BABS

Birth and Baby Services

Offering low-cost & no-cost birth doula services

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Pain management - Epidural

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Epidural:

Epidural anesthesia is regional anesthesia that blocks pain in a region on the body and blocks the nerve impulses from the lower spinal segments. This results in decreased sensation in the lower half of the body


Before epidural in given

• You will receive IV fluids to become well hydrated.

How epidural is given:

• You will be asked to arch your back and remain still while laying on your left side or sitting up.

• An antiseptic solution will be used to wipe the waistline area of your mid-back to minimize the chance of infection.

• A small area on your back will be injected with a local anesthesia to numb it.

• A needle is then inserted into the numb area surrounding the spinal cord in the lower back.

• A small tube or catheter is threaded through the needle into the epidural space.

• The needle is carefully removed, leaving the catheter in place to provide medication.

• The catheter is taped to the back to prevent it from slipping out

• “Walking epidural” (CSE – combined spinal epidural) allows more freedom to move in the bed and greater ability to change positions with assistance. This does not mean you can walk around

• Usually provides pain relief for 4-8 hours.

• Usually placed when the cervix is dilated to 4-5 cm and you are in active labor.


Pros:

• Allows for rest

• Normally will allow you to stay alert and remain an active participant in your birth.

• In a cesarean will allow you to stay awake and provide effective pain relief during recovery.

• Can help you deal with exhaustion, irritability, and fatigue of labor

• Numb feeling usually occurs within 10-20 minutes.


Cons:

• May lower your blood pressure.

• May experience severe headache.

• You will need to alternate sides while lying in bed and have continuous monitoring.

• May experience shivering, ringing in your ears, backache, soreness where the needle is inserted, nausea or difficulty urinating.

• You will not be able to get out of bed.

• May slow down labor.

• May make pushing more difficult.

• For a few hours after birth, the lower half of your body may feel numb.

• May have a foley catheter inserted to drain your bladder since you will not be able to feel when your bladder is full.


You cannot get an epidural if you have one or more of the following:

• On blood thinners.

• Have low platelet counts.

• Are hemorrhaging or in shock.

• Have an infection on or in your back.

• Have a blood infection.

• If you are not at least 4 cm dilated.

• Epidural space cannot be located by physician.

• If labor is moving too fast and there is not enough time to administer drug.

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