Epidural is an anesthetic used for relief from pains during pregnancy. Most of the pregnant women prefer to take epidural instead of any other to free from labor pains.
When you are preparing for Labor Day, you need to learn more about the pain relief choices so that you are prepared to make choices during the birth experience.
Epidural anesthesia – What it exactly means?
It is an anesthetic that obstructs the pain in the specific region of your body. The main aim of the epidural is to offer pain relief or analgesia than complete anesthesia. Anesthesia is completely lack of sensation.
Nerve impulses blocking from inferior spinal segments results in reduced sense in the inferior part of your body. The class of medications which comes under epidurals includes: chloroprocaine, bupivacaine or lidocaine.
Often these are given in combination with narcotics or opioids, like sufentanil and fentanyl in order to lessen the necessary dose of anesthesia. In this way, you can relieve from pain with minimal side effects.
How to administer the epidural?
Before the starting of labor process, your body starts producing the intravenous fluids. During the labor and delivery, 1-2 liters of this fluid will be released.
Your obstetrician will administer the anesthesia. In order to inject the epidural, you are required to bend the back and stay at rest while sitting or lying on your left side.
Different types of epidurals:
Basically, there are 2 types of epidurals one is regular epidural and the other is combined spinal epidural or walking epidural.
Regular epidural: Catheter after setting in place, a mixture of anesthesia and narcotic is directed with the help of a pump or series of injections into the epidural place. Narcotics are administered in order to reduce the side effects of anesthetic.
Combined spinal epidural or walking epidural: At the beginning, a combination of anesthetic, narcotic or a mixture of two is delivered under the outermost covering which covers your spinal cord and the inside of epidural space. This space is referred as intrathecal area.
The benefits of epidural anesthesia:
- For a prolonged labor, it allows you to rest.
- It helps in relieving the distress of childbirth.
- During majority of the times, the epidural will allows you to remain attentive and hence you can actively participate in the birth.
- During cesarean section, this anesthesia allows you to stay alert. Also, it provides effective pain relief from recovering.
- It allows you to get relaxed, focused and get enough rest and also it gives you enough strength to actively participate during the birth process.
Side effects of epidural:
- Severe headache due to the leakage of fluid from the spine.
- After administering the epidural, continually you need to change your position of lying and need continual monitoring of the changes in the fetal heart rate. Staying in one single position causes the stopping of labor process.
- There is a sudden drop in your blood pressure. Continual verification of blood pressure will take place in order to ensure that your baby is receiving enough blood. If this is the case, you are required to take a treatment with intravenous fluids, oxygen and medications.
- There are other side effects like: backache, nausea, difficulty in urinating, shivering, soreness at the place where needle insertion takes place and ringing.
- Epidural makes pushing more complex, so there is a necessity of caesarean, forceps, pitocin and vacuum extraction.
- Once after the birth, you may feel numb in the lower part of your body so that you need support while walking.
- In the rare conditions, there will be permanent damage to your nerves at the place wherever the catheter was introduced.
Don’t use the epidural when:
- The platelet count is very low
- You have blood infection
- The epidural space can not be detected by the physician
- You are in shock or have hemorrhage
- You apply blood thinners
- You have any back infection
- There is no dilation for at least 4cm
- The labor is very fast and no time to give epidural
When you are very nearer to your labor date, you need to know more about the options for pain relief so that you can easily come out of your labor pains.