I hear this so many times...."Thank GOD for the Epidural!", or "The Epidural is God's gift to laboring women..."
There are so many reasons why an Epidural in labor is a BAD idea, nevermind that it is definitely NOT a gift from God.
1. God designed labor to work perfectly together. This includes *FEELING* your contractions, pelvic floor, and pushing sensations so that your body can respond accordingly. With an epidural, you *cannot* push as effectively as you would without one.
This OFTEN leads to longer labors, augmentation with pitocin ( because an epidural has a high risk of slowing labor down ), and a much longer pushing stage that is often accompanied with an instrumental delivery ( Vacuum, forceps ).
2. Epidurals can cause a fever in mom. In turn, the baby will likely be sent to the NICU for a complete sepsis work up, because they cannot assume that the fever is simply from the epidural, instead of a full infection in the uterus.
3. Epidurals can cause both temporary and permanent back and nerve damage. If it is not placed PERFECTLY, it can cause major damage.
4. Epidurals can cause major headaches that can last up to several weeks. Try recovering from childbirth, caring for a newborn ( which hopefully includes breastfeeding ), while dealing with a headache that won't go away.
5. Women who use epidurals during labor are statistically less likely to be breastfeeding at 6 months. And, since breastfeeding was designed by God to be a baby's perfect nutrition.....
6. Epidurals come with a higher risk of cesarean surgery. When a woman's labor slows, and pitocin can't pick it back up...it usually leads to a cesarean. When a woman cannot push effectively, and it's been longer than your Obstetrician ( Trained Surgeon ) is comfortable with...it usually leads to a cesarean. If you happen to get a fever from the epidural, and it increases and you are not near delivery...it usually leads to a cesarean.
7. Having an epidural disconnects you from the birthing process on an emotional level. You basically leave your baby to go through the physical aspects of labor, by him/herself, while you chit chat away, do your makeup, or get some shut-eye.
8. When you choose an epidural in labor, you screw up the flow of endorphins that was supposed to be released ( the HIGHEST amount your body will ever receive at once .... that God is a smart one! ) after natural childbirth. Now, you will not have that release. The release of endorphins after natural childbirth aids in the breastfeeding relationship, the immediate bonding, and lowers the rate of Post Partum Depression.
9. Epidurals confine you to bed, which can lead to a malpositioned baby. God designed our pelvis to be mobile, and this helps *tremendously* during labor. Through remaining mobile, we are able to help the baby rotate into optimal position for birth. In the absense of mobility, the pelvis can become stiff, and not respond to labor/pushing as it should. Epidurals also often come with the doctor artificially breaking the amniotic sac, which in turn helps to create or cement a malpositioned baby.
10. The final reason? Epidurals are selfish on the part of the mom. Epidurals have no benefit for the baby, it only adds risk. Epidurals allow the mom to have decreased to no pain during labor, once again, leaving the baby to experience the physical aspects of labor on his/her own.
Women, we are STRONG. Our bodies are CAPABLE of pushing a baby out without anesthesia. We were designed, by God, to birth babies without intervention. And sadly, it's the intervention that often leads to problems during labor and delivery, and leaves our babies susceptible to invasive intervention in the first hours of their lives...when they should be in mama's arms, and at mama's breast.