Okay finally, let’s talk a bit about pain control. Labor and childbirth is quite intense. It is painful. There are unpleasant sensations. It can be long and tiring. However, the idea that everyone is getting stadol and epidurals is a little silly. Humans have been giving birth without pain medication for, well, as long as humans have been around. The general acceptance that one cannot have a baby without being numbed from the waist down is nonsense. Woman are strong and powerful and fully capable of birthing without painkillers. Epidurals and painkillers carry risks. You should definitely educate yourself on the risks before heading to the hospital. Once you are there and in discomfort, it is very hard to make decisions with a clear mind. Getting an epidural slightly increases your risk of cesarean section as well.
If you do chose to get an epidural, try to hold off until you are in a very good established labor pattern with contractions that are a minute long and three minutes apart for at least an hour and you are at least 5 to 6 centimeters dilated. This greatly decreases the risks that the epidural will slow down your labor and cause other medical interventions that also increase your risks of cesarean section and, maternal mortality. Do not ignore these things that can greatly decrease your level of discomfort. Use heat. Heating pads, hot showers, hot baths, massage, and position changes. Evidence shows that intermittent fetal monitoring is just as effective as having that monitor strapped to your belly all the time. Do not let yourself be tethered to a monitor. Get on your feet and move around. Your best friend is a Doula here.
Maybe the single most important thing is to choose a care provider whose ideas about childbirth match your own. Remember to interview your providers before choosing one. You are choosing them. You are the customer. They are getting paid for the services they provide and they should treat you with respect and make you feel at ease all the time.
If you feel uncomfortable, that should be a red flag! Change providers. If they do not like answering your questions, then chose another provider. They should be able to provide you with information! Some important questions to ask are: do you practice intermittent monitoring in labor with your low risk patients? what do you think about me staying home for much of my labor before coming to the hospital?; what is your c section rate?; what is the c section rate at the hospital where you practice?
Cesarean prevention should really be a concern for everyone! Having a cesarean puts you at an increased risk of hemorrhage, infection, and death. It may be a common procedure here in The USA, but it is not to be taken lightly. Woman may not want to hear that they have to interview care providers and ask questions and do research or labor and birth without pain medications, but the fact of the matter is, if you chose to take the easy path, you are increasing your risk for a cesarean. Actually, making your life and recovery much more difficult in the end. Cesareans are lifesaving and amazing. However, less than half of the cesareans performed in the USA are actually necessary. The World Health Organization states that no one’s c section rate should be over 15 %. As women, we must decrease our chances of having an unnecessary cesarean. – Brooke Hosey BAI Doula, Health Care practitioner, and mother.
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