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Question
Posted by: Thato | 2004/01/05

Epidural

Hi

I'm 32 weeks pregnant and i want to give birth naturally but I'm scared of the pains. Can someone explain to me the disadvantages of taking epidural when giving birth.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageGynaeDoc

As www has said, there are certainly advantages to having an epidural. The main disadvantage is that, as you often do not have the sensation to push, this is more difficult and there is a higher chance of having an instrumental delivery. There is also a slightly higher incidence of backache after an epidural.

Best wishes

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Our users say:
Posted by: www | 2004/01/05

Well, on the advantages side, I list first and foremost that you are definitely more relaxed and you can actually enjoy the birth experience.

On the disadvantages side, I have heard in some cases (note, not all cases), it prolongs birth, because dilation happens slower and it can cause problems in the pushing phase, since you cannot feel how you are (should be) pushing, leading to forceps or vacuum sometimes having to be used.

I wanted natural birth for my second baby (went completely natural the first time so I figured I could do it again - boy, how quickly we forget). I pitched at the hospital with not very heavy contractions and was in control, but about an hour after arrival at the hospital, I started loosing it and at that stage I was 5-7cm dilated and demanded an epidural. Luckily the anesthatist was scheduled to arrive for someone else who asked for it before hand, so he quickly did mine first. He didn't give me the full dose of epidural anesthetic, but the relief was EMMENSE and within 10 minutes of the epidural kicking in, I felt I needed to push. Because it was a very low dose given to me, I could still feel the sensation to push and could push so effectively that my baby was born 5 minutes later. It was the most amazing experience of my life. I didn't tear and wasn't given an episiotomy. I was very lucky.

My sister-in-law ordered an epidural before she even went in, so she didn't really have any labour pains. She went into hospital, had the epidural and waited for baby to arrive. However, when she had to push, she couldn't and forceps needed to be used. It was quite traumatic for both her and the baby.

I think the key is not to have the epidural too early and to have an aneasthetist that has worked with your gynae plenty of times before - one who knows exactly what he's doing (ie. adapting dosages as needed etc.)

So there's a whole long posting back to you that really doesn't answer your question, just gives you a few ideas of what could happen. Speak to your OBGYN and find out exactly what the advantages and disadvantages are and then make an informed decision. Good luck!

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