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Should I take an epidural or not? Is it good or bad?

By Anonymous August 28, 2012 - 1:38pm
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Is an epidural good for mother and baby or having some serious side effects?
suggest me what to do.
What are its side effects??

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Hello Anonymous,

Epidural anesthesia is the most popular method of pain relief during labor. According to the American Pregnancy Association, more than 50% of women giving birth at hospitals use epidural anesthesia.

Epidural anesthesia blocks pain in a particular region of the body. The goal is to provide pain relief rather that a total lack of feeling.
Epidurals block the nerve impulses from the lower spinal segments, thus decreasing sensation in the lower half of the body.

The benefits of epidural anesthesia are:

Allows you to rest if your labor is prolonged
By reducing the discomfort of childbirth, some women have a more positive birth experience
Normally, an epidural will allow you to remain alert and be an active participant in the birthing process.
If you deliver by cesarean, an epidural anesthesia will allow you to be awake. It provides effective pain relief during recovery.
When other types of coping mechanisms are no longer helping, an epidural can help you deal with exhaustion, irritability and fatigue.

The disadvantages of epidural anesthesia are:

Epidurals can cause your blood pressure to suddenly drop.
You can experience a severe headache caused by leakage of spinal fluid. Less than 1% of women experience this side effect.
After the epidural catheter is placed, you will need to alternate sides while lying in bed and have continuous monitoring for changes in fetal heart rate.
Shivering, ringing of the ears, backache, soreness where the needle is inserted, nausea and difficulty urinating are possible side effects.
Pushing can be more difficult.
The lower part of your body may feel numb for a few hours following delivery. You may need assistance with walking. In rare cases, permanent nerve damage may result in the area where the catheter was inserted.

Though research is somewhat ambiguous, most studies suggest that some babies will have trouble "latching on" causing breastfeeding difficulties. Other studies suggest that a baby might experience respiratory depression, fetal malpositioning, and an increase in fetal heart rate variability, thus increasing the need for forceps, vacuum, cesarean deliveries and episiotomies.

Best wishes for a safe delivery,


August 28, 2012 - 4:28pm
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