Motherhood Postpartum Pregnancy

UNDERSTANDING THE EPIDURAL

UNDERSTANDING THE EPIDURAL •

If your anesthesiologist looked like her, how could you possibly turn that down?!?

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Ok, most of us in the birth world, either as parents or providers, know that epidurals are the source of a TON of controversy. Should we? Shouldn’t we? Helpful? Hurtful? Caused a c-section? Prevented a c-section? The list goes on and on – and the tough part here? You can find someone with a story that “proves” every side of this space.

So, I want to hit you with some basic science here. Truths and facts based in evidence based practice, not anecdotes. Check this out and THEN go to the stories, where we will discuss way more of the nuances (and anecdotes) that can make this decision seem so very complicated.

> You sign a consent for an epidural, because it absolutely has potential side effects. These can include low BP, loss of bladder control, nausea, itchy skin, headache, infection, and/or temporary or permanent nerve damage. Do these happen often? Some more than others, but big picture – nope. But they absolutely can.

> Sometimes, the epidural doesn’t work or the team will have to try again.

> Pain relief after epidural placement may be inadequate.

> Epidurals are not guaranteed to take away all feeling.

> Epidurals can BOTH slow labor down OR speed it up.

> Epidurals can cause a post-birth spinal headache.

> The epidural process doesn’t happen instantly and pain relief isn’t always immediate.

> Some women cannot get a epidural.

> After epidural placement, there’s a good chance you will have a urinary catheter until you deliver.

> Studies do show that epidurals are linked to more perineal tears (but there’s multiple associations at play).

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Ok, this is bare bones info when it comes to the complete epidural story (which is often so different for many women).

Please, head to the stories + highlights to learn, hear, and read so much more on @thelabormama

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