I have read a few articles that epidural causes side effects in both mother and baby. Admittedly, the articles are very pro med-free, but still begs the question: did your med-free birth really reduce epidural side effects?
nectarine / 2591 posts
I didn't have an epidural and LO was still born slightly posterior (she came out sideways) anyway. We had zero issues with supply and feeding aside from a tongue tie.
cantaloupe / 6017 posts
I had an epidural and had zero side effects from it. She latched right away, I was walking within an hour. I pushed for 45 minutes.
wonderful pea / 17279 posts
@Silva: help me out...you labored then received an epidural then pushed for 45 minutes and out came baby? How long did you labor before receiving the epidural?
wonderful pear / 26210 posts
I feel like my med free birth was pretty rough, as in, I couldn't get out of bed for two days.
cantaloupe / 6017 posts
@Mrs. Lemon-Lime: labored for 32 hours (posterior baby), finally decided to do an epidural at 4cm, was 10 cm within 6 hours after that. The epidural probably saved me from a c section (not that that is predictable, but my doctors have suggested that. After so long in labor without rest I was on the verge of getting to tired to do much else.)
cantaloupe / 6885 posts
With my first, I had an epi after 20 hours of stalled labor (couldn't get past 4cm). After the epi, I slept and 3 hours later was 10cm and ready to push. I pushed for 3 hours but that was because she was posterior, I don't think the epi had anything to do with it. Used the vacuum to get her out, minor tearing. My recovery was difficult but I think it was more due to my long labor.
With DD2, there was no time for an epi (as much as I wanted it). I went from 2-10 in 45 minutes and she came out so fast I barely had time to push. No tearing whatsoever. My recovery this time has been an absolute breeze though - I was up and walking around, using the washroom within an hour after giving birth. I generally just feel so much better. I don't know if no epi has anything to do with it, or the fact that she's my second and came much quicker
kiwi / 556 posts
@looch: Same here. My body was so out of it (pushed for 2 hours) that I couldn't pee on my own at first so I had to have a catheter before being able to leave the L&D room.
coconut / 8483 posts
@Mrs. Lemon-Lime: hmmmm I read the first link.
I had an epidural. Baby was face up. Wouldn't turn. A vacuum was used. I tore horrible.
If I could go back in time I would have done without the epidural for sure.
wonderful cherry / 21504 posts
I had a med free birth that was relatively complication free. I could feel everything but labor was fairly slow and steady so I was able to manage the pain. The urge to push for me was very powerful- I can't imagine not knowing when I was supposed to push or not feeling it, but I know it happens to other women without an epidural.
They did use a vacuum assist at the very end due to concerns about her heart rate, and she came out on the first contraction with it. Minor tearing. And I definitely had the post birth high you hear about, I felt amazing! Sore, but I was on top of the world. Never felt a high like that before (in a good way). Recovery was pretty easy.
I'll try to go med free again this time, but I feel like I was able to do so last time because I had no complications, not that I had no complications because it was med free.
hostess / papaya / 10219 posts
I guess I'm lucky. I had an epidural at 4cm after being in labor for 5 hours, they broke my water a couple hours later and I was ready to push in an hour. I pushed for 40 minutes and he came flying out before the doctor was ready! No complications or other interventions. I tore a bit. We nursed right away and he was an alert little newborn. I BF him for 13 months. I will definitely get the epidural again as, for me, it was nothing but wonderful!
wonderful grape / 20453 posts
Well, i did have an epidural, but I was induced before it was administered AND bed-ridden the whole time. I did have some pelvic floor issues, but PT has made my issues near nonexistent!
Both articles don't address the scenario of induction first, but also, the anesthesiologist told me that an epidural would lower my blood pressure during labor, which was the reason I was induced in the first place! So it's not like they aren't without their merits, besides pain relief.
nectarine / 2086 posts
I had a med free birth with no side effects after. Only internal 1st degree tearing. Recovery was a breeze. I do have a low milk supply but I suspect IGT is the culprit. Baby must have been posterior bc I had back labor the whole time however she must have turned at the end bc she came out the right way. I pushed for 2 hours. Labor was 18 hrs start to finish.
persimmon / 1363 posts
I had a spinal fo a c-section with my first, and she was very alert and fed immediately - within minutes. I had a very long induction with an epidural with my second. She was very alert and fed within the hour.
One of my friends recently had an epidural, got a top up because she didn't think it was working, it kicked in and she could not feel anything whatsoever and then the baby just came out - no pushing, nothing at all. She didn't tear, wasn't even swollen, baby was alert and fed immediately and she was discharged in a few hours.
grapefruit / 4819 posts
I had an epidural with both girls as soon as they would allow me to have it! With DD1, that was 7.5 hrs before she was born, with DD2, it was 3 hrs before she was born. I had no issues either time - baby was perfectly positioned, pushed for an hour, latched right away, easy recovery, and no issues afterwards.
I am firmly pro-epidural and will be having one with this next baby as well, as early as they'll give it!
pineapple / 12566 posts
I've had 2 births, one with and one without an epidural. I didn't have any of the side effects mentioned with either birth. The major difference was that my recovery without epidural was much faster, but I was only in labor for 45 minutes for that birth, so I think it is due more to a quick delivery rather than the epi effects.
GOLD / wonderful pea / 17697 posts
I had a pretty similar experience as @Silva: . 31 hour labor with a posterior baby and I desperately needed to rest (and I might have ended up with a c-section had I not been able to). I was 5cm when I got an epidural, and progressed pretty steadily after that. No latch problems at all (the LC was impressed with his latch), and my milk came in before I left the hospital.
I did have some complications with my epidural (in that it settled in one leg below my thigh, no matter what I did), and I wasn't able to get up and walk for about 6 hours after (but that was from completely unrelated complications). I pushed for 2 hours (partly because of his positioning), and I had some soreness in my back for a while, but that was it.
wonderful pea / 17279 posts
In general it looks like recovery for mom is a bit better without epi, but babies are fine either way.
persimmon / 1328 posts
I read the first article. I had no epidural, but I was induced with cervadil. I didn't tear at all, and did not have to have any instrumental assistance. I also did not have any pelvic floor issues subsequently. My baby was not face up, but I don't think he was face up at any point so not sure if that is relevant. We did however have a terrible time breastfeeding (probably due to TT), and he did have decreases in his heart rate towards the end of labour. My labour was also 14 hours which I wouldn't consider fast!
nectarine / 2115 posts
I had a med-free birth with zero complications. Total labor time was 12 hours (first contraction to baby's arrival), total push-time was 40 minutes. A small labia tear that healed quickly. Baby latched right away, and I was able to get up and move around pretty quickly.
apricot / 450 posts
I had an epi and it was an awesome wonder drug! I had the dreaded spinal headache afterwards, but would still get an epi again in the future despite the spinal headache experience.
With LO1, I REALLY wanted a med free birth, and labored at home for 24 hours, before it got too painful. When I got to the hospital, I had only dilated 1 cm despite the 24 hrs of labor. After my epi, I was at an 8 in just 2-3 hours. I stalled at 9.5 cm for a little while, but was able to push my 9 lb baby out in only 45 minutes. I BFed for just over 2 years - no problems at all. She was very alert at birth, and I felt great (until the spinal headache fully set in).
I strongly feel that if it wasn't for the epi, I most likely would have had a c-section due to failure to progress. It totally allowed me to finally relax and dilate.
squash / 13764 posts
Two epidural births that were both awesome. I had a 9 hour labor and pushed for 20 min with #1, and an 8 hour labor and pushed for 9 min with #2. No issues with supply, and was up and walking around shortly after.
grapefruit / 4321 posts
With my first LO it was 12 hours from first contraction to birth. I got an epi about half way through. After the epi I progressed from a 5 to a 10 really quickly and then pushed for about an hour and a half. I had the perfect epi experience, I could feel the pressure of each contraction with no pain. I was up and walking around in less than an hour after delivering, and I had no lingering pain or issues from the epidural. My milk was also fully in before I left the hospital. I absolutely intend to have another epi with this LO.
wonderful cherry / 21504 posts
@Lilbear: stories like yours are exactly why I have always been open to an epidural if needed. I've heard similar stories a number of times.
@Mrs. Lemon-Lime: my unscientific opinion is that women with complication free births can go without an epidural more easily. If baby is stuck or posterior or labor stalls, they are more likely to opt for an epidural, AND more likely to have a more difficult recovery.
GOLD / wonderful coconut / 33402 posts
I got an epidural and no issues at all. I did not feel one thing during labor, it was awesome. I was up within a couple hours. I did get light headed when I first nursed her, but I think that was cause I hadn't eaten in 36 hours. I ate something and felt better. I would get another one for future pregnancies.
apricot / 428 posts
@Mrs. Lemon-Lime: also labored about 6-8hrs, epidural around 8cm and baby came about an hour later. absolutely no side effects other than i was crazy thirsty the following day. also up and walking within the hour.
hostess / wonderful persimmon / 25556 posts
I didn't read the articles but I had no side effects from the epidural. The catheter came out before I pushed (thank God) and the epidural wore off pretty quickly. LO latched quickly, as well.
honeydew / 7235 posts
I had two epidural and am really glad I did.
Baby 1: spontaneous Labor, day after EDD. Labored at home 9 hours, went to hospital, 4cm, got epi, was 10cm 6 hours later, pushed for 5 hours. Baby was 8lbs 3oz. Looking back I gave myself too much epi so I couldn't feel the pushing the first few hours, once it wore off a bit it was easier. But he was big.
Baby 2: 10 days late, went in to be induced but was already having contractions every 6-7 min. Gave me 25mg misoprostol, 4 hours later was in active labor at 4/5cm, labored a bit, got epi, 2 hours later I was 10cm, labored down, then pushed for 1 hour, baby was posterior earlier, but turned and just his head was coming out sideways, pushed in 4 or 5 positions even with epi to get him out. He was 9lbs, 6oz! I loved my epi's, both babies latched and nursed right away.
coconut / 8279 posts
@blackbird: that's very true - I was induced for preeclampsia (well, meant to be induced, water broke on it's own in hospital and went straight into labor). I had an epidural to help relax my muscles so they could turn him and control my BP.
I stayed hospitalized for 5 days after having him because they couldn't get my BP back to normal.
wonderful pea / 17279 posts
@hellobeeboston: w/ baby 1 you were able to administer your pain meds on your own?
honeydew / 7235 posts
@Mrs. Lemon-Lime: yes. For both I was. I hit the button too many times and my epi was looking on one side so they came back to boost it. It was too much. I couldn't even feel my left leg.
Second time I didn't hit button once after they placed it initially to make sure I wouldn't get too much but still be comfortable. Much better. I was even able to push up on all fours (yikes! Ha can't imagine what that looked like).
wonderful grape / 20453 posts
@Mrs. Lemon-Lime: it was like that at my hospital, too. you had a button and you could punch it for more medicine. I used it a lot with E (major sciatic pain, man, i forgot about that!) but didn't use it at all with T!
GOLD / papaya / 10166 posts
I just want to say that I had and epi with both of my girls and I had zero side effects from them. I actually progressed faster with the epidural than without (I couldn't relax enough through the contractions to help my body progress). I only needed 2 pushes with my first child and only 1 with my 2nd... and no tears!
I was walking within an hour after giving birth, both girls latched well.
eggplant / 11716 posts
I only read the first article. I have had an epidural birth and a med free birth. Laboring pre-epidural was much more painful the first time. I was in full active, painful labor for many hours so I felt so great after the epi. The pushing part was a breeze...maybe 25 minutes. No pain just pressure. I was up and walking around right after skin to skin.
Second time was so fast that only the last hour was painful. So overall, labor was a breeze. But pushing was excruciating. Truly. I literally screamed through every pushing set. With my first i was totally focused and calm during pushing and u felt very "present" with the epi.
With the med free birth I felt totally out of control and kind of animalistic....all I could think was baby:out.
Both times I had second degree tears. Both times i was up walking around after skin to skin. Very good milk supply but painful latch (tongue ties) with both babies.
Honestly I didnt experience a lot of the benefits I'd heard of for med free births. The "high", my med free baby was LESS alert than the first baby, I had the same type of tear.
I guess if nothing else, it's cool to say I've done both. If i were having a third, I would love to have a short labor again, but with an epi before pushing. That would be my ideal.
pear / 1547 posts
Didn't read the articles but I had an epidural. Pushed for 3 hrs but that was because she was big, no position issues. She latched on right away. Recovery was as easy as I could expect, up and walking right away, no issues. And didn't feel my repair at all with the wonderful epi! Will have another epidural again for sure, though second baby is usually easier. I would not have had the energy to push LO out vaginally if the epidural had not given me time to rest beforehand, I was exhausted.
pomegranate / 3032 posts
I was 4cm when my water broke 2 week before EDD, however I wasn't having contractions. I labored most of the day with pitocen but by 5pm my water really gushed and the contractions got super intense very quickly. I couldn't breathe through them, I was hyperventilating and my hands were going numb. I was only about 6-7cm. I had the epi placed around 6:30pm and that hour or so until it was placed was the longest most uncomfortable I have ever been. Once I got the Epi I was able to relax finish transition and by 9:30pm I was ready to push. I pushed for 2 hours but I think my issue was more that she was not at the proper station when I started pushing. I had a small tear and she nursed right away and was very alert. Recovery was what I expected. I would do the Epi again without a 2nd thought.
clementine / 849 posts
I didn't have an epi - my LO never latched.
I did experience a quick labor, the natural high, and a super easy recovery. I plan on med free again.
grapefruit / 4545 posts
I have yet to read all responses, but here is my experience.
Admitted at 5cm at 6am - received morphine for pain (prob 6:30am) while epidural plan was being sorted. Epidural received at 6cm at 8am (godsend!). Noon I was 9cm (never checked again) and began process of turning off my epi. At 1pm I was feeling ready. Pushed for 15 minutes - surprised the Dr with how quickly I pushed her out. She came out screaming with two great apgar scores - which I was worried about bc I did need oxygen at one point and I was worried she may be a bit blue!
I specifically did not want to be the first to hold her - but I had her about 20 mins or so after birth (the stitching was very painful for me - I could not imagine holding a new born or trying to nurse through it). She latched immediately and nursed for a short period. I could feel my legs when they moved me to recovery (about 45 mins) but they didnt quite want me standing yet on my own. I went to the bathroom (with some help from the nurse) about 2-3 hours after I had her - from then on I was independent...though I think I didnt hold her standing until sometime later just to be sure.
pomegranate / 3438 posts
Interesting articles. I had an epi and I'm so glad I did. LO had the cord around his neck and two knots so every time I would push him down he would go back up when I stopped. I pushed for three hours and the dr came in and gave me my options. I didn't want a c-section so we tried forceps and it worked. The dr was very good and LO only had a tiny mark on the side of his head that went away after a few days. I can't imagine having a forceps delivery without an epi.
eggplant / 11287 posts
Out of my 3 deliveries, the easiest recovery by far was the one after a med free, 0 intervention birth.