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Should You Have an Epidural? Pros Cons Once the medication kicks in, you feel little, if any, pain, although you may notice a tightening of your uterine muscle during contractions.
The reassurance that pain will be minimal can help reduce fear.
It offers a physical reprieve to a woman having a prolonged active labor.
Today's dosages are adjusted in such a way that you can still maintain some muscle control for pushing and be able to walk soon after delivery
Less medication is thought to enter the baby's system than with other medical pain management options. By the time you feel you need one, you may already be in transition (dilated 7 to 10 centimeters), which is too late to offer real relief and could cause unnecessary delay in pushing and birth.
In some cases, it hinders the progress of labor.
Because it inhibits sensation in the hips and legs, effective pushing can be difficult. Forceps or vacuum extraction and an episiotomy may be required as a result.
It requires an IV in your arm, a catheter in your bladder, and a needle in your spine-unpleasant if you're squeamish and also confining you to bed.
It may not completely numb some parts of your abdomen or legs.
Complications associated with the procedure (such as improper placement of the needle) can cause severe or long-lasting backache or headache.
It requires increased monitoring of both mother and baby
It may affect the baby, slowing alertness and quickness to breastfeed.
It's expensive (can add $500 to $2,000 to your hospital bill). Noting its reputation for almost pain-free labor, some women decide on epidural anesthesia long before their first contraction appears. Others prefer to avoid an epidural at all costs, either because they've heard stories of epidurals' side effects or because they prefer to labor with a minimum of medical interference. Knowing the pros and cons of epidural anesthesia can help you make an informed decision.