Should I Use an Epidural for Pain Relief During Labor

What Is An Epidural For?

An epidural is a device used to relieve pressure from your brain or spinal cord. It’s basically a small tube placed into one of your arteries which allows blood flow through it so that the nerves don’t have to work too hard. This helps reduce pain and improve function. The main purpose of using an epidural is to ease pain during childbirth and deliver babies.

Why Not Get An Epidural During Labor?

Epidurals are very expensive and they’re only effective if taken within a few minutes after delivery. They can cause side effects such as headache, nausea, dizziness, weakness and even loss of consciousness. If you need them sooner than that then you’ll probably experience complications like stroke or heart attack. Also, they aren’t always available. You may have to travel to a hospital where they’re readily available.

Is There Any Reason To Get An Epidural During Labor?

If you want to avoid complications and pain during labor, then getting an epidural might be helpful. However, there are other ways of reducing pain while giving birth that don’t involve an epidural such as massage or hot packs.

Is It Possible To Still Give Birth Naturally With An Epidural?

You sure can but again, it’ll take a lot longer. They can speed up your contractions and can be bad for your baby and the way it exits your body. So if you want the epidural then go ahead and get it but make sure you also want to stay in the hospital for at least a few days without moving around much.

Is There A Painful Part Of Labor That Can’t Be Avoided Even With An Epidural?

Yes, unfortunately there is a painful part. Since the epidural only numbs your lower body and not your upper body, then you’ll still be able to feel some of the pain when your baby starts to exit your body.

What Are Some Positives About Giving Birth With An Epidural?

The epidural will numb most of your pain so you won’t feel it as much. It’s very convenient. You won’t have to worry about any pain during the delivery process and will only feel it when your baby starts exiting your body.

What Are Some Other Alternatives To Epidurals?

There are other less expensive and more natural ways of reducing your pain during labor. Massages, warm towels on your stomach or a heating pad will help relax your muscles and reduce pain. Even breathing techniques can help since holding your breath can cause you some pain.

Should I Use an Epidural For Pain Relief During Labor?

That’s a decision only you can make. There are many things to consider such as your health, the possibility of side effects and complications. If you still think you need an epidural then by all means get one but remember to stay in the hospital for a few days afterwards so they can monitor you and your baby.

Sources & references used in this article:

Does epidural analgesia during labor affect the incidence of cesarean delivery? by DH Chestnut – Reg Anesth Pain Med, 1997 – rapm.bmj.com

Nulliparas’ preferences for epidural analgesia: their effects on actual use in labor by AB Goldberg, A Cohen, E Lieberman – Birth, 1999 – Wiley Online Library

Epidural analgesia, intrapartum fever, and neonatal sepsis evaluation by E Lieberman, JM Lang, F Frigoletto, DK Richardson… – Pediatrics, 1997 – Am Acad Pediatrics

A review of prospectively controlled comparisons of epidural with non-epidural forms of pain relief during labour by C Howell, I Chalmers – International Journal of Obstetric Anesthesia, 1992 – Elsevier

Unintended effects of epidural analgesia during labor: a systematic review by E Lieberman, C O’Donoghue – American journal of obstetrics and …, 2002 – Elsevier

Epidural analgesia during labor by RD Vincent Jr, DH Chestnut – American family physician, 1998 – aafp.org

Cesarean DeliveryA Randomized Trial of Epidural versus Patient-controlled Meperidine Analgesia during Labor by SK Sharma, EJ Sidawi… – … : The Journal of …, 1997 – anesthesiology.pubs.asahq.org