Childbirth without an epidural : how to prepare ?
Written by: Loris Vitry (coach and Yoga teacher)
Validated by: Cathy Maillot (Osteopath)
Caution: If you have any medical questions or concerns, please speak to your doctor. Even if the articles on this site are based on scientific studies, they do not replace professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
An epidural is becoming a choice in 70% of childbirth today.
However, some expectant mothers decide because of their health difficulties or by free choice to give birth to their child without an epidural.
It should be noted, however, that this decision can cause these same people to be afraid and to remedy it, they must prepare for this moment.
Discover in this article the different behaviors to adopt for a delivery without an epidural.
Learn to breathe to manage pain
Women who have become mothers can testify to the importance of breathing to manage panic and especially for a stress free childbirth.
Usually, when a person suffers, they tense up.
But the tension, unlike relaxation, increases the pain.
During childbirth, the woman must essentially concentrate on managing her breathing, which involves voluntarily relaxing her muscles so as not to tense up.
It is recommended that women, in preparation for an epidural-free delivery, attend childbirth preparation classes.
The program for these courses should include the best breathing methods to effectively manage labor pains.
Good breathing helps to reduce the discomfort of contractions and above all to facilitate their management.
Indeed, the better the woman breathes, the better the contractions can be managed.
Contractions should be considered a great help, because they are the ones that help the baby to go out during childbirth.
So, the best way to manage them is to accept them as such and to be able to keep calm and peace in oneself to facilitate childbirth.
Spend a long time at home
The average time for a smooth delivery is 7 to 8 hours.
On the other hand, it can happen that it takes a very long time or sometimes much less.
In reality there is not a standard number of hours for childbirth.
Whether in one case or another, it should be noted that the woman, who has chosen to give birth without an epidural, must spend the necessary time at home until the contractions get closer and become more intense and painful.
As bizarre as this recommendation may seem, it has great advantages.
In the maternity ward, movements are more limited and there is even sometimes less space.
In addition the mother is exposed to looks.
In addition, the hospital can be a subject of panic for some women precisely because of these curious looks which will only increase their fear and anxiety.
Conversely, when the mother spends a long time at home, she can enjoy great freedom of movement.
She can walk barefoot, take a cool shower or bath, sit quietly at the table and eat or even drink.
Many possibilities are within its reach.
The usual surroundings of the house are therefore more favorable, more familiar, more reassuring and less distressing.
However, it is absolutely important to go to the hospital if the contractions get closer within five minutes or if they become very intense and very painful.
For women who are at their second delivery, labor is much faster.
It is important to be even more vigilant.
When the woman notices that the water breaks, or that she is bleeding, or that she can no longer feel her baby moving, she must go to the maternity unit as quickly as possible.
Escape a bit from reality
Panic is a very common element in childbirth without an epidural.
The woman must eradicate it.
To do this, she must create a little bubble around herself but stay vigilant to what is going on around her.
In order to perfect this isolation technique, it is recommended to take courses in preparation for childbirth specialized in sophrology or self-hypnosis.
It’s about learning to get away from reality for a little while but staying in the present moment and be aware of the immediate environment.
Involving daddy in childbirth
Dad’s involvement in childbirth is important in supporting the woman during this time of pain.
The mother must involve the father and it is the mother’s role to do so.
Above all, the father should not be left as a passive actor.
To make him aware of his participation, he must attend the preparation for childbirth courses so that he knows how to act safely when the time comes and especially how he can help his wife.
He will learn to massage to relieve his wife’s pain, but above all, to be an active player in preparation for childbirth without an epidural.
Adopt multiple positions
Being able to find the best position to manage pain is a huge advantage for giving birth without an epidural.
When the mom is not anesthetized, she can take all kinds of physiological positions.
There are positions that speed up the work.
To facilitate the task, the mother must take advantage of the objects available to her or in her field of vision : these objects can be a balloon, a bathtub or a table.
Know your own anatomy
Knowledge of the woman’s anatomy plays an important role in childbirth.
The woman must therefore know her own body.
Indeed, she must find out well beforehand about the stages of childbirth.
She needs to know her organs and how they participate in childbirth.
This knowledge allows mom to know how to push and how to use each step to her own advantage in childbirth.
Preparing for a birth without an epidural can still cause fear and anxiety even if it is a voluntary choice of the mother.
However, with good preparation through breathing, the positions to adopt, the involvement of the father, the preparation courses, the arrangements to be made beforehand and the knowledge of one’s own body, she can give birth while minimizing pain and fear significantly.