Labor pains and dilatation of cervix are associated with tremendous, excruciating pain which is a reason of anxiety for the patient. Right from conception to the time of delivery mother is apprehensive regarding the pain associated with delivery of baby. Nowadays with medical advancements there is an option of safe painless delivery or epidural analgesia in labor.
The Procedure –
It involves injection of drugs through a catheter or thin tube placed in the epidural space in your lower back by a prick of a very small needle. It blocks the pain sensation below the tummy but muscle strength is not affected. The drugs are local anaesthetics to numb the nerves. The expecting mother will not feel the pain but pressure sensation is felt and she can push with contractions. It is given either sitting upright or lying on the side after history and clinical examination. IV drip is already on flow. The entire procedure takes around 20-30 minutes and takes 10-15 minutes to act and reduce pain. The injection will give relief for 2-4 hours after which if you start feeling pain, a top up dose can be given through the same tube already in place. This is called patient controlled epidural analgesia(PCEA).Mother is allowed to take clear liquids orally till delivery. Once the injection is given labor progresses in the same fashion without you feeling pain or harm to the baby.You and the baby will need monitoring throughout labor. Hence epidural should be planned at a place equipped with all the modern amenities,adequate staff and 24*7 availability of the doctor.
Advantages of Painless Delivery:
-Decreased stress hormones in mother making her and the baby comfortable -Useful in patients with high BP and heart disease -Caesarean can be done through the same tube -Caesarean can be avoided as patient is not scared of pain and is more cooperative -Chances of DVT are less Disadvantages -Minor complications like positional headache, backache after procedure -It makes pushing a bit difficult and instrumentation may be needed for delivery
Few patients who have bleeding disorders, neurological problems or lower back problems cannot take epidural. It does not increase your chances of caesarean. Fear of caesarean should not stop the mother from taking pain relief.