“I had a nat­u­ral birth with the help of an epidu­ral.”

Glamour (South Africa) - - Health Update -

Iwas 25 when I had my first child, and my plan was to have a C-sec­tion, as the pain as­so­ci­ated with a nat­u­ral birth re­ally fright­ened me. How­ever, both my gy­nae­col­o­gist and my GP ad­vised against a Cae­sarean, since it’s only rec­om­mended for women ex­pe­ri­enc­ing dif­fi­cul­ties dur­ing preg­nancy, and mine was run­ning smoothly. So if I was go­ing to do it the nat­u­ral way, an epidu­ral was a must for me.

Af­ter three due dates had passed without even a hint of a con­trac­tion, I started to panic, but my doc­tor as­sured me that ev­ery­thing was nor­mal. Fi­nally, early on a cold Satur­day morn­ing, I saw a jelly-like sub­stance on my legs. I quickly drove my­self to the hos­pi­tal and when I got there, no one could be­lieve that I was in labour. I’m nat­u­rally a very calm per­son and can han­dle stress and pres­sure well, so I was very com­posed.

At 6.30pm, my con­trac­tions were still far apart and my doc­tor ad­min­is­tered an epidu­ral in my lower back to in­duce labour. I was ter­ri­fied at the length and size of the nee­dle, but all was for­got­ten in a few min­utes when I went numb from the waist down.

My son Boik­gantsho was born without com­pli­ca­tions at 9.25pm, weigh­ing 4.5kg. Af­ter two weeks, I had fully re­cov­ered from giv­ing birth, and if I de­cide to have more chil­dren, this would still be my choice.

EPIDU­RAL: THE PROS AND CONS

“An epidu­ral is an anaes­thetic in­jec­tion into the lower back which re­sults in a to­tal loss of sen­sa­tion dur­ing labour. This may sound ex­tremely ap­peal­ing, but it does come with side ef­fects, in­clud­ing low blood pres­sure, back­aches and se­vere headaches,” says Dr van der Merwe.

Tho­riso Manaka, 30, ac­count man­ager at an ad­ver­tis­ing agency

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