Epidural | Fit Pregnancy


Birthing Tips

1. Get to know yourself Think about what makes you tick and what you really want. Are you skeptical or respectful of the medical establishment? Ask yourself, if you had no constraints, how would you want to give birth? Does one option make you say: “Yes! That makes total sense!” Do others make you squirm and think: “Yikes! I would never do that in a million years.” Your gut reaction tells you which choice is right for you.

The Myth of the Perfect Birth

Childbirth has become super competitive.  I don’t know if this is new to the last 50 years or if women have always judged how and where they give birth as a measure of maternal perfection.  Maybe the Stone Age woman bragged her birth was better than some other cave woman’s birth because she pushed her little Neanderthal out on a rock; clearly making her more bad-ass, natural, and a better mother than those wimp moms who delivered in a cave. 

Birth Complications

“After my emergency Cesarean section, I was shell-shocked that I wasn’t pregnant anymore.” Jennifer O’Brien, East Greenbush, N.Y.

Be Prepared

You wouldn’t dream of running a marathon without training first. Such an intense athletic event requires mental, physical and emotional preparation. The same is true for childbirth: Knowing what can happen during labor and delivery—and your options for pain relief—can alleviate your fears and boost your confidence. “Knowledge is power,” says Sheri Bayles, R.N., a certified Lamaze instructor who taught childbirth classes at New York-Presbyterian Hospital in New York City for more than 20 years.

Labor Lite

The words “easy labor” may seem like an oxymoron, but there are steps you can take, both throughout pregnancy and during labor, to make your experience less stressful and more comfortable, less clinical and more joyful. And although the following tips won’t guarantee you’ll have a sweat-free, pang-free birth, they can help make your labor and delivery more manageable.

What No One Tells You (But You Need to Know) About Birth

‘‘I don't remember my early contractions being painful. But midway through my labor, the baby shifted and I started to have back labor. It felt like somebody was slamming a machete into my back. The pain was very sharp and nonstop. I wasn’t dilated enough for an epidural yet, so the nurse and my husband were applying counterpressure to my back. I remember my husband bracing his legs against the wall and almost climbing up it to keep enough pressure on me.’’ — Jaime Pruitt, mother of two, Kansas City, M.O.

Your Birth Plan

Remember: it's really more of a wish list. It's best to keep your birth plan short and sweet, and to really think through a few key questions which will help you communicate your wishes. Use this form to write open-ended answers to five crucial questions. Then, print it out and share it with your healthcare provider.

Epidural! Stat!

Let's talk about epidurals. These guys are popular. In fact, some patients want them before they're even in labor. Some women come in so painful they grip their nurse's arm and growl, "I want my epidural NOW! Do you hear me?" You bet, honey, loud and clear. However, epidurals aren't as simple as throwing a dart at your back. It's a process. It's anesthesia. It's your spine. No matter how painful, surly or desperate you are, we're methodical about epidurals.

Pain-Relief Choices

If you’re like most pregnant women, the pain of childbirth is at the top of your list of concerns. While several effective pain-relief methods, such as epidurals, are commonly used to ease labor pain, not enough research has been done on their side effects, according to the doctors and maternity caregivers who attended a symposium on the subject in New York. In addition, alternative methods for pain relief are underused, so you must ask for them.

In the Delivery Room

My daughter Maggie is an only child, so I have an only experience in the delivery room. It was, however, a doozy — one that makes me a genuine expert on the subject of a father’s decorum.

Maggie declined to be born on time, so on the 10th overdue day, the obstetrician gave my wife, Fran, Pitocin to induce labor. When her cervix was dilated 1 centimeter (out of 10), Fran, who’d taken Lamaze classes and resolved to experience natural childbirth, decided not to tough out the strong contractions and requested an epidural.