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Labor & Delivery

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Pros And Cons Of An Epidural

It’s no secret that giving birth to a child is the most painful moment, yet the decision on whether to seek an epidural or not depends on you. Using an epidural means having less pain during delivery. However, most mothers do not fully understand an epidural and resort to experiencing natural pain during delivery. We have put together some of the information regarding this pain relief option so you may understand it better before making a decision!

An epidural is a form of pain-relief that an anesthetist offer during childbirth. It works by blocking the nerve spines found on your lower spine. Nerve spines are responsible for the pain feeling during birth. An anesthetist administers an epidural via a catheter that runs through a large needle. He/She will then insert the needle in the epidural space that is around your spinal cord.

Besides labour and delivery, epidurals’ use span to other surgical procedures such as legs or pelvic surgeries. It can also work as a pain-relief in post-surgery.

The decision of whether to offer an epidural or not depends on three factors:
– Baby’s health
– Your pregnancy
– Specifics of labour and delivery

Besides, to make the best decision on whether an epidural fits you or not, it’s important to review the pros and cons of the option:
Pros of an epidural 
– Pain relief– An epidural offers excellent pain relief during labour. It is one of the most effective methods and has minimal effects on the mother and baby.
– It is quick– An epidural works within a short time after application (10-20 minutes) and mothers who use an epidural have little or no pain during labour.
– Helps in calming anxious mothers– An epidural also helps in calming a mother who is anxious during childbirth. With the medication, labour and delivery will be easier and a physician can easily administer other medications
– Does not affect the mother’s mental state– Epidural does not affect the mental state of a mother; her mind remain clear during birth. This is unlike most medications such as pethidine that affects the mind.
– Effective for high blood pressure mothers– Epidural has an extra benefit of lowering blood pressure in mothers with high blood pressure.

Cons of an epidural 
– An epidural is not 100% effective and an anesthetist may need to adjust them every 30 minutes for it to function well.
– Some mothers may develop side effects to an epidural
– An epidural can sometimes slow labour which may necessitate additional medication such as Syntocinon drip
– Using an epidural may cause the pushing stage of your labour to increase

The decision on whether or not to use an epidural lies solely on you. However, you should seek additional advice from your physician on the suitability and the other pain relief options that are available. Wishing you a safe and smooth delivery!

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