5 Things About Epidural Delivery That You Should Know Before Considering It

If you are planning to get epidural for painless delivery, here are some important points that you must keep in mind.

Written by: Chanchal Sengar Updated at: 2021-12-19 12:30

Childbirth brings with it a lot of pain which no one can know unless they experience it. As much as the experience is beautiful, it can make women anxious about the pain and discomfort. To reduce pain, women opt for epidurals for a calm and controlled experience. This has become a preferred procedure by mothers to enjoy the delivery process with lesser pain but is epidural safe? There are many things that need to be understood before considering anesthesia during labor and for that, we reached out to Dr. Suhasini Inamdar, consultant obstetrician and Gynecologist, Motherhood Hospital, Bangalore. Scroll down to know what she has to say about epidural delivery.

What is epidural?

Epidural is a kind of anaesthesia that provides pain relief to the entire body, especially the lower belly during labour. It is injected near the lower spine of the woman and numbs it. Therefore, the woman remains awake during delivery and more comfortable, although, they will still feel the pressure of contractions. An epidural can block the pain sensations coming from the uterus to the backbone and brain via nerves. 

Epidural has several benefits, but it can also put you at risk. Here are 5 things that you must keep in mind while opting for an epidural:

#1 Epidural provides several benefits

Why is epidural given during labor? Epidurals can help in painless delivery in both vaginally and C-section deliveries. As soon as you receive an epidural, you will find relief within 10-20 minutes. Moreover, it will allow you to rest and enjoy a more positive experience. You can stay alert and experience the birthing process as the medicine will not go into your bloodstream. Also, you can take an epidural at any time during labour, even if it was not a part of your birthing plan.

#2 It can reduce the chances of postpartum depression

As per research, an epidural can reduce the prospects of postpartum depression among women, although the evidence to prove this association is less. The increased pain levels during labour can cause higher chances of PPD among women and vice versa, especially if it is painless normal delivery. It can be possible if there is an effective pain management plan set in place. 

Also Read: Why VBAC Delivery Is A Safer Option Than a Repeat C-Section

#3 There Are Risks of Epidural Anesthesia

This certainly provides benefits but there are a few side effects of epidural anesthesia that you should know about. These include:

  • Difficulty in pushing the baby out during delivery
  • Drop-in blood pressure 
  • Headache, nausea, and vomiting
  • Fever and difficulty in breathing
  • Persistent bleeding
  • Soreness and backpain after giving birth
  • Difficulty in urinating due to numbness (urinary catheters have to be used)

#4 Epidurals are risky for the unborn baby

Besides, there are a few risks of epidural for baby also. There are chances that some of the epidurals can also reach the baby that may cause distress. For example, if the mother has low blood pressure, the baby can have a slower heartbeat. Apart from these, you might also need assistance during delivery due to the numbness.

Also Read: Premature Birth- Symptoms, Causes and Care Tips For Premature Babies

#5 Benefits and risks of delivery without an epidural

Without an epidural, you avoid the risks of side effects and complications. If you have good pain tolerance, you can experience natural childbirth. However, labour can be too much pain to bear, and it can tire you out soon. You may or may not need the support of other methods to deliver the baby

You must prepare a plan but do not depend on it entirely as it may change later. It is better to go through the risks and benefits of your options with your doctor. You must consult a doctor and see what they suggest. Your doctor will recommend an epidural based on the following factors:

  • Your emotional well-being and overall health
  • Size of the pelvis
  • Pain tolerance
  • Intensity of contractions
  • Size and the position of the baby

Yes, natural birth can eliminate any side effects of epidural or other pain medications during delivery. However, the need for an epidural can depend on several factors, including the personal choice of women. You must not look for a better method, instead, see what is suitable according to your health and pain tolerance.

Image credits- freepik


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