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30th October 2012 12:30 PM #1
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- Oct 2012
Positions for giving birth with an epidural
I am 7 months pregnant and am researching options for giving birth. At this point I plan to have a vaginal birth with an epidural but I am concerned about how the epidural will affect my ability to move during labour and birth. Will I have the option to give birth in a position other than lying on my back?
30th October 2012 01:50 PM #2
There's an excellent article on this site that talks about the advantages and disadvantages of epidurals. You may want to read that article so you have a good overall understanding of what it is, the medications that will be put in your body and the way it is administered.
One of the things that article mentions is that women who have epidurals are confined to bed which increases the likelihood of needing a C-Section.
I just found a video (which I'll post below) that shows two positions you may be able to use in bed. An epidural can block feeling from your belly down, which means that many women lose control of their legs or have very weak legs. If that happens for you then you won't have any option but to lay in bed during labour and delivery.
I attended my sister's birth in the hospital, and she had an epidural that pretty much blocked all pain. She had not feeling in her legs and we had to hold her legs back while she pushed, laying on her back (the bed was slightly inclined).
I have a friend who gave birth to twins in the hospital and had a really bad headached for 3 days after giving birth. When she went to find out what was causing the headache, she was told that she had an epidural headache, which happens to about one out of every 100 women. Personally, I can't imagine caring for a newborn and having a severe headache.
If you're set on having an epidural, I would encourage you to wait as long as you possibly can before getting it, and while you're waiting, try a variety of positions. If you have a trained doula or a midwife with you in the hospital, they will be able to offer suggestions on various positions to labour in which can help baby move into the best position possible so that labour can progress quickly and naturally.
The longer you can labour naturally, the less chance you will have of C-Section or interventions being needed.
With my first baby, I gave birth naturally at home with a very skilled midwife. I laboured in the water and sat on the lu during contractions and then when I was pushing, I was in a squatting position, with my arms supported on both sides by my husband and a friend.
My baby's heart tones dropped and the midwife did some "creative work" to help bring baby down and out quickly. She was perfect and had no problems at all. However, I later learned that had I been in the hospital, I most likely would have ended up having a C-Section.
Midwives are very skilled with their hands and can often times offer suggestions to help avoid interventions.
I also wanted to mention that labouring in the water can be very soothing and can help labour progress if already well underway. My midwife told me that water acts as a natural epidural. I don't think I'd go that far, but I will say that having 2 waterbirths and labouring in the water with 4 of my babies definitely helped the pain to be much more bearable.
Another problem that epidurals can create is the need for medications to strengthen contractions. When you have medication like this, contractions are managed by the hospital staff (not your body) and often times you'll end up having a very unnatural rhythm (contraction on top of contraction) rather than some resting time between contractions.
One of our forum members just had a successful Hypnobirth. Her baby is only 10 days old so she hasn't been active on the forums other than to announce the birth, but I'm looking forward to learning more about how the Hypnobirth worked for her.
Have you considered a birth center with a midwife, or a homebirth with a midwife, or even having a midwife or a doula with you in the hospital?
Here's the video I promised.
31st October 2012 03:13 AM #3
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- Oct 2012
This is great, thank you!