The pain of labor has been known since Garden of Eden. The ecstasy of being pregnant is often marred with apprehensions, anxiety and fear about the labor pains. We can change your perception of pain with the introduction of labor analgesia. This new option to labor management offers significant assistance to moms who want pain relief and still would like to move about. Some women can control their pain by breathing, focusing or relaxing techniques while for others it is very intense. In some cases, the labor may be short i.e. 4 to 8 hours, but in some cases it may go on to 24 hours, specially in primigravida ( first pregnancy ) ! Imagine the ordeal, and the relief provided by this technique.
For the last 20 years or so Epidural analgesia is the most popular. About 70-80 % of the mothers- to -be opt for this method in the U.S. There are other methods of pain relief but they are not as safe or as effective.
The challenge is to stop or minimize the pain but not the labor and descent of the baby. It should be SAFE both for the baby and the mother. Epidural analgesia is given only when labor is well established and the cervix or the opening of the uterus is at least 3-4 cms. The initial mild labor pains have to be borne by the patient. Because it requires close monitoring a team of Gynaecologist and anesthetist are required to monitor the delivery. Thus it is more popular in the private Hospitals.
Epidural analgesia is the introduction of small doses of medicines into the lower back spine through a fine plastic tube. The procedure is carried out in the room itself. The back is cleaned with an antiseptic and the area where the catheter is to be introduced is numbed with a local anesthetic. The needle is then passed into the epidural space and one does not have to enter the spinal canal as feared by some. The tubing is then strapped to the back with tape and kept in place. Other than the prick of the local Anaesthesia there is generally no other discomfort. Once the tube is in place medicines are introduced into the catheter, which are enough to block your pain, but you will be able to push the baby. Drugs are introduced at regular intervals depending on the requirement and intensity of the pain.
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