Better Living through Chemistry!

Hello all!

I know it has been an insanely long time since I posted, but I’m going to blame that on med school. Its the best and the worst and so many other contradictory things.

But I’m winding down my core clerkships, so I have amassed a few bits of advice and perspective that I want to share.


I am an M3, which is the year after completing the basic book learning and begin assisting residents and attendings. I am also in a school that focuses heavily on Evidence-Based Medicine (called EBM sometimes), so my experiences are with the most recent recommendations from the various medical societies. Your experiences might be wildly different because medicine is a highly varied profession with people who trained under wildly different circumstances. I also can’t speak for everyone and can only give you my perspective on what I’ve seen. Take it as it is offered and do as you will.

That all said, I’m currently on my clerkship in Obstetrics and Gynecology. It is an utterly unique specialty and you get to share really important and life-changing moments with people from all walks of life. So here’s my advice…and obviously, I’m talking to you ladies…

You want the epidural. For real. Maybe you think you want to experience the “natural” process of birth, but I promise you, you don’t want to feel the utterly unnatural experience of post-birth laceration repair. See, under most circumstances, a woman’s body is capable of doing the hard work of getting a baby out, but not without some consequences. Baby heads being forced through a small space often cause tears, and tears need to get repaired.

The process of stitching up recently abused vagina is very, very painful (and I mean, oh god so painful). We use lidocaine to help numb it all, but that only works so much and only for so long, and without that epidural, you’re going to feel the majority of the stabbing and the stitching. We try to move as fast as possible and get it over as quick as we can, but holy guacamole it’s going to feel like forever and it’s going to suck so hard. For everyone, but mostly for you.

So please, please, please get the epidural. If you want to experience the natural process, do it at the beginning of labor and get that epidural at the end. It will be so much easier for you, and you won’t torture everyone around you with having to watch you squirm and scream. Your doctor will also thank you because stitching up a patient who is conscious and mostly feels what is happening is one of the worst things. We really don’t want to cause you pain, so please don’t make us do it. We will, but we will hate every second of it.

So with that in mind, I’m off to get some rest so that I can get to work super early tomorrow! I hope it won’t be too long before I see you all again.