Thursday

pain in childbirth

This woman argues that we should be talking about ELIMINATING PAIN IN CHILDBIRTH ALTOGETHER, not of "managing it."

Discuss...

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

For my 1980 birth (I was age 20) I was given some Demoral in the early stages (the labor lasted about 24 hours) and nothing later. It hurt but it wasn't unmanageable, and I have a low pain threshold. The obligatory enema in the early stage was the part I hated.
Maybe I was OK with it because I was so young, and very strong, and had prepared myself very well, with classes, exercises, relaxation techniques, etc.

clara said...

I'm not a fan of Babble's articles, I thought it would be cool but instead its telling rich young parents whatever they want to hear. This article leaves out so many of the very valid reasons to have a baby without drugs.

Naomi said...

Though I had two unmedicated labors, I think she makes some really legitimate points. One of the things I've noticed is that with routine health care for men vs. routine health care for women, physical pain is accomodated a lot more for men. If you need a colonoscopy (an equal-opportunity procedure) they drug you to your eyeballs; on the other hand, my mother finds mammograms utterly excruciating and is expected to make do with extra-strength Tylenol. Yes, a mammogram is a less invasive procedure but she's also done some reading on things they can do to make mamograms more comfortable, which doctors are totally ignoring. (Apparently 1/4 inch of padding on the plates they use to squash your boob will make it a lot less painful while not making the mammogram any less effective -- but NO ONE USES THIS, my mother searched and searched and could not find anyone in two metro areas who offered it. Would they have the padding on there if men had to have a sensitive body part squashed between two plates in order to be screened for cancer they had a 1 in 8 chance of developing? Yes, they would.)

Friends who've had IUDs inserted also said it was really painful. Again, women are supposed to just tough it out. If men could get something inserted as a contraceptive, but it hurt like heck to have it put in, would they get anaesthetic? Yes. They would.

So while there are all sorts of legitimate reasons to choose an unmedicated birth, which is why I made that choice, she's absolutely right that the pain of labor gets romanticized and discussed euphemistically, and the risks of the anaesthetic are emphasized in a way that they are not for pretty much any other context.

Leslie said...

Everything I've ever read suggests there are bad effects on babies and on the progression of labor when you go for the meds, not to mention the way one intervention tends to lead to another. That said, I feel a bit like a hypocrite since I have had epidurals with my two vaginal birth (although the one for #5 Did Not Work!!). But both those births found me in bed, being augmented and monitored for various reasons, which impeded my ability to "manage" the pain. I still hope to do it without an epidural one time. I want to experience it, not have it blocked out.

sajmom said...

My midwife is currently boycotting a local hospital because the anesthesiolgist that is "on call" stays home and sometimes takes up to 4 hours after being called to show up. He gets paid good money to be on call. As the midwife said, she doesn't have a lot of women who use the epidural, but if they want it they should have it! And in a timely manner!
I used an epidural with my first birth, encouraged by the OB(he laughed at me when I had told him I wanted to try to go without medication. The next two births were without any medication. I didn't take any classes, just read a book on ways to cope with the pain. Everyone not related to me told me I was crazy to want to do it without medication. So I had the opposite perspective of hers-people kept pushing for medication, not understanding why in the world would you not use it??Babble fails to mention that women don't just choose an unmedicated birth for personal fufillment-but also for the health of the newborn! I think she also fails to consider that the pain of childbirth can be intensified by many hospital practices and the experience of being in the hospital itself! While I agree with her points about pain being considered less seriously for women(and that should change!)and that childbirth preparation should reflect reality, I have to disagree with much that she said.

Anonymous said...

So on the same page with poster "naomi." Unfortunately,medicine is still very,very sexist.

MomnPop said...

I haven't been through it yet, but a couple questions came up for me. For other medical procedures I've been through, they have this "pain scale" which I've been told they are required by law to ask you constantly when you're hospitalized. If you have anything in the high range, they encourage you to medicate. It's been proven that once you reach a high level of pain, you have to take more medication to lower it than if you had it prevented from getting out of control in the first place. I wonder how this is different for childbirth, and do think it's kind of a double standard to discourage people from using medication if that is the proven philosophy. But, of course, if it hurts the health of the baby, then I guess this is way different than your normal surgery situation.