Epidural and Anesthesia

    By: Lamaze International on Apr 24, 2012

    Epidural and Anesthesia

    Epidural Analgesia and Anesthesia

    From The Official Lamaze Guide: Giving Birth with Confidence.

    What to Know

    • Seeking relief from labor pain without drugs protects your baby and your body from injury, helps labor progress, and facilitates breastfeeding, bonding, and other postpartum adjustments.
    • Epidural use necessitates an IV, continuous EFM, and restricted mobility, and it relaxes vaginal muscles. All of these factors can prolong labor.
    • Epidural use increases the risk of instrument delivery and may increase the risk of cesarean.
    • Epidural use raises the risk of fever and postpartum separation to rule out infection.
    • Epidural drugs do reach your baby. Both of these factors can make breastfeeding initiation harder.

    You May Need an Epidural if:

    • Your labor is very long and difficult and you need to rest.
    • You have a cesarean.
    • Your blood pressure is very high.
    • You don’t have good labor support.
    • Your birth site restricts your ability to find comfort in other ways.
    • You can’t move beyond your fear of labor pain.

    How to Avoid Unnecessary Use:

    • Labor at home as long as possible.
    • Choose your caregiver and birth site carefully.
    • Discuss your desires with your caregiver.
    • Make sure you have excellent labor support.
    • Use all the non-drug comfort measures you can.
    • Be patient and remember that your body knows how to give birth.

    How to Keep Labor as Normal as Possible if You Have an Epidural:

    • Use a wide variety of other comfort measures for as long as possible, so you don’t need an epidural for your entire labor.
    • Let your epidural wear off before pushing (“labor down”).
    • Ask your helpers to massage your hands and feet and help you stay as active as possible.
    • Be patient with your breastfeeding baby and spend as much skin-to-skin time together as possible.
    • If your baby doesn’t latch well at first or you have other breastfeeding problems because of your epidural, ask hospital staff (preferably a lactation consultant) to help you express colostrum and feed it with a small cup or eyedropper.
    • To avoid aggravating breastfeeding problems, tell the hospital staff not to feed your baby formula or use bottles or pacifiers.

    Read more about medical interventions:

    Released: April 24, 2012, 6:53 pm | Updated: April 30, 2015, 1:46 pm
    Keywords: Birth Day | Anesthesia | Epidural

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