79 answers

Delivery Without an Epidural....

so i have decided not to get an epidural when i do go into labor. i have slighty bad scoliosis where my spine is both curved and twisted. so i dont want to risk being paralyzed by the doc sticking a needle near my spine. its painful enough as it is. anyone have any advice as to what to use since i dont want to go that route? kind of want to just see how it goes, but this is my first baby so i am not sure.

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

I read "Childbirth the Bradley Way" which was SOOOOO helpful. I then took the 13 week Bradley classes. Loved it.....you can do it.

1 mom found this helpful

Take a Bradley birth class. My little one is 7 weeks old and I did it without any drugs. The class will teach you how to make it through without medication. YOU CAN DO IT!

I would also look into doing a water birth if I were you. My sister did that and had nothing but amazing things to say about it, she also has scoliosis. I guess the buoyancy the water creates really takes a lot of stress off the body and tremendously helps with the pain. At one point, she thought she would move to a bed for a few minutes and as soon as she stood up, she immediatley sat back down because the pain started right back up again. Only certain hospitals offer this but the women I know who've done it have nothing but great things to say about it.

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Hi there. In this culture women are led to believe that they need an epidural in order to cope with labor, but it's simply not true. You will enjoy some of the benefits of not getting an epidural, such as being able to labor in any position, thereby speeding labor and avoiding interventions such as vacuum extraction, episiotomy and c-sec, no catheter, no i.v. and fluid retention, no chance of excruciating epidural headaches afterward, etc.

I gave birth to 2 babies without drugs, and I can tell you it's totally possible. For me, having access to a hot bath was huge relief. Also, being able to move around a lot. I also think going into labor already partially dilated helped keep my labors relatively short (9.5 hrs for first and less than 4 for second). Here's something that's key: DO NOT GET INDUCED. Induction forces the body to go into labor when it's simply not ready, or the baby is not in position. Inductions lead to long, painful labors that often wind up in C-sections. If you have a midwife, that's great, you can probably have a good conversation with her about your concerns and she won't force you to get induced. If you have an o.b. you may have to put your foot down, depending on how interventionalist they are. If the o.b. starts talking induction at the end, say that you will only agree to induction if the baby is in danger (i.e. it's 10 days past due date, placenta is failing, baby showing signs of distress) or if you have a serious complication (i.e. preeclampsia).

In the meantime, if you are early enough on, I would urge you to carefully choose your care provider. For natural childbirth for low to moderate risk women, a midwife that you feel comfortable with is your best option. You can give birth in a hospital, birth center, or at home. Midwives are trained to help women through the pain of labor, and they know when labor is normal and when something isn't quite right. O.B.s are trained to manage labor, so there are many more interventions, including overuse of Pitocin, epidurals, I.V.s, narcotics, etc. They aren't so comfortable "letting nature take its course". Of course, this isn't true 100% of the time (and 100% of midwives aren't great either), but I would urge you to choose your care provider carefully because that can make all the difference.

I used to volunteer as a doula and wrote a couple of articles on this subject if you are interested:
Epidural Risks

Midwives in the U.S.

Midwives Model of Care

Good luck and here's wishing you a great birth experience!

2 moms found this helpful

I'm a doula, former midwife's assistant, and mom who has given birth without pain meds. Hypnobabies worked wonders for me and I've seen it's benefits with several of the homebirth moms who took it from the midwife I was assisting. If you can find a local instructor that's best, but if there's no one local teaching the class you can also order a self-study course from the hypnobabies website (which is what I did with my first baby who was my natural birth, my second was a medically necessary premature cesarean, totally different experience :)

The most important factor in successfully having an unmedicated birth is your attitude. If you believe that you can do it, then you'll be able to do it. Hypnobabies can really help with this. Don't let people share their scary birth stories with you and please, please don't watch A Baby Story or any other birth shows (except House of Babies which shows only, natural, normal birth center births). This is a great article about the importance of attitude. http://www.themidwifenextdoor.com/?p=628

I'll also second the recommendations of several comments below:
-use a midwife if possible (ask lots of questions about how many patients go naturally, how many end up in cesarean, how many inductions, etc. Her rates should be much lower than the average OB's, if not, keep looking)
-If you can't use/find a good midwife and need an OB, ask him/her the same questions above. If he/she can't give you answers or the #s are high, keep looking. You are hiring your care provider to provide you with a service, you aren't required to "obey" them, they are here to serve you.
-Read Henci Goer's "The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth"
-hire a doula, or find one in training who offers reduced fee (not all doulas-in-training will). A doula is knowledgeable about labor, birth, comfort measures, and will be there for you the duration of your labor and focused solely on you, you partner and your needs. No one else will be able to offer you that, nurses will be in and out, doctor or midwife will show up at the end to catch the baby.

Good luck in your journey and the birth of your child. Your body was made to do this and you can do this.

2 moms found this helpful

I had a natural childbirth. Yes it hurts, but after he was out the pain stopped and I felt like superwoman :) The next one I will do a natural one again. I only needed to take a few advil the next day. I was orignially going to do a water birth with a midwife at a birth center but I developed complications and had to go to an OB at 35 weeks. I had a doula and she was tremendous help. Definetly check into a birthing center. You will get the best care from the midwives. My husband and I enjoyed every appointment we had.

2 moms found this helpful

A. ~
I'm an OB nurse and there are some good suggestions on here.
First ...don't have rigid guidelines as to what you want. Try to be flexible because especially being your first baby you really don't know what to expect. People can try to help prepare you, but it's your pain and how you handle it and the different points during labor is up to you. It can be done without an epidural. Position change as much as possible...walk if allowed, shower, jet tub ..if allowed (there are times when it's not recommended..but mention to your doctor that you're interested, maybe the hospital doesn't even have them)...birthing ball, side to side, knee chest (on your hands and knees, sometimes leaning into a bean bag chair)...sitting straight up, leaning over the bedside table...Stadol is a good option..everyone's reaction to it is different, but it tends to work very well for most people. It lasts about 2 hours, and can be given every 2 hours...allows you to rest between contractions and deal better with them....deffinitely take classes...get as educated as you can. learn how things are done at your hospital, their procedures, policies, etc. take a cd player or ipod and listen to some relaxing music, keep the lights dim...lavender oil on a cloth near you can be relaxing...no candles...have someone massage your lower legs/ankles/feet...it can help stimulate the uterus, but also helps your tolerance of the pain.
Communication!!! with your doctor, nurses, family is a huge thing :)
good luck!

2 moms found this helpful


I am about 6 weeks away from delivering my 4th and one thing I have learned is to use the tub! The hot water will relax you and actually speed up true labor. (It will slow down false labor) It also helps soften things up down there... I never could stand the jets on, but just laying in the water helps take the pressure of the contractions down quite a few notches...

Breathe. I never used any special methods... But breathe deeply...

Use the nurses!!! They are there to help you and your support person. If coach isn't doing something right... ASK the nurse to or to show them how to.

Follow what YOU want to do... If you want to move... Move... If you want to lay still... Do it. They have seen EVERYTHING... I have always been known as the "modest" girl... Well, with my 2nd and 3rd the gown was annoying me so much... I ended up butt naked and was able to concentrait on what was going on with me.

Do not set rules. Go with how you feel. Hubby set all these " not gonna allow that to happen" with our 1st... lol Every thing he said we were not gonna do (suction cup, pain meds, long labor, etc) happened... Stay flexible.

They do have shots they can give you to dull things for a bit... And once you get going you will be so focused INWARD that the pain becomes secondary... Concentrait on the goal not the now...Until baby comes.

I never noticed a "ring of fire" but it could be that it was just seconds then done.

Just remember... Its really a mental thing. Each push is one less push that you will need to do, each contraction, one less... :-)

2 moms found this helpful

Dear A.,

Natural childbirth is by far the safest option for a mom and a baby. Yes, there's pain, but chances are, your grandmother got through it, her grandmother definitely got through it, and so on through human history. And pain is only one side of it. It's also a profoundly moving , exhilarating, joyful, life-changing experience. I wouldn't have done it the other way for a million dollars.

I agree with all the moms who have recommended Bradley classes and Ina Mae Gaskin's book -- I just want to add a tiny tip of my own: "countdowns." Through every contraction, my husband counted down the seconds for me, "59, 58, 57, etc." That enabled me to put all my concentration into the next number. Through the pain, I'd just tell myself "48 is coming," "47 is coming," etc. I know it sounds sort of strange now, but in the middle of a contraction, you need something extremely simple to focus on. I have honestly never felt closer to my husband than when he was counting down those numbers for me.

And, as a curious coincidence, I am now the mom of a little preschool math whiz. I know it doesn't have to do with my labor experience, but when I hear him counting the stairs, his toys, etc., I always think back to that time in the birthing tub.

Good luck. You can do it!!!

1 mom found this helpful

I read "Childbirth the Bradley Way" which was SOOOOO helpful. I then took the 13 week Bradley classes. Loved it.....you can do it.

1 mom found this helpful

Have you considered going to a birthing center instead of traditional hospital. I had my first (and only baby) at Inanna Birth and Women's Care. I did not make that decision until 36 weeks, but at that point and through the delivery (and after) I received superior support and care. I believe you have to be comfortable where you are giving birth and have confidence in both your body and the person attending your birth. I read a lot of great books (The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth and Birthing From Within), as well as watched movies like The Business of Being Born. I also kept up a regular exercise routine during my pregnancy, doing pregnancy appropriate strength training and regular walking -- so that my body was in shape for the work it had to do. I had a wonderfully real and rewarding birth experience -- I felt more empowered as a woman! Good luck with your choices.

1 mom found this helpful

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