Pregnancy and pain go hand and hand. Have you really thought about pain management? Each person and pregnancy is different. Here are some things to consider in preparation for childbirth.
by Jennifer Shakeel
The anticipation of the arrival of baby is exciting and nerve wracking. You have packed the diaper bag, you have your hospital bag, you have the quickest route to the hospital planned out and you have the list of people to call on the way to the hospital. Did you stop and think about what type of pain management you were going to use during labor and delivery? Most women think they have but have you really?
A lot of pregnant women I have talked to and asked about pain medicine usually say to me, “Oh yes I am going to take whatever they will give me.” Or I have gotten the “Epidural will be my friend.” There are also some women that chose not to take any pain medication at all. They want the entire experience. (If you could see me right now then you would know that I am smiling. I will tell you why shortly.)
Each and every person out there experiences pain differently. Each and every person also has a different pain threshold, which means that some people can handle more pain than others and conversely some handle way less than others. What is important is that you know what your pain tolerance is and how you handle pain. Knowing these answers will help you decide on what types of pain management options you want to use. (Keep in mind that the type of delivery you have will also play into your choices.)
Now I will start the discussion choices by telling you this. No two pregnancies… and no two deliveries are the same. With my first baby I did it all natural. I did not have any pain medication at all. I didn’t scream and yell or call my husband names. I wanted to kick my mom in the head because she kept yelling at me, but that is beside the point. After my daughter was out, I was ready to do it again. It was amazing. My son, our second baby… that was an emergency C-section, I had to have an epidural (it was the most horrendous experience I ever had) and after the epidural wore off I had very little pain. I was more sore then in pain. Our latest baby, which is 11 years after our son… I again had to have a C-section and an epidural and it was wonderful. When it comes to the epidural it is all about the anesthesiologist that inserts the needle that impacts whether it is horrendous or not.
Now, there are three main types of pain management choices:
Lamaze/Child Birthing Classes – which teach you various relaxation techniques such as breathing and meditation and visualization.
Pain Medications – There are a number of medications that are now considered safe to take during delivery. Keep in mind that these will probably not offer you complete relief of pain they will more than likely just take the edge off the pain.
Epidural/Spinal Analgesia – this is where the anesthesiologist is either going to be your friend or the person you look for afterwards to have a few words with. They use local anesthetics and/or narcotics and they inject them around the spinal nerves to control the pain you feel during labor and delivery. If you are having a C-section you are probably going to have an epidural. I want you to know that it doesn’t take the feeling away contrary to what a lot of people will try to tell you. You will feel what is happening such as pressure and pulling but you will not and should not feel any pain.
Many women will have option one and option two that they want to use. So they will want to try the relaxation techniques but they want to know they can have pain meds if needed. Talk with your OB so that they know your plan.
Jennifer Shakeel is a writer and former nurse with over 12 years medical experience. As a mother of two incredible children with one on the way, I am here to share with you what I have learned about parenting and the joys and changes that take place during pregnancy. Together we can laugh and cry and rejoice in the fact that we are moms!
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