Does Getting an Epidural Early Make You a Wimp?

Annie Krasnow


A Labor and Delivery Nurse once said that when patients get an epidural when they are only one centimeter dilated, nurses think they are wimps.

I have always wondered why women feel the need to suffer through the pain of labor when they don't have to. Are they trying to prove something to themselves? To others?

Why is it seen as impressive that women suffer needlessly. Shouldn't it be seen as foolish?

If you have a headache, should you just grin and bare it instead of taking a pain reliever?  How about having a dentist put a filling in your tooth. Should you skip the Novocaine? How about if you have surgery? Would you say, "No thanks. Cut me open without giving me anesthesia. I'm strong." It sounds absurd. Why then, is there a different standard put on pregnant women?

Some may argue that giving birth is a natural miracle. Of course it is, but we live in a modern age where we are afforded convenience. It can also be argued that walking everywhere is natural. But it sure is faster to drive most places. And your feet will hurt a lot less.

I feel like the second you have pain, if modern medicine can help reduce it, why not use it? Why should I suffer through even one minute of pain when I don't have to? Who cares if the nurses are talking about me. During my first birth, I talked about the nurses to my husband and friends right back. Having a comfortable birth was fine with me. I'm not embarrassed, nor do I feel weak.

Of course, there are studies that are against epidurals, claiming that women are more likely to get C-sections if they have the anesthesia. But, The Stir's Julie Ryan Evans, also a huge fan of the epidural, found a study that argues it's safer TO have the epidural.

Does it make you stronger if you wait longer for the epidural or choose not to get on at all?

Image via Gabi Agu/Flickr

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