A Doctor’s Point of View on Labour, Delivery and Pain Relief
Pain is the word that comes to the mind of every pregnant or trying-to-conceive lady. And why not? Pregnancy and delivery are the most important phases of the life of a woman that are associated with dreadful and severe pains. Everyone has different scales of pain threshold, perception as well as tolerance. So, it is difficult to measure it up exactly in each case. But sadly labour pain is the most ignored or underrated thing about pregnancy in most of the parts of India. We forget that every woman is entitled to get pain relief if needed during labour!
So let’s see what are all the methods and practices that are commonly followed these days along with their pros and cons.
Simple methods like massage, distraction, changes in body position, acupuncture and water bath have been effective only till some extent and lack any proof of a significant amount of pain relief. Then, there are medications given intravenously, but these have variable effects on pain relief and might cause deleterious effects on the baby and complications in delivery.
Regional anaesthesia in the form of epidural anaesthesia is gaining popularity among all the available methods. So, what exactly is this epidural anaesthesia and is it even safe? Let’s find out!
Method Used by Doctors
A needle is injected in the layer just above spinal cord which is called epidural space. Next, a catheter is put in through which local anaesthetic is injected which spreads and provides pain relief. Doses of epiduralanaesthesia are adjusted as per blood pressure, pain intensity and stages of labour by the doctor.
The epidural catheter is placed in for around 24 to 48 hours depending upon the requirement.
Most of the experiences of patients who had taken epidural anaesthesia for labour are found to be positive when asked. Also, they do recommend it to others strongly.
It gives excellent analgesia throughout the labour process, the mother can remain calm, can concentrate on what’s going on, does not get exhausted and can put in great pushing efforts towards the end. So, in all its excellent thing to take it if given a choice by the doctor. It is a combined decision of gynaecologist and anaesthetist whether to give epidural anaesthesia or not. Similarly, it may be used if normal delivery has to be converted to a C-section in emergency cases.
Myths Associated with Epidural Anaesthesia
However, there are many myths associated with the use ofepidural anaesthesia. It is assumed that an injection in the back causes back pain. This is not true as per recent clinical studies. Maintaining a good diet, calcium supplements and maintaining good postures play important role in back pain relief. It is also assumed that it might harm the baby’s health in some way. Again, this is not true. It does not affect baby’s health or anything related to breastfeeding, so there is no need to worry about that. But yes, this procedure is indeed associated with side effects like infection, epidural hematoma and headache. But these are relatively rare and manageable.
So it’s a boon for would-be mothers to have such a good pain relief under monitored conditions and to deliver the baby happily without any pain!
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