Epidurals and Doulas... do they mix?
Yes they definitely do! A doula is there to support you mentally, emotionally, and physically, while an epidural just helps with the pain. Don't get me wrong! Pain relief is a wonderful thing, but its doubtful that an epidural is whispering words of encouragement in your ear when things get rough!
There are definitely some doulas out there that feel that they can not support you the way you need if you elect to have an epidural (before going to the hospital). The great thing is there are tons of us who think you should have the birth YOU want and will support you no matter what choices you make!
So... what does a doula do if I have an epidural?
First off we still give you all the support prior to going to the hospital, you still get prenatal visits, phone calls, text messages, emails (basically any method of communication you could want!). We want you to have a successful and healthy pregnancy and strive to do anything we can to make that happen!
We help keep your nerves and anxieties in check. Your pain may be under control but that doesn't mean mentally you aren't nervous, scared, or frustrated! We help you to understand and deal with all these feelings as they come!
We help with making sure you are comfortable. Yes an epidural limits you from leaving the bed, but we can still do tons in the bed to help you progress! Especially because you are numb, its good to have an extra set of hands when you need to shift and move!
We help you deal with whoever else is in the room. Spouse being needy? Mother getting on your nerves? Nurse that won't stop chatting? We're there to help make sure the environment is just as you need it to labor in peace.
We answer questions! Do you need to know what a medical term means? Do you need to understand what is coming next? We're there to help you comprehend everything that is going on around you AND with your body!
We are your gopher! This may sound silly but when you can't get out of bed for that long, you are probably going to want stuff! Need your chapstick? Need a sweater/headband/hair tie? We're there to get anything you need to keep you happy and comfortable.
We help with pushing! When the time comes we can help you get into a good position, conduct counter pressure, and help with breathing to ease baby out!
We're there for postpartum! If you are choosing to breastfeed we are there to help with latching and cues. If you have questions about your newborn, we are there to help and answer them so that when we leave you feel confident and comfortable!
I hope this helps you to see all the awesome benefits of still utilizing the services of a Doula, no matter what other choices you make during your labor!
So yesterday we discussed what the benefits with and Epidural are, but you're probably wondering about the risks as well right?
An epidural uses local anesthetics to block the nerves in the bottom half of the body. Thus providing pain relief to the directed area as opposed to "typical anesthetics" which are used to put someone to sleep for a procedure.
Some of the risks associated with an epidural are as follows:
For some moms, there are more intense and long term side effects such as;
Coming up tomorrow we will discuss what a Doula can still do to help your labor if you choose to have an epidural!
Approximately 60% of laboring moms with utilize an Epidural. Depending on your labor and how you are feeling mentally and physically, an epidural could be used as a method to prevent further interventions..
Wait... but someone told me that epidurals CAUSE more interventions...
This is called the "cascade of interventions" which can be caused by many different external factors. It doesn't just include epidurals but also induction, use of Pitocin, or strictly laboring in bed.
There are definitely risks to utilizing an epidural, but for some women it is exactly what they need to have the birth they desire...
Some of these benefits include:
Ultimately the decision of having an epidural is up to you! Listed below are some great resources to utilize in making the decision, but check back tomorrow for another post about Epidurals!