Childbirth is one of the most painful experiences in motherhood. Child labour involves intense uterine contractions, stretching, tearing, and pressure. It’s not a bad thing to consider an epidural during childbirth. However, it is advisable to know the pros and cons of an epidural anaesthetic before you request it.
You and your family must make a personal decision regarding whether or not to use an epidural.
An epidural blocks nerve signals (such as those that cause pain) from reaching the lower region of your spine.
It’s injected into the epidural area, which surrounds your spinal cord, using a catheter that’s placed through a big needle. During labour and delivery, the catheter is left in place to keep the medication flowing.
In this article, we’ll be considering some of the advantages and disadvantages of using an epidural. Before we get into that matter, what exactly is an epidural?
What is an epidural?
The most common type of anesthetic used for pain treatment during delivery is an epidural. An epidural gives you a belt of numbness that runs from your belly button to your upper legs.
It allows you to stay awake and alert during labor while also allowing you to feel pressure.
When it’s time to give birth to your baby, you’ll be able to feel second-stage labor pressure and push. The pain medicine can take up to 15 minutes to take effect.
A physician anesthesiologist will place a needle and a little tube called a catheter in the lower area of your back if you want to have an epidural.
The needle is removed, but the catheter remains in place so that medication can be delivered through the tube as needed. In collaboration with your doctor, you can start an epidural at any point throughout your labor – at the start, in the middle, or even near the end.
Pros of an epidural
There are numerous benefits attached to using an epidural during childbirth, let’s take a look at some of them.
The first of the list of pros of getting an epidural is pain relief. The epidural provides only one major benefit to women in labor: pain reduction.
Labor and childbirth are excruciatingly difficult, and the discomfort and suffering can linger for hours or even days.
Pain can generate mental tension and anxiety, in addition to the obvious physical distress. The epidural is quite successful in reducing pain and suffering.
It can help you stay alert
An epidural can help you stay awake so you can participate fully in the childbirth process. It can also save you pain if you need to use forceps or a vacuum to get your baby out.
An epidural allows you to be awake during the procedure and provides pain medication during your recovery if you need a C-section.
They are effective for longer surgical procedures
During protracted surgical operations, such as C-section delivery, or while recovering from specific surgeries, an epidural can provide continuous pain relief.
If you require an epidural for a surgical operation, you will likely receive a higher dose of medication and may lose all feeling below the waist for a short period of time.
Also, once the medication is reduced or stopped, feelings will return.
Now that we know the pros of having an epidural, what are the cons? Truth is, everything good will have side effects, so you should pay keen attention while reading.
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Cons of an epidural
Below are some of the side effects or disadvantages of getting an epidural.
It can cause low blood pressure
The use of epidurals can result in a reduction in blood pressure. Throughout your labor and delivery, your blood pressure is checked to ensure appropriate blood flow to your baby and throughout your body. You may require oxygen, water, and medicine if your blood pressure decreases.
You may experience some side effects
Shivering, fever and itching are some of the negative effects that some women encounter. In addition, you may feel nauseous or disoriented when the epidural is removed, as well as back pain and soreness where the needle was inserted.
A severe headache will affect about 1% of women, according to Trusted Source. This is a rare adverse effect brought on by a spinal fluid leak. If the headache persists, a blood patch is used to ease the pain by injecting a little amount of your blood into the epidural region.
If the spinal cord is injured by the needle or catheter, or by bleeding or infection in the epidural area, irreversible nerve loss is likely. Anesthesiologists have rigorous training, and the danger of chronic injury is minimal.
You might experience trouble urinating
When you get an epidural, you’re more likely to need a urinary catheter to empty your bladder. This is merely a temporary situation.
Once the numbness has subsided, the urinary catheter can be withdrawn.
There are a number of factors that can determine which birth method is best for you. Some of these factors include pain tolerance, size of your pelvis, size of the baby, the intensity of contractions, and the baby’s position.
It is best to choose a birth method based on your needs and situation. Not everyone will need an epidural. With the pros and cons of an epidural discussed above, you can decide if it’s a preferable option.
Creating two birth plans might be a smart idea. One strategy could be the best plan for you. If things are not going well, the second can be used as a backup plan. If your plans need to change in the middle of labor, this can help you feel less surprised.
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