Each woman during labour, experiences and tolerates pain. In some cases, the labour may be short i.e. 4 to 8 hours, but in other cases it may go on up to 24 hours, especially in first pregnancy. The perception of pain during labour and delivery differs between individuals.
Many expecting mothers would like to experience a normal delivery but without the labour pain. Painless delivery using epidural analgesia is an advance in pain management during labour, which ensures that a pregnant woman has a comfortable labour.
To opt for painless delivery, is utterly the couple’s choice. But in the end, it is a soothing experience to have a healthy and beautiful baby without any tiring labour pains which are generally a part and parcel of a normal delivery.
What is Epidural Analgesia?
Epidural Analgesia is a regional anaesthesia in which an anaesthetic drug is injected near the spinal cord in the spinal canal. It numbs the body below the waist, but the movements are not impaired.
When it is given?
Epidural analgesia is given only when labour is well set and the cervix or the opening of the uterus is at least 3-4 cm.
How it is given?
It can be given as a single injection or in multiple doses through a special epidural catheter by a skilled anaesthetist, at regular intervals depending on the requirement and intensity of the pain
What is the exact procedure?
In this method lady’s back is cleaned with an antiseptic liquid and the area where the catheter is to be introduced is numbed with a local anaesthetic. The needle is then passed into the epidural space, small doses of medicines is introduced into the lower back spine through a fine plastic tube. This medicine so injected relives pain while labour and descent of the baby continues.
Advantages of Painless Delivery
- Mother is conscious and alert throughout the labour
- Does not prolong labour
- No stress or anxiety on the part of the mother
- As no pain is felt the lady can focus on pushing the baby
- Allows time for rest, exhaustion does not set in.
- Can participate in the joyous moment of the new arrival.
- Almost complete relief from pain with the patient being mobile
- No postpartum headache as in spinal anaesthesia
Painless delivery using epidural analgesia is very popular and is being used safely for more than 20 years. This technique of making labour a painless experience has been appreciated and acknowledged by patients who have opted for it.