Pregnancy is a dream come true of all couples. The first time mothers are filled with apprehension and innumerable questions. They get their queries solved by consulting their elders and peers and now newsgroups. They develop misconceptions and fears regarding pregnancy and labor.
The perception of pain during labor and delivery varies between individuals. Specially, the first-time mothers need a proper antenatal counselling regarding good nutritious diet, antenatal exercises and physiology of labor pains. Here we shall only be dealing with labor & delivery.
Epidural anaesthesia is an advance in pain management during labor, which ensures that a pregnant woman has a comfortable labor. It is a regional anaesthesia in which an anaesthetic drug is injected near the spinal cord in the spinal canal.
It numbs the body below the waist, but the movements are not impaired.
Time of anaesthesia
It is administered when the patient is in active labor.
It can be given as a single injection or in multiple doses through a special epidural catheter by a skilled anaesthetist.
Almost complete relief from pain with the patient being mobile
No postpartum headache as in spinal anaesthesia
Mother is conscious and alert throughout the labor
An instrumental delivery can be performed under the same anaesthesia, if need arises
If the patient has to be taken for caesarean section, the effect can be topped up through the epidural catheter.
Sudden drop in the blood pressure
Because of pelvic floor relaxation, baby's head may not rotate and forceps application may be required.
Slight increased rate of instrumental and caesarean deliveries.