I won’t sugar-coat it – childbirth hurts. Thankfully, modern medicine has granted us some pain-control options that make delivering a baby significantly more bearable than it was centuries ago, or even just a generation ago.
The majority of pain relief during the labor process is achieved through an epidural, an anesthetic that numbs the mother’s trunk between the fundus and the pubis or lower. An anesthetic agent (such as Lidocaine, Marcaine or Carbocaine), a narcotic (such as Demerol, Morphine or Fentanyl), or a combination of the two, is injected in the lower back in the epidural space between lumbar vertebrae two and five.
It’s unanimous – an epidural is extremely effective at reducing pain during childbirth!
Weighing the benefits versus the risks of medicating labor pains with an epidural is a controversial topic. Studies show that while more than 60% of women in the US opt for an epidural during childbirth, many enter the delivery room planning not to have one.
For some mothers, it’s because they want to get the full, unfiltered birthing experience. Some mothers report natural childbirth to be an “empowering experience,” and others are concerned about the safety of anesthesia for the mother and baby. Lastly, there is much controversy as to whether having an epidural increases the chance that the mother will end up needing to deliver via C-section.
The decision about whether or not to have an epidural is a personal one, and many mothers change their decision mid-delivery.
To help you in making your decision about mitigating pain during labor, the following article discusses seven facts about potential side effects of epidural medication:
For more information about obstetrical care, or to schedule an appointment,