Epidural Anesthesia: Things you must Know

Many of us have undergone surgeries where it was customary to use anesthesia. But a very small minority among us is actually aware of what it is.Epidural anesthesia is probably the most common measure used during labor pains. It is basically an injection given in the back that has a numbing effect on the nerves, thereby making you oblivious of the pain.

Apparently more than 50% of women giving birth are given a shot of epidural anesthesia. Therefore, for mothers preparing to give birth to babies soon, must know the basic facts about this so that you know exactly what sort of labor choice you are making. Here is some information which might help you to decide.

epidural anesthesiaA Few Facts about Epidural Anesthesia

An epidural anesthesia is basically a local pain reliever that blocks the pain in a specific region. There are basically two types of epidural anesthesia, or as they call it, epidural, namely: 1. Regular epidural and 2. Walking epidural.

Regular Epidural

In this process first a catheter is placed, and then a shot of narcotic combined with anesthesia is given to the person concern through the epidural region. The use of narcotic helps in reducing the disadvantages of the anesthesia.

Walking Epidural

Also known as Combined Spinal Epidural or CSE, this technique is used in the spinal region of the patient, and catheter is administered only after the shot has been given.

This process is used in order to ease the labor pain. But like all medical processes, the epidural also has some advantages and disadvantages to it.

Advantages and Disadvantages of an Epidural

Let us count the advantages of the system first before we move on to the problems.

  • Firstly, if you have a prolonged labor, this process helps you to rest during it.
  • This reduces the discomfort so that giving birth can be a more memorable experience.
  • Epidural anesthesia helps you to stay alert throughout the process of labor and actively participate in the birth of your child.
  • If it is a caesarian delivery, the epidural is more advantageous for you.
  • A lot of people like to rely on other more natural methods during the labor, but an epidural gives you better stamina to deal with the exhaustion and irritability.
  • Importantly, the amount of success of this anesthesia majorly dependent on how it is being administered.

However, there are certain problems of the epidural too that you might do well to learn.

Here are the main disadvantages of the process:

  • This might lead to a sudden drop in your blood pressure and you may need other medications like IV fluid, oxygen, etc.
  • There is a side effect that about 1% of women experience, that is severe headache. This is caused by the leakage of the spinal fluid.
  • During the labor you will need to alter your lying position in order to keep the labor going.
  • Some people experience a few other difficulties, like shivering, ringing sensations in the ears, nausea etc.
  • After the baby is born, for a few hours your lower body will feel numb.
  • There might be some permanent nerve damages, but that is extremely rare.

These are the few basic facts that will make you understand the epidural better.


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