Pain relief - why is there stigma against using it?

(169 Posts)
CalamityJ Fri 15-Feb-13 20:34:12

39+6 so seriously beginning to think about the actual birth process (probably about time!). A few NCT friends have given birth already and have a few RL friends who have also given birth in the last few months. The general gist has been that they've made it through childbirth with as little pain relief as possible. One posted on Facebook that he was 'really proud of his wife as she'd done it all without pain relief'. And that made me feel a bit hmm as before then I hadn't thought that people would think worse of me if I went for whatever pain relief I felt was necessary. Speaking to the midwife last week she mentioned the birth plan which has that I want to know when it's becoming too late for an epidural so I can make a decision about if I need it. She basically tried to say I should not bother with one and I should just try for gas and air. I'm not sure why I should feel the need to be a hero and go without pain relief? Would it make me a 'better' mum? Why wouldn't I want to make it as easy as possible on me?

Loislane78 Tue 19-Feb-13 20:48:11

Haven't read the whole thread OP but I really dislike it when people make comments like this and who refer to 'natural' births (as opposed to unnatural ones presumably?)

Is it the mothers fault if she finds labour painful, her baby is in a bad position, has been labouring for days, whose life is in danger or frankly justs wants pain relief just because.

Same argument for breastfeeding, some can and some can't and some choose not to. If he had posted anything about that he'd be getting a slating right now.

Chunderella Mon 18-Feb-13 10:19:40

Gas and air knocked me sick too, but at least it was a distraction from everything else that was going on.

Think membrane rupturing thoughts OP! Long walk today followed by curry and a shag later, that might do it!

dotcomlovenest Mon 18-Feb-13 10:16:10

I think every woman should be massively proud of giving birth regardless of pain relief. Someone said to me once I had 3 labours with out any pain relief and I said good for you I had two with two with out, so I had more babies than you so I win. Beware nct is very anti pain relief in general.
If the epidural is done well then it should start to wear off a bit towards the end so you can push effectively and not need intervention.
Don't worry what anyone did or didnt do everyone wants to be at the same place with a happy mum and a healthy baby.

NAR4 Mon 18-Feb-13 09:19:56

Personally I didn't like gas and air or pethidine (tried them both with my first) as they made me feel sick. Had nothing with my 2nd and 3rd as they weren't that bad, but with my 4th I had an epidural and never regretted it for a moment.

Each birth is different and different people manage in different ways. Sod everyone else, just do what suits you at the time.

By the way I needed the most intervention with my 2nd birth, which was the shortest labour out of them all and I had an active labour with no pain relief.

lillyains Sun 17-Feb-13 22:27:42

So you can say "I'm well 'ard I did it without"
I personally had gas&air and diamorphine
There are different reasons I didn't want to have the different drugs diamorphine can make baby drowsy, seen on OBEM when baby arrives and the midwives need to give them assistance although baby is completely fine would prob scare me a little but I had it because they wouldn't give me pethadine and all was well, didn't want an epidural because I'd rather be mobile after the birth etc
But when you're in the thick of it do what you need to what's right for you P.S I asked for the epidural but didn't get one smile
So whatever the preconceptions before giving birth, you'll do what's right for you!

pixi2 Sun 17-Feb-13 10:45:00

If it helps I wrote a very basic birth plan which simply stated open to pain relief if the pain gets too bad. Specifically want to see and feed my baby immediately. Dh to cut the cord.

I had an epidural but it didn't last as long as it should have done so when I pushed I felt everything, including the 4th degree tear. I haemorrhaged badly, didn't see my baby until almost four hours later. After the surgery and general anaesthetic.

Dh apparently did cut the cord.

Good luck with the sweeps. I avoided these and went for the sex works theory.

CalamityJ Sun 17-Feb-13 10:37:32

Thanks Thunks I'm not over the moon about it but better than the alternatives by the sounds of it! Had BH for over a week now so hoping there's something to actually stretch & sweep! grin

thunksheadontable Sun 17-Feb-13 10:04:59

CalamityJ, definitely get the stretch and sweep. Get as many of those babies as you can! I avoided them totally on my first because I felt like you do and I was very, very squeamish about them. They're not massively pleasant but really only like a smear. On my second I had FOUR. I was desperate to avoid induction so I had one at 40+5, 40+7, 40+8 and a big massive one when I had started irregular contractions and was 4cms but she stretched it to 7. I gave birth within three hours of that last one. They don't really work unless you are sort of good to go anyway and things have started but when they do, they really do! The first one started the prep by starting my show, the second started some irregular contractions - all of them did SOMETHING!
I can't believe I didn't have any first time around!

thunksheadontable Sun 17-Feb-13 09:58:50

"I would find a man who had teeth pulled without any pain relief quite admirable, if I am honest. Or maybe just a bit stupid. The jury is out."

I love the fact that you said that and your name is "Rooneyisalwaysmoaning" smile - if you mean Wayne Rooney that is!

Rooneyisalwaysmoaning Sun 17-Feb-13 09:03:59

actually, in the intervening years between my natural birth and my semi-epidural last month, I did happen to have a back molar removed without anaesthetic.

I'm trying to work out which was preferable.

I think my poorly tooth was less drowsy though than the ones I've had out using anaesthetic. smile

I would find a man who had teeth pulled without any pain relief quite admirable, if I am honest. Or maybe just a bit stupid. The jury is out.

saycheeeeeese Sun 17-Feb-13 08:34:11

I didn't see my ventouse delivery as some 'badge of honour', it was necessary to bring my DD into the world alive and I see her as my reward.

What an idiotic statement shag here's a grip.

<grip>

vamosbebe Sat 16-Feb-13 23:10:05

Here in Spain there's no G&A, just epidural or grit your teeth. I had an epidural. Anyone who wants to comment on me accepting pain relief can go take a flying leap. It's not seen as something to beat other women with here - now boob/bottle is another thing altogether!

MyDarlingClementine Sat 16-Feb-13 23:01:56

<Hands up>

I prefferd it Chunderlla

MyDarlingClementine Sat 16-Feb-13 23:00:22

Yes 5 Mad I had absoluty the right delivery for me with my ELC and its been extremely healing after my first delivery, extremly healing.

Luckily I had great MW support during my first delivery and amazing consultant support with my ELC. I have two amazing DD's and we are all alive and well and pretty much intact!

I feel very blessed, and blessed to be so lucky with my local hosp.

Chunderella Sat 16-Feb-13 22:59:37

Perhaps not Shagmund but you (presumably deliberately) left out elective section. This does not come under the umbrella of 'normal' birth, but there are a number of women who would prefer it. Some have even posted about their desire on MN, so I assume you're aware of their existence. With that in mind, clearly it's incorrect to suggest that all women want care that gives them the best chance of a normal delivery.

5madthings Sat 16-Feb-13 22:54:54

mydarling its a great feeling isn't it, regardless of how a woman births it would be great if we all felt like that afterwards because it is an amazing thing.

I was offered a c section for ds1 but said no ask had as friend who ended up in ICU after hers, lots of complic actions etc. It terrified me, but equally other women find a vaginal delivery terrifying. Women need the information and support to make the right choices for them and they need support in labour, esp if things don't go smoothly so that the birth can still be a positive experience. Women need to be listened to and supported..

Shagmundfreud Sat 16-Feb-13 22:48:31

" 'Normal' usually means a vaginal, non instrumental delivery so I assumed that was what you meant by the term. If that's the case, it's incorrect, as there are women who have no interest in a normal birth"

I have yet to meet anyone who would want a forceps/ventouse/emergency c/s/syntocinon/episiotomy, if they believed they could deliver a healthy baby without one.

But hey ho, maybe some people see an unnecessary birth injury as a badge of honour or something. hmm

MyDarlingClementine Sat 16-Feb-13 22:48:27

"but I was on a natural high after each birth, literally buzzing for a few days afterwards. "

I felt like this after my ELC not though after my first labour. I was buzzing with joy and happiness because the delivery was so calm, frightening, but calm.

After my first labour I was frazzled in every way.

MyDarlingClementine Sat 16-Feb-13 22:45:38

"I feel I'm more likely to be out of control with pain than in control & in pain."

Absoluty, I felt totally out of it with pain and with a shot of pethadine was able to take some sort of control back.

BTW I mentally didnt do anything in my labour I was just the vessel - my body did everything not my mind.

My mind and me were just there attached to this birthing machine.

ThinkAboutItOnBoxingDay Sat 16-Feb-13 22:44:38

My godmother delivered one of Sheila Kitzenger's babies. Apparently the world famous advocate of natural child birth had an epidural. Hmmmf

space21 Sat 16-Feb-13 22:28:17

It will be an amazing, intense experience and hard work whether you have an epidural or not. It's your choice - don't let anyone influence you - trust your instinct.

I did have one for ds1 and it allowed me to rest and get ready for pushing after a looong labour but currently PG with ds2 and keeping an open mind...

Enjoy the experience whatever you choose and enjoy all those newborn cuddles grin

5madthings Sat 16-Feb-13 22:05:53

If pain relief like epidurals didn't increase the risdk of interventions and you could still be mobile etc then I would use it. But the risk of added interventions and after the three day lab our, and then three hours of pushing with ds1 with an epidural that didn't work properly anyway! Meant that for my next four births I didn't want one.

I had to argue in several of my births with drs who wanted me flat on my back etc, no medical need they just wanted it. Thankfully the midwife told them to go away when i had ds3 and again with ds4.

When I had no 5 I did have the drip and she was back to back, had to be monitered but the midwife knew I wanted to be able to move about etc and she was great so I knelt up, sat on birth ball, stood leaning over the bed. It was harder for the midwife but she was great and I had a three hour lab our and pushed dd out in just a few pushes despite her coming out in the back to back position. The midwife said had she been the right way up she would have flown out and I am sure that being mobile etc helped.

Have to say fucking love gas and air!

I don't care what others do but think women should be given the support to make an informed choice, whatever that choice is. I personally found birth an empowering experience, it hurt like fuck but I was on a natural high after each birth, literally buzzing for a few days afterwards.

saycheeeeeese Sat 16-Feb-13 22:05:31

You'll be grand...its only a day in your life!

CalamityJ Sat 16-Feb-13 22:04:22

No labour yet sadly! Got my stretch & sweep on Tuesday so hoping it starts spontaneously before then as I'm not massively keen on being fiddled with but better than being induced.

I'm definitely planning on breastfeeding as it's both best for me & for baby but as Chunderella says sometimes what's best for me isn't best for baby when making pain relief decisions. I feel I'm more likely to be out of control with pain than in control & in pain. Whimpering like a dog is my mental image!

Ignore everyone else and do what you need to do. It is precisely nothing to do with anyone else save you and your HCP.

I did write a paragraph about my own experiences but deleted it - your labour will not be the same as mine so why would it be helpful to you? But feel free to message me if you do want to hear.

Just know that you don't need to justify yourself to anyone on here.

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