All pregnant females who are on the verge of motherhood have the common fear of labor pains and delivery. The quantum of labor pains varies from one mother to another. Some have a short duration of labor and easy delivery while others may have a long duration of labor pains. Labor pain is the most severe form of pain, with the advent of modern medicines and techniques it is now possible to relieve the pain of labor. The technique of painless delivery is called epidural analgesia. In an epidural procedure, a small catheter is placed in your lower back through which drugs are injected to relieve the pain of labor. These drugs block the pain sensation without affecting the ability to move with epidural analgesia you can feel the contractions but not pain. It provides relief from unbearable pain during labor with labor painless delivery you need close monitoring by a trained anesthetist and gynecologist.
It allows rest to the mother if labor is prolonged.
Women have more positive birth experience of childbirth.
Women can actively participate in labor because it allows her to relax, she can focus better.
Low pressure can be managed easily by i/v fluids, medication, and oxygen.
Less than 1% of women experience a headache – a severe headache is caused by leakage of spinal fluid. If symptoms persist, epidural blood patch can be used.
Sometimes epidural analgesia causes delayed baby because of numbness of lower legs. So operative vaginal delivery such as forceps or vacuum may be needed. Talk to your gynecologist about these interventions if needed.
Sometimes epidural analgesia slows down labour pains and if this occurs, augmentation of labor is done with Pitocin to speed up the labour
Epidural is not an option to relieve pain if you have any of following problems:
If you are on anticoagulants
Low platelets count
Infection in your back
If you are not at least 4 cm dilated
At the end, epidural analgesia is safe for the mother and baby and she can have the wonderful experience of childbirth.