You really don’t want it, but you can’t make up your mind for sure.
And even if you’re sure, your brain is playing tricks on you and you experience thoughts like:
“Will it be as bad as they say?”
“Will I get ‘lucky’ and it be pain-free?”
“I have a low pain tolerance. I’m not sure I’ll be able to take it even though I know that an epidural can be harmful.”
“What if I give in and end up with a c-section?”
“Eeesh! How can I avoid that epidural?”
Ease your mind, sweet lady. Here are 5 helpful tips to avoid getting the epidural, whatever your reason for not wanting it.
1) Take an out-of-hospital childbirth ed class
Ok, let me make that clear – Take an OUT-OF-HOSPITAL childbirth ed class.
Unless you live in a highly progressive area that’s 100% supportive of natural birth (which is pretty much nowhere in the USofA), the people teaching the class ARE NOT EXPERTS ON NATURAL CHILDBIRTH!
Education is one of the keys to having an empowered birth experience. But being educated on NATURAL birth is quite a different thing than being educated about JUST birth.
Although I teach women who are already in the “know” about natural birth, many women are still finding out about their options and what is even possible.
If this is you and you want an empowered birth experience and are at all interested in not getting an epidural, it’s quite vital that you take a basic childbirth ed class that teaches and supports NATURAL BIRTH.
Hospitals don’t do that.
Resources to look up are Birth Bootcamp, Hypnobabies, Hypnobirthing, Bradley Method etc…
If you’re new to natural childbirth, sign up for my free eBook on my homepage that will give you 7 great, practical tips to have an empowering hospital birth
2) Practice prenatal yoga and dance
There’s power, support, and strength in the pelvis. The only way to unleash it is to connect with it through your awareness.
There’s no better way to do that than starting a prenatal yoga practice and/or dancing.
Forget the kegels. Many midwives and docs will even tell you that you don’t need to do them and I too hold that view.
Much recent research has been done on the pelvic floor and it’s been found that kegels only promote more tension in the pelvic floor which isn’t what we’re going for.
We’re going for strength and balance. Exercises that release tension in the pelvic floor and promote balance instead, are more important – such as squats, and movements that loosen your hips while building muscle tone. Hello dancing?!
When you release the tension, you open up space for ease. You can help yourself avoid an epidural by doing yoga and dancing simply because both practices release tension and build tone – which makes getting a baby out easier and less painful.
Check out your area for prenatal yoga classes or Dancing For Birth classes. And read this previous blog post about why to start a yoga practice while pregnant.
3) Hire an experienced, certified doula
Hands down, if you can’t do anything else, get yoself a doula!
Maybe I’m bias because I am one (check out my services here). But, I can’t think of a better way to avoid getting an epidural than hiring someone to be there by your side cheering you on and providing all the right comfort measures at the right time without having to ask.
People who hire doulas experience a 9% decrease in the use of any medications for pain relief.
So, if you’ve hired a doula, you’re already 9% less likely to be begging for an epidural. WAY TO START!
If you live outside of Lafayette, LA, find a doula in your area here.
4) Stay home as long as possible
Have you heard of the cascade of interventions? If not, check it out here.
As you can see, “going to the hospital too early” is one of the 3 main reasons women end up having a medical intervention.
You can easily avoid all of this.
Getting a professional, experienced doula, as mentioned above, will help you determine when IS a good time to go to the hospital because honestly, if it’s your first baby, you probably won’t know.
While at home, take advantage of the comfort being in familiar surroundings brings you.
At home you can dim the lights, lock yourself in the bathroom, sit on your toilet and do your thing letting the baby come down. *Hint, all these things are what your doula will help you with!
Waiting to go to the hospital until you’re for sure in ACTIVE labor will help you avoid getting into the epidural/cascade of intervention trap.
5) Don’t fear it
I’m sure you’ve heard it before; the law of attraction = you attract what you focus on.
Are you focusing more on how much you don’t want an epidural than you are on what you can do to have an empowering birth experience?
Be honest with yourself and act accordingly. If you’re afraid, start that childbirth ed class, research doulas in your area, and get into a prenatal yoga practice.
As Danielle LaPorte says, “What will you do today to feel the way you want to feel?”
Quit focusing on what you don’t want. Focus instead on what you do. And act accordingly.
And if you end up with an epidural in the end anyway, it’s ok!
You can still have an empowering birth experience if you get one.
With so much love,