I think I'll clarify a little in regards to my Lemmings post. I don't think I came across as well as I hoped, but I was not specifically calling into question the use of pain medications during birth, so much as how quickly women (myself included, sadly) are prepared to submit themselves to the medicalisation of what could be a normal birth, in a healthy female with an uncomplicated pregnancy, without pause or question.
Also, the lack of information that women recieve during their prenatals, and in discussions of medical interventions, either during the birth or before hand. Many people feel that they should be able to trust their doctors implicitly, as knowledgable care providers that only recommend safe, thoroughly-tested care, or, if there are risks, then they will give those to you as well. Perhaps this is more pervasive in the doctor/patient relationship when it comes to sickness. But this is sadly, quite often untrue when we're talking about an OB informing a pregnant patient.
There is a long, frightening history of doctors using untried methods to improve birth that seem like they would be a good idea.
For example, using x-ray on pregnant women to determine pelvic size. For one, pelvic size before labor is generally unreliable, as the pelvis expands to allow the baby to pass through. (Not to mention pushing/birthing in certain positions will expand the pelvis - squatting, for example - or narrow it - pushing on your back, knees pulled back to your ears) A few years, and far too many dead/deformed babies later, they said, "Hey! Perhaps exposing a fetus to strong radiation in utero is not the best plan after all!".
Pain medications are being tested on women and unconsenting, uninformed babies, during labor. There is NO research to suggest that it is safe for the baby. The research that has been done to date has alot more to do with changing doses (so as to reduce the harmful effects on the baby, that alone admitting that there ARE effects) with regards to maternal "satisfaction". Not safety, SATISFACTION. There's a very interesting blog post I found recently (and the whole blog is outstanding) about the research that is(n't) going on in this area. Please to be checking it out. :)
Anyways, I needs me some sleep. Weee I have internet still! They did cut our long distance, but at least we have this connection to the world still. :)