Epidural anesthesia is a regional anesthesia which blocks pain in a particular part of the body. It is administered by an anesthesiologist (a doctor who takes pain medicine for you) during labor to reduce discomfort. In this method, medications are placed near the nerves in your lower back to block pain in a wide region of your body while you stay awake. Epidural anesthesia greatly reduces pain throughout the birthing process. It may also be used if a cesarean birth becomes necessary, so it is the most popular method of pain relief during labor.
How to drive an epidural into your body?
Intravenous (IV) fluids will be started before active labor begins and prior to the procedure of placing the epidural. Pain relieving medications will be injected into a vein or a muscle to reduce labor discomfort. These medications do not completely stop the pain, but they do lessen it. Because they affect your entire body and will make both you and your baby sleepy, these drugs are mainly used during early labor to help you rest and conserve your energy.
How long does an anesthesia work, and how long will it last?
An epidural procedure starts working 10 – 20 minutes after the medication has been injected. Epidural anesthesia helps the pain relief last as long as you need while medication can always be given through the catheter.
What are the benefits of epidural anesthesia?
- Normally, an epidural will either allow you to stay alerted or remain an active participant in your birth.
- It allows you to rest if your labor is prolonged.
- You can reduce the discomfort of childbirth so that some women have a more positive birth experience.
- If you deliver by cesarean, an epidural anesthesia will allow you to stay awake and also provide effective pain relief during recovery.
- The use of epidural anesthesia during childbirth is refined continually, and much of this method’s success depends on the skill with which it is administered.
- When other types of coping mechanisms are no longer helping, an epidural can help you deal with exhaustion, fatigue, and irritability.
- An epidural can allow you to get focused, relax, and give you the strength to move forward as an active participant in your birth experience.
Are there any side effects to regional anesthesia?
This method is safe but there are also some side effects that you ought to concern. Your anesthesiologist will take special precautions to prevent complications. Though complications are rare, some side effects may include:
- Lower blood pressure. You will receive intravenous fluids and your blood pressure will be monitored carefully and treated to prevent this from happening.
- Headache. Drinking fluids and taking pain tablets will help relieve headaches after regional anesthesia. If a headache persists, tell your anesthesiologist and additional medications may be ordered for you.
- Mild itching during labor. If itching becomes bothersome, your anesthesiologist will treat it.
- Local anesthetic reaction. Although local anesthetic reactions are rare, they can be serious. Be sure to tell your anesthesiologist if you become dizzy and develop ringing in your ears so that he or she can quickly treat the problem.
Getting pain relief should not cause you to feel inadequate. You are the only one who knows your own feelings, so you must decide which regard control of your labor pain. Also, don’t worry much about the safety of the medicine. All medications provided during childbirth are considered safe for both you and your baby.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Review Date: November 9, 2016 | Last Modified: January 4, 2017
How Will You Handle Your Labor Pain?. http://www.webmd.com/baby/guide/pregnancy-pain-relief#1. Accessed November 11, 2016.
Using Epidural Anesthesia During Labor: Benefits And Risks.http://americanpregnancy.org/labor-and-birth/epidural/. Accessed November 11, 2016.