by Penny Simkin, taken from "The Birth Partner"
Explore how you feel, either as a mother or as a birth partner.
Every number on the scale is a potential realistic feeling except the extremes (+10 and -10), which are included as reference to other numbers on the scale.
Note: avoiding pain meds requires more preparation than using them.
+10 Desire to feel nothing; desire for anesthesia before labor begins (this is an impossible extreme).
+9 Fear of Pain; mother believes she cannot cope; dependence on staff for total pain relief.
+7 Definite desire for anesthesia as soon as the doctor will allow it, or before labor becomes painful.
+5 Desire for epidural anesthesia in active labor (at 4-5 cms dilation). Willingness to cope until then, perhaps with narcotic medications.
+3 Preference for using medication, but as little as possible, with some sensation. Desire to use self-help comfort measures. Natural childbirth is not a goal.
0 No opinion or preference. This attitude is rare among pregnant women, though not among birth partners or doulas.
-3 Would like to avoid pain medications unless coping becomes difficult. Would not feel disappointed or guilty if she used medications.
-5 Strong preference to avoid pain medications, to avoid side effects on the baby or the labor. Will accept medications for a long or difficult labor.
-7 Very strong desire for natural childbirth, for a sense of personal gratification as well as to benefit the baby and the progress of labor. Will be disappointed if she needs to use medication.
-9 Desire that birth partner and staff deny mother pain medication, even if she requests it.
-10 Desire that the mother forego all medications, even for cesarean delivery (impossible).