In my first post on Pain management during birth in Sweden I posted about my experiences with the pain management I decided to go with. But there are several interventions I decided to forgo and here is a little about them and why I opted out.
Acupuncture – At our hospital all of the midwives are trained in acupuncture and they offer it as a regular pain management technique for birth. You are invited to meet with them ahead of time and try the treatment out. I have had this technique recommended to me by several friends who declare the ‘Whiskey stick’ as it is often mistranslated into English or ‘the Whiskey needle’ which, thanks to this mistranslation, I often picture as the size of a small branch, is indeed wonderful. This needle is inserted somewhere into the back of your head and is supposed to release tons of endorphins and feel good vibes.
I have done acupuncture before and surprisingly found it incredibly relaxing. The first time I ever did it I felt like I was high. But I decided when going into labor I did not want anyone coming at me with a needle unless it was going to be full of drugs. Acupuncture for running injuries is fine. But if you are going to be sticking a giant needle into me to alleviate pain it is going to be an epidural – I am not as crunchy as I once believed.
The paddles – Actually I have no idea what this torture device is called in English, but I will call it a torture device since it sounds appalling. This is when they insert pockets of hot water under your skin (yes UNDER your skin) to, again, release endorphins in your body. Or cause you extreme pain elsewhere. Or I don’t know what. I know I thought TENS sounded ridiculous before I tried it, and I am pretty sure TENS worked solely as a concentration method, but keep your body modification techniques away from my body while I am trying to give birth without medication. Seriously, I think the other alternative should be ‘The vice grip’ tightening your hand in a vice until you release endorphins and all of your focus is on your damn hand rather than your painful contractions.
Hypnosis – The biggest bonus about hypnosis? No needles! My hospital has a trained hypnotist on staff and access to listen to hypnosis CDs in the birthing room. I have actually done a lot of hypnosis over the years and regularly use hypnosis as a relaxation technique to handle stress. But labor is not stress. It is labor. There was this time I got the chicken pox at an age where it was pretty damn devastating, and a trained hypnotist could not keep me from itching. I just could not concentrate. I was too nervous to rely on hypnotism as my main form of pain control although I did use some relaxation techniques at the beginning. And way too many of the birth hypnosis CDs stress the idea of labor not being painful and only thinking positive thoughts --- and that just does not mesh with my ‘oh crap this hurts – but I am tough enough to get thru this’ mentality.
Overall I can see why 2/3 of these techniques are appealing, but really don’t get the paddles at all. Those are the main options my hospital offers. If I am missing something (or if you LOVED the paddles) let me know!