Pregnancy is a dream come true for all couples. The first time mothers are filled with apprehension and innumerable questions. They get their queries solved by consulting their elders and now newsgroups.They develop misconceptions and fears regarding pregnancy and Labour.
The perception of pain during Labour and delivery varies between individuals. Specially, the first-time mothers need a proper antenatal counselling regarding good nutritious diet, antenatal exercises and physiology of Labour pains. Here we shall only be dealing with Labour & delivery.
Epidural anesthesia is an advance in pain management during Labour, which ensures that a pregnant woman has a comfortable Labour. It is a regional anesthesia 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 anesthesia
It is administered when the patient is in active Labour. It can be given as a single injection or in multiple doses through a special epidural catheter by a skilled anesthetist.
• Almost complete relief from pain with the patient being mobile
• No postpartum headache as in spinal anesthesia
• Mother is conscious and alert throughout the Labour
• An instrumental delivery can be performed under the same anesthesia, if need arises
• If the patient has to be taken for cesarean 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 cesarean deliveries.