Right from the very first day I began watching birth videos on YouTube, and other mediums, I had come accept the fact that I might most probably go the epidural way. I began my research with these questions, ‘Are there any hospitals in Nigeria that administer Epidurals? Must I travel abroad to in order to be administered an epidural?’ I heard that not many hospitals in Nigeria administer it.
I watch a lot of television, and I enjoy E!, so, when Kourtney Kardashian was having Scott’s three babies, and the episodes were aired on television, my eyes were glued to the screen. You can imagine my surprise when Kourtney even helped to pull out one of her babies from her vaginal opening! ‘What?’ That was all I needed for a firmer resolve to go the epidural way.
When I was a child, the tales my mother told me about the way children were born was all a fib. She said that the doctors lay you on a bed, and the baby pops out of your tummy and your tummy closes back again, I believed this till I was privileged to see a goat give birth one day. I was in the village, and my grandmother’s goat, which was heavily pregnant, was about giving birth, so I stood by,in order to view the baby pop out of the tummy, like my mom had told me. I waited patiently till that sunny afternoon, when the goat delivered the baby as though she was ‘pooing’,and my eyes bulged as I stared at the baby forcing its way out of his mother’s womb while its mother blared in agony. By the time it was done, and my grandmother had placed the baby goat on leaves on the ground, I ran up to ask my mother.
“Is that how human beings give birth?”
She looked at me and knew at that instant that I had to know the truth.
“Well…yes, the baby comes out from the vagina and…”
I didn’t wait to hear more. I rushed out to the back of the house and crouched to the ground. I didn’t cry, but the childbearing exercise I had just witnessed by the goat came to my mind. I must have mentioned here before that I love children a lot, and when I was younger, I used to say that I’d have ten kids, but after that day, it reduced to five, and now, well…that’s a discussion for another day.
Epidurals anaesthesia is the most popular method of pain relief during labour. Women request an epidural by name, more than any other method of pain relief, and more than 50% of women giving birth in American hospitals, use epidural anaesthesia. Epidural anaesthesia is a regional anaesthesia, that blocks pain in a particular region of the body which leads to a total lack of feeling. The epidurals block the nerve impulses from the lower spinal segments, thus resulting in decreased sensation in the lower half part of the body.
How is it given?
Intravenous (IV) Fluids will be started before active labour begins, and prior to the procedure of placing the epidural. An anaesthesiologist who specializes in administering anaesthesia, an obstetrician, or nurse anaesthetist, will administer your epidural. You will be asked to arch your back, and remain still while lying on your left side, or sitting up, as these position are vital for preventing problems, and increasing the epidural effectiveness.
An antiseptic solution will be used to wipe the waistline area of your mid-back, to minimize the chances of an infection, and a small area on your back will be injected with a local anaesthetic to numb it. A needle is then inserted into the numbed area surrounding the spinal cord in the lower back, and after that, a small tube or catheter is threaded through the needle into the epidural space. The needle is carefully removed, leaving the catheter in place to provide medication either through periodic injections or by continuous infusion.
Yes agreed, epidurals makes child birth simple but then again, is it reliable? Is it safe? Are there any downsides?
According to American pregnancy.org, Epidurals may cause your blood pressure to suddenly drop, you may experience a severe headache caused by leakage of spinal fluid. After your epidural is placed, you will need to alternate sides while lying in bed and have continuous monitoring for changes in fetal heart rate. Lying in one position can sometimes cause a slowdown in labour or a complete stop. Epidurals make pushing more difficult and for a few hours after birth, the lower half of your body may feel numb, and this may require you to walk with assistance. In rare instances, permanent nerve damage may result in the area where the catheter was inserted.
Scary right? Let’s look at the advantages.
Getting an Epidural allows you rest,especially if your labour is prolonged.It helps reduce the discomfort of child birth. It allows you to remain alert, and be an active participant in your birth process. However, the use of epidural anaesthesia during childbirth is continually being refined. and much of its success depends on the skill with which it is administered.
After all said and done, I have read and re-read the pros and cons of having epidural administered and let’s say, ‘I’m still thinking about it.’ Regardless of the discomfort, the pain and extreme yelling during childbirth, it is a relief to know that there are options, and you can choose the one which best suits you. At the end of the day, it’s your bundle of joy in your arms that matters, and the look of pure bliss on your face that shows the world that it was all worth it.
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