As a mother of two lovely boys born by C-section, I would like to discuss a non-opioid pain-relieving option related specifically to C-section surgery. To begin I feel it is important to share my experience. When I turned 26 years old I found out I was pregnant. Both the doctors and I thought I was unable to have children due to a childhood accident. However, due to our surprise, my husband and I were blessed with a beautiful little boy. Before he came along, my pregnancy went as smooth as possible. I felt little to no pain or suffered from morning sickness during the entire pregnancy. In fact, I continued to work until a few days before my due date.
On November 11 my day started like any other day. My husband was getting dressed for work as I was preparing breakfast for the both of us. When we were done eating, he headed off to work and I started on the household chores. I knew the baby would be here any minute and I wanted to knock out some of the minor chores around the house. While washing our never-ending laundry, I began having regular contractions. I sat down for a few minutes to take a breather and the contractions just kept coming. I decided I would call my husband so we could go to the hospital. Once we arrived at the hospital they evaluated me and decided I was going to be admitted. They started monitoring my contractions and noticed the baby’s heartbeat kept dropping. My doctor notified us if this continued, we would be forced to do a C-section for the baby’s safety. Unfortunately, the baby’s heartbeat dropped again, so they called to schedule a C-section and had me in the surgery room within an hour. As a new mother, I didn’t know what to expect, all I knew was I wanted to do everything I possibly could to keep my baby safe.
Once we were done with the procedure, my doctor informed me the reason for the unplanned C-section was due to the baby’s umbilical cord being wrapped around his neck. This was causing his heartbeat to drop. Thankfully, I gave birth to a healthy 8lb 8oz baby. Once I was rolled to my room they informed me, that if I was in pain just push the button for more pain meds. As a new mother, I never considered other options to relieve my pain. The pain after the C-section was so unbearable all I could focus on was how to relieve my pain. The only pain reliever that was offered to me was opioids. Now that I look back on it, I remember spending the first few days of my son’s life being super groggy due to the opioids. I decided to breastfeed my son, so I tried my best to stay away from the pain medications.
Today, I would like to inform you that there are non-opioid options to relieve pain. These options were never presented to me but I encourage you to take a look at the Choices Matter campaign and visit planagainstpain.com. See if it is something you would be interested in. A few of the leading concerns surrounding opioids and childbirth are impact on breastfeeding, side effects, and fear over the risk of dependence or addiction. In a study, 44% of C-section mothers were not completely satisfied with how their pain was managed during birth. It is very important to discuss pain management options with your doctor long before your surgery date. There are treatment choices to consider before and after surgery that can impact the medications used, for example, opioid versus non-opioids, and for how long they’re needed. The trend is to use non-opioid medications at the start of treatment to limit, or completely eliminate, your need for opioids, which may be associated with unwanted side effects that can impact the recovery process. Thankfully, I was able to discontinue the opioids in a timely manner but unfortunately, that’s not the case for some.