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Experiences with drug-free birth?

59 replies to this topic

#1 Guest_Waiting ..._*

Posted 21 February 2013 - 06:47 PM

Hi all - I would like to attempt to get through my labour drug free (but am definitely keeping a "go with the flow" mindset). Have never done it before so who knows how I will go but that is what I will be aiming for.

I would love to hear any methods that people who are also trying this will be using or even better, any prior labour experiences that may assist? What did you do that worked for you to get through the different stages?

I know that everyone is vastly different as are all labours but would like to go in with a full bag of tricks so to speak.

Thank you for your advice :-)

#2 ~Bob~

Posted 21 February 2013 - 06:51 PM

In the beginning, I used breathing techniques. The pain wasn't too bad at that stage anyway (I even freaked a friend out by phoning her and saying "oh, hang on" when a contraction came lol)

In the serious stage, I used visualisation (I was visualising the waves on the beach) and I also laboured in the water. Water was AMAZING pain relief. I think I also used counting for the most serious contractions.

#3 Carmen02

Posted 21 February 2013 - 06:51 PM

I had 3 drug free births..my first two i used the radio to concentrate on and distract me, my labours were 5 and 6 hrs so not to long..my 3rd was drug free not by choice it was so quick and intense i had no chance

#4 ~Supernova~

Posted 21 February 2013 - 06:55 PM

It was the most hideously painful and excruciating experience of my life. I don't think I could ever do it again. BUT it was also amazing to be so clear headed and "there". I guess it's fair to say it was both the best and worst experience of my life. I don't regret it, if that helps.

I also had a water birth, which is supposed to help. I also read a few great hypnobirthing books.

A funny note - I used to say after DD's birth that the pethidine didn't do much, that is just took the edge off. After DS's birth I can confidently say - the pethidine did a LOT lol.

But having said that, my birthing experiences have been quite fast (first was 6 hours, 2nd was 4). I think I would have coped better with a "build up".

#5 R2B2

Posted 21 February 2013 - 06:56 PM

If it is something that you feel strongly about, keeping focused on it during labour helps.

I had my last baby drug free and to be honest, it didn't really cross my mind to ask for drugs until she was crowning, by which point the midwife did a great job of distracting me.

tell yourself with each contraction, that it is one less contraction to have, and one contraction closer to meeting your baby.

try different methods. walking around, getting in the water (huge help), fit ball etc etc.

make as much noise as you need to. I found that a good distraction.

can't think of much else at the moment.

#6 her mum

Posted 21 February 2013 - 07:00 PM

I had a 16 hour labour, completely drug free.

I laboured in water, which was a big help and really what got me through. I found it very calming, and good pain relief.  I didn't give birth in the pool though as the hospital wouldn't allow it, which was fine.

I can't say I really used any particular method to get through, just completely believed in my body to be able to do it.

I just went with the flow, if I had needed some sort of intervention, or if I had changed my mind and wanted pain relief then that would have been fine, but it was all okay.

Really, I tried to stay calm, believe in my body and that was it. It was definitely the most painful thing I've ever been through, but probably not as bad as the idea I had in my head.

#7 Guest_divineM_*

Posted 21 February 2013 - 07:04 PM

Not sure when you are due but if you can consider a calm birthing course. Helped me a lot. Also the fact that I was in a birthing centre and every time I said I couldn't do it anymore the midwife reassured me I could. I heard from those who birthed in hospital settings that their requests for pain relief were met more promptly. Otherwise everything else the PPs said: water was incredible as was breathing and visualisation. Also the idea that each contraction is one less. All these are calm birthing techniques anyway. Good luck OP.

#8 kristylee21

Posted 21 February 2013 - 07:06 PM

I had a drug free birth with dd... but not really by choice. I went into labour thinking i would just go with whatever happened. If i wasn't coping I was going to ask for gas, then if i wasnt coping with that ask for pethadine ect.. Last resort was a Epidual as i was terrified of having a needle in my back but would accept it if needed. In Any instance of an emergancy i would concent to a c-section.
I had a day of prelabour where i just felt uncomfortable not painfull. Really mild contractions that were about 30min about for about 5-6hours. No one even noticed i was having them.
When i went into labour i started by just breathing through the contractions and counting. I was counting much slower than actual seconds so when i would count to 10 it had actually been closer to 30-45 seconds. I think this made them feel shorter than they were. I jumped into the shower for about 45min but then ran out of hot water so got out and sat on the toilet for the rest of the time as it was the most comfortable position.
After about 3 hours i had a heatpack to put on my back ( acctually 2 as i was roatating them to keep them really hot) then at 4 hours we decided to head to the hospital as things were going really fast.
Once in hospital i again sat on the toilet with a heat pack. As things were ramping up i found moaning was helping and also taping my hand on my DP's back( ill admitt it probally got alot worse than just a tap by the end but it was the rythem of taping that i was concentrating on)
6hrs and 11min after the first contraction dd was born. By then i was made to get off the toilet and i got onto the bed on all 4's with the headrest raised that i was leaning on. I actually felt the pushing was the best back of labour as it took the pressure off. Dont ask me how i dont know but it felt better. the only drug i had was a local for a few stiches.

#9 Alacritous~Andy

Posted 21 February 2013 - 07:07 PM

My first baby was a drug free delivery (2nd was a cs due to breech).

Like a PP, I found reminding myself "I am one contraction closer to meeting my baby" helped.  

I also focussed on a clock. I liked watching the hand move around, and would visualise riding a wave up during the first half of the contraction, and counting down through the second half.w

#10 MamaMoi

Posted 21 February 2013 - 07:09 PM

I had 3 drug free and very straight forward labours.

I did a Calmbirth course before DS1 was born in 2005, then did a refresher course before DS2 was born in 2010 and another before DD was born in 2011.

I spent a lot of time before all 3 were born doing the preparation suggested in the Calmbirth course (doing the relaxation exercises etc). I also used an Epi-No.

There are varied opinions on both Calmbirth and the Epi-No but I found them both very useful.

My birth experiences were all really positive and I would never describe them as hideously painful. Yes, it's hard work and not the most comfortable experience but I have honestly had worse dental pain!

Not many people I know had births anything like what I had so I was VERY lucky and I will never know if the preparation I put in played any part in my great experiences or whether am I just built for the job so to say....

I believe that the more you learn about the process the less chance you go into it with fear and anxiety.

Good luck!

#11 RealityBites

Posted 21 February 2013 - 07:09 PM

Juju Sundin's site and book have lots of tips. Also I highly recommend book Active Birth for confidence!

My drug-free birth was awesome  biggrin.gif

#12 prettypenny

Posted 21 February 2013 - 07:10 PM

During the early stages breathing, walking and rocking on the fit ball.

Then onto the shower.

Towards the end of my labour my most effective technique was pain diversion. I dug my finger nail hard into my leg (the imprint stayed there for days!) I read that your mind can't focus on pain in 2 places at once. It certainly was true for me.

#13 Bobsygirls

Posted 21 February 2013 - 07:11 PM

My last birth was drug free, it was really great, much better and easier than my epidural birth. I didn't use any particular techniques but I was very active, walked and moved a lot and gave birth on my knees on the floor leaning over the couch. The birth was really easy without too much pain and I didn't tear.

#14 OhBangus!

Posted 21 February 2013 - 07:14 PM

I found the TENS machine to be really very useful throughout the contractions...really worth considering! Best of luck original.gif

#15 Monden

Posted 21 February 2013 - 07:16 PM

I second the recommendation for Juju Sundin's book - 'Birth Skills'. I can't emphasise enough how helpful it was. The techniques in there got me through labour totally drug free. There are so many different options that you can keep different things up your sleeve as labour progresses or as a particular method loses its effectiveness at distracting you from the pain.

For example, my labour was posterior so I couldn't walk around during the contractions. I used things like heat packs, leaning over a fit ball, banging stress balls together or rubbing them up and down my legs (great for the car trip to hospital when you're strapped in and can't otherwise move), a warm bath, etc.

But most of all, use your voice! Sing or say "AHHHH" and get loud then LOUDER!!! as the pain gets stronger.

#16 anna banana2

Posted 21 February 2013 - 07:16 PM

Before I went into labour a nurse told me that the contraction will feel like a wave, meaning that the pain would build up gradually, peak and then decrease gradually.  It really helped me to visualise the shape of a wave or more like a bell curve while I was having a contraction, so I would know when the worst was over.  Also as a pp said, counting really slowly, I took really deep breaths and counted the number of breaths I was taking, so the contraction was really for 40 seconds but I had only counted to 10 and it made me feel like the contractions were shorter too.

#17 cheekymonkeysmum

Posted 21 February 2013 - 07:18 PM

Ds was drug free and i felt wonderful though out it all.

I did havee to be induced so i had the drip but no pain relief drug

When labour first started i was just walking around a lot and concentrating on my breathing once the contratractions really started  I was just trying to find different positions to lay or walk around.
Once the birthing progress started I just concentrated on my breathing more and more.

Edited by cheekymonkeysmum, 21 February 2013 - 07:20 PM.

#18 B0612

Posted 21 February 2013 - 07:19 PM

Prior to birth/labour I prepared myself by reading positive birth stories. I also worked on breathing techniques and frequently had baths listening to music working on breathing and positive thinking. I also had no expectations of myself and had an opened mind to pain relief.

I also had a waterbirth.

During the early stages I remained active and would use the breathing techniques to get me through. I also used a rocking motion on a fitball, sitting down and standing during the contractions.

Once I got to 6cms I went into the birthing pool. During the painful contractions I would tell myself it was my body doing what it needed to do to help bubs out. When they got extremely intense I would circle the pool, lean over the pool and bear down on my DH. It was certainly hard work and at times I was so exhausted I wondered if I could keep going but I had a wonderful supportive midwife, DH and mother.

Have an opened mind and trust in your body. If you need pain relief be open to it and do your research.

#19 girlonfire

Posted 21 February 2013 - 07:24 PM

I had a 14 hour labour (longer with pre-labour) - pretty much drug free, but I did use gas.

Some tips from me:
- Know that it is going to be hard work and a FIGHT (a midwife friend told me this, and it helped immensely).
- I would actually recommend having a closed mind to using the drugs, if that's what you want. (I think the midwife will tell you if you REALLY need them...) I always said I wouldn't use drugs in labour, so even during the really hard moments when I was screaming at my husband "I can't do this!", I still knew that I couldn't fall back on the drugs as an option.
- Calmbirth - would HIGHLY recommend this course!
- Support person who is very on board with your ideas.

Best of luck! It's entirely possible original.gif

#20 nen-c

Posted 21 February 2013 - 07:25 PM

I've had 2 drug free births, I used techniques from Juju Sundin's birth skills text in both of them. I also took this acupressure booklet in and used the techniques (well got my partner to use!!) http://acupuncture.rhizome.net.nz/downloads/Acupressure.pdf

My first birth I had a doula, which was really helpful as I laboured for the best part of a day and I wasn't sure what what to expect at times. The bath and shower, and acupressure techniques were fantastic during this labour. My second labour was only 90 mins so I didn't really have a chance to even think about drugs or water or anything else!!! That one I spent about an hour bouncing on the fitball and then I was examined after I told them it was getting a little painful, and told it was time to push!!

It also helps to make sure that your partner and carers are on board with your preferences - write a birth plan and then discuss it with them. This way if you start to panic and think you want drugs during labour they can suggest other techniques or positions to try.

Good luck.

#21 dulcinea

Posted 21 February 2013 - 07:48 PM

QUOTE (MamaMoi @ 21/02/2013, 08:09 PM)

My birth experiences were all really positive and I would never describe them as hideously painful. Yes, it's hard work and not the most comfortable experience but I have honestly had worse dental pain!

Not many people I know had births anything like what I had so I was VERY lucky and I will never know if the preparation I put in played any part in my great experiences or whether am I just built for the job so to say....

I believe that the more you learn about the process the less chance you go into it with fear and anxiety.

This to a tee for my 2 births. You must be my alter ego Mamamoi, I could almost have written your post word by word minus one child  wink.gif I also did the calmbirth course pre DD and I credit it with my immense confidence going into labour and being able to do it naturally. It just helped me believe in my body and stay calm, which is so important. Having said that I didn't use any techniques other than really loud "vocalisations" (read: animalistic deep noises that made my poor DH afraid) because labour came on so fast. Helped me a lot, alongside the warm water in the birth pool which was a big relief once I got in.
DS was a precipitous birth and we didn't make it to hospital, so naturally no drugs.
The best part of having a natural birth is the massive surge of happy hormones after the baby is out. Hang in there for it, it is absolutely amazing. I look back at both my births with fond memories :-)
All the best OP!

#22 jothogger

Posted 21 February 2013 - 07:57 PM

Another recommendation for Juju Sundin's Birth Skills book. It's techniques got me through labour thinking 'is it time to push already??? But I didn't get to use all the techniques yet....'

#23 CallMeFeral

Posted 21 February 2013 - 08:00 PM

- get a TENS machine
- get Juju Sundin's birth skills book and get some of the props suggested there
- do a calmbirth course or get a book WITH some relaxation CDs, or Marie Mongan's hypnotherapy book

#24 RealityBites

Posted 21 February 2013 - 08:02 PM

QUOTE (aleithaki @ 21/02/2013, 08:57 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Another recommendation for Juju Sundin's Birth Skills book. It's techniques got me through labour thinking 'is it time to push already??? But I didn't get to use all the techniques yet....'


#25 CallMeFeral

Posted 21 February 2013 - 08:09 PM

QUOTE (dulcinea @ 21/02/2013, 08:48 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
The best part of having a natural birth is the massive surge of happy hormones after the baby is out. Hang in there for it, it is absolutely amazing. I look back at both my births with fond memories :-)

Yeah... don't bet on this. Great if you get it, but all people are different.
My one drug free birth, tbh, I was so much in shock from the pain that I hardly registered that DS existed for about an hour, let alone felt happy about it.
Whereas with my epidural birth, I was fully involved with DD from the start, because I couldn't feel a thing while they fiddled about 'down there' and wasn't that traumatised.
No particular rush of hormones either time though, although obviously some do that. Just don't set yourself up for the expectation - it's a nice bonus if it happens!

Also don't fall into the trap with the calmbirth and hypnobirth stuff, of thinking you won't feel pain. Yes it helps relax and get rid of the fear - and watching some positive birth movies is good too. But some of them slip over into the whole "if you prepare enough, you won't feel pain - if you feel pain, it's your own fault for not preparing enough" - which is bullsh*t. The amount of pain is influenced by many factors - fear, your own biology, the baby's positioning and the way labour is going, etc - and most of those things are unrelated to preparation. I prepared like crazy, but it hurt like crazy - just like my periods hurt a lot despite my having absolutely no fear about those. Fear and tension is only a small piece of the equation, so find your tools to deal with it - but don't assume they will work magic. You may be one of the lucky ones who does not have very painful birth's, or you might not.

I also found the epi-no very useful as I had a lot of fear, and it helped assuage it. If you don't have that fear to overcome you might not find it useful.

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