Pushing a baby out of your body can test your limits. Giving birth is one of the most intense and painful experiences in a female’s life. Let’s make the decision which is epidural Or natural birth. Pushing a 7-8 pounds baby out of a very tight birth canal causes excruciating pains.
These pains are not only limited to the time of delivery. Slight pains and discomfort are experienced throughout the pregnancy. You are lucky to exist in a time where there are many options available, to help you lessen this pain and make your delivery easier.
No matter what decision you take to bring your baby into the world, what you do is unmatchable and divine. It’s your choice whether you want to go for a caesarian, epidural, or completely natural birth.
No matter what your choice is bearing some pains and discomfort is inevitable. Before making a decision, you need to consider your doctor’s advice, because they consider the complications that you don’t.
Typical labor and delivery can involve hours of pain from powerful uterine contractions, stretching, tearing, and pressure. Sometimes lessening these pains is inevitable and advised by the doctor. But sometimes the decision is for you to make.
If your pregnancy is normal and healthy, and your doctor has allowed you to take the final decision you need to learn what epidural is and all the pros and cons of it. This will help you in making a wiser and more educated decision.
What Is Epidural?
Epidural is defined as the process of administering regional anesthesia into the epidural space of the mother’s body. Epidural space is a fluid-filled region that surrounds the spine.
The nerves that carry pain signals to the brain pass through this region. Thus, numbing these nerves helps a bundle in combating labor pains.
Epidural has now become the predominant method of pain management for women in labor. 60% of all deliveries carried out in hospitals, use epidural.
What Is Natural Birth?
Natural birth usually refers to vaginal delivery, without the use of medications. Unlike caesarian, birth with epidural also occurs through the vagina, but with the help of medications.
Natural birth can be very painful and often requires a lot of preparation. But other than the pain it has no downsides to it.
Pros Of Epidural
The main reason behind using an epidural is to relieve pain, and it does so, quite efficiently. It shows immediate results and often starts relieving pain within 10-20 minutes of administration. Women who have an epidural usually report little to no pain during the delivery.
Labor and childbirth are painful processes. This pain comes with extreme discomfort as well. Epidural can help in reducing both. Epidural is highly effective in reducing pains and has shown to lessen mental stress and anxiety in mothers.
Helps You Stay Alert
Giving birth is a divine process and you might want to witness the magical moment. Epidural helps in keeping the mothers awake and alert. Usually, during natural delivery tools like vacuum or forceps are used.
This causes a lot of discomfort and pain, and the mothers fail to actively participate in the birthing process.
Epidural also helps in staying awake during a C-section. This way even if you don’t go for a vaginal delivery, you can witness your baby’s birth.
Easy Transition Towards C-section
Even if your pregnancy was normal, anomalies can happen and the doctors might have to carry out an emergency C-section. If the patient is already on an epidural the doctors can carry out the surgery immediately. If not, the doctors will have to give anesthesia first which takes time. And time is of the essence in such cases.
Helps In Reducing Postpartum Depression
According to a 2014 study, the epidural can help in decreasing postpartum depression (PPD) in some women. Another study suggests that having a pain management plan in mind is what helps in combating depression. Not the epidural itself.
Cons Of Epidural
Epidural like any other thing has some cons too.
You are likely to experience nausea, dizziness back pain, and soreness at the site of injection.
A very few women also report having a severe headache. This is quite rare and happens due to leakage of the spinal fluid.
This is often treated by performing a blood patch, in which some of your blood is injected into your epidural space. An even rare side effect is permanent nerve damage. This happens if the spinal cord is damaged by the needle or catheter. This is not a side effect of the epidural itself but can happen due to poor execution.
Increases The Risk of Perineal Tear
Although there are various factors that cause a perineal tear, like larger babies, labor induction, and episiotomy. But research suggests that perineal tears are more commonly reported in women who use epidural.
Can Make Pushing Difficult
Women on epidural might lose their ability to push out the baby. This is not a general rule but is reported by some women who have used epidural. This difficulty in pushing can increase your chances of getting other interventions like a C-section or the use of forceps.
You might need a urinary catheter to help you urinate properly. This difficulty in urinating occurs when your lower body is numb. Once the numbness ends you will be able to urinate like usual.
What To Choose – Epidural Or Natural Birth?
The final decision will be yours or your doctors. It is always smart to consult a gynecologist to help you make a more educated decision. They will consider your overall health, baby’s health, pain threshold, and other complications before deciding.
Read our article on: Best Pain Reliever Menstrual Cramps