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Epidurals During Labor

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 also comes up with nervous anticipation for the final day called labor. It's normal to feel scared about it. Many women may also have recounted tales of going through painful and long birth to you.

Have you come across the term epidural? Read on to know more thoroughly about what is an epidural during pregnancy, how does it work, and what are its side-effects?

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 or 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?

There is no defined answer to this question. Every individual has a different capacity to deal with labor pain. If you feel, at any time during labor that the contractions of your uterus are getting too painful and unbearing, you can opt for an epidural.

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

While epidurals have their own set of challenges, they may also put adverse effects on labor and delivery negatively.

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.

10- Women who had been given epidural during labor are two times more like to halt breastfeeding than those who didn't.

11- Mothers who are given epidurals are also known to bond less with their newborns.

If this is the first time you're getting pregnant and are skeptical whether you should take an epidural during labor, consult your gynecologist or healthcare provider. Your doctor is the right person who can clear all your doubts related to epidurals during pregnancy.

We hope that this article provides you with enough information to understand what is an epidural and what type of risks it poses to your health. If you want more information on the related topic, do write us back in the comment box.


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