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Robin Elise Weiss, LCCE

Don't be too rigid.

By November 23, 2012

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Man Helping Laboring Woman on Ball

I just read a pregnancy book that offered this as advice when it came to considering natural childbirth. It occurred to me as I read it, as I have before, that we never say this about women who are adamant about using pain medication. It would never be uttered to a mom who said she was thinking about using an epidural to not be too rigid in her planning - why is that?

Obviously, about 60% of moms are using epidurals for labor pain relief, so it would be more socially normal in some situations, particularly in areas where that number is higher. But that said, wouldn't this advice be just plan great advice for all pregnant women?

Certainly there are reasons why you might want, but not receive, an epidural. Though the same is true for moms who want to go without medications and decide that medication is the appropriate response to their labor. My advice? Everyone needs some flexibility when it comes to labor. Don't tell moms who want to avoid meds they may change their minds, just as you shouldn't tell moms who say they do want to have medications that it will absolutely happen that way. Parenting is about flexibility, labor should be too.

Having some idea of what tools you might use is always a good idea, but back up plans area a great idea, just like that extra set of baby clothes in the diaper bag...


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November 23, 2012 at 7:51 pm
(1) DJ says:

I do in a way – I always tell women that say they plan on an epidural to make sure they plan not to have one too – they need to be prepared for the period of labor when it is too early to go to the hospital or for some caregivers to give one (may want a mother at 3+ cm and in active labor), some women have very fast labors and don’t get there in time for one, many women find they are not 100% effective, a rare few find they almost don’t work at all (my daughter was one of those) and some women find that labor is easier to cope with than they though and even with some simple preplanning and education and go through labor without pain meds.

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