A lot of women opt for epidurals to block pain during labor. Epidurals work on the nerves carrying pain signals that travel through the epidural space to your brain. The anesthesia injected on this epidural space can block those pain signals and help relieve your pain.
Despite the general acceptance and proven safety of epidurals, many women wonder if they should go for one. Here are 5 things to know about epidurals if you are thinking about opting for them.
- Effect on Mother and Baby
Although epidurals don’t slow down dilation of the cervix or increase your risk of needing a Cesarean section, they might prolong the pushing phase of delivery by an average of 20 minutes. The upside of an epidural is its ability to reduce the body’s normal reaction to pain. It also does not have any ill-effects on your baby’s health.
- Does it hurt?
Although some women fear getting epidurals more than they fear childbirth, most say that the procedure is less uncomfortable than an IV or even one contraction. Many worry about the size of the needle and the stinging sensation it gives. Epidurals usually start to work within five minutes and peaks in 10 minutes. It will typically take about 15 minutes from the moment we start the procedure to the moment you feel pain relief.
- How it is done
When giving an epidural, some women are positioned on their sides, while others are asked to sit up during an epidural. It all depends on the doctor. A nurse will help get you into the necessary position and cleaning solution is put on your skin. The numbing medication is then injected and epidural needle goes through the numb area. The epidural catheter is threated into your epidural space, the needle is removed and the catheter is taped to your back. The medicines are pushed through the catheter and you’re connected to a pump that continually replenishes the epidural medication until you deliver.
- Moving or having Contractions
Labor contractions can be as frequent as every two minutes – it is unlikely that an epidural could be put in place between contractions that are coming this fast. You’ll have a couple of contractions during placement but placing an epidural is not a delicate process. Women who make a small to moderate movement during the procedure can slow down the process, but it isn’t a big deal.
- Walking after an Epidural
Your legs may feel tingly and weak after an epidural, so it may not be safe for you to walk around. It is advisable to stay bed-bound for the rest of your labor. Besides, your obstetric team will want to monitor your baby’s heartbeat frequently.
Epidurals are relatively safe, however if you have any questions regarding the same, feel free to ask our experts at KIMS Cuddles about them.
*Information shared here is for general purpose Please take doctors’ advice before taking any decision.