Giving birth to a child really hurts and it’s undeniable. Nowadays, modern medicine has different inventions to reduce the pain of labor. One of these is having an epidural; but, what’s involved, its risks and advantages? Epidural in pregnancy is an anesthetic that numbs you from your waist. Experts and probably long-term mothers know the epidural procedure that can make women braver to give birth. However, there may be epidural side effects after birth to some mothers. 

It is recorded that about 61% of women in the United States have an epidural during their labor. Some want to experience the full unfiltered birthing process with the help of this pain-reducing medication. However, some women want to avoid having an epidural and look for alternatives to the epidural because they are worried about their safety and their baby’s safety. Why are epidurals controversial? Well, there’s an on-going controversy that an epidural can increase the chance of a pregnant woman to undergo a C-section which we know that a C-section also has its pros and cons to a mother. 

The thing about an epidural

Traditional and mobile are the two types of epidural. A light epidural is the mobile one, an ordinary one that women can still walk around with help while others can just move their legs to change their position. Some women can also pee without needing a catheter if they still have a feeling in their legs. Having an epidural in a traditional way uses strong anesthesia that can leave you a little muscle control that your length of labor can be longer. Also, this epidural may also need more medical interventions.

The epidural procedure

Does an epidural hurt? Well, what’s involved in having an epidural is that mobile and a traditional one is given the same way. The anesthesia is injected through a hollow needle into space outside your outer membrane of the spinal cord. After that, a plastic tube is fed through the needle and the anesthesia is continuously directed to the tube. 

At the start of the procedure, your doctor will ask you to lie on your left side with your knees curled up or you will be asked to sit on the edge of the bed with your feet resting on a chair or your chin tucked in. Remember that the injection must go into the right space so you must be still while the procedure is going on. Having an epidural can work differently on women for their nerves on their bladder, abdomen, and legs are not really blocked with the epidural. As mentioned earlier, some can still sit up and change their position while some can walk with the help of another person. 

The advantages of having an epidural

Some pregnant women consider having an epidural because of these advantages:

Pain relief

Epidural relieves the pain within 10 to 20 minutes during delivery. It is considered one of the most effective methods to ease a women’s pain and it has little side effects on mothers and babies. 

Allows moms to rest

You can relax and get more rest after your delivery because of the pain relief it offers, especially when you had a long labor.

It can help you be alert

Having an epidural can help you take part in your delivery without any pain. If you are having C-section, it can help you stay awake during your delivery and relieves the pain during recovery. 

It reduces postpartum depression 

Research in 2014 found that having an epidural may help women reduce their risk of having postpartum depression. The source found out that the pain management an epidural offers and being able to stick to the original plan of delivery can reduce the risk of postpartum depression. However, recent researches don’t suggest this kind of opinion. 

The risks of having an epidural

Despite the advantages of having an epidural, there are also the risks of having an epidural.

  1. You might experience itching
  2. You can be one of the women who will have restricted mobility
  3. You might have difficulty in passing your urine
  4. You may have a longer length of labor
  5. You will need forceps or ventouse if you don’t have an epidural

Take note

Given the pros and cons of epidural administration, it is important to talk to your doctor or midwife first if you are planning to have it so that you can make the right decision for you and your baby. 

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