Painless Delivery/Epidural Analgesia

Epidural analgesia is a method of painless delivery during childbirth. It is a short-term pain relief technique that blocks pain signals in the lower part of the body without losing consciousness during the peak of contractions and childbirth.

The epidural procedure can be employed in the below-mentioned conditions-

  • To overcome postoperative pain
  • As a pain relief during childbirth
  • To manage specific chronic pain and back pain
  • In some cases, it is used as an alternative to general anaesthesia

What is the procedure for epidural analgesia?

Epidural analgesia is a pain management technique that involves giving patients numbing medicine in the epidural space during active labor. It is injected into the lower back by an anaesthesiologist for painless delivery. It is employed by inserting a needle or catheter through a needle to release analgesics. This is a helpful technique to bear pain in postoperative, procedural, or labor pain.

It helps patients experience minimal or no pain; localized anaesthesia requires you to sit immobile with your back arched. An anesthesiologist will place a catheter with the help of a needle on your lower back. The needle is removed, and a catheter is attached with surgical tape. Epidural is administered during peak contraction, which leads to loss of sensation in the pelvic region.

What are the major types of epidurals?

Epidurals are classified based on three factors-

  • Based on medicine delivery
  • Single injection- Epidural steroid injections come under this category. This epidural involves one injection, and the anaesthetic effect is short-term, for a few hours.
  • Catheter- It is suitable for long-term effects and recommended for labor pain and childbirth. This facilitates multiple doses and a continuous flow of anaesthetic medication.
  • Patient-controlled analgesia (PCA) - This is prescribed for recovery in postoperative duration. Patient-controlled analgesia pump releases medicine in one touch, according to the dose set by the doctor.
  • For childbirth- It can be epidural with a catheter or combined spinal epidural (CSE), a low-dose epidural with fewer side effects.
  • Epidural steroid injection- It contains corticosteroids prescribed to treat prolonged inflammation and pain in the neck, arm, back, or leg for a longer duration, which might be years.

Who qualifies for the procedure?

In most cases, epidural analgesia is acknowledged as an effective procedure but with significant side effects. To perform this procedure, the presence of an anaesthesiologist and certified nurse is mandatory. Anaesthesiologists are specially trained to conduct the whole procedure, including:

  1. Anaesthesia/Analgesia
  2. Intense care unit procedures
  3. Pain relive medicines
  4. Critical care unit operation

Epidural analgesia also offers a temporary release of medicine. It depends on:

  1. Analgesic drug used
  2. Dose
  3. Efficacy
  4. Condition of patient
  5. The age & gender of the patient

Why is the procedure conducted?

Conditions such as labor pain, childbirth, and postoperative and prolonged injury bring unbearable pain. Pregnant women prepare for normal delivery, and childbirth without an epidural is normal. But when the pain rises above expected, epidural analgesics or anaesthetics are administrated.

Labor pain is exhausting and irritating; epidurals decrease the pain and help pelvic muscles relax, allowing the baby to be delivered safely.

What are the benefits?

The benefits of getting epidural analgesia during labor pain are:

  • Minimize pain
  • Safe to use
  • Decrease postpartum mental health issues
  • Effective in cesarean birth
  • Quick recovery
  • Relax pelvic muscles
  • Maintain blood pressure
  • Promotes patient recovery

What are the risks or complications associated with epidural analgesia?

The epidural procedure is a safe way to minimize labor pain, but it has some side effects and complications, including:

  • Severe headache in case of spinal fluid leakage
  • Low blood pressure can make you feel lightheaded
  • Infection
  • Epidural abscess
  • Back pain
  • Dizziness
  • Lack of control of bladder and bowel movements

Contraindications with epidurals

People with certain medical conditions should not have an epidural. It is essential to share your medical history with the doctor if you suffer from:

  1. Low platelet count
  2. Decreased cardiac output
  3. Progressive neurologic disease
  4. Low blood pressure
  5. Anaesthetic drug allergy
  6. Blood clotting issues
  7. Infection
  8. Diabetes

Request an appointment at Apollo Cradle, Amritsar - Abadi Court Road. Call 1860-500-1066 to book an appointment.

1. Is the process of epidural painful?

The experience differs with every person. You are likely to feel a pinch or little pain during insertion. But if you have intense pain during or after the procedure, communicate immediately.

2. Can I move after the epidural and before delivery?

Yes, you can move around the bed with the support of your partner or nursing staff.

3. When is the right time for an epidural?

You can ask for the epidural at any time during your labor.

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