The Pregnancy Show Presents: Learn about Midwives and Epidurals
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Melanie Raposo: Now, I am not sure if this is true or not, but do midwives -- are they against pain medications during labor? Carolynn Prior: I don't know. I think that midwives' personal opinions on it can vary, but professionally most midwives feel that it's up to the woman to make that choice for herself, particularly, some situations may be of that, that the midwife would recommend pain relief. For instance, the labor that isn't going quite as easily as one would expect, that in those situations it may be recommended to have an epidural as one of the steps in intervention. There may be times when a midwife actually recommends that her client have pain relief. If her labor has slowed down considerably, or is difficult, or the baby is in a difficult position, and other things haven't worked, an epidural may be one of the steps that a midwife is going to recommend on that intervention. I think most midwives believe that woman can labor without pain relief, if that's what they choose to do. In some communities it means that they have to transfer care if a woman is asking for an epidural. In other communities it means that the midwife and the anesthetist work together, and the midwife carries on with care. So I think that's also a good question to ask your midwife when you are interviewing her, if you require pain relief, would that mean a transfer of care, or would I still remain in midwifery care. My personally belief is that women having normal healthy livers can do it without pain relief, that there are benefits to doing it without pain reliefs, both for the mom and the baby, but that if a woman does need an epidural, or says to me at one point, Carolynn, I want an epidural, I am making this decision now, then I would respect that.