'I'll die of pain without an epidural'

Discussion in 'General Pregnancy Discussion' started by PTB7476, Nov 16, 2010.

  1. PTB7476

    PTB7476 Well-Known Member

    sun, Nov 14, 2010
    The Star/ANN

    'I'll die of pain without an epidural'
    MOTHERS-to-be have heard their fair share of childbirth stories, some in excruciating detail. A popular fallacy - birth is an illness!

    "If you view childbirth as a natural process versus viewing it as an illness, it will shape how you make decisions and go through the childbirth," says UK-trained midwife Jennifer Hor of Kuala Lumpur.

    Let's debunk some of these myths:

    Myth# 1

    Baby is too big or pelvis is too small

    One of the most common excuses women are wheedled into inducing their labour or to undergo a C-section is that her baby is too "big". In more than 30 years of practice, consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist Dr Choong Kuo Hsiang has delivered many large babies, averaging 3.8 to 4kg through vaginal delivery.

    "Ultrasound scans only provide an estimate of baby's weight and are not 100% accurate. I will consider intervention if the woman is physically small and the baby's head is not engaged in the pelvis," says Choong.

    "In a borderline case, many babies do still birth normally as the baby's skull bones are soft and compressible, and the joints in the mother's pelvis are able to relax, allowing for slight expansion.

    "Sometimes a trial of labour is necessary to determine whether a woman can birth successfully."

    Evidence-based UK National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidelines recommend against a scheduled caesarean for estimated large baby and/or small pelvis (cephalopelvic disproportion), or low-risk women who are more than one week overdue.

    Myth# 2

    Vaginal delivery equals pain and a slack vagina

    "Women should be reassured that if routine episiotomy is avoided, they are likely to recover speedily and experience minimal pain after a normal delivery," says consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist Dr T. Chow.

    "But even if episiotomy is medically indicated and it may take longer to recover, generally you can resume pain-free intercourse three months after delivery."

    As they say, do your Kegels! "Proper pelvic floor muscle exercises will help strengthen the pelvic floor muscles and tone up the vaginal muscles," she adds.

    Myth# 3

    Asian women's vaginas are too small

    Some obstetricians lead women to believe that routine episiotomy is commonplace or necessary for Asian women. An episiotomy is a surgical cut in the area between the vagina and the anus (called perineum) made just before delivery to enlarge your vaginal opening.

    An episiotomy may be needed to speed up the delivery process if there's concern about baby's heart rate or if the baby's head or shoulders are too big, for example. "We don't practice routine episiotomy, at least not in government hospitals," says Dr Hj Mohamad Farouk Abdullah, president of Obstetrical and Gynaecological Society of Malaysia.

    "In fact, the Ministry of Health came out with a circular in 2008 to restrict routine episiotomy and direct hospitals to report their episiotomy rates. Government hospitals' episiotomy rates average less than 8%."

    The systematic use of episiotomy is not justified, according to World Health Organization (WHO).

    Myth# 4

    Labour is too long

    If a woman's labour drags on for a period of time, caregivers may suggest an induction or C-section. The question is how long is "too long"? It's subjective and can be open to abuse.

    For first-time mothers, a normal childbirth can easily dawdle from 12 to 16 hours. "As long as the mother is progressing, her condition is okay and the baby's heartbeat is fine, I am willing to wait," says Dr Choong.

    "If the labour continues more than 24 hours, we have to stop and evaluate whether there's any danger or advantage in waiting. It's important to differentiate between early mild labour that can be prolonged and true labour that is more intense."

    Myth# 5

    VBAC is dangerous

    Most doctors would tell their patients that a VBAC (vaginal birth after caesarean) is dangerous, saying the scars may burst open or it's risky to the baby.

    But in most studies, about three-quarters of women attempting a VBAC are successful, with excellent outcomes for mother and baby.

    Risk factors for unsuccessful VBACs are: induced labour, no previous vaginal birth, body mass index greater than 30 and previous caesarean section for dystocia (abnormal or complicated childbirth or labour). (UK Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Birth after previous caesarean birth 2007. Green-top Guideline No. 45)

    It's best to discuss with your caregivers the benefits and risks of VBAC in order to make an informed choice.

    Myth# 6

    I'll die of pain without an epidural

    In Hor's 17 years of experience running ante-natal classes, she finds that most women can't imagine going through childbirth without opiates or painkillers like epidurals.

    "A lot women are not mentally prepared for the challenge during labour," says Jennifer Hor of Jenlia Maternal Services. The UK-trained midwife has been running ante-natal classes and post-natal home visits for 17 years. "You need to think about other options to manage your pain and have faith in your body's hormones to cope with the challenges or pain."

    In government hospitals, epidurals are not usually available on demand. Due to lack of manpower, it depends on the availability of an anaesthetist to administer the painkiller on the day of labour, Farouk added.

    The ups and downs of pregnancy and labour are mentally and physically taxing, Hor added. "But giving birth is the easy part, looking after your child is the hard part. Like an initiation process, these challenges will prepare you mentally and emotionally for the long, hard road ahead."
  2. pipilili

    pipilili Member

    Thanks for your post, very insightful. I am pro natural too BUT seriously hor, I am very sccccaaarrrreddd...:nah:
  3. knut29

    knut29 New Member

    wonder if there is any first time mummy out there who survive without epidural.. people around me are encouraging epidural.. =(
  4. soapsoap

    soapsoap Member

    Me and my sister, we only use gas tat all, it all in ur mind whether u can take it anot
  5. Ting

    Ting Well-Known Member

    haha yes! i had my girl naturally without the help of epidural nor laughing gas. :)
  6. Autum

    Autum Member

    Me! My baby weighs 3.6kg, natural birth without epidural.
  7. maneo0302

    maneo0302 Active Member

    I'm so scared of using epidural too. But i'm going epi c-sect. must be a very painful injection.
  8. Autum

    Autum Member

    Doc advise to go for C sect? Actually I almost ask the doc to cut me cos too painful till I wanna give up. I am afraid of injection, so I bear with the pain without any injection nor assisted equipment. Just the laughing gas but it makes me almost vomit. Hate the smell. ;-(
  9. maneo0302

    maneo0302 Active Member

    That means you went tru natural birth without any injections, just laughing gas?
  10. Autum

    Autum Member

    Yes... The midwives there told me I am in the 10% who do not use needles...
  11. 4mummy

    4mummy New Member


    I went thru mine w/o epidural. I'm afraid of epidural actually. Lol!
    Naturally, I'm ok with injections. Just that the epi sends shivers down my spine.. :)
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2011
  12. SleepyJu

    SleepyJu Member

    Anyone koes the side effects of epidural??

    I cant imagine giving birth w/o that! How painful is that!
  13. 4mummy

    4mummy New Member

    Only heard that it's back pain (side effect).

    Mentality, willpower & breathing exercises really help..
    I think for me cos I die-die also don't want epi, so die-die also must tahan.

    For me the duration of labour also decreases with subsequent pregnancies, for that I'm eternally grateful. :)
  14. crescent

    crescent Member

    i went thru labour w/o epidural just using the gas.... i dun exp alot of pain just towards the last hr when almost fully dilated

    my labour was a very short one... only ard 4 hr plus... quite unusual for a 1st time pregnancy.
  15. maneo0302

    maneo0302 Active Member

    I'm afraid of epi pain. But i heard that natural birth w/o epi is even painful. Stress...
  16. Autum

    Autum Member

    I m not sure if epi really helps decrease the pain. The midwives told me it reduces 90% of the pain. Then some told me, you wont feel your lower body at all. Firstly because I m afraid of needles, secondly if I dont feel the lower body, how to push? Thats why I didnt use epi nor needles. The labour pain is like menses cramp x 1000 or even more towards the final stage. I admitted at 11pm for induce, at 9am, doc break my waterbag. 1pm, my cervix only 3cm... *faint* bb only comes out at 6pm. 13 hours of labour, now think of it also shivering....
  17. maneo0302

    maneo0302 Active Member

    Wow... you're brave to go thru labour without epi!

    [​IMG]Make a pregnancy ticker
  18. angelia286

    angelia286 Member


    Had done a natural birth 1 year back and is still surviving and coping well so far. Lol. It was not a choice for me. I was asking for epidural at about 4am, but was not granted the permission. When the doctors came by to confirm my decision for an epidural, it was already 10+ am and just about 5 to 10 minutes BEFORE I dilate to 10 cm ready for birth. -_-"

    The painful part, in my opinion, is not the period between the dilation to birth, neither was it the pushing part. It was the unexpected, routine episiotomy that the nurses performed on me without informing me or asking for my permission. That is the pain that I still remember even up to now.

    My friend who gave birth about 3 months later than me took an epidural immediately after being pushed into the labour ward. However, the doctors also refused to let her 'push' even though she had dilated to 10cm, instead she had to wait for the epidural to wear off in order to feel the pain, so that she is able to push the baby out. However, there is 1 thing that I need to highlight is that she still feels the soreness and the numbness in her lower half of her body even after 9 months.

    Again, it is still up to you to decide if you want to take the epidural. How's your pain threshold?
  19. angelia286

    angelia286 Member

    My friend told me that it was painful when the doctors were injecting the epidural into her lower back. Worse thing is that you have to keep absolutely still even though you are having contractions pain. If not, the needle might not go into the correct position in the spine (which can lead to paralysis) or the needle might break and be stuck in the spine.

    Side effects, so far after 9 months of birth, my friend is still experiencing soreness and numbness in her lower half of the body. Sometimes, when it rains, there would be a sharp, ant-like sort of pain in her spinal cord. She goes for lots of postnatal massages in order to correct this, but the effects are still there.

    My pedicurist had also an epidural before and for her, she could not feel her lower body (namely her legs) for about 14 months before the effects wore off. Even now, she would sometimes feel weak in the legs and could not do much vigorous exercises.

    Of course, there are also many who had absolutely no after effects. Ultimately, it is still up to your body on how it recovers and how well you take care of your body and health, postnatal!
  20. maneo0302

    maneo0302 Active Member

    Wow... so scary.
    I'm also afraid of epi injection. But no choice lei. I'm going for half body c sect.

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