Using Epidurals During Labor: Its Benefits and Risks

Pregnancy is one of the most exciting times in a woman's life. There are so many new things to learn and experience every day. Each day throws up new challenges, moments, and joys. But it can also cause a lot of nervous anticipation labor. If it's your first time giving birth, it's normal to feel a little scared.

Following is a thorough of one of the most talked about parts of labor and delivery: the epidural.

Epidural During Pregnancy:

Epidural anesthesia is one of the most popular methods of pain relief during labor. Pregnant women request an epidural by name more than any other way to ease the pain of labor. More than 55% of pregnant women giving birth at hospitals ask for or are given the epidural anesthesia. This practice is common in the hospitals of the United States. When needed, a local anesthesia can be used for this procedure. The doctor injects it into the epidural space, the space around the tough coverings protecting the spinal cord, to block signals.

Is it required?

Every individual has a different capacity to deal with labor pain. Many doctors prefer that women wait until they are 4 or 5 centimenters dialated before starting an epidural. Prior to going into labor, it's important to talk to your doctor about when it will be too late to request an epidural. Because it can take up to 20 minutes for the full benefit of the epidural to kick in, some doctors and anesthesiologists will recommend against an epidural at the later stages of labor.

Epidural During Pregnancy- The procedure:

The epidural process works in the same way as a local anesthetic- it temporarily blocks the nerves sending pain signals from your uterus and cervix to your brain. A doctor will give you an injection on your lower back to numb any sensation from the lower part of your body. Even though the drug begins to show its effect on your body, you remain fully conscious during this period.

Side-effects of Epidural during labor

Widely used to help minimize the pain of childbirth, there are side effects that you should be aware of:

1- It may decrease the chance of having a spontaneous vaginal birth by increasing the risk of the baby being face up to 3 times.

2- It can increase the risk by three times of you needing a synthetic oxytocin.

3- It may increase the chances of you having to undergo a Cesarean section up to 2.5 times.

4- It may raise the risk of a critical perineal tear up to 3 times.

5- It may increase the time of labor.

6- It can also increase the risk of complications related to pelvic floor muscles.

7- It may increase the risk of several complications and may require you to undergo an instrumental delivery, such as forceps. This may raise the risk of episiotomy, vaginal tears, facial injuries to the baby, bruising, displacement of the skull bones, and blood clot formation in the scalp.

8- A decline in the heart rate of a fetal is significant after the birth following an epidural. It is because newborn babies need more time to eradicate the drugs out of their system than adults.

9- It can be the reason for maternal fever, this too affects the baby.


Talk to your OB-Gyn or healthcare provider about your concerns. He or she is the right person to talk to you about the pros and cons of an epidural during delivery.