I’ve gotten a lot of questions lately about my birth plan, and why I plan to skip the epidural this time around even though I am planning a VBAC, so I thought I’d write about it here.
First of all, I think all momma’s should choose what is best and most comfortable for them when it comes to birth plans. Whether it be epidural or not, vaginal or csection, etc. There’s no one size fit all perfect plan. I am also not a doctor or medical professional and all of the following I have found out through planning and talking with my midwife/doula and researching. None of this is medical advice – my only advice is RESEARCH.
With that said, I am not planning for an epidural during labor and delivery of my daughter. There are a few reasons why – but to explain I need to go into what happened during labor/delivery via emergency CS with my son.
I was afraid of labor during my first pregnancy. I didn’t take a child birth class or do any research, and my only plan was to head to the hospital and get an epidural and just chill until delivery. This is one thing I advise against (dont be so scared that you don’t plan! write a brith plan! know your options!). I planned on an epidural without knowing any of the risks, or things I was giving up by getting one. After the epidural, LB’s heart rate went crazy and was up and down the entire rest of labor. I was pushing, he was crowning but stuck, and I couldn’t feel to get him pushed out. The guided pushing was exhausting and I couldn’t move off my back. After a few interventions (vacuum) and a lot of scary heart rate fluctuations it was decided he needed to be delivered immediately via CS.
So here’s what I didn’t know:
- You don’t have to do guided pushing if you don’t have an epidural. Your body will instinctively push or give you the urge to push at the right time. This intense pushing when the doctor tells you to until your blood vessels burst (exaggerating – but only slightly. some mommas do experience blood vessels in their eyes bursting) type of pushing is only needed when you have an epidural.
- Since you’ll have an urge to push without an epidural, you don’t have to do cervical checks during labor if you don’t want to.
- I didn’t enjoy the experience of having an epidural. I had “dead legs” with my epidural for LB. I was TOTALLY numb and I hate that feeling. It felt like I didn’t have a lower half of my body at all, even after they turned the epidural down.
- I don’t do pain meds at all. Like none are even in our home. So idk why I thought I’d like a medicated birth 🤷🏾♀️😂
- You can labor at home as long as you want without an epidural. Once you set foot in the hospital your chances of intervention are significantly higher.
- You are bedridden. Which is cool – unless the baby gets a little stuck. You can’t move to help them get out.
- Your pushing positions are limited. I plan to deliver squatting or on all 4’s this time around. With an epidural, typically you can only deliver in the least effective pushing position (laying on your back) and cannot have a water birth.
- You have to have an IV and a catheter.
- You have to have continuous monitoring (aka wear a monitor on your belly for the babys heart beat). Those monitors slip and are annoying. Also, the reason the monitor is required is scary too.
- Having an epidural statistically increases your chance of CS
- Some hospitals restrict food and drink after the epidural
- It made me itchy all over. I’d rather experience contractions than that itch!
All of these were enough reason for me to say ‘nah’ this time around. Labor pains weren’t THAT terrible for me – I was just afraid things would get so much worse I wouldn’t be able to handle it. I didn’t realize that labor/pushing is typically shorter without an epidural. Also, babies of natural births are more alert and nurse easier than others.
For my pain relief I am using the hypnobirthing method and have a wonderful doula to help me manage when things seem to be too much.
Anywho, these are facts I’ve gathered from my midwife, doula, and research. You can definitely hit google and find some statistics and pick what you think is best for you. There are plenty of successful deliveries with epidurals and plenty without, so there’s no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way. I’m sure you can find a blog with a momma explaining all the reasons she loved her epidural delivery or why she chose to have one, too :). I am just choosing to go without this go-round.
I’m finalizing my birth plan this week and definitely don’t mind to share it here. Let me know in the comments if you’re interested!