"There is no trophy at the end"
"You don't need to be a hero"
I've heard it all time and time again. And both are true. There isn't a trophy, and you're ALREADY a hero, you don't need to avoid pain medication to become one.
We support YOUR choices as your doulas. Whatever that looks like. In our prenatal class we discuss optimal labouring however, and interfering with the body's natural process isn't always optimal.
"Will I need an epidural??" ---> I am a FIRM believer that the need for an epidural isn't dictated by the pain and intensity of your labour, but it can be dictated by the length. This is something we cannot predict, and can vary by many many hours. Once you have lost a night of sleep, regaining the strength to power through is incredibly difficult.
If your goal is to avoid interventions, specifically an epidural, here are our best tips:
1: SLEEP. Or ignore. ---> when you start having the early rumblings of labour
GO TO SLEEP always. Take a gravol, a bath, have a drink (half a glass of wine, beer) and tuck yourself into bed. The best tactic here is to ignore your labour until you CAN'T anymore. Sleep through those early contractions. You won't miss the big day I promise. You will have plenty of time to be excited.
2: Choose your birth location wisely. If you are DEAD SET against intervention, I highly suggest you have a home birth. You are more likely to be successful in your endeavour because there just isn't anything available. It makes it less convenient, therefore, you likely won't use it. Easy Peasy.
3. Take a Child Birth Education Class (like our Kitchen Table Prenatal!)
Taking a well reviewed education class will teach you about the hormones involved in the birth process, the positions that will help to nudge your labouring along, and the tactics we doulas use for pain relief to take the edge off.
4. Hire a Doula!
This actually is proven to work! We are skilled in hip squeezes, counter pressure, bath running, verbal coaching, and ALL of that helps you cope!
5. Have your partner and birth team on board.
Making sure your partner agrees with your choices is SO important for you to feel supported, and encouraged when things get a little rough. 98% of people ASK for an epidural, or say 'I need help, I CAN'T do this'.
When you are labouring and it is SO intense, saying things like this just helps explain to your team just HOW intense it is for you. We hear you! We know it is a tough journey, but we also know deeply how much you wanted to reach your birth goals, and we are going to keep your eye on the prize. We will encourage you, cheer you on, empathize with you, and believe when you don't.
6. Don't get induced: if you don't have a MEDICAL reason to be induced, meaning your being induced based on dates, try to not do it. You are starting yourself off on the path of interventions, and if avoiding pain meds is your goal, that's not the way to achieve it.
7. Surround yourself with positivity. Listen to the Free Birth Society podcast, or Birth without Fear. Follow positive birth accounts on instagram. Read Ina May Gaskin. Fill your cup up with positive, encouraging birth stories, and protect yourself from the not so good stories.
Like I said in the beginning. Getting the epidural is YOUR choice. This blog post is for you if you are choosing to avoid it. Its your birth, your way, whatever that looks like - we support it.