An epidural is a kind of anesthetic used commonly to relieve pains associated with birth and in a few other types of surgery. It is usually given trough an injection to the spine, and it stop the feeling of pain in parts of your body. In this article we will focus on the use of epidurals during labor and child birth.
If you are thinking about getting an epidural during birth you need to clear up a few things before to make sure it is safe. The best way to know about your exact situation is to go to your doctor and talk over your specific needs. You have to let them know about any medication you are already taking, to make sure there is no bad biochemical interaction. Your doctor might also give you a special diet to follow in the weeks leading up to your delivery. And a last preparation to arrange is transport from the hospital, since you are not allowed to drive for 24 hours after an epidural.
Administration of en epidural
When you are getting an epidural it will be given to you by a specialized doctor called an anesthetist. Unless there are severe complications you will be awake while receiving an epidural.
First a drip will be placed in your arm, so you can receive fluids while having the epidural. Next you will be place either in a squatting position or lying on your side with your knees to your chest. An injection of local anesthetic will then be giving to you to numb the area of the epidural injection. Then a small plastic tube will then be placed in between the bones in your back. You might feel some slight discomfort during the placement of the plastic tube.
The placement of the tube is depending on the level of pain relief needed. The drug is then given through the tube and you will feel the effects 20-30 minutes later. You will start feeling numb in your chest, abdomen and legs.
After the treatment is over you will still feel numb for some time, usually a few hours. As the effects are wearing off you will have to rest in the same position you were in while receiving the epidural. After a few hours sensation will start to return to your skin and it might feel slightly ticklish. Do not drive shortly after, since you will be a little groggy for a few days.
Potential side effects
Getting epidural is seen as a safe procedure, but as with most drug intakes there is risk of side effects which can include:
- Mild nerve damage
- Itchy skin
- General sickness
- Low blood pressure
- Loss of bladder control
Talk all of these points over with your personal doctor and find out if epidurals are the right choice for you and your situation. In the end it is totally up to you how you want your birth to take place and it have to be whatever you are comfortable with. Good luck and congratulations with your little miracle.