What is Epidural?
An Epidural is an anesthesia used for pain relief during labor. It is an injection in which the medicines are delivered through a catheter (a narrow plastic tube) into the epidural space just outside the spinal cord and spinal fluid.
What does Epidural procedure involve?
- An epidural is done by a special doctor anesthesiologist.
- You may be asked to arch or curve your lower back while sitting or lying.
- After cleaning the lower back, the doctor will inject with medicines.
- Using a guided needle, the catheter is inserted into the epidural space outside the spine.
- The needle is then removed and catheter is placed throughout the labor. It is used inject any medicines for pain relief as needed.
What are the Benefits of Epidural?
- An epidural is an effective pain relief.
- It has less side effects.
- It can be used in both vaginal delivery and c-section.
- It can be used throughout the labor.
- Most women feels no pain after Epidural.
- It is a local anesthesia and will not make you sleepy.
Will it Affect my Baby?
An epidural is a safe procedure which does not affect your baby.
What are the Side Effects of Epidural?
- For a very small percentage of women, epidural may not work effectively.
- Higher doses of medicine can cause hypertension to the mother which may affect the baby.
- Sometimes you may not be comfortable to be awake throughout the labor.
- For some women it may cause irritation such as itching.
- It can cause a drop in blood pressure which may lead to dizziness or nausea.
- It can cause fever.
- It can cause too much leaking of spinal fluid due to the large hole which may lead to headache that last for a long period.
- Some women can have lifelong back pain.
- In an epidural delivery, the baby may be delivered using forceps or suction cups which may be risky.
- It can cause difficulty in urination.
Who should avoid epidural?
Women with the following conditions should avoid epidural .
- Heavy bleeding
- Extremely low blood pressure
- Any problem with lower back