Why Not to get an Epidural

Pregnancy - pregnant woman having contraction

For many women, epidurals are one of the best things about modern medicine when it comes to labor and birth. There are plenty of good reasons to receive an epidural during labor but today we’re going to talk about reasons you shouldn’t choose one.

Fear. No one should choose an epidural because they are afraid of labor. Instead, if you opt for one, choose it because you don’t want to have to cope with that kind of discomfort. That’s your right and your choice, but don’t let fear dominate you and, in a way, “force” you to get an epidural.

“I can’t do it” mentality. I have heard so many moms proclaim that there is absolutely no way they could have an unmedicated birth. Well here’s the deal: women have been having babies for thousands of years without medication. Now it’s not always a pleasant experience but most women (barring complications) actually can have an unmedicated birth if they want to. If an unmedicated birth is your goal and you just aren’t sure you can “do it”, surround yourself with positive role models to help you overcome doubts. But if you simply don’t want an unmedicated birth, that’s perfectly fine. Just don’t let a lack of faith in yourself coerce you into an epidural.

The “It’s just going to get worse” attitude. While it is true that contractions get longer, stronger and closer together as labor progresses, your body’s pain fighting hormones also increase. You cannot predict how you will feel in one, two, or even five hours further into your labor, so it is selling yourself short to get an epidural because you might not be able to handle the discomfort at some point in the future. The time to get an epidural is when and if you reach a point at which you don’t want to deal with the pain of labor without medication.

Because someone else wants you to. Everyone has those people in their lives - the ones who imperiously tell you what to do and how to do it - and there’s no denying that birth is one of those subjects people think they know inside and out! I’ve got a newsflash: no one knows what’s best for your birth except you! And if you don’t want an epidural, then getting one because your mother or your nurse or even your doctor says you should isn’t a good reason.

Epidurals are great for relieving the discomfort of labor. If you want one, go ahead and get it! Just be sure that you are not influenced in your decision by fear, lack of faith in yourself or because someone else wants you to.