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You are here : home > Pregnancy > Labour and Delivery > Epidurals during pregnancy

Epidurals during pregnancy


Epidural is a kind of anesthesia used to avoid pain during labour. Read on to know the advantages and disadvantages of epidurals.


Today Poornima has an appointment with her doctor. She is in third trimester of her pregnancy and a bit nervous. She has a list of a few questions with her to ask her doctor. Her list has questions like, should I opt for local or walking epidural, what are the advantages and disadvantages of having epidurals, do I need to have epidurals, how do epidurals work, and does it hurt while having epidural?

Epidural or epidural anesthesia is a kind of anesthesia used as a pain relief during labour. Epidural eases pain while delivering a baby. Epidural anesthesia is a regional anesthesia that obstructs pain in a particular body part. Epidural is used during vaginal child birth. Your health care provider might ask to go for an epidural if it is a c-section delivery, a delivery with the help of forceps or vacuum delivery.

Whether you want to have an epidural or not is completely your choice. When you head towards labour room, you should be aware about all the available options of pain relief. Talk to your doctor all in advance and get your queries answered regarding methods of pain relief.


Types of epidurals

There are several types of epidurals you can opt for. If you are planning to have an epidural, have a thorough discussion with your doctor about choosing a type of epidural that will suit you. There is difference between the procedures and the kinds of medications used in the two popular forms of epidurals.

Traditional epidurals

The traditional epidurals or spinal blocks anesthetise woman's entire lower body. These epidurals take about 20 minutes to show their effect. A drawback of using this type of epidurals is it may affect your ability to push the baby out. While giving local epidural anesthesia, continuous dosages of anesthetic and narcotic drugs in proper combination are given as per requirement.

Walking epidurals

It is believed that walking epidurals relieve labour pain effectively. This new procedure ensures comfortable childbirth as compared to traditional methods of relieving pain. Walking epidurals numbs woman's abdominal nerves, thus she can move around and feel the sensation of pushing a baby. Unlike traditional epidurals, walking epidurals takes only about two minutes to show their effect after two shots are injected.

Spinal epidurals

A dose of one injection is given if spinal epidurals are used during childbirth. The numbing effect of these epidurals fades off quickly as compared to other forms of epidurals.


Epidural procedure

Epidural catheter is a thin tube used to inject the medication while giving epidural anesthesia. Epidural needle is placed into the epidural place around the spinal cord. Anesthetics will give a test dose to ensure that an anesthesia is inserted in a right place. A catheter will be placed on your back with the use of tape so that it will not come out easily. A catheter will enable doctors to give medications though out the labour.


Benefits of epidurals

Experiences of childbirth can differ from one woman to other. Many women experience severe labour pain during childbirth. Epidural anesthesia acts as a pain killer at such difficult times. Following are the benefits of epidural anesthesia or analgesia.

  • Epidurals make childbirth a positive experience by relieving pain effectively.

  • Walking epidurals enables a mother to stay awake even when it is a caesarian delivery.

  • Epidurals work wonder for those who are suffering from tocophobia or has fear of childbirth.

  • With variation in dosage and types of epidurals, a mother is allowed to move even when part of her body is numb.

  • Medications can be increased or decreased without giving extra injections.

Drawbacks of epidurals

Epidurals have some disadvantages too. Following are the drawbacks of epidural anesthesia or analgesia.
  • If you have local epidural anesthesia, you will not be able to move around as your lower half of the body is completely numb.

  • Risk of drop in a mother's blood pressure.

  • A mother is connected to IV and monitor, thus she needs to move with them if she is able to move.

  • Some women may develop itching sensation all over the body or a fever.

  • A delivery may end up in assisted childbirth as mother may not be able to push baby properly because of numbness.
Though every woman has a desire to give birth to her baby naturally, some procedures work wonder when pain becomes unbearable. Epidurals can relieve pain during delivery. It is a subjective choice of every woman whether to opt for it or not. Bringing new life into world is a great experience. Epidurals can act as blessings for mother. Epidurals can be helpful.

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sheryl walters.4 years ago
Epidural's are far from safe. They cause bi polar or psychosis. Lidocaine contains tocainide, which is recorded for causing psychosis. Lidocaine has also been withdrawn from animals reared for food consumption as a precaution.
I have memory loss from lidocaine after a surgeon provide me with four injections. Toxicity occurred
as a result psychosis developed.
In 1996 I had psychosis after a series of dental treatment close together. So epidural is not safe , they are not monitored and may cause brain damage.
 
 
 
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Vidya.4 years ago
Nice to know about the type of epidurals and the procedure. Knowing about the benefits and disadvantage of epidural will help women in making an informed choice.
 
 
 
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Sonika.4 years ago
Epidurals should be taken only when you are unable to bear the pain. Natural childbirth should be enjoyed as such.Epidurals can relieve pain during delivery and it is the decision of the women to choose or not to choose.
 
 
 
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Ramya.4 years ago
I have had two normal deliveries and both were without epidurals. I am glad that i didn't opt for them and could bear the labour pain. It was a really memorable experience.
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