38 answers

Pain Meds. for Labor- What Did You Like?

Hi Moms,

I would love a buncha information from you all on what everyone used to relieve the pain of labor (other then an epidural).

I am hoping to do a totally unmedicated birth at Poudre Valley Hospital birthing center(doctors and nurses will attend); my mom and many other women who I know have had successful births w/o anesthesia/ pain meds. and I have a doula so I feel positive about this working out...but I started childbirth classes this week and I am getting nervous!

I've been thinking about getting a back-up plan prepared; especially because I hate hospitals and I feel like I might not be able to get comfortable and let the birth unfold- even though PVH is really nice, it's still a medical facility. I'm most interested in TeNS and I also saw a distilled water injection- I've done a little research, but I want advice; has anyone done TeNS?

I want to get prepared in advance so I have more options besides just getting a shot of narcotic or an epi (A class is required for TeNS to be used).

I'm planning on using message, breathing, visualization, and meditation tequniques so far. I want to know what narcotic injections people have had good or bad experiences with- I really want to be alert and I want to try ANYTHING else besides an epidural. Tell me what hypnobirthing is about too, please.

Thank you all for all your wisdom!

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Hey all you great mom's. Thank you for all the ideas, suggestions, and supportive comments!

It took me a while to find out what happened myself, but I gave birth to a little girl Fri. March 13th at the PVH birth center without medication, and I'm very proud of myself. I used the jacuzzi tub in my room a lot and once I was in transition my doula, Adam, and I were all chanting as low as we could go- which was phenomenally effective in keeping the contractions low and not letting them get into my head too much.

I definetely went to the special place where laboring women go that some of you talked about and was pretty much untouchable, as I was in another universe. At one point I was in extreme pain and I thought about an epi, yet even then, the thought of some guy sticking a tube in my spine was not appealing at all. The next day my doc said it was the best birth she had attended in 3 mos. Very Empowering.

I did take the TeNs class, but I never used the unit, as it would have prevented me from getting to go into the water.

Featured Answers

I highly recommend hypnobirthing. If you practice and have a good support system there to help you use the tools you get from a hypnobirthing class you can have a wonderful labor experience with no drugs. I had both my kids with hypnobirthing techniques, was induced with the first, and still did not need any kind of pain medication (except for a local anethetic while they stitched up my tear from my first). BUT, practice and support are VERY important if you plan on using hypnobirthing.
Good luck to you!

More Answers

Hi S.,

I didn't want to repeat what the other wonderful ladies said so I'll just respond to the TeNS machine. I had an emergency c-section with my first and luckily had a vbac with my second. I wanted to go natural too but after my first, learned about both the drugs as well as natural alternatives to labor pains. That helped me to be more open to all the possibilities to help regulate the unknown pain I would experience. In the end, I started using the TeNS unit (the class was really quick but you should sign up now because they fill up rather quickly) and it helped to take the edge off (it didn't remove the pain). My other ways to deal with the pain included a couple of shots of something into my iv (it was a quick acting pain reliever that lasted about 20 minutes) and taking advantage of the jacuzzi tubs that PVH has (that actually helped a ton!).

In the end I think the most important thing is to know your own limits and to have a supportive partner with you (although the nurses at PVH are WONDERFUL). Also, I have several friends who got more scared after childbirth classes than they were before going (I think that's natural!). Good luck with your childbirth no matter what bath you take. Using pain meds doesn't make you any more or less of a mother; you have to do what is best for you and your baby.

Peace, M.

1 mom found this helpful

Something I would not be without again, that is so low tech is a heat pack of some sort, especially if you can find one that has some soothing herbs. I don't know how you would heat it in a hospital. Find out what is possible. The one I used was heated in our microwave for a home birth. I held that during contractions and moved it around to different tight spots and it also worked wonders for the after pains. I know you were asking for info about drugs, but seems like you have a great chance at not needing them! Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

The best advice anyone gave me about pain management for labor came just before my first was born. I was told "God gave us the pain medications to make things easier, don't be afraid to use them."

I went into labor with my first sure that it was going to be all natural, with an IV pain management as a last resort. There were some complications (water broke really early, she was turned so her spine instead of her face was against my spine - ouch - and I stopped progression in the transition phase). I tried everything else - hot shower, lower back massage, and the IV, and I was still in a lot of pain and wouldn't progress. Finally they said it was either pitocin or c-section and I decided to get an epidural with the pit. Finally I could relax and let my body do what it was supposed to, and I had a very healthy and alert baby girl.

I'm not saying don't go natural. I plan on trying again for that when/if we have another. There are more techniques available than 10 years ago, too. But please don't shut yourself off to the possibility of needing an epidural. It's not horrible for you or the baby and there is no failure if you need it. If I hadn't been able to relax (via the epidural), the pit might not have been enough and I still could have ended up with a c-section.

Congratulations on your first child. Yes it is scary but you will survive like the rest of us have. Both my children were born without medication as I have herniated discs right around where they shoot you up. Instead I had a chinese accupunturist come into the hospital (Rose Medical Center)and needle me for the last 5 hours of labor. I had planned on having her longer but my husband was so nervous he was calling her office instead of home number in the middle of the night. My second child was quick (labor started at 5:30 pm and she was born @ 10:00 pm) and was relatively pain free as my body already went through this once before.

I would definitely recommend having your child in a hospital as there are many things that can go wrong and they are prepared to handle it. I thank God for the doctors and nurses at Rose as my son stopped breathing a minute after he was born (he still had fluid in his lungs) and when the nurse hit the emergency button we immediately had several docs and nurses in the delivery room to get him breathing again. He spent his first day in intensive care on oxygen but is a healthly, happy normal 11 year old today. With my second child, after she was born I didn't stop bleeding as she was orginally a twin (I lost the other baby the first 6 weeks of my pregnancy) but there was still some left over baby material and your uterus will not close until everything is out. Hence, I would never recommend not having a baby in a hospital as you never know what might happen. Most births are problem free but just like an insurance policy, it's good to have a cushion in case something goes wrong.

As a mom of six I have had 6 different births. My first was a c-section but I was put completely under as it was an emergency. My second was a VBAC with epidural, but I was not too happy because I couldn't feel how hard I was pushing, or if I was even pushing at all. My 3rd was another VBAC w/out an epidural. I had a shot of narcotics to hold off, because I thought that I wanted another epidural, but that just made me loopy and I had no sense of time or anything. When that wore off, I was told that the epidural was coming,but I was already at 10, so it wasn't happening and ended up with no meds for the pushing. My 4th was completely pain-med free as I liked the fact with the previous one that I had control over the pushing, and she came really fast (4 hrs from first onset of contractions). The 5th and 6th were both med free because I like the faster recovery that no meds has (and they both came fast---within 1 hr of getting to the hospital). If I were to do it again, it would be med free, but that is me. As this is your first, I would be flexible in your expectations. Try med free first and if that isn't working then do something else, your whole outcome is to have a healthy baby and if not having meds is stressing the baby, then better try something else. The hospital staff is there to support you, but they also want a healthy outcome, and if your choices aren't getting it done, then they are going to try and advise you on other options. Listen to your body, but listen to the nurses and doctors too.
Congrats and good luck

Dear S. D I have had all my four children with out medds. I took a class on nattal child birth. But I think the thing that help me the most was my desire not to have the same probles my mother had with her last child. Thy gave her gas which was atached to her arm and she overdost on it. It may have gave my sister brain damage there not certin but I did not whant to take a chance. So I would try it for the health of your baby and your self. I found that looking at a spot on the wall and praying to my father in heaven helped a lot. And having my husban there was a great suport to me.

Good luck . C. J.

I have had 3 boys and each labor was very different. My water broke a few weeks early with my first and smallest baby (8 lbs)and then I had no contractions. My doctor put me on pitocin and gave me an epideral after my aunt asked for it. I was in so much pain I couldn't think to even ask. I went into labor on my due date with my second (9 lbs 1oz) and only had 2 shots in the IV. I was able to walk more during that labor, it was painful but went quickly. With my 3rd I was induced because of size and fast labors. I requested the epideral before she broke my water. It was on a pump and was awesome! It was the first birth my mom had been able to attend mainly because it was scheduled. I was able to play cards with her and just hang out through most of the labor until I felt the urge to push. Then it hurt for less than 30 minutes and was over. Good luck trying without meds, but the end result is the same - a beautiful new baby. You're not any less of a mom if you need the meds.

I don't have any experience with medications since I have a horrible reaction to the majority of them. Just the thought that the side affects of the medications were enough to make me just grin and bear natural birth. Really walking, walking, walking worked great. My longest labor was only 4 1/2 hours because I walked a ton, like 2 miles a day even on the day my 1st was born. I feel like the pain was minimal because labor was not drawn out by the use of medications. Most people don't realize when they plan to use medications that it actually lengthens the time of labor. By the time I had my 4th, using visualizations, walking and meditation she was born in only 45 minutes. Keep going on your plan since if you focus on it you really should only need to use medications if an emergency occurs. Otherwise at least for me, it was too late by the time I decided it was painful enough to deal with the side affects and it was over within minutes of that. Keep up the positive attitude about birth and and use the information from you class as just that. It's information, not a requirement to use it.

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