too early and ended up stuck in bed, who were told "oh well it's been too long (says who?) we have to do a C-section", or "we need to use this vacuum just to help guide the baby out" (guide him? he can only go one way! He's not lost) ... when if the mother could get up and walk around maybe it would help move the baby further down. All because the doctor said it's what was needed. So that's why I get my info from other places than just the trained surgeon who's job is to make sure my baby gets out safely. I want to know what I can do to ensure that as well.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 22, 2017 6:17 pm 
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I hear what you're saying of course. But Dr Junig who by all reasonable standards is an expert in the field, states that most of the negative stuff out there concerning epidurals is not valid. And yet you're terrified of the side effects (your word)...

The issue is proper balance it seems to me. Of course you can and perhaps even should be skeptical of something any one doctor tells you. But if something's pretty well accepted across the medical field, that seems to me a good reason not to get too invested in the scare stories.

The point is you can become terrified of anything...something not always warranted.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 22, 2017 6:22 pm 
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The side effects I'm afraid of are it only working on one side, it wearing off before i deliver, it making it difficult for me to feel to push which could result in needing a vacuum to deliver my baby, it causing a spinal headache (which is a listed possible side effect of the medication) lasting for weeks. I have a history of migraines. That terrifies me. And not being able to get up and walk around. That's not a side effect. It's a result of having the epidural. So it's a combo of actual potential side effects as well as possible follow up interventions put in place once you have an epidural such as a catheter.

And yes I did see Dr. J's response and it is reassuring to hear what he had to say regarding the potential side effects of the medication. But I guess my concern is more the extra interventions that come along with it that I worry about. If I knew I could have "just the epidural" and not need any of the other stuff and that it wouldn't lead to labor stalling and then a C-section then I'd say sign me up. But no one can guarantee that so that's where my fear comes in of the extra stuff. Of feeling like I had all of this stuff done to me once it's all said and done.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 22, 2017 10:13 pm 
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The only thing I can say is I have had 3 epidurals. I had no side effects and don't regret having them for one second. I never plan on everrrr having another baby but if I did, an epidural would be on my list of priorities to ask for.

I don't think anyone was meaning anything negative about horror stories online. I won't even look up side effects anymore with antibiotics, it's just scary to me. If u want to and it makes u feel more at peace then that's good. What we meant is it causes more stress a lot of the time. So please don't take anything personally that we've said. We were just giving our opinions to make u feel more at ease, trying to make u feel better.

Maybe someone on the forum that chose childbirth without an epidural will be along to show u that side of things.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 23, 2017 6:14 am 
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Quote:
I won't even look up side effects anymore with antibiotics, it's just scary to me.


I've the same policy. I'm a worrier and easily get caught up in anxiety spirals. I won't look up side
effects on commonly used medications either, at least when I'm really in need of one, for that reason. Plus I'm highly suggestible. If I read that some medication can cause green spots on my forehead, I'll soon be
thinking I see green spots. It's just not worth it. I'm sure it's very possible to find meds on the Internet that don't attract scary stories, but I'm guessgin they're in the minority.

I can understand that telling someone it's best to trust the professionals can sound somewhat mindlessly obedient. And of course it's a good thing to be an educated consumer. But it's also a good thing to know yourself. In this case brittanne has got herself terrified (her word) of a medical procedure that has wide if not universal acceptance in the medical community.

I'd say childhood vaccinations is a good example of the damage believing Internet stories can do. The evidence that vaccines do not cause autism is overwhelming And yet many mothers end up withholding such vaccines and imperiling their children.

As with just about everything in life, proper balance is vital.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 23, 2017 10:19 am 
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I was a week overdue and sent to the hospital for induction. On the way to the hospital, I actually joked about requesting a c section-I was afraid of vaginal birth! I also waited a long time(to me anyway) to get an epidural, but I was tired and my LO did not want to come out of her home. I was afraid of the epidural running out early, the nurse informed me that it just doesn't happen, it's constant medication. Eventually I needed an emergency c section due to some complications. Everything went great!
Around my scar is numb. Can't feel anything there at all.
For two years after the birth of my LO, standing in the same spot for a period of time would make my lower back hurt (doing the dishes specifically). Three years out, the pain is not an issue-gone completely.
That's all I've got.
Good luck with your birth plan, it never hurts to be informed.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 23, 2017 11:35 am 
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Yes I understand those comments came from a good place.

I guess it's just a little frustrating when ever I've mentioned this to anyone I'm told that I'm worrying too much or that I'm freaking myself out and shouldn't be researching so much; when I don't feel that's the case at all.
It actually kind of blows my mind that most people think I should be less informed regarding labor and delivery to "prevent anxiety" when most anyone who has had a natural unmedicated childbirth will tell you that knowledge was power for them and eased any anxiety they were experiencing. Knowing what was happening and what was going on with their body helped with the pain. Knowing the pain served a purpose and wasn't for nothing.

I'm absolutely aware of the good in having an epidural and am in no way saying I don't want one. I just want as few interventions as possible, that's all. If the pain becomes too much for me to handle, and I can still have one, then I probably will. But on the chance that my by and godmother (support team) are able to distract me and encourage me to keep going without one then I want to be prepared for that too. I'm just trying to prepare myself either way really.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 13, 2017 3:10 pm 
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I very much believe that there are many benefits to an unmedicated birth. I trained as a doula for a friend who wanted me to help her during the birth of her first child.

I've noticed a few things over the years, some of which are just common sense. First, epidurals make it very difficult to change positions. Changing positions can very much help with giving birth, especially when gravity can possibly help.

Second, I've noticed that women who hold off on epidurals the longest have more vaginal deliveries versus c-sections. I think that there is a benefit to the baby's positioning and progression toward birth when women try to hold off on the epidural for as long as possible. Even longer than the 4 centimeters that is traditional.

My son's birth was completely medical. He was 7 days late when I went to the hospital for induction. Apparently my cervix was rock hard and very closed! I checked in on a Thursday night at midnight and had Jacob on Saturday at 9:06pm. Induction, pitocin, epidural, pushed for 3 hours with a vacuum extractor assist. Ended up with a c-section. Jacob was a decent weight, 8lb 15oz, but not huge. (They told me that he was already 10 pounds.) My body was obviously not ready to give birth. I regret everything about the birth except for the fact that I had a healthy baby at the end. Recovery was very hard, although I only used ibuprofen because I didn't want opioid medication in my breast milk. (Pre addiction)

No one should undermine or laugh at you for wanting to consider an unmedicated child birth. It's safer for you and your baby. And I do believe that one intervention often cascades into more interventions. May I also suggest that you look into information regarding circumcision if you have a boy. Unless there is a religious reason to perform a circ there is really no need for one. My 19 year old has never been teased once for being uncut and is grateful that I made the decision to leave him intact.

Amy

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 02, 2017 3:01 pm 
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Thank you so very much for your response!!! Everything you listed is EXACTLY why I began looking into an unmedicated delivery in the first place. I've gotten rather used to the crazy looks and questioning of my motive for an unmedicated delivery... even my boyfriend's mom and my grandmother looked at me strangely (probably assuming I have no idea what I'm talking about or getting myself into) when I told them. Thankfully my bf jumped in and explained to his mom why we were looking into this and how so much of the procedures and policies in place are not supported by any evidence to benefit the mother or her labor. When his mom realized we had actually done our research and were getting educated she seemed impressed actually.

I knew I didn't want to have to need a vacuum assisted delivery at all, so I started looking into ways to have as few interventions as possible. I already wasn't completely sold on the benefits of having an epidural even before I began looking into other options. The more I saw how real the cascade of interventions was the more I wanted to avoid it or anything resulting in a C-section.
(I saw C-sections in respiratory school and knew I wanted to avoid this at all costs as well!)
I totally believe that the earlier you have an epidural the more likely you are to need more interventions for sure. (Even 4 cm seems so early to have one... and I've read recently that active labor doesn't even begin until you're at 6cm so I would imagine that's why having an epidural at 4cm likely caused issues with delaying or slowing labor). At first we had said we would labor at home as long as possible, in order to avoid having the epidural too early, and then hopefully by the time we got to the hospital I would have progressed enough that having an epidural wouldn't delay or slow things down... however, the more I looked into preparing to labor at home as long as possible, the more I found that it's the labor and contractions that are the hardest part (and transition but by then you're almost done). So, I told my bf we might as well prepare to go unmedicated the whole time.. if I can get through labor and make it to transition then I might as well go all the way.

Most people think it's because of some twisted desire to prove something to myself or someone else but really it's just a matter of wanting to be as present as I can for the birth and to allow the progression of hormones before, during, and after to occur naturally.

Thank you for sharing your "medical" birth experience. {Absolutely the most important thing is a healthy mom and healthy baby in the end; but that doesn't mean you can't hope things had been handled differently and experienced it differently.}

I was just talking w a coworker the other day about induction and "suspected big baby" and how inductions double your chances of a section. I just don't think induction and it's chance of working are explained to women nor do they realize how much more likely they are to end up w a section if their body isn't ready. I mean, yeah ok, they can give you Pitocin (synthetic) to cause contractions but there is so much more to labor and your body being ready for labor than contractions. Other factors have to be considered. Is the cervix thin and soft? If not, then another intervention is needed to soften and thin the cervix. Without a ready cervix contractions are of little help.

This is my first and obviously I have no idea what to expect nor can I say whether or not I will be able to handle everything that occurs without some type of intervention. I have no idea of my pain tolerance or how things will unfold. I'm aware I can't plan labor or birth and am flexible.
Hearing positive natural birth stories is a huge help as well as experiences from women who wish that maybe they wouldn't have had some of the intervention they ended up with. Hearing women say they wish they had known X, Y OR Z, wish they had trusted themselves more and not just gone along with whatever the doctor said helps a great deal!

Thanks again!


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