After you received the news about getting pregnant, you might already have started surfing everything about delivery. But wait, not every information you read on the internet is true. So, never panic if you read anything that dissatisfies you. Just like every person is different, every pregnancy is different too. But it is good to be prepared for every situation. Therefore, today we have brought to you a blog about everything to know about Epidural injection during pregnancy.
Childbirth can be a very painful experience for women, epidural injection offers some relief during the process. This is the reason many women ask for the injection during pregnancy. But waiting for the time, when the pain becomes unbearable for you than asking for epidurals is not the right way to go.
So, let’s understand everything about epidural injection, its benefits, its side effects and the best time to take it. Check out the blog-
What Is an Epidural
An epidural injection is a local anaesthetic that is injected into the epidural space of the spine, to subside the contraction pain by numbing the spinal nerves. The drug in the injection travels from epidural space to nerves and stopping the pain signals from reaching the brain.
This injection is injected into the lumbar region of the spine. It helps pregnant women to not feel a thing in the lower half of the body. For women for whom the pain becomes unbearable, Epidural injection works like magic. It gives you relief from pain within 10 minutes. Therefore, these days’ epidural analgesia has become the choice of labour pain relief.
Types of Epidural
There are three types of Epidurals-
- Epidural- An Epidural injection is administered via a catheter in your epidural space. After giving the injection, they do not remove a catheter in order to give more dose, if needed.
- Spinal Injection- Spinal Injection is directly given into spinal fluids. It is a medication delivered via a shot into the fluid around your spinal cord. The effect of this injection lasts only for an hour or two.
- Combined Spinal- Epidural (CSE)- This is the combination of both the above injection. It goes to work quickly and lasts more than the spinal injection.
Benefits of Epidural
After understanding the types of Epidural, let’s understand the benefits of Epidural.
- They are more effective for pain-relieving during labour.
- Helps to make movement easy and also provides strength to push out the baby.
- It is safe if done by an expert.
- Can be used to numb only the lower part of the body, in the case of a C-section.
- Helps you to stay focused and also get some rest.
- You can take an epidural at any stage of labour.
How long does an Epidural Lasts?
An Epidural takes around 10-15 minutes to show its effect because it is given with the help of a catheter as needed. It can last throughout labour. So, now you might be wondering how long labour lasts? Yes, labour can last for long and so is the pain relief from an Epidural.
Side effects of Epidural
Epidurals are safe, but still many women have side-effects of it. Let’s understand the side effects of Epidurals-
- Epidurals lengthen the second stage of labor.
- It can cause a drop in the blood pressure, and makes you feel dizzy and nauseated. If you feel dizzy, then IV fluids, and oxygen are given to you.
- Many women also experience fever due to epidurals.
- You feel your leg muscles weakened.
- The chances of vaginal delivery reduce a bit.
- Since your lower body is being numb, you do not feel an urge for urination. This is the reason a urinary catheter is inserted.
- Epidurals causes itching, which is treated by antihistaminic.
- Slow breathing can also be one of the side-effects.
How is an Epidural administered?
Let’s briefly understand the procedure of Epidural.
- Before you are given an anesthesia, doctor will ask you to sit upright and a drip will be inserted into your arm.
- You can either sit upright or lie on your side with back curving, nurse will assist you to get into desired position.
- The anaesthesia specialist will apply a cold, antiseptic solution to the place where you need to inject the anaesthesia.
- While giving the injection, doctor will ask you not to move.
- A needle with a catheter filled with the epidural medication will be inserted into epidural space. After it is injected, the injection is removed but catheter remains, just in case to give the epidural again.
- 15 minutes after giving the injection, the pain will subside slowly.
- Later, you won’t feel any pain but you need to be careful with your movement as catheter is attached at the back.
So, these are some of the facts about epidural injection which every pregnant woman should know about. If you still have any doubt, it is better to talk to your doctor and clear them.
1. Who should not get an epidural?
Avoid epidurals in following cases-
- Heavy Vaginal Bleeding
- Blood Clotting
- Neurological Disorder
2. Does epidural injection hurt?
No, it won’t hurt much. You will just feel a sting and little pressure in the back.
3. Does it harm the baby?
The medication used in epidural reaches to baby in a very small amount, therefore, it does not harm baby.
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