Before we get into the details, I would like to say that one must have control of choosing what they want. Epidural is one big Choice given solely to the mothers in labor and pain.
Hence, we do not intend to impose views and experiences of other mothers including myself to blur yours. But given my need to mention all that I can about Epidural, this topic will include questions like, What is Epidural? What does Epidural feel like? When is Epidural injected? and many more.
My Closest Call To Anesthesia.
My experience with Anesthesia wasn’t when I was in labor. It was in the operation theater that took place a few months from my delivery.
I had an ovarian cyst growing inside of me with the baby which I needed to operate out. Back then, my knowledge about it was zero so whatever the doctors & nurses told me, I did.
I wasn’t even certain what is it called except for the knowledge that it numbs you and the pain and is required while being operated. It did truly numb me. Though I could feel the touch on my skin and inside my body.
I’d say my experience was very positive. Given the fact, the operation doesn’t equal Epidural in labor but it is the closest I could get to. I gave birth to a healthy baby boy three months after the operation through normal delivery! That’s that.
1. What is Epidural?
Epidural is a drug given to women in labor to numb down the pain. It is injected in our lower back around the spinal nerve to block the nerves that carry down the pain signals during contractions.
The area which is given Epidural is first injected with local anesthesia. A needle is then inserted to thread a catheter into/around the Epidural area(numbed area). The anesthesiologist then induces Epidural in the system.
2. When is Epidural injected?
The procedure for getting an Epidural can be long if one hasn’t planned on it in the first place which is normal by the way.
My friend actually planned on normal delivery, too but the pain was just way too much and hence she opted for Epidural. It was a long process. They had to arrange an anesthesiologist which took more than 30 minutes.
The hospital had its own procedures in order to perform Epidural. In the least, if you go unplanned, it can take a lot of time to finish the complete procedure. Even with all the procedures done, you cannot just inject Epidural.
Doctors recommend to be empty stomach if you are planning on Epidural, the drug can upset stomach and can hinder the delivery. Epidural is given to patients when they are 4-5 centimeters dilated.
3. What does IT feel like?
Many of the doctors phrase it out like a ‘bee sting’ once the process begins but take it from a mother, it sure isn’t just a bee sting. The whole process isn’t very bothersome but…
Epidural take 10-15 minutes to process and while that is ongoing, the patient needs to stay still in order to get it right. Epidural stops the pain but the process is certainly lengthy for mother having back to back contractions. While you are getting it, your contractions do not stop, they would continue to come until the Epidural kicks in.
In most of the mother’s experience, continuing those contractions for an extra 15 minutes isn’t a big deal but staying still while they occur was a big deal. That’s that, the after-relief was heaven, stated all the mothers!
4. Pros and Myths, Mama!
- The biggest Pro to Epidural is that you stop feeling the pain and start feeling the chances of being alive after exhausting yourself for hours pushing. Like a water drop in the draught!
- Most of the time, mothers who opt for an Epidural, make sure to get it planned for their second pregnancy as well.
- You will have the energy to actually celebrate your motherhood with your baby and the family.
People say, (Epidural not in the system) all the pain vanishes once you get to see your baby but in reality, you don’t even have the power to move a finger, it is that tiring! Epidural gives you an opportunity to endeavor your first seconds with the baby, it is true!
- Another myth: ‘You don’t get to experience the whole pregnancy once you get all numbed’. You experience everything, you still have to push, you still have to push the big baby out of your vagina, it is no joke!
The only thing that you don’t feel is the pain, that is. You still see, hear, feel, witness, admire the whole birthing process with your naked eyes, and your pain-numbed but not sensation numbed body.
- ‘I Felt Post Epidural Pain for days/months/years‘ is very true and I have seen many cases of mothers going through it.
To begin with, of course, you took Epidural to relieve pain… the irony of it, you are still in pain!. This has scared moms who have had it and scares moms who want to have it.
But my super-moms, Epidural is not the cause of the pain but the anesthesiologist who inserted it wrong. If Epidural is not inserted in the right place, it can cause severe side effects. So one must make sure to choose a good hospital with good doctors.
5. Cons & Side Effects.
There are side effects of every drug that I have come across, it is not necessarily too big and in the medical treatment, they do occur.
Before we move further to the side effect, know you will be under the supervision of many well-trained doctors and nurses and will be monitored closely for any of the symptoms or side effects!
So worry not, you would be under control and in close observations. Most of the side effects can be cured instantly with medications and the probability of some of these side effects are very rare, so take a deep breath and calm down.
Less Rare Side Effects
1.Prolonged Labor: Your body stops sending the signal for contractions which can alter your pushing and prolong the delivery. This can, in the lowest possibility, lead to cesarean.
If we look at the percentile, there are 8% chances of cesarean (c-section) WITHOUT Epidural and 12% chances with Epidural. So, if you don’t want that to happen, make sure you push.
2. Low Blood Pressure: Studies say it is normal for the blood pressure level to drop down a little when treated with Epidural. It can make you feel sick but if it becomes a major issue which is very rare, doctors provide medication to get the patient back to normal.
3. Bladder control lost: Given the fact, your lower region is numb, you lose control of your bladder activity. You wouldn’t feel a thing in the lower region and that’s that! In such cases, patients have inserted a catheter for the urine to pass.
But it doesn’t last long, the minute Epidural rubs off, your bladder would be back in control.
4. Pain Relief Not Enough: Sometimes, Epidural blocks pain but not completely. In this case, doctors provide mothers another dose of Epidural to numb the pain completely.
If you are okay with the leftover pain the doctors would suggest manual methods (if asked for).
6. Rare Symptoms Of Epidural
5. Headache: Headache can be caused by Epidural if the fluid bags surrounding your Epidural space accidentally get punctured. There are few ways to cure the headache, doctors go for blood patches most of the time.
‘Blood patches’ is the process through which the doctors fuse your blood in the punctured area which then clots up the puncture. Once the blood thickens, your headache stops!
6. Itching, headache, slow breathing are some other small side effects, easily cured that occur while getting an Epidural but not problematic.
We have tried to erase all the myths and false statements when it comes to Epidural. Once again, it is completely your choice to get it or not but having the correct knowledge is a must.
If this helped you and you have more experiences to share with us, do let us know in the comments section down below. Also, if there is something in the post that is wrong and hurts anybody’s sentiments, please help us to eradicate it out.
If you want to have a natural birth, these posts will help you cope up with labor pain and contractions.