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Share Childbirth without epidural, does it hurt a lot?

La Madre Tigre @LaMadreTigre

We talked the other day about whether delivery without an epidural is already an option available to all pregnant women. More and more hospitals are advocating less-delivered deliveries in which anesthesia is becoming a complement and not necessarily a fundamental part of the protocol.

However, sometimes it seems that for a pregnant woman it is not easy to obtain a clear answer to one of the basic questions that any woman poses before making a decision in one way or another: a delivery without epidural does it hurt a lot?

Speaking in silver

Apparently, in certain forums it is frowned upon to say yes, that a birth without epidural pain much, much sometimes. As if denying the obvious was a strategy to attract more incautious to our sect of suffering sufferers.

On the other hand, I believe that it is perfectly compatible to encourage any woman to have a natural birth because of all the positive things that go along with no need to deny, make up or hide the obvious: a birth without epidural pain. Quite.

Each birth is a world

It is true that every birth and every woman is a world. It will not be me who denies anyone their orgasmic experiences in full expulsion or contradicts all those women who went through labor without disheveled or find out almost. But let's say it's not usual.

In the same way that we can affirm with some certainty that a nephritic colic hurts - regardless of whether there are people who have suffered without pain - it is not unreasonable to affirm with a certain vehemence that, for the vast majority of women, a delivery without anesthesia it implies pain. That this can be perfectly tolerable and does not obscure what is clearly a wonderful experience at all, is not an excuse for not telling reality with all its faces.

Dilation, those contractions that we all know

Many times we hear how labor pains are equated to those of a painful rule. Although this comparison does not do justice to the intensity of labor, it is true that the pain of dilation is very similar to menstrual, especially in the early stages of dilation.

Dilation contractions, those that allow our cervix to dilate enough to let the head of our baby pass, are very similar to the cramps that some women suffer every month.

Many times these contractions also begin in the kidneys and produce uneasiness in the legs as menstrual pain. Unlike these, however, labor contractions are gaining intensity progressively and are becoming increasingly difficult to reconcile with normal activity.

As the dilation advances, the normal thing is that we can not talk during a contraction, or walk, and that we need all our concentration to cope. The frequency of contractions is also always increasing, so that every time we have less time to recover between contraction and contraction. If we get too tired, the sensation of pain or discomfort can be accentuated regardless of whether the contractions remain equally intense.

The good news is that these pains can be made much easier with breathing exercises, changing posture, relaxing baths or simply with an expert hand on the kidneys. The same contraction that lying on the bed without help can be hell, it can be something completely bearable in the proper posture and breathing properly.

The worst form of dilating is lying down, it is how it hurts the most. Normally any position that allows us to lean forward so that the gut hangs freely, such as resting your arms on a bed, on your knees or on your knees, is much more bearable, although somewhat more comical.

The difference during the dilation marks, above all, the duration of the dilation and the exhaustion that the woman accumulates. If with the appropriate assistance, the pregnant woman is helped to remain calm and relaxed this is a bearable pain and perfectly bearable.

The transition, the real coconut

The transition is a very brief phase of labor between dilation and expulsion. And the most painful. The transition is perfectly noticeable, it is a brutal change, the contractions are no longer something dry that squeezes our back and abdomen, a known pain. The transition is unlike anything we have felt before and is of an overwhelming, animal intensity.

Nobody has to tell you that something has changed, you know it, the baby will come out and you will notice how you open inside to let it go. Probably if up to now we have been satisfied with a snort and a whiny moan now we have to scream or mutter openly. It's a wet pain hardly comparable to anything you've ever felt before.

At this moment you may think that you can not do more, that someone does something, that you leave it, it's over. The good thing is that this phase is usually very short and in what takes to say this mouth is mine has already passed. The best thing is to surrender to your nature and do what the body asks, scream, squat, on all fours or insult your husband. This is the best moment.

The expulsion

The expulsion is not necessarily painful per se unless you suffer a tear or get too long. During the expulsion you feel the relief of having passed the transition and more than pain what can happen to us is a tremendous sensation when the head of the baby crowns and your body opens to the maximum.

One moment I remember very clearly is to have the head outside and the rest of the body inside. The feeling of impatience because it came out at once and relieve the tension in which my whole body was. It is a very strong sensation, more intense than painful and is passed as soon as the rest of the baby comes out with the next contraction. Like a miracle, little feet come out and nothing hurts, relief is instantaneous and immediate well-being. Your baby is here and you are in top shape to enjoy it to the fullest.

The delivery

It is possible that in full ecstasy with your new baby you feel a contraction and think: it can not be ... again? But quiet, it's the placenta that will come out quietly after your baby is born.

The rush

Many times we hear about the endorphins and the rush that invades us after giving birth without an epidural as if it were a Chinese story that we are sold to deliver the birth without anesthesia. It is not like this. Actually, after giving birth without an epidural - as long as there have been no complications in childbirth - we are phenomenal, we get our strength back at an amazing speed and we have the courage and the perfect energy to put the baby to the breast and enjoy it at maximum.

This does not mean that when we have a baby with epidural or by cesarean section we do not enjoy it or fall in love with it instantly. Not at all. I remember with the same tenderness the birth of my two first daughters with their epidurals than that of the two little ones without an epidural. But it is true that after a delivery without anesthesia we are in a state of alertness and excitement that allows us to experience it in another way. It is a difficult feeling to explain as if we were saying "this is what it had to be and has been".

Of bonus also this rush lasts days, even weeks, and makes the puerperium a much more pleasant experience because we have enough energy to take care of our baby without exhausting us.

In any case there are no winners or losers, bringing a child to this world, with or without anesthesia, is an unforgettable and wonderful experience for any mother. Having lived two deliveries with epidural and two without epidural I wanted to contribute my bit to clarify as much as possible what can be felt during a delivery without anesthesia although the rhythms of it and how tired or nervous we are can make us take more consciousness and remember more clearly some sensations than others.

In my particular case, when they ask me if it hurts very much the delivery without an epidural my answer is always the same: Yes, but it compensates.

Photo | Lou Good on Flickr In Babies and more | Labor without an epidural, an option for all pregnant women ?, 70% of pregnant women who ask for a delivery without epidural ends up changing their opinion