Another Reason to Get an Epidural

Julie Ryan Evans

epiduralI have never understood women who are dead-set on natural births.

I have close friends who want them, have had them, and laud them as the only way to bring a child into this world. I support them, and I admire them; I just don't understand them.

There was never any question in my mind from the minute I learned how a baby came out of a woman's body that I would have any and all drugs available. In fact, when I was pregnant with my son, I actually inquired as to if I could be completely put under for the experience (the answer was no).

So to think of experiencing all that pain, on purpose, just baffles me and my chicken-like ways.

A new study, however, gives a few more legs to my love of epidurals ... other than the fact that giving birth HURTS.

A study out of Australia found that an epidural may protect some muscles during labor -- the kind of muscles that control your bladder. Which means epidurals could potentially prevent incontinence.

In the study of about 400 women, two-thirds of those who suffered muscle damage did not receive an epidural.

Dr. Clara Sheck told the BBC this could be for two reasons:

"Firstly, women who have epidurals tend to be told when to push as they can no longer feel contractions. This means the potential damage from premature or over-pushing is reduced. And physical changes in the paralysed muscle may also mean it is less likely to suffer injury."

A small price to pay I guess if what you really want is a natural birth. And this one study certainly shouldn't sway anyone away from a natural birth if that's what she wants and believes is best for her baby.

I just have never heard a reason convincing enough to make me not want/demand one.

And I think I've heard and researched most: To experience the moment (I have a whole lifetime of moments to experience with my child); because some studies have shown epidurals slow down labor (others studies say stress slows it down); because some chemicals can pass to the baby (research I've done has shown epidurals are overwhelmingly safe).

And now there's the fact that I'm less likely to pee my pants while giggling later in life? I'll take an epidural any day.

Again, I absolutely applaud anyone who goes through a natural birth, truly I do. I'll just never understand them.

What are your thoughts on epidurals? If you have had or are planning to have a natural birth, what were the biggest reasons for your choice?

Image via InFaNtRyWifWHIT

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