Monthly Archives: February 2014

To Epidural or not….. Part II

My previous post concerning epidurals received some awesome comments!

It is with permission, and great honor, that I share Patsy Harman’s comments!

Patsy is Nurse Midwife and author of The Midwife of Hope River and two other books, at Partners in Women’s Health Care, Morgantown, WV.


Epidurals are great for women who are exhausted from a long labor and really need to rest and after a valiant effort of ambulating and rocking and singing and showering are left with the option of trying Pitocin augmentation. BUT they are a hindrance for the normal woman who wants to give birth on her own.
I spoke recently to a bunch of freshmen in a Woman’s History class and the were amazed to hear that once a woman elects an epidural she will automatically be confined to bed, she will have an IV, two monitor belts, a urinary catheter and in some cases a cardiac monitor and an oximeter on her finger. Geez! Is that what women want to remember?…giving birth like Robo Mom? Again, save the epidurals for the women who really need them. For the rest of us, get a Doula or a Midwife and walk, sing, swim that baby out. Women are strong. Don’t sell yourself short.

Oh, and just in case some one is thinking of having an epidural. I forgot two more items that could be hooked up, an internal monitor that will be screwed to the babies scalp (the nurse will say “attached”) and an internal monitor for contractions that is actually quite useful if you are on Pitocin. The good news is that you will now have the belts taken off, but that leaves three wires or tubes up your vagina. Not saying…all epidurals are bad….just saying…..

Thank you, Patsy!          patsy-harman

You can learn more about Patsy, and connect, at


To Epidural or Not…

Are you planning on having an epidural? iStock_000008463436XSmallIf so, that is certainly your choice…but have you considered all of the effects, and not just for yourself, but for your baby, too? I mean really considered???

If you tell me yes to these questions, then I say go for it!

But what are you going to do until the anesthesiologist administers it? How are you going to handle your labor until that point? An epidural is usually not given until you are well into active labor, about 5 centimeters. Heck, these days you are often not even admitted to the hospital until you are about 5 centimeters.

And what if, as happens so often, you have “break through” pain? Do you know what you will do then?

And don’t forget about the 2nd stage…pushing.

My point…….an epidural does not take away the need for education, coping tools, and the need for a birth doula!