Summary: Painless delivery (Epidural anesthesia)

    • The technique of painless delivery called as Epidural Analgesia or Epidural Anaesthesia is a popular technique used by women, if advised by the doctor, during labor. It gives relief from unbearable labor pain during deliveries. Such deliveries have registered 6-7% rise in the past two-three years. The anaesthesiologist and your OB-GYN will monitor the blood pressure, check that the epidural is working well and your baby’s heart rate will be checked intermittently or continuously. Like all other treatments epidural delivery also has pros and cons.

      In an Epidural procedure a small injection is placed in your lower back, through which a fine tube (epidural catheter), the size of a thread, is passed into your back. Drugs can be injected through this tube to relieve the pain of labor. These drugs are local anesthetics which cause numbing of the nerves and pain sensation without affecting the ability to move. These drugs are also very safe for the baby. With an epidural in place, you may feel the contractions, but they will not be painful. It provides respite to expectant mother from unbearable pain during delivery. The anesthesiologist and your nurse will check that the epidural is working well.

    Advantages

    • Because of pain, mother secret hormones which give distress to baby. Epidural analgesia makes mother and baby comfortable.
    • It brings down high B.P which some mother has.
    • Good for patient who have heart disease.
    • Delivery is faster.
    • If required, Caesarean can be done with same tube.
    • Caesarian can be avoided for patient who wants Caesarian for fear of pain.

    Disadvantages

    • Disadvantages of epidural anesthesia include its potential for contributing to uncommon minor complications such as persistent positional headache afterwards, shivering, ringing of the ears, backache, soreness where the needle is inserted, nausea, or difficulty urinating
    • Epidural makes pushing more difficult and additional medications or interventions may be needed such as forceps or cesarean.

    Who should have an epidural?

      In some patients epidural is recommended to optimize outcome. 
    • If you have complicated or prolonged labor, in such circumstances it will benefit you and your baby.
    • If you are trying for a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean section)
    • If you have certain medical conditions such as certain heart conditions, hypertension & preeclampsia.

    WHO should not have an epidural?

      Those with certain bleeding disorders

      Those taking medications that can affect blood clotting (clopidogrel, heparin, warfarin, etc)

      If you have had a Lower back surgery (in certain cases)

      If you have certain neurological disorders