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Epidurals…what you should know before you sign

  • Posted on July 17, 2017 at 3:14 pm

I have always told the moms I serve, “There is a time and a place for all the technology we use surrounding birth, but the misuse, or overuse of that technology is damaging.”

As a midwife and a doula, I have walked countless moms through labor, both at home and in the hospital.¬† I support natural childbirth¬†wholeheartedly but even with that as my background, I have encouraged several moms to get epidurals.¬† I inwardly cringe when I hear random moms say things like, “Natural childbirth…NO WAY!!! I want my epidural in the parking lot” because they are generally not well informed about the real risks involved and not prepared to meet labor head on as they will have to do for sometime, at least until the anesthesiologist is available.

The well-placed and appropriately used epidural brings a peaceful birth to some moms who have worked hard for hours and are simply mentally and physically exhausted. It is a useful tool to help control climbing blood pressure with fewer lasting side effects than magnesium. It can be used to relax pelvis muscles that are just holding baby in.

I think like all things, it comes down to a risk/benefit analysis. I think it is important to recognize all the real risks involved, preferably before you are in labor, while you are still able to make a rational decision. It is equally important not to inflate the risks and be overly fearful in the event that the benefits do outweigh the risks. The author of this well-written article sums it all up very well.