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A Quick Guide To Epidurals

 An epidural is an option in childbirth to block pain in a certain region of the body. The goal of an epidural is to provide analgesia, or pain relief, rather than anesthesia, which leads to total lack of feeling. Nearly 60% of mothers choose to have an epidural. There are many reasons why a mother will choose to have an epidural. But most of us do not know what will happen during the placement of an epidural until baby day has arrived. What are the step by steps?  What is in an epidural?  How will I labor after an epidural placement?


📌Epidurals block the nerve impulses from the lower spinal segments. This results in decreased sensation in the lower half of the body.
📌Epidural medications fall into a class of drugs called local anesthetics. They are often delivered in combination with opioids or narcotics such as fentanyl and sufentanil in order to decrease the required dose of local anesthetic. Fentanyl is an opioid drug that is 50 times more potent than morphine and 60 times more potent than heroin. It is a class C drug which lies in the middle that states that while it may carry benefits for the mother, the benefits do not outweigh the potential risks it may carry for the baby.👈🏻THIS IS NOT OFTEN TALKED ABOUT AND MOTHERS SHOULD BE FULLY INFORMED BEFORE MAKING DECISIONS.
📌You can get an epidural at any time, but hospitals prefer to wait till you are in active labor to administer it. And some hospitals won’t attempt to administer it if you are close to delivery(8cm or more).
📌The epidural may lower your blood pressure, which will be monitored.
📌The epidural may decrease the strength and frequency of your contractions which can lead to the cascade of interventions like pitocin, artificial rupture of waters, etc etc which can ultimately lead to a cesarean.
📌Less than 1% of women experience headaches due to spinal fluid leakage.
📌You might experience the following side effects: shivering, a ringing of the ears, backache, soreness where the needle is inserted, nausea, or difficulty urinating.
📌In rare instances, permanent nerve damage may result in the area where the catheter was inserted and can leave you handicap or in pain.
📌Most studies suggest that some babies will have trouble “latching on” causing breastfeeding difficulties. Other studies suggest that a baby might experience respiratory depression, fetal malpositioning, and an increase in fetal heart rate variability, thus increasing the need for forceps, vacuum, cesarean deliveries, and episiotomies.
📌Once an epidural is placed you will be in the bed till you deliver since you will no longer have full use of your legs(unless you have a walking epidural but that’s a whole other subject). You and the baby will be monitored full time and catheter will be placed.


📌A few common reasons why someone would chose an epidural are:
✔️You just don’t want to feel a lot of pain during birth, no shame in that 🤗
✔️You have been laboring for days and you are extremely exhausted and just need time to rest and sleep
✔️You cannot relax enough during contractions and cervix is not progressing. An epidural can help you fully relax and release your cervix to open and fully dilate
✔️Your cervix may be swollen. An epidural can help remedy a swollen cervix and prevent a cesarean
✔️You are simply suffering and a natural unmedicated birth is becoming traumatic for you
✔️If you are having a cesarean and want to stay awake while having full pain relief.
📌It’s not guaranteed that your epidural will work great. Even if you are planning to get an epidural, practicing relaxation and breathing is a good idea in the event that you have a failed epidural.
📌A good epidural will allow you slight mobility of your legs and allows you to feel pressure when your baby’s head is nice and low. 👈🏻this will help you push your baby out. An epidural that is very strong can numb you completely and make it very difficult for you to push, which can lead to a cesarean.


✅HOW IS AN EPIDURAL ADMINISTERED?✅
➖Intravenous (IV) fluids will be given prior to the procedure of placing the epidural. You can expect to receive 1-2 liters of IV fluids throughout labor and delivery. An anesthesiologist (specialize in administering anesthesia), an obstetrician or nurse anesthetist will administer your epidural.
➖You will be asked to arch your back and remain still while lying on your left side or sitting up. This position is vital for preventing problems and increasing the epidural effectiveness.
➖An antiseptic solution will be used to wipe the waistline area of your mid-back to minimize the chance of infection. A small area on your back will be injected with a local anesthetic to numb it. A needle is then inserted into the numbed area surrounding the spinal cord in the lower back.
➖After that, a small tube or catheter is threaded through the needle into the epidural space. The needle is then carefully removed, leaving the catheter in place to provide medication either through periodic injections or by continuous infusion. The catheter is taped to the back to prevent it from slipping out.
➖You will be asked to lay down in the bed for the remainder of the delivery. You will be given a little device that has a button you can press to administer more pain relief. It is self regulated and you cannot overdose.
➖After the birth, it may take a few hours for the numbness to go away and regain full use of your legs.


✳️UPON GETTING THE EPIDURAL, USE A PEANUT BALL BETWEEN YOUR LEGS OR A BUNCH OF PILLOWS. DO NOT STAY IN ONE POSITION FOR MORE THAN 20 MINUTES. KEEP SWITCHING POSITIONS AND STAY ACTIVE! 👈🏻THIS WILL GIVE BABY LOTS OF ROOM TO ROTATE AND DESCEND. USE GRAVITY! UPRIGHT POSITIONS WILL ENSURE YOUR BABYS HEAD APPLIES PRESSURE TO YOUR CERVIX TO HELP FURTHER DILATION.✳️


♥️PLEASE KNOW THAT I AM NOT FROWNING UPON ANYONE WHO CHOOSES AN EPIDURAL. BUT WE NEED TO MAKE THAT DECISION FULLY INFORMED OF OUR RISKS VS BENEFITS.  YOU CHOSE YOUR BEST BIRTH FOR YOU♥️