What are the options for pain relief during labor?
The suppression of labor pain was not always set as primary goal, but the development of today's informed society imposed the anesthesia of the normal birth as a standard in most developed clinics in the world. The widest distribution has received the anesthesia by placing an epidural catheter and adding painkillers and anxiolytics intravenously during the various stages. Pain relief suppresses the pain, but preserves the feeling of contractions, allowing the woman in labor to push at the correct time. The placement of the the epidural catheter and the start of the labor analgesia may commence with disclosure of the the cervix not less than 4-5cm.
Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions in this regard:
- Are there any epidural risks to the fetus? – The epidural does not hide a direct risk to the fetus and the child’s physical and mental development.
- Can analgesia also be provided for caesarean section? - Yes, it can be provided for caesarean section, as well as in the postoperative period.
- What are the contraindications for the use of that anesthetic? - Blood coagulation problems, infections and rashes in the placement, state of dehydration.
- Can epidurals slow the course of the normal birth? – Yes, it could happen, but to the extent permitted and very briefly.
- What are the risk to the mother and how often do they occur? – The risks of an epidural catheter are as large as in any invasive manipulation (as in an ordinary intramuscular injection).
- Where is the the catheter placed? – The epidural catheter can be placed at each level of the spine. When anesthesia of normal birth is placed, it is at the level of 2-3 lumbar vertebra. The placement is painless. The pain is in advance reduced with local anesthetic.
- How long is the pain relief? - The advantage of epidural anesthesia with a catheter is that it may remain for a sufficient time, as it could last even the longest normal birth, without bringing additional risks to the mother and the fetus. In each period of normal labor it is possible to make such an amount and concentration of anesthetic, enough to provide comfort to the mother. If the application of episiotomy is needed, the analgesia is sufficient and adequate for the performance of the manipulation, and for the restoration of the integrity.