Becoming a mother is every woman’s dream and desire. As much as it gives you a chill to think of holding a newborn in your arm, there sure is one minor bump on the road – the pain of labour. Although, many women do not stress on it until they get pregnant until the date of delivering nears. But as the day nears, the thrill of being a mother is accompanied by the fear of labour pain and the pain of childbirth.
It’s not rare that these days we find women who give second thoughts at childbirth just because they fear the painful journey of the D-Day. But what many of you might not be aware of is that medical science has advanced enough that it can ease your way painlessly. The magic is nothing but EPIDURA analgesia.
It is unfortunate that the Indian society stigmatises ‘non-natural’ deliveries like cesarean delivery or IVF. The same holds for an epidural. And that is probably why many medical institutes in India still do not practise this method of delivery. However, at Sunshine, we plead that you understand that epidural is only a numbing medicine and it no way affects the ‘naturalness’ of childbirth.
Let’s find out what ‘epidural’ is.
What Is Epidural?
Epidural is a combination of a narcotic and a local anaesthetic drug. It is used deliver that relaxes your vaginal muscles that ease the child’s way out and also reduces your pain. Epidural has been used successfully during childbirth and many other spinal surgical operations. It is not a general anaesthesia. So, you will be awake during the entire process of childbirth.
How Is Epidural Administered?
Epidural is injected in an area of your spinal cord i.e on or around the dura mater. Before the injection, another local Anaesthesia is used to numb the skin.
When is epidural injected during delivery?
Epidural can be injected at any time after you are dilated up to 4-5 cm. Before that, we generally do not give epidural as it may slow down the birthing process. If you feel the pain is bearable up until then, you can postpone taking the drug. You can take the drug whenever you feel that the pain is too much. But once the baby starts crowning (once the head is visible), it’s too late for an epidural.
However, it is advisable that you Talk To Your Gynaecologist about epidural when you are discussing the birthing plan. Because, in that case, the doctor can run some tests to make sure that you are physically fit to take epidural.
Again, please remember that every situation cannot be anticipated beforehand – in some cases, some last-minute complications may arise which might make the use of epidural risky.
Are There Any Risks?
There are no defined permanent damages caused due to the effects of epidural. But again, it has to be administered and constantly supervised by a qualified medical expert. It includes deciding the dose, whether or not the mother is fit for taking epidural, anticipating chances of complication and taking appropriate measures to avoid those.
Unless these measures are taken, you can be at risk of some health issues like:
- A long-lasting backache, shivering and dizziness.
- Drop in the mother’s blood pressure.
- Permanent nerve damage, leading to disability.
Does It Have Any Side-effect On The Child?
The drugs used in an epidural injection are safe for the baby. Plus, the injection is only given when you are already dilated halfway through. So, your body does not get much time to transfer the drug to the baby. In fact, if you have a prolonged labour, it can be stressful for the baby inside you too. Epidural will help in destressing the baby as well. In some cases, the baby faces difficulty in latching initially after the use of an epidural.
However, if not administered properly, it may lead to a drop in the child’s heart rate. So, always get epidural from a qualified and experienced doctor.
Some Other Added Benefits :
- With an epidural, you get less exhausted and can bounce back from the immediate effects of childbirth sooner.
- Epidural helps in avoiding post-partum depression.
- Epidural helps in muscle relaxation. This, in turn, helps in tackling some complications like if the baby is not facing downward, which it normally should. In such situations, epidurals relax the muscle and ease the baby’s way out of the birth canal.
- Medically supervised application of epidural keeps the bp of the mother under control.
- Muscle relaxation due to epidural reduces the risk of high damage of bodily muscles in the mother.
Epidural has been a popular choice since it was introduced to the medical field. The success rate is unquestionable and there are minimal chances of risks and side-effects. At Sunshine, a Team of Medical Experts including a Gynaecologist, an Anesthesiologist, a Paediatrician and trained nurses supervise and carry out the procedure. Hence, you can rest assured because you are going to experience the joy of motherhood without the pain of delivery.
ABOUT THE DOCTOR:
Dr Neerajavalli – Gynaecologist
About Sunshine Hospitals:
A Multi Super Speciality Institution, 500 bedded Sunshine Hospitals (Paradise Circle, Secunderabad) is promoted by globally reputed Joint Replacement Surgeon Dr AV Gurava Reddy (Orthopedic Doctor) and like-minded associates who share the objective of making world-standard healthcare available, affordable and accessible to the common man.