We are the medication generation; too many people believe that where there is a pill, there is a way. And this philosophy has become applicable to childbirth, with the majority of women choosing to forego natural births for those assisted by epidurals and painkillers.
This is not meant to discredit the incredibly important advancements that prescription drugs have made and the plethora of conditions they treat, but we have reached the point of overexposure to a medically-altered reality.
Childbirth has been around since the very first humans came into existence; diabetes has not. Furthermore, pregnancy should not be seen as a treatable medical condition like strep throat or insomnia. Reproducing in the essence of the human race, and for almost all women a natural, drug-free birth is the healthiest for both mother and child.
There are certain cases in which an epidural aids in labor and delivery, and this cannot be overlooked. However, an epidural carries with it many risks — some severe — that are important to note.
According to a list compiled by Vicki Elson, CCE, some of the short-term side effects include: dural puncture, hypotension (29%); nausea, vomiting and shivering (frequent); prolonged labor; respiratory insufficiency or paralysis; toxic drug reactions; slight to severe headache; and even death (though rare). Long-term side effects range from neurological complications to incontinence to backaches that can last years.
In addition to the complications a mother may experience, there are also risks to the baby. Just a few of these can be: direct drug toxicity, fetal distress, abnormal FHR (can lead to emergency cesarean), neonatal jaundice, and other issues.
Natural childbirth has complications associated with it as well, but most medical professionals agree that it is much safer than labor assisted by epidurals and similar drugs.
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