Long before the day of delivery, prospective parents together with the obstetrician and midwife should have ascertained the entire planned delivery. Including whether later the mother will use epidural anesthesia if she wants to give birth normally (through the vagina). Well, before deciding, you must first know what effects the epidural anesthesia might have on both mother and baby.
Use of epidural anesthesia at normal labor
Epidural anesthesia is classified as a local anesthetic, which means you will still be fully aware. Only, the anesthetized part will numb (numb) so that pain or pain when giving birth will not be so pronounced.
An anesthesiologist who will give epidural anesthesia. There are two ways, namely by being injected into the lower back or by attaching a very small hose (catheter) to the prospective epidural cavity of the mother.
That way, the pelvis down will be numb, but your muscles can still work and contract to give birth. You will also stay awake during labor.
Basically, epidural anesthesia is safe for mother and baby. This is if the doctor has really evaluated your and your baby's health condition. The problem is, not everyone can give birth with an epidural. Consult your doctor about the complete information, because the condition and body of each person is different.
Effects of epidural anesthesia on maternity
Like other types of anesthetic, an epidural can certainly cause side effects on the mother. The following are things that might occur after the mother gives birth to an epidural anesthesia.
- Blood pressure decreases . Research in the Canadian Journal of Anesthesia noted that one in eight women giving birth will experience a drop in blood pressure. Therefore, your doctor and labor team will continue to monitor your blood pressure during labor.
- Headache . According to American Pregnancy, the effects of epidural anesthesia are very rare. To be precise, only one percent of epidural deliveries experience this case.
- Effects of anesthetic . You may feel the effects of anesthesia in general. These include chills, ringing in the ears, numb lower back, or nausea. This effect may still be felt even after the baby is born.
- Longer delivery . Because using anesthetic at the hip down, you may have difficulty contracting and pushing the baby out. As a result, your labor may be longer than it should be.
- Caesarean delivery . Because labor is too long or the mother is unable to push the baby again, there is a possibility that the baby will eventually have to be delivered by caesarean section.
Is there an epidural anesthetic effect on the baby?
Various scientific studies about the effects of epidural anesthesia on infants have not reached the point of agreement. The results are still very diverse and can vary depending on each case studied.
However, in theory, whatever enters the mother's bloodstream will also enter the baby's body through the placenta. Well, even though epidural anesthesia is inserted into the mother's spinal cord, there will be little or a lot of anesthesia that enters the mother's bloodstream. So, epidural anesthesia can indeed hit your baby.
According to an anesthesiologist from Northwestern University Feinberg School, Dr. Cynthia Wong, if only a few drugs are exposed to the baby, there are no harmful effects on the baby.
Although not dangerous, various studies have reported the effect of epidural anesthesia on infants who are not so serious or can still be treated medically. After all, these cases rarely occur in labor. The following are the effects of epidural anesthesia on infants that may occur.
1. Lack of oxygen
When a mother's blood pressure drops dramatically, the baby may be deficient in oxygen. Because the baby gets oxygen through the mother's blood. This risk is higher when the labor process lasts long. To overcome this problem, the doctor may install a liquid infusion on the part of the mother.
2. Irregular heartbeat
Research in the British Journal of Anesthesia reveals that if the epidural has been given for more than five hours, there is a risk that the mother's body temperature will increase. This increase in body temperature affects the baby's heart rate.
Irregular heartbeat in the baby, or fetal tachycardia, if not immediately returned to normal can lead to a fetal distress condition. Therefore, during labor the doctor will continue to monitor the baby's heart rate through a cardiotocographic monitor (CTG).
3. Respiratory problems after birth
A number of cases report that babies may experience breathing problems, which are hunting breaths (such as gasping), for several hours after birth from mothers who use epidural anesthesia. However, experts still debate the effects of epidural anesthesia on this one baby.
Several other cases also note the risk of low blood sugar in newborns. However, it is not yet clear whether this is indeed caused by epidural anesthesia in the mother, not because of other factors.
4. Difficulty breastfeeding
It is not certain whether the effects of epidural anesthesia can make it difficult for babies to stick to the mother's breast for breastfeeding after birth. However, various reports do show that there is a tendency for infants not to breastfeed smoothly in mothers who use epidural anesthesia.
This is thought to occur because the epidural interferes with the release of the hormone oxytocin. Oxytocin itself plays a very important role after birth, namely to increase the bond between mother and baby and facilitate the initiation of early breastfeeding (IMD).
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