What an anesthesiologist wants you to know about epidurals
The first time I became pregnant I was honestly over whelmed when trying to decide on a birth plan.
Was a going to try for a natural birth?
Did I want an elective C-section?
Was I going to use pain relief? If so which? Gas and air? Epidural?
I feel like when it comes to pain relief the epidural is the one that divides most opinions.
Some swear by it, some hate it, so should you choose it?
If you're in two minds about whether or not you want an epidural and you don't feel like you have enough information on it here are some facts from anesthesiologist Dr Stephen Freiberg.
Does getting an epidural hurt?
No, it really shouldn’t. The anesthesiologist or nurse anesthetist will use a very small needle to numb the skin and deeper tissues. For many patients, this is the worst part, as you will feel the pinch of that needle, and the burning of the local anesthetic. It is classically likened to the sensation of a bee sting, but quickly subsides.
Will it take long to kick in?
The duration of the procedure typically varies based upon both patient and provider factors. From the time I position a patient for an epidural to the time I walk out of the room is usually less than 15 minutes.
Will I still be able to feel the childbirth?
The goal of a labor epidural catheter is to achieve analgesia, not anesthesia. Analgesia means pain relief. An improvement in labor pain by 60-70 per cent is a reasonable goal.
Will the epidural cause any harm to the baby?
No. The amount of medication that reaches the baby from the epidural is very very very small, and there is no evidence that it causes any harm.
Will the epidural cause any harm to me?
Almost universally, no. Localized soreness is common for a couple of days. But long term back pain after childbirth is commonly more related to the muscular strain of pregnancy, pushing, weakness of the abdominal musculature, and positioning used when delivering the baby.