Alana de la Garza Sees ‘No Shame’ in an Epidural

10/02/2010 at 02:00 PM ET
Courtesy Pregnancy

Expectant mom Alana de la Garza is quickly learning that you really can have too much of a good thing!

Husband Michael Roberts earns high marks from the former Law & Order star for his late-night dashes to the grocery store — whipping up a protein-rich meal of steak and spinach after she recently felt woozy — but every woman has her limits!

“[He is] almost too present,” she concedes in the October issue of Pregnancy. “He’s always asking me, ‘Did you put sunscreen on? Does that have caffeine in it? Did you have enough protein today?'”

Too much information is also something de la Garza is wary of as she prepares to deliver her son this month.

Although she will be meeting with a doula soon to discuss her birthing plan, the actress says she’s keeping her options open.

“I’m gung-ho for any woman that can do it naturally, but there’s no shame in saying ‘I need an epidural,'” de la Garza, 34, explains. “And if I’m getting cut down in that area, I don’t want to know. I want to enjoy the process as much as possible.”

The reward awaiting her on the other side is more than enough to keep de la Garza feeling motivated. “I look forward [to motherhood],” she says. “It doesn’t scare me.”

“I feel honored to grow this little person inside of me,” de la Garza adds. “It sounds cheesy and hormonal, but it’s really a miracle.”

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Showing 36 comments

HJB on

I had one cesarean (after an epidural) and one natural birth. As long as you have fully weighted the risks involved (increase risk of complications for Mom and baby as well as incresed chance of cesarean) and feel a peace in the moment: do what you have to do! Some times an epidural can be a helpful thing. Good luck to Mama on a happy and healthy delivery!

JMO on

Yes nobody should feel shamed in any way they give birth! Sometimes it’s out of one’s control. And all that matters is that mom and baby come through it just fine!

Sheesh I joke that I want an epidural the minute I find out I’m expecting LOL ;)

Mina on

When I was in labor I tried to go naturally…and I may have, but it got soooo painful and I had only dilated to like 5 or 6 (and I think you have to go to 10 lol I forget it was so long ago). The doc came in and said I was progressing more slowly than normal. That was the moment I was like ok enough. I had already been in labor for a whole day. I knew I wouldnt be able to push if I was physically run down. Once they put that epidural in, its like it paralyzes you…you cant feel a thing and its amazing. Its true relief for those who need it.

Laura on

haha JMO!

My thoughts are that if doctors felt it wasn’t good for the baby then they would discourage it or even forbid it. While a woman is pregnant, they are saying what she can/cannot have all the time. I wouldn’t think that would stop during labor as well. (I would hope not at least!) So if it was truly that bad for baby or mom then I think doctors would be more against it. Now I’m no where near ready for a baby yet and once I do get pregnant, I will weigh all my options and research more.

Paula Kos on

I am with these two. After my first being an emergency c-section, my second was planned section. My third was natural vbac, and my fourth was an epidural vbac – whatever works! if the end result is a healthy mom and baby.

Janna on

Who would ever suggest that there IS shame in asking for help? That’s crazy. I had both my girls without assistance, but you better believe that if I thought I needed pain meds, I would have asked for it in a heartbeat… and expected it ASAP!

Taylor on

Janna, stick around long enough and those mothers who think you’re better if you have a natural birth will surface.

I didn’t have an epidural with either of my children but I’ll be the first to advocate that every woman has to do what’s right for her. No one should be made to feel bad regarding her birthing choice. If someone feels so strongly about not having an epidural, then don’t. But that same person has no right to judge another mother for having one.

ecl on

There ARE increased risks with an epidural, but I had one anyway!

Kate on

It has nothing to do with shame, but doesn’t an epidural increase the chance of tearing or worse…an episiotomy. I’d rather deliver in a birthing pool.

Siobhan on

Kate – you’re absolutely right. If you have an epidural you can’t feel what your body’s doing as you would without any drugs or intervention, which does increase the risk of tearing, not to mention the fact that you’ll be on your back, which is not the ideal position to birth in if you want to prevent tearing. My baby was quite large but I delivered him without any tearing at all, which I put down to the fact that I didn’t have any drugs or intervention, so could feel exactly when I needed to push and when I needed to stop (perineal massage also helped a lot, I think). Everyone needs to do what’s right for them, but sometimes the ‘easy’ option can be a harder option in the long run…

macayla on

I had an epidural with my first, because I had to deliver him after I miscarried at 16-weeks. The doctor very forthrightly said, “Since we’re going to have to induce labor and you’re not going to have a happy ending, I insist that you have an epidural. There is absolutely no reason for you to feel that kind of pain when you don’t get to take your son home.” When I reached the point in labor where I could no longer bear the pain, I had my epidural and it was the wisest decision my doctor and I could have made. Thus, for both of my younger children, I also had epidurals. I wanted to enjoy my labor as much as possible, and I had fabulous birthing experiences with both my daughter and my youngest son.

Women who give birth without epidurals amaze me. I simply cannot handle that level of pain. I managed to do half of my labor with my youngest at home, and by the time I was at the hospital, I was in agony. When they gave me my epidural, I was finally able to relax and enjoy the rest of labor. I even got to sleep for a couple of hours, which was such a blessing. Do I wish I had a higher pain tolerance? Shoot yeah! But the truth is, I don’t. So, I’m very thankful for the option of an epidural.

Tee on

Wow, I have to admit I’m impressed with these comments. I thought for sure that the nasty side of some people would come out! As a midwife that encouraged woman to birth at home, it’s obvious that I support an unmedicated birth. That being said, all of you are right. Some women, for various reasons, really need the pain medicine and there is NO shame in that at all! While an epidural does have some risks and often slows down or even stalls labor, it’s a great option for women that choose to receive pain control of some kind.

debbie on

Shame.. Oh please.. Never ever,, should a pregnant woman ever feel that. I did 2 epidurals and one natural (not by choice), For my first daughter, I was screaming for the epidural like a mad woman at 2 CM. I think the nurses wanted to shut me up, so they brought the guy in and gave it to me. Which didnt slow me down but actually help the situation.

Second pregnancy i gave birth at home cause he just flew out, Labor and delivery in 30 minutes, no time for nothing,, and Jesus Murphy Holy moly I screamed liked a mad woman.. Third pregnancy, i thought too myself, hey did it with out the epidural , i can do it again, Ya right, i was screaming for him to give me the drugs.. Ahh wonderful choices that we have….. Nice and pain free 3 hours birth… Perfect for mother and baby!!!!

Karen F. on

I have four children; all born in the 80’s. The trend in 80 was to go natural. I did with my first child and she was my smallest. I was bound and determined to do the same with my second and it was a mistake. He was 2 pounds bigger and 3 1/2 inches longer than my first and the doctor almost gave me an emergency c-section as I was in so much pain. My third and fourth children I made decision that I would have an epidural. What I had went through with my second wasn’t worth it.

Now my oldest child is expecting her first and she hopes not to have a C-section. Hopefully everything will go smoothly, but I know that her doctor will do the best she can for her.

Kara on

To each mom their own right!! I had three children with out an epidural. With my first I tried IV meds. but didn’t like how they left me feeling, drugged out and couldn’t even hold my eyes open. And I think for me it was a great feeling of accomplishment that I could do it with out one, but was a decision I made with my Midwife and Doctor and husband from the very beginning. I went into it knowing that yes it was going to be very painful. But I wanted to be open minded about it and try to do it without one.

When my mother in-law and sister in-law had my husband out arguing in the hall about them thinking he was not letting me “get” an epidural or not and I was sitting in the bathroom with my midwife and I said I didn’t want one. (In the middle of a contraction never the less). My midwife was right there to encourage me and said “No one will make you have one if you don’t want it and if you can sit here and tell me that in the middle of a contraction I believe you can do this.” That was a lot of help. And I believe a lot more women could have a epidural free birthing experience if that had that kind of encouragement and help during birth. But I am still very much in that its whatever makes mom happy and as long as its safe and healthy for baby.

Becky on

I was induced and was in labour for 45 hours before i finally said enough and had an epidural. I ended up with a emergency section due to my daughter going into distress and my pre eclampsia getting out of control. Undoubtedly, it was the right thing to happen, however, the amount of “friends” who have since said i was “too posh to push” or that i “took the easy way out”, is unbelievable!

It upset me so much that i couldnt deliver my daughter naturally and to have people say things like that it just so upsetting. I fell out with so many of them and havent spoken to them since. It took me 6 months to start to bond with my daughter and 2 years to recover from the section.

I am now expecting my second in less than 4 weeks and am hoping for a vbac. There should never be any shame in having an epidural.

Michelle on

Nope and when it came time for me to push they let the Epidural wear off and you can feel EVERYTHING!! Plus the new ones they use here in Australia can allow you to feel your lower legs and feet but block your abdomen. It feels freaky, but oh so wonderful!!

Mira on

There’s no shame. Just danger.

mochababe73 on

I say to each her own. I didn’t want epidural, and it had nothing to do with being natural. When I took birthing classes one of the videos shown was a woman getting an epidural. Seeing that needle go into that woman’s back scared me more than giving birth or the ceasarean. So, by the grace of God, I gave birth to both of my children naturally. I had failure to progress and was given Pitocin, and I still refused to have an epidural. To be honest, no one pressured me to get one. They were actually very nice and encouraging when I said no.

However, what I said can be taken with a grain of salt. My husband and I didn’t even have a birth plan or a suitcase ready for the run to the hospital. With both. Go figure.

Kat on

Oh come on, Mira. Elaborate, please.

Angela on

Unbelievable, Becky! You actually had people who said that after nearly two days in labor? Sounds like they weren’t friends to begin with. Hope you get your VBAC with your second.

Sarah on

I’ve had 3 kids, 3 epidurals and with each epidural my labor actually sped up. Minimal tearing with the first two kids and no Tearing with my largest and final child :) I never even second guessed getting the Epidural lol.. I have a decent pain tolerance but Labor is on a whole another level of pain.

Luna on

With my first, by the time I got to the hospital, I was almost ready to have him. Within an hour of getting to the hospital, my son was born. No time for the epidural. Next I had twins via C-section (complicated situation that lead to that painful experience but I got two beautiful girls out of it). With my next daughter, I had a VBAC without an epidural and that was by far the most painful birth. At least with my son it didn’t take too long, but with my daughter, it was twenty seven hours of labor. With my final son, I had a VBAC with an epidural and that was great. I recovered the quickest, felt the least pain, and had my beautiful baby boy.

I feel you’re going through something so trying on your body that if you want pain medication, you should get pain medication. :)

Krileigh on

It’s always SO easy to judge, and the internet is full of information and misinformation. I know lots of women who have given birth without epidurals, and lots who have given birth with epidurals. And out of those who did take it, I don’t know any for whom (or for whose baby) the epidural caused undue hardship or difficulty during the birth.

The bottom line is THEY GAVE BIRTH…and should be proud of that accomplishment, no matter which path they wound up taking to get there.

Gianna on

Wow, Becky! People actually said those things to you? I can’t imagine saying something like that to a friend who went through what you did. I just can’t fathom such rotten people. Get better friends, girl! I swear, there are so many NASTY know-it-alls out there who just LOVE to dish out cryptic advice and insults, and who genuinely believe that they know better than you. To each her own, Becky, and to anybody who says any different to you, tell them to go stick their heads where the sun don’t shine. Do what’s best for YOU and ignore those miserable sanctimommies. Good luck, sweetie.

Kat, I disagree. Mira said more than enough.

Tee on

Mira’s right. It’s a calculated risk that women need to research before deciding on. I only have problems when a women makes an uninformed choice.

kirsty on

I had my epidural 7 hours into my induction, my only regret was not getting it sooner! I was able to feel pressure for when to push and felt a lot burning when my daughter was almost born, so I was able to control what I was doing and I did not tear at all! the epidural also speed up my labor because I was only at 3 and I progressed really fast since I was a lot more relaxed and was even able to take a nap.

Amy on

No one should ever be made to feel shame for the choices they make about delivery, regardless of who is speaking ie MIL. It is up to the mother and her care team to decide the best course of pain medication/non-medication for her situation and NO ONE else. Kudos to Alana for her choice.

Cecelia on

I have 5 children. My first 3 were delivered naturally with no epidural but still had to have an episiotomy on all 3. My 4th one was stuck at 5cm so I had the epidural. I still had to have an episitomy. My 5th was emergency c-section.

Every person is different. There is no shame in having an epidural.

katie on

well i hope she meets with a decent doula! :) a doula thats worth their weight in gold will get her sorted without the need for interventions. epidural should be not be routine if the pain is tolerabe. epidurals interfear with the birthing process and increase your chances of being cut

Mamsmom on

With our first two daughters, I did not have an epidural with either of them, 1st weighed 9lbs 11 oz, second 9lbs 6oz..when I was found out I was pregnant with our third when our second was only 4 mos old, I told my husband and my Dr right away that for this one I wanted an epidural…my husband said “WHY, you didn’t have one with the girls”?..I said, yes and I remember the pain so this time, I WANT ONE”..glad I did, our son was 10 lbs 15 oz…People need to mind their P’s & Q’s and stop being so judgmental…

tricia on

I just wanted to say that i gave birth to three daughters all 100 percent natural. I also had two boy twin pregnacies that the first was preterm labour at 24 weeks and the other was twin to twin transfer at 18 weeks that resulted in the death of all 4 babies in both pregnacies. No doctor offered me an epidual ” to lessen the pain ” of having to deliver what had been a very tramatic time in our lives.

Halley on

my mom gave me a great piece of advice when I was pregnant with my son. She said all that matters is getting the baby on the ground safely! I wont ever forget that. No one goes around and passes out gold stars to the women who dont have epidurals. And childbirth is hard no matter what choices one makes. If mama’s happy and baby’s happy nothing else matters. I think our #1 duty as women should be to support each other.

Molly on

As long as mom and baby are healthy, does it matter how she delivered? I fail to understand why it matters.

Leah on

I had a regular epidural with my oldest daughter, 17 years ago, and a “walking epidural” with my younger daughter 8 years ago. THe difference was like night and day. I was flat on my back for my entire labor, it was hours before I could walk after my oldest daughter was born, I couldn’t eat right away because I was nauseous, and the episiotomy my doctor insisted on made it impossible for me to sit for almost 2 weeks. With my younger daughter, I had the walking epirual and a midwife delivered me. I did most of my labor in the jacuzzi bathtub in my hospital room, didn’t take any pain meds until the epidural was administered(being in the jacuzzi made it possible for me to skip them), no episiotomy because the midwife did perianal massage to stretch the skin naturally (no need to cut, the baby slid right out) I was able to feel the pressure sensation when it was time to push, and still had control of my muscles but there was NO PAIN. Best part was that the epidural wore off 20 minutes after the placenta was delivered and I was up and walking right away. My first labor was also twice as long as my second, because the doctor wouldn’t let me walk or alternate my labor position. The epidurals they use now are different than the ones they used 17 years ago, and so are the choices we have for what kind of delivery we want to have,and every woman should not only do what is right for HER, but she should ask questions about the type of epidural she will receive and the labor positions she will be able to use. I also recommend using a nurse midwife whenever possible. Most OB/Gyn practices employ at least one.

Anonymous on

A woman is entitled to the birth she wants for herself (barring things don’t always go quite as planned, sometimes). And though I’ve never had a baby, if/when I do, I’ll definitely be keeping the epidural option open. Everything has it’s risks, so goes life. Being pregnant has risks too. Personally, I haven’t known anyone personally with a devastating epidural story and all babies born were perfectly fine with very high apgars.

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