A spinal puncture at childbirth is a form of pain control. In comparison with other pain-relieving drugs, the epidural is the most drastic form (besides narcosis). Usually the pain of the contractions is completely or largely eliminated.
An epidural has two variants: one that is used in vaginal delivery (epidural epidural) and one that is used in caesarean section (spinal anesthesia). Read in this blog about these two types of epidural and what the advantages and disadvantages of this form of pain control during childbirth.
Epidural epidural in vaginal delivery
With a vaginal delivery you get one epidural epidural. A catheter is placed between your spine with the jab. A catheter is a kind of tube. Between your back vertebrae are nerves that carry pain stimuli from the uterus to the pelvic floor. Because of this spinal puncture these nerves become numb and you do not feel the pain of the contractions (partly) anymore.
An epidural works after fifteen minutes. If the spinal puncture is going to work, you can still use your lower body, but it is possible that you can put less force in pressing. When it is time to squeeze and you have complete digestion, the dosage is reduced so that you can feel good when the contractions get going.
Back puncture at cesarean section
In cesarean sections, a spinal anesthetic is usually chosen. This spinal puncture is made by an anesthetist who injects a fluid between your spine. At that place are the nerves that carry the pain stimuli. Spinal anesthesia works quickly and makes you stunned from your navel. So you can not move your legs anymore, but you are otherwise conscious. Do not worry, you will not feel anything about the caesarean section. Before you know it, you can keep your baby in your arms.
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Side effects epidural?
The most common side effect of an epidural during delivery is a sharply decreasing blood pressure. This allows you to faint, breathe harder or slow your heart rate. It can also prevent the circulation of your uterus reduced. This means less oxygen comes from your baby. Fortunately, the latter is not very common. If that is the case then you usually get an emergency Cesarean section.
Other side effects of the epidural:
- headache (in spinal anethesis);
- not being able to urinate well (urinary retention).
Urinary retention is caused by anesthesia and can make you unable to feel well if your bladder is full. Keep an eye on this after your birth. Usually, a bladder catheter is installed immediately during delivery to constantly drain your urine. In some cases, a bladder catheter can cause a bladder infection again.
There are many questions about an epidural: Is a spinal puncture dangerous? Is an epidural painful and up to how many cm of access can you get an epidural?
Advantages of the epidural during childbirth?
- The pain during childbirth is clearly less;
- An epidural works quickly;
- It is not harmful to your child;
- It has no adverse effect on breastfeeding;
- You make the delivery very consciously.
Disadvantages of epidural during childbirth?
- Because it has side effects, constant monitoring is required;
- You can not walk around because you're stuck with an infusion;
- It is possible that you can not move your legs (this is temporary);
- On average, pressing takes a quarter of an hour longer through the spinal puncture;
- In the event of an epidural it is more common that the delivery ends in an artificial redemption (vacuum pump or forceps);
- Chances are that oxytocin needs to be administered to strengthen the contractions;
- You can become sick and dizzy because your blood pressure drops;
- In 5% of all women who receive an epidural, it does not give enough relief to the pain.
In about 15 to 20% of women who have one spinal puncture at childbirth get the body temperature rises. In that case, you will receive antibiotics immediately because it may be an infection. Because you get antibiotics it can happen that your baby has to go to the incubator department after delivery. Usually this has no further consequences, but it can be a bit of a shock.
No influence on the health of your baby?
An epidural during childbirth does not make your baby less healthy in the world. So in principle it can not hurt. Most women have no complications because of the spinal puncture.
Does a spinal pain hurt?
The experiences of women who have had an epidural are very different. One thought it was very painful and the other felt nothing. Usually an epidural pain hurts more if it can not be put in one go and is therefore more often pricked. In general, women indicate that they are more concerned with other things, such as the contractions themselves, so that they hardly feel the epidural itself. Yet this does not have to be the case for you.
In short: it is not possible to indicate in advance whether it will hurt you. But it most probably does a lot less pain than the delivery.
How were your experiences with the spinal puncture?
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