An epidural is an injection in your lower back with analgesics. As a result, the pain is often largely relieved. Under anesthesia a needle is inserted into the back, allowing a thin tube to be placed in your spinal cord through the needle. The needle is removed again, after which the tube remains. The medication is administered through the tube, through injections or continuous infusion. An epidural works within 15 minutes.
The advantage of an epidural is that 95% of women feel no pain during the contractions. Unlike Pethidine, you do not become drowsy or sleepy. As far as is known, an epidural has no adverse effects on the child or breastfeeding.
Disadvantages of epidurals are that they sometimes work only on one side of the body (5%) and that the epidural needs to be repositioned. Often, pushing with an epidural takes longer, giving you a greater chance of having to give birth with a vacuum device. Because the natural reactions of the body are suppressed, the contractions often become weaker. Often the contractions need to be rebooted with additional medication. This is often delivered through the epidural. You are also administered IV fluids to prevent your blood pressure from becoming too low. In addition, you will get a bladder catheter by default as you can’t feel the need to pee due to the anesthetic. Your body temperature can also rise due to the epidural, and it’s difficult to determine whether this is caused by the epidural or if it’s a fever caused by an infection. Sometimes you will be administered preventive antibiotics. There is a chance that your baby must be admitted to the hospital and treated with antibiotics.
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