Why I Chose Not To Have An Epidural
One of the beautiful things about being pregnant is the ability to decide how and where you would like to bring your baby into this world. Hospital Birth? Home Birth? Epidural? Natural? It’s important to weight the pros and cons of each, and decide what is best for you and your child. Your trusted Midwife or Practitioner can also help you to make this important decision. Before I had my daughter, I knew that I did not want to have an epidural, and there are a few personal reasons.
Epidural Anesthesia is an amazing advancement in medication, that blocks feeling in a specific part of your body, it temporarily stops the spinal nerves from working, which results in a numbing of the lower extremities. Of course, the amount of numbing a person may feel will depend on the dosage and medication combination. The epidural is administered by first inserting a needle into the woman’s lower back, a catheter is then inserted into the place of the needle and the needle is removed. Through this catheter, the mother will receive continuous pain relief, which can be increased or decreased accordingly.
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Possible Side Effects:
- Reported Longer Labor– your mobility is limited and you are often not able to move around as much, due to being hooked up to monitors and an iv drip. Changing positions and moving around has been known to help encourage baby down and out.
- More Instruments– epidurals may make pushing more difficult, as you are less likely to feel what is going on with your body. It’s also been shown that epidurals increase the baby’s chance of being persistently posterior. Therefore, it may result in the use of forceps, the vacuum, episiotomies or cesarean. However, there are millions of babies born yearly without assistance, whose parent decided on an epidural.
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There are many more reasons why I opted against an epidural, I was afraid of possible side effects, such as painful headaches and back pain as reported, as with all medication, there is a risk of side effects. My birth goal with my daughter was to have it as un-medicated as possible. I had a wonderful birth experience, that included 7 hours of labor. We have also had an incredibly easy and enjoyable breastfeeding experience for 14 months and counting.
Is it worth the risks to numb the pain? For me, it wasn’t. It’s so important to do your own research, weigh the benefits and risks, and make an informed decision with your partner.
Tags: dangers of epidurals, natural birth, why I chose not to have an epidural