As the NHS considers withholding epidurals and caesareans to save money, mother of two TRACEY BLAKE says it's cruel and barbaric to deny women pain relief
12:31 GMT, 31 August 2012
So, the NHS is considering the idea of rationing epidurals and caesareans for women giving birth, in order to save money. Since when was torture accepted in this country
Yes, we all wish we could just ‘breathe’ our babies out in the bathtub at home like smug old supermodel Gisele, but the reality is that for most women childbirth is the toughest physical challenge they will ever face.
And doing it without the option of pain relief is just downright cruel and barbaric.
Unfair: Denying women the right to choose to have an epidural during childbirth is cruel and barbaric, Tracey says – and can ruin their experience of birth
I’ve given birth twice now and, both times, as the labour pains built up momentum, I panicked that I simply couldn’t cope with the pain.
You are not in control of your body and it’s a roller coaster of agony you can’t get off til your baby is born. Some women can cope with it and some can’t.
Unfortunately, I was in the can’t camp. I found it terrifying and I honestly do not know what I would have done if the option of an epidural wasn’t available to me.
I had a slight inkling of what this might be like when I had my second baby, Monty, 12 weeks ago. I was booked in for a planned caesarean but he decided to come two weeks early.
The midwife at the hospital obviously disapproved that I still wanted to proceed with a C-section even though I was in natural labour, and wouldn’t give me any painkillers.
She told me I wasn’t in established labour, and refused my request for gas and air.
Supermodel Gisele Bundchen angered many mothers when she dismissed pain relief, saying she didn't want a 'drugged up baby'
She then told me that it would be best
if I waited for six hours until the next team of theatre staff started
their shift at 8am because the existing team had performed a lot of
emergency ops and were tired, it would be ‘safer for you and baby to
wait for fresh staff’ (the subtext being, ‘just get on with it and do it
naturally and save us all the bother you pathetic woman).
I told her that if she gave me an epidural, I could wait.
She said this wouldn’t be possible as they would want to give me a spinal block in theatre.
The contractions soon ramped up until they were coming every two minutes – without any pain relief. I think I began sobbing at this point because I just couldn’t handle the pain anymore.
Only then did the mean midwife wheel me down for the operation and, thank god, the spinal block. Being denied pain relief made what was already a stressful situation far more traumatic.
It’s such a scary feeling not being able to manage your pain that I know several friends whose bodies literally went into shock at the onslaught of labour – they couldn’t stop vomiting and lost control of their bowels.
Do we really want to subject women to this and ruin their birth experience for the sake of saving 200
Whatever next, maybe dentists should stop using anaesthetic when they extract teeth
READ TRACEY'S BLOG, SMALL TALK: CHAOS OF LIFE WITH A TODDLER AND A NEW BABY HERE