One of the worst thoughts in pregnancy is that of going through the much feared labor pain. When I was pregnant, I remember preparing myself for it but only making myself all the more anxious towards the end. It happens to one and all, especially the first time mothers. For our mothers and grandmothers they had no choice but to prepare themselves mentally for it. Well lucky for us there are alternatives now if you happen to have a low threshold of pain or just want to have a painless delivery – Epidural.
1What is Epidural?
Well to put it simply, it is a local anesthesia for pain relief by blocking the nerve impulses in the lower spinal segments. When you take epidural during labor, you feel very less to no pain at all.
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Although it may seem like an easy way out, it is always better to weigh the pros and cons before finally deciding to take it as a pain-relief measure. So here are the cons of epidural that should help you decide whether or not you want to take it when your time comes. Let’s talk about the bad part of it first…
2The movement of your body is restricted
One of the things that happen when you get an epidural is that you have to restrict moving your body. The reason behind this is that there are fetal monitor, bladder catheter and IV fluids attached to you. So movement is not really advised. When you restrict your bodily movement during labor, it can possibly cause fetal distress and you baby may not be able to properly rotate to the optimal position for birth.
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3It slows down your labor
Epidurals are known to slow down your labor as it interferes with the oxytocin hormone that is produced during your labor. When there is an interference with this hormone, obviously it will affect your ability to push effectively when the time comes. Also, when you can’t feel anything, pushing naturally becomes more difficult.
4There are obvious long term effects
Now I have seen this with two cases of epidurals in my family. Both my sister and sister in law took epidurals whose effects they both still feel as of today. One, they both have persistent back pain (mostly around the injection site), two, my sister in law started having unexplained headaches after delivery. Both of these are long term effects of epidural which a lot of women suffer from.
5Increases your chances of birth with the help of instruments
One of the possible reasons why this happens in cases of epidurals is that when you can’t feel anything waist down, your ability to push is affected (as mentioned above). You don’t know how hard you have to push so intervention is mostly required. Whether it is inducing labor augmentation hormone like Pitocin or using forceps or vacuum during child-birth, anything can be expected with an epidural.
6Breastfeeding is greatly affected by it
Because epidural interferes with oxytocin, the milk let-down is greatly affected, especially in the initial stages of breastfeeding. Not only that, oxytocin is also responsible for bonding between mothers and babies so it affects that as well. Breastfeeding, as it is, is a difficult task initially, so when you have issues with milk let-down, this might discourage new mothers to breastfeed their infants. However, a case in point is that long term effects of breastfeeding with epidurals are not there.
7You recover slower
One of the things that many mothers don’t appreciate about epidurals is that their recovery happens much slower than if they had not had epidural. Since epidurals have higher chances of episiotomy that means your time in bed is extended.
So these are some of the point to consider when having an epidural. However, all is not bad about it. We’ll be talking about some of the amazing things epidurals can do in our next post.
Let us know about your experience of getting epidural in the comments.