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Pros & Cons of Getting an Epidural during Labor

Learn the pros and cons of an epidural from childbirth expert Elizabeth Mangum-Sarach in this Howcast video. Thumbnail: Revisión by Daquella manera

Transcript

So, some of the pros and cons to an epidural.

The main thing to think about when choosing to have an epidural is when you're going to have the epidural. You really don't want to have an epidural too early in labor because sometimes labor progress is slowed down.

You want to think about the epidural as another tool in your tool box. You're bringing in all kinds of tools with you and the epidural is another tool that can be offered to you for pain management. It can really help an exhausted mother sleep if she's been laboring for a really long time and she just needs another tool to help her relax and get some rest.

Some of the cons to choosing an epidural are that it can sometimes slow down your labor because it inhibits your movement. Once you have an epidural, you are pretty much tied to the bed, meaning that you can't have a lot of movement. You can't get up and walk around.

When doctors or anesthesiologists talk about the walking epidural, the reality is you're really not walking or moving about. You might have more flexibility and movement in your legs but your legs won't be strong enough to support you and sustain standing movement.

Another con to choosing an epidural in birth is that sometimes it can lead to a greater increase in Cesarean or other interventions such as forceps or vacuum delivery. A lot of this has to do with the fact that you're not moving during labor. Labor is a lot about the movement and the rhythm you find in your body.

About one out of five women who choose an epidural suffer from long term back aches.

One of the things you should know about choosing to have an epidural is that you wouldn't be allowed to get up out of the bed to release your bladder. So you'd have to use a bedpan in the bed or have a catheter empty your bladder.

When you choose to have an epidural, you should also be mindful of the fact that epidurals can sometimes cause fevers, itching, and nausea. Sometimes shaking, intense shaking, and trembling is a also a big side effect to having an epidural.

These are things to keep in mind when making this choice for pain management.

Another side effect to having an epidural is the length of time for pushing your baby out and delivering your baby is sometimes elongated. One of the things to keep in mind when choosing an epidural is that it can often increase the length of time for pushing since you often have a decrease in sensation or feeling of the urge to push.

What you want to keep in mind when laboring or pushing with an epidural is you want to do what's called laboring down. If you don't feel that urge to push because you have an epidural, you want to wait for the baby to come down as far as possible, until you really feel an urge to push.

Then you'll know that the time to deliver your baby is near.

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