“I’d like to order the pain-free labor…”
This is a request I often here in Oh, Baby! classes or at the Women and Children’s Center. Expectant mothers may watch movies or TV shows that depict women sitting in the bed, watching their favorite Real Housewives episode with a full face of perfect makeup, waiting for the nurse to tell them it’s time to push. Perhaps you have had a family member or friend who has told you that having a baby was a piece of cake or that you have to have the epidural or you won’t survive labor!
Every day I am reminded of the internal power women have. Their strength is inspiring as they work through hours of labor, with or without medication. Pain free? Never. Comfortable? Hardly. Doable? Absolutely!
Birth is difficult.
Labor can be a challenge. There is a purpose for the pain of labor and it is to be expected. But when pain crosses the line and becomes suffering, that’s when your health care providers can assist you in making smart choices for you and your baby.
Just one reason that attending Oh, Baby! classes is so important is to learn about a myriad of coping and comfort techniques that will help you work with the challenge of labor contractions. In the Oh, Baby! five-week session or all-day Oh, Baby! XTREME! you’ll learn breathing and relaxation techniques, about aromatherapy and massage, about using visualization as a tool to remove yourself from the discomfort of contractions, how to bypass your brain to decrease your perception of labor pain, and so much more.
However, Oh, Baby! isn’t just about those techniques. It is also about making sure you understand the experience of labor and birth, and the procedures that might be used to help your baby enter the world safely, and to keep you safe as well. Procedures may include external and internal fetal heart monitoring, labor induction and augmentation, vacuum extraction and forceps, amniotomy and more.
An important part of your preparation for labor and birth is being informed of the types of choices you will have for pain medication, and understanding the benefits and disadvantages of each. You might choose to labor with no pain medication at all. Or you could choose an IV medication, a shot in the buttocks or both. Many laboring women want an epidural, and an intrathecal is also available. No matter how you choose to handle your labor pain, it is important that you know how each will affect you and your baby.
Understanding when you can have pain medication during your labor is also important. Some women would really like the anesthesiologist to run out to the parking lot and get the epidural going before they ever get in the building! Realistically, it’s important to know that an epidural or intrathecal cannot be administered until you are in active labor, which means you are making cervical change every hour. This usually happens around 4 or 5 centimeters, although this can vary from woman to woman.
We’ve Got Your Back! Epidural/Intrathecal class is held approximately every six weeks. It is a one-time, 90-minute seminar taught by Anesthesiologist Virginia Price, MD, and me. All Oh, Baby! childbirth classes (both the five-week comprehensive session and the all-day Oh, Baby! XTREME!) include important information regarding labor medication – pain medication, as well as induction and augmentation methods. All classes require pre-registration. For more information, please call the Office of Perinatal Education at 217.258 or 348-BABY (2229) or email Pam at firstname.lastname@example.org . We hope to see you in class soon!
Share your Wisdom
Tell us how you managed your labor and what worked best for you.