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Besides an epidural....what Else Is Available During Labor

I am exploring other pain management options during labor...the feedback I've heard so far..has either been to go all-natural(drug-free) birth or an epidural. I have heard of hypnobirthing,Lamaze techniques and so on...but are there other medicated options that's somewhere in between?

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

I just wanted to say thank you to everyone for their response. There are options out there that I did not know about. Thank you for opening my eyes to all the possibilities!

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The only thing that I had with my first was stadol. With my second I didn't have anything. It is good to have a plan, but much faster recovery if you can stand not having anything.

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It's not what you're asking, but I have to put in my two cents: why not go with the epidural? Natural childbirth is overrated. You get to enjoy and really remember the birth, the first time you saw your baby's face, etc., when you are NOT in agony.

I had epidurals with all three of my kids (but I tried natural for a day or two with my first until I couldn't take it any more and my body refused to dilate because of intense pain), and guess what? They are all of above-average intelligence.

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With my children I opted for the interthecal (spelled wrong, but it sounds like enter-thee-cul) its a walking epidural, it still goes into your spine, but it only numbs you from feeling the contractions, you can still get up and walk to the bathroom when needed, and feel every thing "down there" when it comes time to push, it was a nice break from front and back labor!! From what I understand few hospitals offer it, so just check with your OBGYN he/she will know what is avaiable for you at your chosen hospital.. Good luck and may you have a fast labor!!


There are a lot of other things out there. Most of them are pain killers/ relaxants. Just tell them noepidural but you also dont want to deal with the pain and they will take care of you. You can talk to your DR about this. This gives you an option if you want to try natural but want a way to help imediately if you need.

With my daughter (7 years ago) I was induced (i.e. petocin)-labor went from nothing to OMG very quickly. I was adamantly opposed to an epidural, I saw it as a sign of failure (other women can do without, why couldn't I? And I feared a spinal headache). So my first pain management was Nubain (sp?)-best way to describe it was like someone injecting a pitcher of margaritas in my arm. Felt great at first, but probably why I ended up vomitting later. They can only give every 3 hours, and I was back in pain within 2, and no where near ready to push.

I finally gave in an got the epidural. I was a wreck physcially and emtionally by then-and cried for an hour over my "failure." I was then able to sleep for several hours, before my 3 hours of pushing. My almost 10 pound sunnyside up sweetheart would have been an emergency c-section without my amazing doctor, and without effective pain management.

I totally commend that you are educating yourself on your options before the contractions start-but please don't do to yourself with I did to myself by thinking there is anything wrong with an epidural. You just want you baby at the end, and as one nurse said to me, "they don't give badges for martyrs."

Good luck with everything!

i dont know much about the meds. a friend of mine had fentanyl and described it like having a glass of champagne to take the edge off. i went drug-free both times and it was hard but rewarding, pretty long labors both times.

i had a real different experience both times and i can say it had everything to do with my perception of the experience as well as my support for the birth. please read ina may gaskins guide to childbirth. there is a chapter in there about pain management that i drew from heavily the second time and it was useful. also, my oversized bathtub saved my day.

For my first labor and delivery, they gave me somehting called Fentanyl (not sure if that is how it's spelled). It is suppose to take some of the pain away without numbing your body. It didn't work for me at all. They gave me one dose and nothing. Then they gave me a second dose and for a few minutes, I felt a little strange but it didn't stop the pain.
My second delivery and, more than likely, my third (due to give birth in 2 weeks or so) I will have an epidural. For me, an epidural made me feel more comfortable.
Here is some advice that a ton of people gave me. Don't try to be super woman. "Giving in" to drugs, doesn't mean anything. I tried doing the no drug thing with my first but I was in so much pain and was so tired that I just had to.
Congrats on the baby!! I wish you nothing but luck!

I hope you are signing up for a birthing class at the hospital you intend to deliver. That is where I learned all the medical options available when I had my daughter.
I didn't have an epidural. I had phentanyl in the beginning (which can be given 1x/hour). The first hour it really helped take the edge off. The second hour it helped for a few minutes. The third hour I felt nothing and wanted more pain relief. However, much to my dismay, without consulting me, my nurse gave me Demorall (a stronger narcotic). For me personally this drug makes me very sleepy. All I wanted was to sleep except I kept having these really bothersome painful contractions waking me up. I don't remember much about the actual deliver and the hour after my daughter was born because I was in a narcotic fog.
I am currently in "due any moment mode." The only thing I know for sure is that I will be insistent with every professional who walks in the room that I don't want demorall! As for the epidural, I'm a little more afraid of that than I am the pain of labor. But I'm going in this time with an open mind, and I don't see giving birth naturally as some challenge of womanhood.
Learn your options and when the time comes do what you feel is best for your body and your baby!

Hi R.,

I helped my daughter in law deliver my granddaughter with the help of magnetic therapy. She had her natural and started out with back labor pain and when I put the magnet on her back and belly the pain stopped.

She was very grateful to have her natural with no drugs.

If you would like more info email me and I will share.

Happy Valentine's Day.

N. Marie

Delivering is different for everyone. Some people can deliver in a bathroom in two hours without too much trouble and others wind up laboring for 20 hours and it's excruciating. You don't know which camp you will be in until it's happening. I suggest you develop a plan but leave your options open for pain medicine if you decide you need it at the time. I had an epidural with both my children. The first time I got it at 4 cm because the anesthesiologist had to go to a surgery,though I probably could have labored a little longer without it. I delivered my son just fine without excruciating pain. With my daughter, I waited longer to get to the hospital and I was 7-8 cm and in A LOT of pain. I was warned the epidural might not have enough time to work. Luckily it did and the pain reduced significantly. I delivered my daughter just fine as well. Some people like to move around when in labor, I found I did not - the last thing I wanted to do was walk or bounce around!Contractions are too exhausting. An epidural does confine you to the bed, but for me that was just fine. I was also grateful for the epidural not only for labor pain but because I tore significantly both times and required stitches. The epidural does affect your legs and they don't function too well for several hours after delivery. I didn't find it to be a big deal. It's like having your foot fall asleep and then wake up (except without the significant pins and needles feeling). You don't really physically do much in the hours right after delivery anyway-just hold and feed your baby in bed. Originally, I had been more worried about the pain of GETTING the epidural. As it turned out I didn't feel it. The hardest part is just staying in the position they need you in to do it. And it really doesn't take that long at all. Personally, I think they are well worth it. An epidural is by NO MEANS a failure (as some adamant "au naturale" people would say) but congrats to the lucky mommas who can do it without. Good luck to you!

Water, water, water. I was put in the shower and dialated so fast they were amazed. I was so relaxed. I have had two children, one with the epidural and one without. I can tell you, for me, without the epidural was easier. I could feel what was going on and was up and around half an hour after having my baby. The only pain killer I had the second time around was a numbing of the "ring of fire." I could not explain exactly what it is but it numbs part of the birth canal. Ask about it at your next appointment. Congrats on the new bundle of joy!

How exciting...a new baby!! I had the same as the woman below given through my IV. It really didn't help me though, but I think because my labor was being induced. At about 5cm I opted for the epidural. I was going to try to have it natural, but with my water broken and labor induced I held out for as long as I could. The pain just felt non-stop. Don't want to scare you bying saying that because everyone is different. I also agree with the person who said going natural has no benefits over epidural. Yeah sure there are the possible after effects of the epridural, but what are you acconplishing by going through so much pain??? Others say it takes longer to push with it. It took me only 20 minutes to push my daughter out and she is my first child. The doctors were actually impressed on how little time it took. Just speak with your doctor and find out what will suit you. You really won't know the pain until you are in labor. Some have it easy and others hard. Good luck and congratulations!!

With my first child born in 2006, I had almost 30 hours of labor and did a 'natural' childbirth. No epidural but I did have narcotics through an IV. I first tried a half dose of phentynol which lasts an hour. That took enough of the edge off during my hard labor to work ok. Then I was wanting an epidural and I had a nurse change. My new nurse was a doula who really felt I could do it without the epidural. So I trusted her and she gave me NuBain which was great! You definitely feel things but the pain was manageable and I was too loopy or out of it from the drugs.

Hope this helps. Congratulations and blessings on your upcoming childbirth.

Hi R.,

I was just like you with my first pregnancy, exploring all the different options I had to avoid an epidural. I ended up having the epidural and have no regrets. They now have an epidural that allows you to be in full control of the amount of drug you get. It has a little lever that you push when you feel you need more, or you can keep it to the minimum and it just takes the edge off but you can still feel everything and experience the full birth process with less PAIN. That's what I had with my son's birth and it was wonderful. I felt in total control and was able to keep it to just what I could handle. Check with your hospital to see if they offer that. I delivered at John Muir in Walnut Creek.

Congratulations on your baby-to-be. The nurses at the hospital offered me a drug called fentinol (sounds like that anyway) before given me an epidural. If I had it to do all over again I would NEVER have taken it. It made me feel completely stoned, but didn't reduce the pain AT ALL. I could barely keep my eyes open and focused on anything. I ended up vomiting through much of the labor and delivery as well, and I have no way of knowing if that was due to the drug or not. I didn't vomit with my first delivery, so I can only assume it didn't help matters.

There might be something else that works better to ease the pain without making you feel so stoned.
Good luck!

During labor, they will hook you up to an IV, just in case you have any emergencies. They put some sort of pain killer into my IV, which dulled the pain of the contractions. It definitely helped me. I don't know the name of it though. You could ask your doctor about something like this. However, when it comes time to push, you are essentially drug free, because it wears off about every hour and they give you more. But, when it's almost time to push, they won't give you more because it can slow down your contractions.

I had a natural birth plan and in the middle of a bad contraction the nurse asked me if I wanted something to help me relax. Being in pain and not understanding what she had meant I said yes, she gave me a drug, Im not sure what, but I still had pain but just felt out of it and loopy. I hated that feeling and ended up with a c-section anyway. But I would be very clear with what you want before you are to deep in pain so you can think clearly and let them know what you want.

You've had lots, but i'll add my experience also - I had fentanyl at the end of my first labor, because of an episiotomy. I have very fuzzy memories of the birth and afterwards. My son was very sleepy the whole first day (which may partly be his temperament). With my second, I went completely natural, and I remember clearly, nearly 4 years later, the moment they lay my daughter on me and she lifted her head up to look at me. It's a very personal choice, but if I was to do it again, I'd go natural. Both my births were nearly identical, in time and oprogression, according to my sister-in-law, who was there with my and my husband for both. About 14 hours labor at the hospital before delivery.

Some hospitals will offer an intrathecal (sp?). It's like an epideral except that it doesn't completely numb you so you can still move around a bit (with help) and it's a single shot (they do wear off, so you may need a second depending on how long your labor is). And your Dr. will give the shot, so you don't need an anethesiologist (sp?), that's why my small hospital offers it.

After my friends had their babies they all told me how great an epideral was. So I decided that I wanted one for my second child. My water broke at 10:30am, I got to the hospital at 11:00am and he was born at 11:30am. So I had NO time for any kind of medication. My son was four weeks early and I didn't feel ready to be having him. Also since I had it in my head that I was going to get an epideral, I kind of freaked myself out.

I think people like me having a babies in an hour is rare, but I am just saying, don't freak out if there isn't time for the medicine. There wasnt time for me to get the meds, so taking the take childbirthing classes where I learned how to breathe and etc paid off. So take the classes:) Good luck!

Hi R.,

As you've probably figured out from the responses, every situation is unique. My plan both times was to labor without medication but to use it if I felt I needed to.

For my first, I used fentanyl. For me, it took away the worst pains and made delivery do-able.

For my second, I opted for an epidural. It was an amazing and pleasant experience. I labored without pain and yet could still feel the baby moving and such. After ten hours or so, it took only three pushes for my son to come. I was so much more at ease and relaxed. I wish I had the same memory of my daughter's birth.

If I had to do it again, I would choose an epidural. They did give me a bit too much, so I was numb longer than expected. It is an unusual feeling. I was so much better able to care for my newborn.

I should say that I had to be induced twice with pitocin. From what I read, it is not uncommon for pitocin-labor pains to be super-intense.

Every situation is unique. Do what is right for you, not what you think others expect you to do.

Congratulations and good luck!!!

Hi R.--

There are two medication options that I can think of. One is a narcotic pain reliever such as morphine or fentanyl. This is usually given as an injection or in your IV, and they won't give it too close to birth as they don't want the baby to be too drugged/drowsy when it is born. From my own personal experience and also from what I have heard, these drugs don't do much to ease the pain of labor. What they do is make you loopy so you don't care so much in between. When the contractions come they are every bit as strong, and for me that was MORE difficult because I was so out of it in between that I felt startled by each new contraction. Not pleasant. So I don't personally recommend narcotics during labor.

The other option is nitrous oxide, which you may see referred to as "gas and air" in British birth stories. You are given a mask with a mixture of nitrous oxide and oxygen, like at the dentist, but you only breathe it when a contraction comes on. Consensus is that it really helps take the edge off the contractions, but I don't think this is available at many US hospitals. You'd have to shop around. Personally I'd be concerned about using it TOO much, since it works by basically depriving your brain of oxygen, and I wouldn't want the baby's oxygen levels to be affected, although I've never seen research suggesting that this happens.

Another, non-drug option is to labor in water. Some studies have shown that laboring in a tub full of warm water offers as much pain relief as a narcotic. Some midwives recommend TENS units, and sterile papules injected under the skin for back labor. Personally I would employ a doula and work with her to explore massage, breathing techniques, self-hypnosis, focal points, freedom of movement, aromatherapy... anything and everything that is likely to help. I would choose a primary method, ask the doula to help me stay focused, and then use a list of other things for my support people to offer during labor. In the end, most births are very hard work, but with support and perseverance it is absolutely possible (and ideal!) to give birth without an epidural. Best wishes.

Congtrats on your first child.

Here is what I did. For my first son, I was absolutely opposed to having an epidural, honestly for the reason of the fact that they stick this long needle in your spine. I told my doctor that I didn't want an epidural and they gave me pain medication through my IV. The pain medication helped to calm my nerves and get me to relax, however, I was so out of it I couldn't keep my eyes open and just wanted to sleep throughout the delivery. They had to tell me to open my eyes when the baby came out and even that was hard for me to do.

With my second son, I started labor, but he wasn't coming so the doctor had to give me petocin(induces the labor only, not pain meds). I went in wih the intention of only using IV meds again, although I wasn't completely happy with my first experience. They gave me the meds through my IV, but due to the petocin sending me into such hard labor the meds did not work out at all. I was not going to have an epidural, so I ended up having my son without meds and it was the most wonderful experience. I was awake and so aware of everything going on and loved it. Yes, it was painful, but I used my husband and mom for support to keep me focused and breathing, and I was okay.

Now, I am pregnant with my third son due in June as well, and have every intention of going into this delivery wihtout the use of any medication. I feel that if I can handle petocin (which sends you into hard labor right away) and do that without the use of drugs then I can handle this. The experience for me of being so aware and awake when my second son was so much more worth it then being half asleep as I was with my first son. I feel apart of me missed out on the birth of my first son and I don't want that experience again.

I took a lamaze/birthing class with my first son and couldn't focus enoug to use the breathing techniques, I didn't take a class again with my 2nd son, but used the breathing techniques I learned in lamaze to help. I am not taking a birthing class with my 3rd son, but will plan to use breathing, focus, and walking which helped a lot to keep me calm and get through the pain.

The best of luck.

The only thing that I had with my first was stadol. With my second I didn't have anything. It is good to have a plan, but much faster recovery if you can stand not having anything.

I would strongly recommend using a midwife for your hospital delivery and also having a doula (some hospitals have volunteer doula's). Contrary to popular belief, midwives in hospital settings can and do administer pain killers and yet they are also trained on helping you to be in positions that help manage pain so that you are less likely to need pain killers. OBGYNS are trained surgeons and are often not as up on different position options, as they can always do surgery. Midwives can not rely on being able to do surgery if a woman becomes exhausted and is in great pain (although they will always refer to the Dr of needed) so they are more vested in not letting you get to a point of great pain and exhaustion.

My husband and I took Bradley method classes which are a bit anti intervention but if you put that aside they are a fantastic preparation for birth. With their help and the support of a great team I gave birth to a little girl unmedicated who came breach. Everybody's situation is different and everyone has different tolerances for pain and knowing yourself and what will make you feel safe is vital. I can truly say that if you relax, relenquish control, and go with the contractions that birth is not painful in the way TV shows make it look. It is intense and there is pain but managed correctly with a team who knows how to help you manage the pain it doens't need to be the way TV makes it look. When you talk to women who had painful births and you quiz them about the support they really had many were not being helped by the hospital staff as well as they could have been. Example a friend of mine recently had terrible back labor and became exhausted. During pushing, she could see the babies head and the Dr told her she needed to push to get the baby out or would have to have a c-section because the heart rate was dropping. Given she was exhausted as she was and as uncomfortable as she was she couldn't see how she could push any harder and opted for the section. She felt let down and as though she had failed. However, when I asked her whether anyone had given her position options earlier in her labor to try and get the baby to move so her back labor would stop she said no, neither had they given her positions to lower her pain. So she became exhausted and could not handle any more pain than she had. Yet had she been given other positions to labor in things may have been different. Her hospital staff set up her to fail, or at the very least didn't give her the best fighting chance.

Kudos to you for investigating your options. Being a birth center that supports unmedicated labor but that will give you pain meds is probably one of the best ways to avoid an epidural. If you birth at a palce with a high section rate and high epidural rate it will likely be harder for you to convince them to give you anything milder. You are a woman and therefore an amazingly strong being who was put on this planet with the ability to give birth. Listen to yourself and don't discount your given strength and you will have an amazing birth.

Hi R....congrats!

I am a new first time momma and I was in your shoes as well. I took every birthing class available and did tons of research on pain control. I HATE putting things in my body that I can't get out immediatly if I don't like the way it is making me feel (narcotice type stuff). I went into the delivery room wanting to go all natural but with an open mind to accept "help" if it came to it. For me I handled it till 5cm and then asked for the epi. Unfortunatly when I asked, the doctor had left and I couldn't have my epi for an hour. For me I waited too long to ask for it, because when I finally "gave in" and asked for it I was at my breaking point... so an hour from then was very overwhelming to deal with. So I went from heals dug in about NO narcotics to allowing the nurse to talk me into a fentanal shot... which I thanked her for later. It made my slightly dizzy for about 4 min, then it took the edge off for about a half hour. I would recomend this if anything. I got 2 of these and then the epi came. It was all good for about 2 hours and then when we started pushing my epi fell out and I ended up in hard labor for 2.5 hours. But I am kinda glad looking back that that happend because I was able to feel everything...good and bad! And I can tell you I will never do another natural birth by choice again. I am not sure what the hub-ub over natural births are because I can't see how being in all that unnecessary pain makes you a better women or whatever. And if you choose to go natural and then can't handle it or have to go c-section for some reason...you are gonna most likly get the epi anyway.

It is a personal choice and a different birth for every baby born. I would recommend going in with an open mind above anything else. Don't feel pressered to go natural or to take the epi right off. Do what feels right for you at the time. I planned for 9 months how this whole thing would play out. And I might as well have thrown the plan out the window when I walked into the delivery room : - ) But being ok with "change" helped make everything work out just fine : - ) I am not gonna tell you it ain't painful, but it is pain that is unlike any other. And it is so all worth it once that baby pops out. Have fun and just go with the flow!

Hi R.,

Congratulations! Well, I tried to do all natural and it was going fine until I got back labor 30 hours into it, then it was time for an epidural. It was not my first choice but it ended up being the right choice. I has asked during my pregnancy what other options there were and the nurse practitioner said that most of the other things you read about in the books are rarely done now, such as the block etc.

I recommend going to a class if it is available to you, doing so eased my mind so that at least I was prepared even if I wasn't going to take that route. If you have Kaiser this is a free class that is available but which they do not really advertise like they do the others.

Regardless, the best pain management tool I had was my Doula and my husband. Without them I could not have done it, it was a team effort. If you have not already considered a Doula I highly recommend it, it is worth every cent!!

I hope it works out for you and wish you luck!

Hi R.,

I know that many people love epidurals but there are other options too. For both my first and second pregnancies I used very little medication and no epidural and, for me, it was great. I did go to the Kaiser birthing class with my husband - we only did the refresher course and it was actually nice to have it done in 1 night and we got plenty of information and tips/techniques for breathing and labor positions. Then during my labor, once the contractions were getting harder - probably getting close to "transition" - they gave me a shot of Stadol(there is another equivalent to this that your dr. can talk to you about too) through my IV and it pretty much just takes the edge off of the contractions. You still feel everything and you are aware of what your body is doing with this one. The best way to describe how I felt is like you've had a couple of drinks and are slightly buzzed. It really helped me through the tough part of labor and then for the pushing at the end I was really ready to go. I even dozed a bit in between contractions. I would highly recommend looking into other narcotics to take the place of an epidural. I believe that I was able to get through my labors almost med-free because my husband and I really practiced our breathing techniques and labor positions together so that when the time came we knew how to communicate with one another and we both felt confident and then the drugs helped me when I needed it. The greatest part was that an hour after having my son a year ago I was up taking a shower and washing my hair because I just felt great. Good luck to you!! You can do it!

I only have a moment, so I didn't get a chance to read all of your responses. In skimming, I saw the "natural childbirth is overrated comment." I totally disagree. I gave birth naturally and wouldn't trade the experience for the world. I came out of it feeling like superwoman, which is a good feeling to take into the early weeks of parenting a new baby.

But that's not why I wanted to respond. When we were researching options, we decided that our first option in the case that I felt like I needed some relief would be nitrous oxide. Not many hospitals offer it, but it's worth asking. It is known for taking the edge off, but using it is not a commitment to stay drugged for the entire birth. As soon as you want, you can stop and be back to your fully in tune and aware self.

Also, if you do decide to go for the natural birth, I highly recommend a good childbirth preparation class. Also, if you can afford it, consider hiring a doula. Mine was amazing and I'm not sure I would have been able to do it naturally without her.

Feel free to email if you want to talk more about this. Best of luck to you and congratulations on upcoming parenthood. In my experience, it's pretty awesome.

Hi R.,

I would say sign up for your Birthing class at the hospital you are delivering at or a near by hospital. They will give you all the information you need at that time. What I learned from that class is the other drugs tend to get to the baby if they are given introvenously but the epidural has minimal affects on the baby. I have also learned and experienced from my delivery you can tell them to give you a very small amount and a slow drip throughout your labor. I felt almost everything and I for some reason could move my legs also.

Hi. I'm an L & D rn. Congrats. They can't safely give IV pain medication during the worst part of your labor(transition 8-10 cm) Labor gets harder and faster as you get closer to 10 cm. Transition is the quickest and most intense part of labor and because your baby will be born soon, IV pain drugs are not safe because they make the baby sleepy. Epidurals don't have this effect. I've seen hundreds of births and probably 90% of people go with the epidural. I personally had 3 natural childbirths and I appreciated those experiences and had to prepare with child birth classes (breathing, relaxation, visualization, efflurage, warm water, etc.). I've seen nice births with epidurals too. If you intend on going naturally at all, you need to prepare and know what to expect. And yes, it is different for everybody. Some people request an epidural at 1 cm. My friend came in at 6 cm before she even went into labor with her first. (now that's rare, but sooo nice.) She had hers naturallly. Let me know if you have any questions. I also strongly recommend breastfeeding classes....I think they are quite important. There is sooo much to learn and often I wish I could teach more in the hospital. Breastfeeding is very important. Avoid formula if you can. Good luck.

I had a "walking epidural" and was alert and strong during my delivery. I actually started to dialate (sp?) faster once I got it. I was able to push really hard for three hours, and I was not fatigued. When a new nurse came into the room she said, "Boy! This one can push!" I had a happy, healthy baby who latched on to the nipple right away. I was able to walk easily to the bathroom not long after the delivery. My labor was 22 hours.

I had decided that I would only get help with pain if I really felt overwhelmed, and after twelve hours, which is how long it took me to get to 4 cm, I was really ready for something to take the edge off. The helped me focus and to just enjoy the birth process. It doesn't make the pain go away, but it helped just enough to make it a little easier.

That being said, I totally respect whatever choices women make about the kind of birth they want. I had a great birth experience and wouldn't change a thing. When I'm speaking to a woman who chose to go without pain relief I sometimes feel the need to defend my choice, but in my heart I know that it's a very personal decision and that I did what was right for us.

It's good that you're looking into your options. Just realize that during your delivery that whole birth plan thing sometimes goes out the window! Take things as they come and enjoy it- it will be the best day of your life.

Best of Luck, and congratulations on becoming a mother!

Hi R.,
I'm a terrible speller but I was given morphiene (that's deffinately not spelled right). It was a GOD SEND after 13 hours of back labor!!! Of course natural methods of pain management are the best for your baby, but you need to do what is best for you in order to deliver your baby safely. I was dead set on natural labor/delivery, but back labor was no joke!!! My doula was actually there and incouraged me to accept the morphine. Taking medication to help you control the pain of labor doesn't take away the merrit of what you are doing-regardless you are bringing a beautiful life into the world!
Very best of luck to you and your beautiful baby to come!

There are plenty of other options. Many of which you will learn about in birth preparation classes. I was going to do "No drugs", but decided to have an injection to take the edge off. I believe it was fentanyl. Heat works well too. Your brain can only process so many things at once. Heat signals travel faster than pain. My husband brought a heated massage pad to my labor. Massage in general helps too. Lamaze breathing is key. Good luck and happy labor.

I had a shot of demeral with #1. It still hurt but I didn't care. I didn't want an epidural, but I ended up not having time for one.

There are several options: It depends on what the hospital's policy is and what your doctor orders. There is of course the Epidural, and "natural" but there are also in between medications they can give you. Sublimaze(fentanyl) & Stadol are two of the most commonly given. Demerol is no longer given for labor in most places because it has too many negative aspects. The nurse will offer you pain medication, if you don't want an epidural she will offer you something else and explain it to you. Good luck and congratulations!

R. -

I am expecting my 5th baby in 4 weeks and I think I have done it all. With my first I had demoral and an epidural that went into my spinal space instead of my epidural space. It casued my blood pressure to drop my breathing to slwo way down and the baby's heart rate to plumet. I ended up with a huge episiotomy, a vacuum extraction and a blue baby (who is now a healthy 7 year old boy). I also had a spinal headache for days. WIth my second I was afraid of the epidural but was told that the incident with my first was very rare. I got an epiduarl at 6cm and had my daughter less than an hour later with no feeling and then felt frustrated that I couldn't move around for a few hours until it wore off. With my third I had a nurse midwife and told her I wanted no epidural. At 8cm as I entered transition I got dome fentynol which took the edge off the pain but made me very sleepy and a little liek I was outside my body watching what was going on. This baby was my largest (9 pounds) with a head in the 97th percentile and my perenial area healded quicker than with the two six pounders before. My midwife told me that was because with full feeling you move to make the pain more bearable and don't push in a way that will casue the least pressure on your perenium. The fentynol made me feel woozy for a few hours after birth . With my fourth I was completely drug free and I have to say that I felt the best afterwards. I was alert and able to move around, change postions and take a shower when I wanted to. I did get a shot of local pain killer for two stitches. I suggest reading as much as you can about childbirth options and taking a class away from the hospital. The classes at the hospital teach you how to be a good patient and not how to manage pain during child birth. In my experience far more time is spent goign over epidurals, pain meds and hospital policies than ways to cope with pain durring labor. My two favortie things were water and LOTS of pressure on my lower back, no rubbing just stong pressure.

After reading ALL the advice, I want to add that I did exercise almost daily, about 2 - 3 miles per day of walking. I did not take any birthing classes, but as mentioned read a lot. I stopped listening to birthing stories because everyone has their very own (including me), but I found most of them to be horror stories, until after when you have your baby in your arms and all is ROSIE! (The baby in your arms part is ture....but I've seen plenty of women in labor and trust me, some of it AINT pretty.

Again, talk to your care takers about your fears and concerns....they have been looking after you and monitoring your pregnancy.

It will be OK....Blessings....

Dear Raquel,

I had about 24 hours of labor (it wasn't difficult) I just knew the signs after reading the pregnancy book about 50 times over nine months. (I was young and my husband was in Viet Nam. So while I was looking forward to the birth of my child, I was a little scared, but wanted to be brave for my husband and baby). I good friend of mine sat up with me all night, we played cards while timing the contractions.

I went to the hospital about 8 hrs before the actual birth because the contractions were 5 min apart. (I say contractions because I was still not in a lot of pain. My doctor examined me and then said I could walk around the room if I wanted to. (Walking, for me was easier then lying in bed with contractions).

About five hours in, they gave me an IV and a little later I was also prepped for what was then called a "coddle". The procedure was a little uncomfortable, but didn't really hurt.

As labor progressed, 2.5 hrs, I all of a sudden had one BIG pain, told the nurse, doc came back gave a quick exam, the drug was administered, which eliminated ALL pain and most feeling from the waist down...and I liked it.

They decided to break my water, and within five minutes I was in delivery, my birth nurse helped me with pushing, the baby came in less the 10 minutes. So I can honestly say, I had ONE really bad pain before birth. I Gave birth to a very healthy 8-pound boy, with no side effects to him or after effects for me. I was up and around the next day, but would advise a new mom to take it a little slower then I did.

Many people will say go natural ALL THE way, for me, I don't think hours of unnecessary pain is character building.

Talk to your doctor or a nurse practitioner and tell them how YOU are feeling about labor and delivery.

Let us hear how it goes.


Hi R. ~ I did not opt for any "pain relieving" drugs when I had my 2 kids. I ended up trying Staydol - I am not sure if that is the correct spelling, but that is how it sounds anyways. This is not a pain medication, but a muscle relaxer. My problem was that my back muscles would not relax between the contractions, and the staydol helped greatly with that! You don't feel numb, you still feel everything, you are just able to relax in between contractions. Hope that helps!

I had two very different times with both my children... Both were done without any pain meds... although not entirely by my choice!!! :) I was signing the papers for the epidural when my daughter decided "to hell with it, I"m coming out!!!" and after doing her without anything, I went without drug free with my son, whose labor was longer. She came so fast that it put the delivery center in panic mode and it was really rushed and not at all what I'd envisioned; but my son came at his own pace and with him, I had the midwife that was on duty, it was a slow day that day and the Dr was with another pt. who was having complications and the midwife delivered my son. It was calm and as serene as a birth can be... my Mom got there in time that time to see it and she said it was one of the experiences of a lifetime! The midwives are really knowledgeable and really help you focus and when you're focused... athletes call it in the zone... it's bearable and tolerable... they also tend to tell you more of what's happening... newscaster style and knowing that helped me. Everyone has different stories and different pain tolerance levels... approaching labor somewhat like a marathon might help, too... know there is a start and end and some seemingly dark painful periods inbetween and also know that despite your best efforts, things don't always go as planned! :) Good luck!

I went into labor with my first early because of a car accident, and my planned homebirth turned into a hospital birth--which we tried to keep as much like what we had wanted as we could. BUT they wanted me to wear that !@#$ monitor belt right where the seat belt had bruised me badly enough in the wreck to break my water & start labor. I needed some painkiller for that, and wanted something that would not force me to stay in bed (the physically WORST place to be while you labor--tha baby moves DOWN easier if he's pointed DOWN, so up and standing is much better) like an epidural would. So they gave me stadol.

My second was born at home in October--no painkiller, no monitor belt, no bunch of hospital nonsense, and 2 hours later, everything was cleaned up, the midwives were gone, and we were all tucked up in our own bed. Definitely the way I'll do it with any more kids we have!

There are other medication alternatives. Ask your MD to discuss them. I was given a shot of fetanol (not sure of the spelling) during my labor. It is a narcotic that was placed in my IV line. The only draw back to it is that it only lasts an hour. I had one shot that totally took the edge off. I thought I would be able to only have that & be fine. I got a second shot & it didn't do much. I ended up having the epidural. Looking back I probably would have just done the one shot & then gone for the epi.

I had our daughter in August 2008. She was also our first & first grandchild on both sides. Good luck....

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