There are a lot of myths and confusion surrounding epidurals and how they can affect your pregnancy. We’re here to help clear the air and to let you make an informed decision on whether you need an epidural or not during your labor.
What exactly is an epidural?
An epidural is a type of anesthesia that’s injected into the space between your vertebrae and your spinal fluid. Now, it might sound painful, or even scary, but it’s not as intimidating as you think. Epidurals are actually the most common type of anesthesia used during a pregnancy, and lots of moms have
Epidurals are actually the most popular type of anesthesia used during a pregnancy, and it’s not uncommon for moms to prefer having an epidural compared to other types of pain relief during labor.
What happens during the procedure is that a small needle (about the width of a human hair) is inserted in between your spine, and then a small tube or catheter is placed. Once that’s done, the needle is then removed and the catheter should now be able to provide a constant drip of pain medication. Take note that the doctor will be using local anesthesia, so the only pain you’ll feel will be from the initial injection. After that, you won’t feel a thing!
Epidurals: Myths and facts
Here are some common misconceptions that you’ve probably heard about epidurals:
Myth: Labor takes longer and it’s more difficult to push if you have an epidural.
Fact: Having an epidural actually means that doctors need to give you less numbing medication, since the epidural is already blocking most of the pain. What this means is that it’s much easier for you to push compared to other forms of pain relief.
Myth: The medication reaches the baby.
Fact: To be clear, any medication that you take while giving birth does go to your baby. However, with an epidural, since it’s directly injected into your spine, the amount that goes into your bloodstream is extremely small, and the amount that gets to the baby is even smaller. This extremely small amount of medication has not been known to cause babies any harm whatsoever.
Myth: Epidurals have a lot of side effects.
Fact: Just like most other medicines, epidurals do have side effects. However, most of these side effects are temporary, and not life-threatening. Take note that anesthesiologists and doctors are trained to handle these side effects, and they would best know if it would be good to give you an epidural or not since they also conduct tests and check your medical history to make sure that it would be safe to give you an epidural.
How do I know if it’s for me?
According to statistics, more than half of mothers who give birth are given epidurals. Epidurals are safe, and are a normal part of giving birth.
The choice to have an epidural or not would really depend on you. If your doctor gives you the option, and you feel scared that you might not be able to withstand the pain of labor, then by all means ask your doctor to give you an epidural before you give birth.
Other moms also opt to not have an epidural. Sometimes it’s due to a medical condition, and in other cases they’re worried about the effects on the baby, as well as the side effects on them. Some moms even feel that having an epidural makes them ‘weak’ since they opted for pain relief.
Regardless, there’s really no right or wrong answer on whether or not you need an epidural. It’s important to discuss these options with your doctor beforehand in order to help you make an informed decision that would be best for you and your baby.
Sources: americanpregnancy.org, fitpregnancy.com, fitpregnancy.com
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