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Epidural Anesthesia – What You Should Know Before You Get One

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An epidural is one of the most popular forms of medications for pain relief in labor and birth and can be done for regular labor and childbirth induced labors, a forceps or vacuum delivery or even a cesarean section.   It should be done only if the mother has a low threshold of pain.  If you do not want to have an epidural you do not have to have one.

Many mothers choose to use various other techniques to get through labor without using any medication. Using a doula /midwife  is also known to help reduce the chances of you needing an epidural.

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EPDIUREAL ENATHESIA

How is it done?/How Is Epidural Done:-

 

An epidural is usually done with you on your side or sitting up to give the anesthesiologist the best view of your spine. The area of the back is then washed with a very cold cleansing solution. You are then numbed with a local anesthetic to minimize the pain you feel from the actual epidural needle going in. A test dose is done to be sure that the medication is going into the right space. The needle is removed and a thin, plastic catheter is left in your back and taped down for security.

You are then hooked up to medications that will flow continuously until they remove the catheter from your back. This medication can be changed or altered depending on your needs. Pain relief varies from mother to mother.

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 Advantages Of Taking An Epidural:-

 

  • The Epidural does leave the mother wide awake and mentally aware of everything going on during the birth of her baby
  • More than 90% women get total pain relief
  • Clarity of mind does not get affected
  • Epidurals have evolved since they were first introduced.  Dosage can be altered so that is doesn’t totally numb your legs and feet
  • Less pain  helps you focus on the most important task at hand…pushing the baby out.

Here are the disadvantages of taking an epidural/Side Effects Of Epidural

 

  • Uncomfortable to very painful
  • Hard to lean over while pregnant and having contractions
  • Local anesthesia hurts more than the epidural needle
  • Occasionally the needle will touch a nerve causing your leg to jump or you may feel a shooting pain.
  • You may feel paralysed but you are not
  • After you have given birth you may still experience numbness in your legs for several hours.
  • Back pain may also occur at the site of the epidural
  • Some women feel the contractions but do not experience it as pain.  You may push at wrong times and you risk tearing yourself.
  • Increased risk of forceps or vacuum extraction, episiotomy and c-section
  • The effects of the epidural can pass on to the baby.  The child may be sleepy and inattentive during the first hour of its birth which is the most important hour because babies are most alert at this point of time.  The baby needs to latch onto the mother immediately or breast feeding problems may occur throughout.
  • The most common complication from epidural anesthesia is a drop in the mother’s blood pressure.  It can pose numerous and unwanted problems.
  • Last but not the least is one of the worst complications that could happen. A spinal headache. This is often called the worst headache of your life.  If the epidural needle goes beyond the epidural space, there will be a leakage of cerebro-spinal fluid after the tube is taken out. This fluid buffers your brain and even a very small leak will give you a terrific headache. This is usually treated by taking a small amount of blood from your arm, perhaps the day after your baby is born, and injecting it into your back to seal the hole made by the epidural needle.
  • Please think carefully before taking an epidural.  Speak to you doctor at lenght about this procedure. Be fully aware of all the pros and cons.  If you can bear the pain then please do.  No pain no gain and nothing comes easy. The risks are numerous but then there are  successful cases too.

Have you ever used an epidural? How was your experience like ? Are you considering one during your delivery? Do share your thoughts with us.

 

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Comments

  1. o my god.. it sounds scary.. continuous epidural is not advised coz wen the actual labor ( pushing time starts u wont no) so they must be given in shots.. i opted this and it helped in dilating fast.. mine was not continuous.. my god i’m scared to every bit after reading this and seeing the pic even having gone thru al this… shit..!!

  2. I had a normal delivery and still remember the pain like it was yesterday. I was sooooooo paranoid abt Labor pain that i didn’t mind if the baby continued to stay for 11 months instead of 9. The doc didn’t give my any painkillers and since my membranes didn’t rupture on its own, the doc did for me and the pain which started after that was so bad, i couldn’t breath. I am so scared I will never have another baby.

  3. Am into my 8th month!! Oh god am scared to death! i dont know how my labour will be i was always thinking abt this epidural how its going to work and splly how painfull it is while taking it! Pls ladies if u have taken this pls let me know is it real pain full!! i guess am more scared to this pain if consider taking epidural rather than my actual labour pain!!! OH GOD pls pls pls help me thro’ my labour!! Really am sacred like hell sometimes 🙁

    • lol.. i took it n it helped me a lot.. but don take continuous epidural.. take it in shots or else u wont no wen the actual labor starts.. n even i freaked reading the article.. but i think every thing has its side affects n most likely wont b true.. n plz don freak out.. it’l all happen wen it shud n god wil give u enough strength to go thru al this. 🙂 take care.. 🙂

      • yup! i feel that too..Its God who takes care of everything..believe in God 🙂 and like Salma said everything has its side effects even a simple pain killer does.

  4. eeks..anamika..I am having second thoughts about getting married now..

  5. C-section too is quite dangerous..I still remember when my kid brother was about to arrive, my mother had to undergo c-section. The stupid doctors cut one of her heart arteries…and she lost so much blood….I was a 5 year old then but still can’t forget it…don’t want to scare anyone but she later told me that it was so bad that her blood spurted on the walls of OT..can’t the doctors be more careful….I always end up cursing the doctor who put her into all this just because of her negligence…

    • oh my God Prachi.its seriously shocking and sad but what i went thru i feel that it had to happen because i still think that my pregnancy could have been normal

  6. Atleast you had a safe pregnancy and delivery..that’s what matters…give my goodnight kiss to chunmun

  7. oh my.. it scared the s**t out of me… now i m so confused abt having a baby only…. 🙁 😀

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