If you're debating over whether or not to have any sort of pain management during your labor and delivery, then a new study conducted at the University of California that is published in the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology should be of particular interest to you.
Researchers found that women who have epidurals may take two hours longer to deliver their babies than those who chose to go the natural route.
As for why it takes longer? It's pretty simple, actually. The theory is that the epidural makes it hard for women to know if they are pushing effectively because they don't feel the contractions coming on.
And that makes total sense to me. It really does. Because I distinctly remember that I did not feel one single second of pushing my son out after having my epidural.
I had a very long labor (24 hours) -- and if I recall correctly, I pushed for about 45 minutes. But now that there's a chance that forgoing the epidural could've made the whole process even shorter? I couldn't care less.
And if I ever were to have another baby, I wouldn't think twice about having an epidural again. Actually, I'd probably request the damn thing as soon as I checked into the hospital as opposed to waiting for labor to progress.
OMG. An epi is like heaven on earth, people! Before the anesthesiologist administered mine -- I was in HELL. Like real, actual hell with fire pits and snakes and demons trying to take over my body. But as soon as the doc finally gave me the epidural -- it was like pure magic or something. The pain stopped. I could finally take a deep breath and enjoy my labor and delivery. And I remember looking up at my husband and saying, "Who wouldn't want this?!?"
As far as having an epidural possibly making labor a couple hours longer? Who cares?!? I don't care if it had the potential of making it 24 hours longer. I'd still rather go pain-free than suffer through giving birth and have nothing but horrific memories of the whole deal.
If you want to go the natural route, more power to you. To each her own. And you may be just fine -- because everyone's labor experience is different. (I have a cousin who pushed out four babies naturally and barely felt a thing.)
But for me? Bring on the epi, baby. (It's THAT good.)
Are you planning on having an epidural?
Image via koadmunkee/Flickr