Epidural anesthesis, against God's laws

In the Douay Rheins Bible in Genesis, Chapter 3, in verse 16, God makes it clear that womens punishment for their disobedience in the garden of Eden, would be to suffer in child birth. He says,"To the woman , I will multiply thy sorrows and thy conceptions: in sorrow shalt thou bring forth children.
Then wouldn’t it be against the laws of God for catholics or christians of any religion to have epidural anesthesis? I asked, the priest at my parish and he told me that this would be a good question for the diocese. What do you think? I know, this is a crazy question but somehow it makes sense to me. Thank you. Brenda

In the scripture you quoted God is telling what He is going to do. He is not laying down the law on what our response to that action has to be. It also says man shall bring forth the fruit of the ground by the sweat of his brow. Does that mean farmers are not allowed to ride in air-conditioned tractors, or even where a hat with a sweatband?

It also seems to me that it is not specified that the pains of labor are specifically meant, though that’s often how it’s interpreted (though I am certainly open to correction on this). There are many “sorrows” associated with motherhood. My oldest is only two, normally developing, and I’ve had my share of sorrowful moments already. :o

I’ve given birth with and without an epidural. The epidural helped the pain (in some ways…after birthing with and without one I prefer without) but it was far from pain-free. If epidurals are out on the basis that they relieve pain, does that mean we shouldn’t use milder medicinal pain relief, or even natural methods of pain relief (laboring in a tub of warm water, for instance), or even walking around? These methods help relieve pain but they also help labor to progress.

The following is from the Book of Sirach (Ben Sira) and Catholic Teaching follows partly from it:

Make friends with the doctor, for he is essential to you;*
God has also established him in his profession.
From God the doctor has wisdom,
and from the king he receives sustenance.
Knowledge makes the doctor distinguished,
and gives access to those in authority.
God makes the earth yield healing herbs
which the prudent should not neglect;
Was not the water sweetened by a twig,
so that all might learn his power?a
He endows people with knowledge,
to glory in his mighty works,
Through which the doctor eases pain,

and the druggist prepares his medicines.
Thus God’s work continues without cease
in its efficacy on the surface of the earth.
My son, when you are ill, do not delay,
but pray to God, for it is he who heals.b
Flee wickedness and purify your hands;
cleanse your heart of every sin.
Offer your sweet-smelling oblation and memorial,
a generous offering according to your means.c
Then give the doctor his place
lest he leave; you need him too,
For there are times when recovery is in his hands.
He too prays to God
That his diagnosis may be correct
and his treatment bring about a cure.
Whoever is a sinner before his Maker
will be defiant toward the doctor.


So, it is true that God increased the sufferings and sorrows of women from Eve onward, but it is also true that through His mercy he gave doctors knowledge, skill and wisdom to relieve pains and sufferings. We now have electricity, heat, air conditioning, refridgerators, grocery stores, clothing stores, etc., all through the gifts and mercy of God who gives all knowledge to men.

Regarding epiderals during labor, my wife had one and they remove pain but there is a possibility of paralysis from it, so it is up to you.

There are women, whom I admire, who choose not to use any medication or epiderals or cesarian sectoins for giving child birth, but of course they take a risk.

When my daughter was in labor, the doctor gave her an epidural right away she will tell you herself, she had no labor, she only felt pressure. Not that I’m for women suffering. I just don’t think that was the way God intended for it to be. Man has made it so that we don’t have to suffer labor pains anymore, depending on your doctor. You don’t think that’s against scripture.

No male can ever speak with authority concerning the pain of childbirth.

Nevertheless, having been present for four of them, I will say it appears to me epidurals help, but only so much. They certainly don’t take away a very substantial amount of pain, and do nothing for other elements of discomfort.

But it seems to me the quoted portion of the bible is instructive, not mandatory. I have heard of women who, in natural childbirth, had very little pain. That does not make the bible wrong or the women somehow unscriptural.

Not to mention the recovery thereafter - my observation (as father of 3) is that the days and weeks following childbirth are no walk in the park regardless of what medication is or isn’t used during labor. Not to mention the 9 months leading up to childbirth - pregnancy is no picnic either. And then raising the children - oh boy!

If you’re Amish…:thumbsup:

Great point

It does sound like a logical interpretation of that bible passage…that women should never have any pain reliever during childbirth.
It’s a good thing no one has taken that interpretation to extremes.

Interesting how some biblical quotes are selected and very, very focused on to become strict rules in the religion–and they are often ambiguous ones (like Onan and the spilling seed)

While others, like this one, that are more specific and clear…are not heeded.


Or to take it another step further, does God intend that man should only do manual labour and not work in offices?

Interesting. I’ll have to check to see if Amish hats have sweatbands. I’m sure there’s some kind of hatband in them. They do wear sunglasses, that I’m sure of.

What about the case of c-sections? Now I wonder if women should be allowed pain medications during the surgery.

That would be an exception. I’m so happy I came back to the catholic church after many yrs. of being away. I’m also so glad that I am not a newbie or someone considering joining the church or I’m pretty sure that some of your answers would have frightened me away. Many of you have been sarcastic and rude. Shame on you! :frowning:

The Church’s position opposing artificial contraception is based on “Natural Law.” Without implying that pain relief in childbirth is morally wrong, surely, however, isn’t pain during labor equally part of the “Natural Law?”

:confused: Are you talking about this thread? I reviewed it top to bottom and cannot find one rude or sarcastic post.

Just doing the best I can.

To steer people away from ridiculous notions.

Shucks! I thought you were serious. Here at CAF, one cannot always tell.

Nope - they were a response to a perfectly sane comment by leafniggle.

If women have to suffer through childbirth then men ought suffer when working.

We don’t expect men to suffer, so why women?

One of the few groups that lives up to this strict interpretation is the Amish.

My comment was cryptic maybe - but not sarcastic at all.

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