What Should I Expect from Pregnancy

Updated on June 21, 2012
S.G. asks from Chicago, IL
29 answers

Hi moms,
I'm about five months pregnant with my first child. It was an unexpected pregnancy but I am thrilled to be having a child. I'm not so much worried about the raising of the kid because I work with kids almost everyday. I'm a little concerned about the labor. Is it really that painful. Some people in my family want me to do it without an epidural or any pain relief. Has anybody given birth without an epidural who could tell me what to expect if I go through with it. My aunt says that it was the most pain she had even felt before. Is that true. I'm not like scared but I want to know what to expect. All your advice and stories will be greatly appreciated.

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answers from Chicago on

I have to laugh because there is a question about bikini wax just a few above this one. I thought getting a bikini wax was a thousand times worse than labor. I was terrified, and my first words after my daughter was born were "not so bad, I could do that again." And I did. Twice more. Still here. Honestly, you forget very quickly. Good luck and try not to worry.

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answers from Chicago on

As an OB nurse and midwife and mom of 4 I have had a lot of experience with childbirth. It is impossible to know what to expect, the experience of labor is a varied as the people experiencing it. I do know that for most women it is the most pain they have ever felt, but that is probably because most of us have not had many situations in which we encounter a lot of pain, and if we do it is usually short lived pain, like breaking a bone or something. The amount of pain you feel will depend on more factors than we know or understand, some is genetic, some is psychological, some is situational, some is biological, and on and on.
My four births were all unmedicated (3 water births), not as painful as I thought and relatively short (under 4 hours), but so were all of my sisters'. I have three sisters and together they have 8 kids, there were no epidurals and no labors longer than 4 hours. My relatively easy labors clearly have a genetic component. Genetics may play a more important role than we realize since the shape of your pelvis can make a big difference, your pain threshold and your response to stress can also have a big genetic/family component to them. So if you are able to look to mom, grandma, aunts, sisters, they may be able to give you a slightly better look into what you may experience, especially if they have similar stories.
If YOU want to try for an unmedicated birth I do believe good preparation is very important. Take classes geared toward "natural" birthing, read books and PRACTICE the relaxation techniques you learn. I did find reading positive, empowering birth stories did help me after media/society pounds you with pain, pain, pain, epidural is the only way, don't bother trying without, etc. In the end I was very happy with my births, (in fact I long to do it again, but we have decided to stop at 4). I found actively participating in all the sensations and events of labor and delivery to be exhilarating and empowering. But I know that not all women feel the same pain in labor. I truly believe that if all women felt/perceived the pain I felt there would be a much lower epidural rate. But they don't. I don't see myself as stronger or better than women that use epidurals for pain relief, I see myself as having a different experience, and I feel fortunate for having the experiences I had.
To sum up (sorry so long) I say do your homework, prepare for the birth YOU want, but please be open to the unpredictable nature of nature. If you prepare for the birth you want you are more likely to get it, and if you are open to and understanding of the possible need to deviate from that plan you will have a high likelihood of being satisfied with however it turns out.

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answers from Bloomington on

I think by asking this question, you are going to make it worse on yourself. Do you really want a bunch of varying stories to worry about? Now you will think, "what if this happens like it did to that lady on MP?"

No matter how you plan it, there is a good chance it will not go down that way.

I was planning on having an open mind about delivery (regarding using meds). I never got the chance to find out. I had preeclampsia 3 weeks before my baby's due date. I went in for my 37 week apt. and had baby via c-section (baby was not head down) a few hours later. Looking back, it was the easiest delivery ever. I didn't know I was having her when I did, had had a great night's rest, and didn't have time to fret. I had NO labor, and didn't think a c-section was all that bad. Baby #2 was a scheduled c-section. That was a little surreal to know you were going in (without labor) to have a baby.

I am also a person who would never have children if it weren't for the marvels of modern medicine. And if I was able to get pregnant without taking meds, I would have died in childbirth with my first.

So my response doesn't really answer your question specifically, but I want you to know YOU WILL DO FINE! Try to focus on another aspect of your pregnancy or with the plan to bring baby home.

One of the things I wish someone had told me was to come up with a practiced sound byte to tell people to mind their own business. Like when people suggest putting cereal in the bottle, "Oh, I will ask my pediatrician about that." Or when they tell you to let baby sleep on her tummy, "Oh, I will ask my pediatrican about that." There is no need to defend yourself with someone who just wants to give their piece of advice and walk off. :)


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answers from Chicago on

I've had three babies and the labors were all different. Don't be too set on a "plan" because things usually don't go as planned. If you want an epidural, get one. You're the one who has to go through it, not your family members. Do what's best for you and your baby.

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answers from Chicago on

Every pregnancy is different and every labor/delivery is different. My 2nd labor and delivery was way less painful than my 1st or 3rd. I did have epidurals with all 3 and would not change a thing.

What's important is that you discuss pain relief options with your OB and NOT anyone else, because it's your body and your choice. The best part about you making the decision is that you can change your mind!

Make sure to take some labor/delivery classes that go over breathing techniques.

Good luck!

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answers from Redding on

Labor is hard to explain since there is nothing else like it to compare it too except for a bad cramp in your leg.

I did not find it painful, I found it more annoying. More like pressure than anything else.

I did not have an epidural with either of my kids, the second labor was much easier than the first because I knew what to expect.

When I was having a contraction I massaged my husband (really hard) until it subsided.

Your uterus gets a huge cramp, your stomach gets as hard as a rock, it's very cool actually to participate in the whole thing. The muscle in your abdomen is preparing to finally push the baby out, when everything is in perfect order for that to happen the doc will tell you to "push", it pretty much comes naturally... and next thing ya know this wet little human plops out and gets laid on your now empty tummy. I remember how good it felt when they baby came out and my stomach went DOWN, it was SO awesome! I slept on my stomach that night for the first time in probably 6 mos!

The only real pain I felt was a few pricks of the needle right before they gave me my episiotomy, but it wasnt anything to write home about.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

It is different for everyone but yes, it does hurt no matter what. People can tell you what they did or what studies have found are healthy, but no one can tell you what to do with your own body. My son was breech so I had a scheduled c-section but went into labor anyway. I was completely unprepared for the pain of labor plus the baby not being in proper position made my labor pains unbearable. I personally would not go into labor with no epidural. But I am also not into marathons, mountain climbing, ect. Don't let the worry about labor ruin the rest of your pregnancy. Try to become mentally prepared but then see how it goes and do the right thing for you!

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answers from Dallas on

First of all, this is YOUR pregnancy so your family has no right to be telling you what to do during your pregnancy or influencing you to do things their way. They are not the pregnant one.

Some people do believe the hospitals and doctors are evil but like someone else said... that is until you need them. Some responses that are here to instill fear are simple hogwash.

Each preganancy and each woman is unique. Don't but into the stories here to put the fear of God into you. Do your own research vs reading biased information on this public forum.

I had a relatively easy pregnancy. I did opt for the epidural because why put yourself through pain unnecessarily? Thanks to the epidural, I did not have a great deal of pain.

I had no nevative side effects from the epidural (tearing, incontinence, etc) The diehards will attempt to scare you about meds and say that you'll have issues later. They have no proof that you would or would not have any complications.. it is a scare tactic they use to put fear into new moms.

I am very thankful that I was at the hospital because in the end, I did develop complications and my doctor saved my life as well as my child's.

Don't feel pressured by others to do things one way or another. Do your research and make the choice that is best for you. Only you know what is best for you and your baby.

Best wishes!

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answers from Champaign on

I feel for you! Really, I do. With my first pregnancy I asked way too many people about their experience. Every experience was so different that I just felt overwhelmed. It didn't help that my husband's family is always giving me unsolicited advise. (My parents almost never give advice unless I ask, so I'm really not used to this.) His sister kind of made me feel like I was a wuss if I had an epidural.

I usually found comfort in reading books. I read "What to Expect When You're Expecting" and the book my doctor's office gave me. I was still pretty scared, but they helped.

Your question is very difficult to answer because each person is different, each pregnancy is different.

My SIL's friend has 5 kids. After the first 3 she was one of those who always said, "I don't understand why everyone makes such a big deal about labor. I mean it hurts, but it's really not that big a deal." Then came baby #4, and she was in so much pain she swore she would get a c-section if she ever had another one.

My husband's aunt and one of her daughters said the same thing, "What's the big deal?" The other daughter said, "You two always say that. How can you still say that after what I just went through?" They just shrugged their shoulders.

Some people feel some pain and some discomfort. Some people swear they are about to die, it hurts so bad.

My point is this, try to relax, trust your doctor, remain open to the idea of an epidural and keep reminding yourself, "I can do this and it's going to be ok."

By the way, I've never actually been in labor. I had an emergency c-section with my first, and a scheduled c-section with my second. (He was breech). So, I am absolutely no help as to what actual labor is like. Just trying to offer the best of the wisdom I was able to gain from those I really trusted.

Good luck!!! Trust yourself, your body and your doctor and try not to worry about what anyone else thinks you SHOULD do.

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answers from Seattle on

Giving birth sans epidural is about a 5 on my pain scale. For other's it's a 10. A large part is 'What do you have to compare it to?'. If you've never really hurt yourself badly/ experienced much pain in your life... then it may be your 10. Or it may be you 2, 5, 8... whatever.

In a normal birth...It feels like having diarrhea. (There it is). Really, really bad diarrhea with the same sorts of cramping doubling over NEED to expel something from your body. And then in an hour or a day or so... it's over.

Learn, right now, to frag what OTHER people want you to do. Your body, your baby... you're going to do things your way. You will get a thousand pieces of advice, but that's because we're all experts in our own bodies and our own children. What works for one never works for all, and rarely translates. That's true whether you're talking births, discipline, bedtimes, whatever. With familiies and kids, there are often similarities between families, but I've yet to find any true duplicates.

Personally... I prefer the epidural (i've done with and without, but only one live birth), and if I ever got pregnant again, would *plan* to start with one. Shrug. That's me. I'm not fond of abdominal pain. It's my 2nd least favorite pain out there (grief being number 1).


Birth plans are great... but sometimes they go right out the window. Preeclampsia, early labor, baby in distress, power outage, emergency csect, nicu... whatever. Don't get too hung up on your plans (make them, sure, just don't get all wrapped up in them). The important part is a healthy baby at the end of it. How you get there may be according to plan, or may not. It's the least important day in the rest of your life. Which probably sounds insane, but there it is. As long as you have your baby at the end of it... welcome to the world's best and first Mother's Day... but it starts after they're born. How you get there is mostly luck and timing. :) Congrats!

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answers from Provo on

Take a good chunk of what you hear with a grain of salt. This pregnancy I am trying REALLY hard to focus on reading and hearing more positive birth stories. When we hear a lot of negative, our body tightens up and does not 'open up' the way it's made to...hence...causing more pain. One of my pregnancies I was so tense I just could not dilate...after the epidural I dilated extremely fast. My next pregnancy was so much more positive (no epidural)...that experience has helped me with the rest, significantly! If you're up for it...I would recommend doing a hypnobirthing or hypnobabies course...and REALLY practicing. There was a question recently about natural childbirth...you can type that into the search bar and read those answers. There were some good suggestions and encouragement. After having done a variety of pain relief (including none at all)...I can honestly say I like doing it all natural. I didn't like being numb after the epidural and I didn't like me and my child being groggy after whatever shot I got for one of them.

Just don't get too set on anything...I always feel so bad for moms that want so badly to do it without any pain relief...and then when they 'cave in' and get it...they feel horrible. Just don't go there. I also know moms who figured they would need it...and were able to do it without. I know mom's who were so set on vaginal...they were extremely upset about having a cesarean. Become as informed as you can on facts (again...try to avoid the horror stories)...and if a natural labor and delivery is that important to you...become as educated and prepared as you can!

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answers from Richmond on

gave birth in a bathroom during a snowstorm, no stitches, no epidural, no "cutting", no complications and a fast recovery time..can be done
i held my baby right after she was delivered by her daddy.
the emts were speechless when they showed up
and no complications for our baby either
K. h.

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answers from Washington DC on

try not to buy into ANYONE else's story too much. labor and delivery is something all mothers who have given birth share, but each one is so totally individual that it's really impossible to predict how YOURS will go just from listening to others.
it's useful to gather information, but after a certain point it just becomes paralyzing.
i've done birth with and without epidurals. both have pros and cons. my first one, where i had not one but THREE epidurals was still painful, just less so. i ended up watching the monitor to know when to push because by the time the 3rd one kicked in i was too numb to tell. but my recovery was very long and my baby was woozy. in retrospect i don't think it was a good decision at all, but anyone who second-guesses a laboring woman is taking their life into their hands<G>.
my second baby came too quickly for me to scream for pain drugs, so i unwillingly had him naturally. yes, it hurt more, but overall it was a much better experience. both baby and i were in great shape at the end of it and recovered remarkably quickly.
some women have babies with minimal fuss and discomfort. it's often these lucky, lucky gals who are harshest and most judgemental of women who have a more difficult time.
plan to have the sort of labor and delivery that makes you the most comfortable, whether that's in a hospital with lots of trained staff around, in a warm tubby, at home surrounded by family, just you and your dh and a midwife, whatever suits your personality best. then allow enough flexibility in your ideal scenario to account for unexpected circumstances and for the fact that you may change your mind about things once you're laboring.
your labor and delivery will be uniquely, beautifully yours. don't do TOO much pre-judging.
:) khairete

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answers from Phoenix on

I had my first with an epidural followed by a c-section. My second was a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarian) with no pain medication. So I can tell you with conviction that you are going to have a tiny person come out of your body, one way or another, and that it is inevitably going to involve some pain. Yes, the epidural will help with contractions. But have no illusions about what your girl parts will feel like after pushing out a baby. My goal is not to scare you but to encourage you to be prepared. I think I had a far worse time with my first because I thought that the miracles of modern medicine (epidural at 2cm, then surgical anesthetic) would keep all the pain away. I was unprepared, and the fear made everything so much worse. With my second, I took classes, did research, hired a doula, saw a chiropractor, did everything that I could think of to prepare myself physically and mentally for that delivery. I had 8 hours of labor, 2 hours of pushing, and some pretty serious tears all with no pain meds and I will tell you that I would not change a THING about that second birth. The high you get after delivery is very real. I only took Tylenol for the first 24 hours because I was so jacked up on endorphins. Now after they went away, I felt all that work my body had done and welcomed the good drugs!!
Educate yourself and make the choices that feel right to you, regardless of what your family thinks. Feel free to challenge your doctor too :)

@Jennifer P- LOL...so true, in my 42nd week I would have cheerfully delivered my son out of my nose if that would get him OUT!!!

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answers from Chicago on


Every woman experiences labor differently. That being said, I've given birth twice without an epidural. I have a pretty high tolerance for pain/discomfort, and had prepared myself with a lot of good strategies for managing labor in my Lamaze and prenatal yoga classes. I also had a doula both times. I wouldn't say it's painful so much but really, really uncomfortable. But it's not consistent pain -- the contractions are at their longest a couple of minutes long. And my mom always likes to say it's "pain with a purpose" -- you get a baby out of it at the end! And while first labors can be long, they are finite.

Basically, you have to know your body, what you're capable of. There's no shame in having an epidural. But there is something empowering about birthing a baby without meds. And plans may change based on the circumstances of your birth. But if you're hoping to have a natural delivery, I highly recommend hiring a doula.


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answers from Chicago on

Well, as someone who literally would have died due to complications with both of my labors...(1 - developed eclampsia DURING labor and my kidneys went into failure, and 2 - I couldn't push the baby out) I thank god for the hospital and modern medicine.
There are lots of people that will tell you how evil hospitals and doctors are, but those are always the people that haven't needed them.

In short. Do. what. you. want. Yes, labor hurts. A lot. It's a different kind of pain than you'll ever experience elsewhere. There's no way to describe it other than extremely intense.
Lots of women do it naturally.
I chose not to. I had 9 hours of hard labor before the epidural with my first...and that epidural was the best thing I ever experienced. I had no issues with not knowing when to push...that feeling becomes ABUNDANTLY clear when it's time. And I had no need for Pitocin - as some would tell you is a necessity.

As someone else said. Each birth and each woman is different.

Create a plan for what you want. And have someone to stick with you to try to see it through. You should also be prepared that things may not go according to that plan, and be flexible.

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answers from Muncie on

You have options, I hear home births and having a midwife coach you through it one of the best experiences possible. You can look into that. I'm high risk being an over weight mom, so this isn't an option for me,

With my first, I attempted med free, but my daughter was a difficult little booger. You can always do the same, start out saying no meds and then see how it goes. If you are married make sure to share what you want with your husband, if you're not married then be sure to tell who ever is going to be with you when you go into labor. That way if you're "busy" they can stand up for you and make sure the doctors and nurses know what you want.

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answers from Austin on

I just wanted to try to go without any pain meds.. That was my goal.. Just to do my best.

She was 3 weeks early.. My water just broke.. I was in denial. I had not had any contractions.. Got to the hospital and said, yes, you are having contractions.. I was shocked.. still could not feel them

My main concern was to end up with a healthy child.. And so when I met the nurses when we arrived in our birthing room, I told them.. "I want you all to help me with any advice to get through all of this with no pain meds, BUT, I want our baby to be safe. "

The nurses were great. Each and every time they asked me if I wanted some juice or water, I said yes.. I remembered that in the birthing classes the instructor said this was a code from the nurses.. "You need to drink something.. "

They suggested I get into the shower.. which was awesome..

My husband massaged my lower back a lot.

Everything was going well until they began to notice our baby's heart rate was dropping. Apparent;y I had lost all of the water so early she was being compressed in there.. so they decided to replace the fluid.. Thank goodness our baby's heart rate returned to normal and I was able to continue with labor.

To me the pain was exactly like the cramps I had since I was a teen. Really hard cramps.. I kept telling myself.. this will not last forever and no one died from the pain..

My husband was perfect.. We had long discussions about how I did not want to be interrupted.. I would ask for what I wanted.. I did not want a bunch of questions. He was great at watching the monitor and knowing I should start the breathing.. This all helped me. I was in labor for a long time and so excited, I did not sleep all night.. We had beautiful conversations during all of this. But I was exhausted in the morning.. He and the nurses had me sleep as much as possible..

And then the contractions became hard enough.. they took my breath away and I said to the nurse.. "can you check me.. I think I may want to talk about meds.." That is when she told me too late.. here comes the baby!

Sure enough I just had to have my mom come in from the hallway and hold one leg and my husband hold the other.. 3 pushes and she was there!

After they had cleaned me up I told my husband, hey, I did not have any meds.. He said "I know, I was thinking last night you would have been asking for them."

I was so surprised and excited. I felt great. I was starving.. Our child was so alert, she actually lifted and turned her head to look at me, when I said her name out loud for the first time!

Make a plan, have a goal.. but do what you have to do.. Giving birth is not competition, it is making sure your child arrives safely and healthy.. Things happen that we cannot control, so be willing to do what is necessary to get your baby here and for you to also be safe.

Congratulations! Enjoy your pregnancy! You are going to do great!

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answers from San Francisco on

I can honestly say I've given birth but I don't know what labor is like. At seven months I started having weird pain that lasted for about a week before I couldn't take it anymore. Went to the hospital and after about five hours of observation and tests they wheeled me in for an emergency c-section. They had to knock me out cold and intubate me because I had preeclampsia with a side order of HELLP syndrome. (Look it up so you can recognize the symptoms because my OBGYN MISSED THEM!!! I was misdiagnosed when I first went in for pain and languished for a week thinking I had a urinary tract infection mixed with common pregnancy aches and pains.) I was in the hospital for two weeks recovering and my daughter was in the NICU for nearly a month and a half.

And for everyone saying, "Don't tell her horror stories!!" that's just silly. They aren't horror stories. They are our BIRTH stories. They don't always go happy-sunshine-rainbow nice.

This was my "horror" story. It's the only one I have. I chose not to have any more children because the birth of my first was difficult and traumatic for me. Sorry to be an Eeyore but this story is all I've got and now I feel a bit saddened that my story is something to be buried and ignored like it never happened.

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answers from Dallas on

Every pregnancy and birth experience is different. You have to do what is right for you. I had my one and only child at 39 with no epidural. I had stadol at 5 and 7 centimeters to get me over the hump. Tension does make things harder, as I relaxed more when my hubby told me I'd be a good mommy.

Ask your doctor for a referral to a child birth class. They will help you figure out what you want and need for your birth to be as comfortable as possible. It WILL hurt, there is no escaping that. You CAN make the experience positive and moving. I WANTED to feel the experience of childbirth and was much more freaked out by the epidural needle than the natural pain of childbirth. On the pain scale, I was about a 6.


I was a "grunter" and didn't yell at all-the nurses thought I had an epidural, which was pretty funny. I heard a rumor that they take a pool on when the "no epidural" people give in and ask (lol).

Don't let anyone pressure you to use or not use pain relief. It is your choice and you can put together a plan of how you want the experience to go, but give yourself permission to do what you need to do to have a safe and reasonably comfortable experience : )

The library may have "what to expect when you're expecting" which may be helpful for you. Take care!

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answers from Columbus on

It always amazes me when moms share horror stories with expectant first-timers! Or even with other moms! It's a way of bonding, but it's inadvertently thoughtless to scare newbies! All I can say is, you're stronger than you think, all sorts of women make it through and you will, too. You need to decide what is right for you and your body, even if other people "want" you to do it without an epidural. What do YOU want? I had an epidural for both my kids -- it had positives and negatives. I think if I did it again, I would still have one. But with my second, they gave me too much and I was numb to my chest. With my first, it was light and I still had pain but it took the edge off. I preferred the first. But I know a lot of people who made it through without -- people I wouldn't have thought so strong! - and they have no regrets. But really, do your research and don't let others tell you what they "want" you to do. Other than the father, who has a right to be concerned about the health of his baby, it's no one else's decision if they're not in the stirrups!
ETA: By the way -- I was concerned about the epidural, but I was a lot more concerned about using a vacuum, and the doctor said she had often seen women get too tired to push without the epidural -- there are health reasons to avoid an epidural, but there are also health reasons to have one.

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answers from Los Angeles on

The first thing you should do when some "well meaning" (yeah, I don't buy that, do you?) person starts sharing their horror stories is to put your hand up and tell them you'll gladly hear their story once you've got your own to tell.

Next up, start educating yourself. A thorough childbirth class can help a LOT, but you can also do it on your own. Just don't rely on whatever you get from a forum to get you through labor. Seriously.

As for giving birth without an epidural, I've done it twice. The first time was hard, painful and exquisitely beautiful. I felt so freaking amazing afterward that I walked from labor and delivery to my recovery room. Carrying some of my belongings. The second time I did it without any pain meds, I also had to have Pitocin. That was hard, painful and I actually said how happy I was that I never have to go through that again because she was our last. I don't recommend it. I honestly don't remember how I got to the maternity/recovery room. But I was up and moving just fine that same night (she was born around 6:30 PM).

My first labor and delivery was with *two* epidurals. It was fine. The real difference was in the recovery. I wasn't able to stand in one place or even take short walks without pain for about a month.

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answers from Los Angeles on

Here's the order of emotions in pregnancy:
1st trimester: excitement and slight nervousness
2nd trimester: fear about labor and being a good parent
3rd trimester: confidence and at the end, you just want the baby out regardless of pain, (even recovering from a c/s is painful) etc. LOL

So, since you asked about NO epidurals. I've had 4 home births. The smallest being 8.5 pounds. The largest being 11 pounds. No tearing at all because I let my body do what it needed. I pushed to the point of comfort because I could feel everything and I knew when it was too hard, so I backed off. Coached pushing with an epidural leads to incontinence, as well as tearing, according to medical research, because instead of relying on your body to tell you, you can't hear your body over the numbing meds and machines that go ping.

I have a very low pain threshold and I can't tell you that it was a walk in the park, but it's not called FUN for a reason. It's called LABOR because it's a lot of hard, totally worthwhile, work.

I would tell you to take Bradley or Hypnobabies....or just take Bradley classes (sign up now, since they are 12 weeks long) and buy the Hypnobabies CDs.

The more you know, the better decisions you can make. Like did you know one of the epidural drugs, Fentanyl is 80x as potent as morphine. Do you really want to experiment with drugs during labor and see if you or your baby has a reaction to it? Some women do, but not me.

Then, once you are given an epidural, then you most likely will need Pitocin to speed up the slowing contractions from the epidural drug. Check out part of Pitocin's packet insert:

(oxytocin Injection, USP) Synthetic

Information verbatum from package insert:
Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment of Fertility
There are no animal or human studies on the carcinogenicity and mutagenicity of this drug, nor is there any information on its effect on fertility.

Adverse Reactions
The following adverse reactions have been reported in the mother:
• Anaphylactic reaction
• Postpartum hemorrhage
• Cardiac arrhythmia (irregular hearbeat)
• Fatal afibrinogenemia
• Nausea
• Vomiting
• Premature ventricular contractions
• Pelvic hematoma (bruising)
• Subarachnoid hemorrhage (bleeding in the space around the brain and CNS)
• Hypertensive episodes (high blood pressure)
• Rupture of the uterus
• Maternal death

The following adverse reactions have been reported in the fetus or newborn:
• Bradycardia (slow heart rate)
• Premature ventricular contractions and other arrhythmias (irregular heartbeat)
• Permanent CNS (central nervous system) or brain damage
• Fetal death
• Neonatal (newborn) seizures
• Low Apgar score at 5 minutes
• Neonatal jaundice
• Neonatal retinal hemorrhage (bleeding of the newborn eyes)

Natural birth is not for everyone, but I was more afraid of what they would do to me in the hospital, as well as all of the superbugs, so I opted to stay home. Hiring a doula for hospital AND home births is a fabulous idea...they support YOU. The OB just cares about the evacuation of the baby...and remember the more drugs they give you, the more the hospital gets paid, as well as their buddy the anesthesiologist, as well as they have a more compliant patient. (Ok, so I'd jaded.)

If natural birth was so bad, regardless of what they show on TV, none of us would be here. I wouldn't have had any babies after the first. Get educated. Make choices based on education, no fear or how great your girlfriend's epidural was. Not every mom or baby reacts the same to the meds or to a natural labor.

My favorite website to read about natural births is this one. They are all unassisted, but it helped to give me the confidence to know that these women did it alone. I'm not advocating an unassisted birth, but I like the stories without the drama.


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answers from Cincinnati on

Each labor is different. With my son I had bad back pain. Kind of like really bad menstral cramps. With my daughter she decended really fast so there was alot of pressure and burning around my perenium, but a huge sense of relief when I pushed her out. The nurses at the hospital said it would take 2 hrs of pushing with my son since he was my first, but I had it out in 10 minutes.

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answers from Philadelphia on

I had 2 c-sections... you may need one too or you may not. But, I used to be the biggest sissy when it came to needles and stuff, to the point of almost passing out. I am much better about needles now that I've been pricked a ton of times. But the first time around, I was like you, wondering what the pain would be like. One thing that I have learned that I will pass to you is not to even think about it at this point. No matter how you give birth, it's going to be uncomfortable. So enjoy the ride and don't worry about the pain stuff until it's time... also, don't let family try to influence what mode of pain management you decide. It's your body and your choice. If you can't deal with the pain, take the epidural. Yeah, it hurts (I also had a spinal tap too and that was even worse), but the pain is only there for the moment it is being administered, once it takes effect (within a few seconds), you are like a numb limp rag and can't feel a thing. If I could do it, ANYONE could do it! Good luck to you.

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answers from Cleveland on

Sarah K really nailed it!
You just never know! My first there was no epidural. Not by choice LONG story lol But yes, it was exremely painful. And I had "back labor" it was awful. My second, I had a space cadet as a nurse and she kept saying there was no way I was dialated enough "already" and by the time she finally checked me I was 6-7 cm dialated. So that was a pretty hard time too. With my 3rd, I had great nurses and got the epidural before I felt I even really needed it but didnt want to go through what I did the first two times. It was so much easier.
I have heard water births are great. But honestly you need to do some research for yourself and what will work for you! Keep your options and mind open. And congrats!

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answers from Chicago on

I had my first with no epidural and was grateful I did. I was not sure I would have more kids so I wanted to experience first hand what it was all about. was it painful, yes but in an odd kind of way. there is no way to describe it. I have since had a second baby and went the same route but due to complications the doctor made me get an epidural and yes it was easier but if I had to do it again, I would go without. Just one of the many times you will have to endear pain for your children. it was a sacrafice I was willing to make and I wanted them to come to the world drug fee if you will...I am happy I went all natural and only wish the second was as easy as the first. if you go this route, try not to get induced, let it happen. the drugs to induce suck! and..practice your breathing, it really does help! good luck!!

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answers from Nashville on

OK, Listen to me.
I am a mother of 4.

DO NOT LISTEN to your family members that think that you should not get an epidural.

It will help you to relax and feel no pain.
Life will be good.

If you do not get the epidural you will be in ALOT of pain.
It is not worth it.

Trust me I Know....

Talk to your Dr. make sure that you two have a plan in place.
Trust your Dr.

If you say no I do not want the epidural and then near the end when you are almost ready to push your baby out they ( the Dr. ) can not give it to you after a certain point.

Be ready with a bag packed for the hospital.
Take some clothes, extra underwear, pads for the bleeding, and snacks.

If you haven't already got this book you might want to go and pick it up tomorrow.
What to expect when you are expecting.

You can also check out their website


Oh and by the way, if you start to feel like you are going to throw up get sea bands from Walmart or Walgreens from the pharmacy and wear them on your wrists and trust me they really do work.

Take care MAMA, and God Bless you

Everything will be fine if you get the epidural.
If you don't, well good luck.

= )

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answers from Chicago on

birth plans mean nothing
Your body will do what it needs to and you will have to react at that time and leave your options open. No one should dictate what you will do except you and the doctor honestly. Why should someone else say you have to have pain or not?
I ended up with a Csection cause my baby flipped when my water broke. You just never know what will end up happening so leave the whole thing up in the air and go with the flow.

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