Labor should you get an Epidural

An epidural is a procedure that will reduce or eliminate the pain of labor. What most people don’t understand is that most of the pain experienced during labor and delivery is a result of fear.

From the day women announce they are pregnant they are bombarded with horror stories about “Labor Day”. It’s rare that they will find encouraging words form anyone, especially from those closest to them.

Mom’s and Grandparents usually have the worst of the stories, but then we have to picture what it was like for them to deliver before labor coaching, birthing rooms and medically trained midwives were available.

Before the early 1980’s a woman was rushed to the hospital without any education about labor and delivery, separated from her husband and any support system she had, and brought to a sterile surgical environment.

There she would be greeted by masked doctors and nurses placed in a supine position (flat on her back) and told to push. It’s no surprise that she might have wondered if the baby was going to rip a hold through her belly, since that’s where most of the pain came from, and some innocent women of the times still believed babies grew in the stomach.

If the woman was lucky, she would have been given a “twilight sleep” drug which would have kept her awake but she would not have any memory beyond the early contractions and the masked men.

Now a days there are many birthing options that include an epidural.

However, anything invasive procedure that can introduce infection or cause a drug interaction should be a last resort.

The optimum approach to labor and delivery (L&D) is natural, and it can be achieved through education.

Here are a few tips to educating yourself and taking control of your birth experience.

Learn the physical process of L&D. The physical pain of labor is caused by contractions in the uterus. And believe it or not, the brain and nervous system block the sensation of the baby’s head and body exiting the body.

If you’re not a person who has experienced painful menstrual cramps, labor can honestly be compared with the wave like cramps that accompany diarrhea and gas. Don’t let anyone instill the fear that it’s much worse than that. Remember contractions come in like waves and will subside like waves. Stay relaxed and you will have a break.

Really learn and practice Lamaze, and don’t be shy about asking for other pain relieving techniques from your instructor. I found it especially helpful to spend almost all of my labor in a warm shower and walking around.

Read the book Active Birth by Janet Balaskas. While I don’t agree with her theory of being naked during L&D, and some of the pictures can be… “surprising” she provides wonderfully useful and detailed techniques to ease the L&D process.

Now, if you get to the delivery room do your best and have educated yourself, don’t feel like you’ve failed if you decide to get an epidural. Sometimes as mentioned before our anxiety gets the better of us and causes muscle tension that only enhances labor pain.

Either way you will get through labor and delivery to what I really feel is the hard part, taking care of baby.

It is suggested that you do some reading on that subject too.