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Delivery with epidural anesthesia: advantages and disadvantages

Delivery with epidural anesthesia: advantages and disadvantages


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The epidural is an anesthesia that allows you to enjoy a painless childbirth. Its application has marked a before and after in the way of giving birth to women, since thanks to it they have seen their pain relieved during childbirth. This anesthesia desensitizes the lower body, without losing muscle tone and allows the expectant mother to be at the same time conscious and more comfortable, physically and mentally to give birth, since it provides continuous relief of pain from the waist down, including the vaginal walls.

Epidural anesthesia or epidural anesthesia consists of the introduction of a local anestheticin the epidural space, so that the nerve endings are blocked at the level of the bone marrow, specifically at their exit. It is administered by an anesthesiologist through a very thin catheter, which is inserted into the lower back of the spine and then into the area that lines the spinal cord.

First, the midwife or gynecologist will have to ensure that the expectant mother has reached a 2 centimeter dilation. For your application, you must be sitting or lying on your side, with arched back and head tilted forward. Next, the anesthetist punctures to introduce the epidural needle that will allow the placement of the epidural catheter. You will only feel a pinch. The epidural catheter, which is flexible and very fine, is placed in the lower back in the space between the second and third vertebrae.

Afterwards, the needle is removed and the epidural catheter is left in to allow the anesthesia to be pumped in just right. It starts to work in a couple of minutes. Its full effect lasts between 15 minutes and two hours depending on the dose administered. The amount of medication is regulated according to the needs of the woman as the labor progresses.

- It does not affect your mental faculties. You will be conscious throughout the labor.
- You will feel the contractions in the form of pressure or muscular tension and a slight numbness in the legs and buttocks, but you will not lose their mobility.
- Improves oxygen supply to the baby.
- Eliminates the strain on the heart during labor and allows easy breathing.

- Drop in blood pressure. To avoid this, you must be well hydrated with serum.
- Loss of ability to bid. Monitoring during delivery allows the gynecologist to notify the mother of the arrival of a contraction so she can push.
- Headaches. They usually manifest when the needle passes from the epidural to the spinal space and can last up to a week. It is advisable to drink water and lie down as long as possible.
- Loss of sensation in the bladder. If there is temporary difficulty urinating, a catheter may be placed.
- Shaking chills. They can be felt during and after labor.
- Pain in the puncture area.It is because the needle goes through several layers of muscle.

Relative Contraindications:
- Tattoos on the lower back. Some of the tattoo ink can be carried to the marrow, causing chemical meningitis. However, the epidural can be inserted if there is an inkless space to insert the needle.
- Lumbar hernias. Professionals do not dare, in principle, although there are always several intervertebral spaces to choose from.

Absolute Contraindications:
- Clotting problems This anesthesia is avoided due to the risk of a hematoma that can compress the spinal cord. Platelet deficiency makes coagulation difficult.
- Heart failure. In this case, the application of anesthesia is considered a risk.
- Brain disorders. Some tumors contraindicate this technique.
- InfectionsWhether they are general or local, if they are transferred with the needle to the spinal space, they can cause meningitis.

An epidural is not the only medication that can help a woman control pain and tension during labor. They know each other:

- Spinal block- Injected into the lumbar part of the spine through a catheter. It allows pain relief, although it only lasts 2 hours maximum.
- A combination of spinal block and epidural anesthesia it offers faster pain relief and can be continued during labor.
- Nerve block: an injection that numbs certain areas of the body (vagina or perineum).
- Intravenous pain relievers or by injection.
- Tranquilizers intravenously to calm very nervous women. It is advisable that before starting labor, expectant mothers talk with their doctor about the different medications available and decide the most convenient in each case.

Source consulted:
- Kidshealth
- Infodoctor

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Video: Epidural Anaesthesia (May 2022).