Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Drugs in Labour

I've had 3 babies, each in very different ways. My first was a c-section with all the pain meds available (almost). My last was all natural at home. I won't go into my own experiences as I don't think that this article needs any extra push. It says it all.

Women are incredibly powerful and strong. The problem isn't what our bodies can not do, but what our minds won't let our bodies do. I've seen labours stall and be "jumpstarted" through the use of pain meds. However, I think that if the women had not had their confidence tampered with in the first place, the pain meds could easily have been avoided to the benefit of mother and baby. The mind is a powerful tool, but must be trained to work for us and not against us.

I wish that women took the time and made the effort to properly prepare for childbirth. Even more, I wish that women took the time and made the effort to encourage other women, rather than spread horror stories about birth and motherhood. It can make all the difference in a woman's birth experience and, as these studies show, in a baby's health and well-being.


Andrea R said...


I agree with you so much... :D


Pamela said...

Thank you for this post Emilie. As I have reflected over my labour this past year, many things come to my mind. I don't regret taking the Fentanyl because it helped me continue on, relax and rest and got me to the end. However, upon reflecting I think that my biggest obstacle was my mind. I thought that I couldn't do it. (And I think that I said that over and over again during labour.) Many factors contributed to that. I think I will blog in response to this! And I agree, women need to be encouraged and we need support in labour. That's when I start spreading the word about doulas!!

Emilie said...

I always thought that it was a wise decision on your part, Pamela! Training and getting ready for labour is so important, but at the same time, 9 months is a very short time to undo generations of damage.
In some births, the pain meds will actually save a woman from going through a c-section and having to take more drugs to help through that. It takes a lot of education and wisdom to know the difference between beneficial and necessary meds, and routine, unneeded meds.
If everyone worked together to normalize birth and educated themselves and others on how to lead healthier lives and pregnancies, I think we could turn our current situation around. How wonderful would it be to see cesareans rates at under 10% like at the Farm in Tenessee (which accepts most women, not just the "low-risk" ones)? It's a lot of work, but it can be done if we all make it a priority.

Trish said...

I am 39 weeks pregnant. I was told by my doctor that pregnancy is mostly about the mind. I believe it but I'm not sure how to prepare my mind as this blog suggests. What has helped you? It's so difficult to undue years of pregnancy horrors that other mothers and hollywood highlight as soon as pregnancy and labour come up in conversation.

Emilie said...

Hi Trish! Thanks for stopping by. Your doctor is right about how much the mind is involved in labour. My biggest piece of advice is to surround yourself with positive information, positive people and comforting thoughts. Stay away from those people who love to tell negative stories about their own labours. Don't watch those silly movies and birth shows where the women are screaming and out of control. They're not realistic and they're damaging. Educate yourself!!! Ask questions!!! A great book (and at 39 wks you might have time to read through it) is The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth by Henci Goer. Read empowering books about birth from authors such as Sheila Kitzinger, Ina Mae Gaskin and Suzanne Arms.

Another trick I used with my last pregnancy was visualization. Whenever I had a quiet moment I would imagine my labour and "imprint" it into my mind. I would take deep slow breaths, relax my body as much as I could and visualize the contractions from the ripples of the starts to the breakers of the end, then, finally, I would "see" my baby slide from my body and into my arms. It was especially effective to practice this when I was having Braxton Hicks contractions! With the Braxton Hicks contr's, I would take the mild pain of them and try to convince my mind that they were pleasurable, like an orgasm. It made them easier to bear, and did help in the beginning of labour.

If you can find a doula in your area, they can be a huge help to you. Check out www.dona.org or Google, or even call around to the birthing professionals & childbirth educators in your area.

Good luck! Emilie

Trish said...

Thank-you so much Emilie. I really appreciate you responding. I will take your advice and try to visualize the baby making its way through the birth canal. That will be my focus.

I got to thinking that it must be pretty traumatic for the baby as well. The little one has been so secure for the past nine months and now has to transition so dramatically. That will help take the focus off me and will help me remember that it's not all about me; that there is another life involved in this process- no matter how small!

Now to get my hands on a copy of The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth. I will try to get that tomorrow and read it and fill my mind only with good things!

Again, thank-you so much for the practical suggestions - they will be put to good use.