The choice of anesthesia methods that different clinics offer to their patients at the time of delivery depends on the traditions of these clinics, the level of qualifications of their specialists and, of course, the wishes of the women themselves. The leading position in the list of preferences, especially when it comes to natural childbirth, is now occupied by epidural, or, as it is also called, epidural anesthesia.
For example, in our center over the past 2-3 years, the frequency of its appointment has increased from 2 to 70%. The popularity of this method among all the others is due to several reasons.
1) Safety of the procedure: the technique of administering anesthesia and the drugs themselves that provide it are constantly being improved, which helps professionals to reduce to zero possible complications;
2) reliable pain relief: epidural anesthesia is the only method that completely eliminates the expectant mother from unpleasant sensations during childbirth, and both at the first stage – cervical dilatation, and during attempts;
3) a favorable effect on the child: an anesthetic drug relieves the baby’s condition, because the blood flow from the “relaxed” lower body of the expectant mother is naturally directed to the uterus;
4) adjustment of the labor process: epidural anesthesia helps to cope with failures in this process, relaxing the unyielding cervix, strengthening or, conversely, weakening contractions to give them a physiological rhythm;
5) preservation of mom’s activity: by blocking pain receptors located in the spinal cord of the spine, such anesthesia retains a sensation of attempts and does not violate the established nature by nature, following which a woman should participate in the process of childbirth.
The decision on the appointment of the future mother of this or that type of anesthesia is made by an obstetrician-gynecologist. But the last word in this remains for the anesthesiologist, who determines whether the chosen method is suitable for the patient.
However, not everything here depends on the woman’s desire – there are situations when epidural anesthesia is contraindicated to the expectant mother (they, fortunately, are few) or simply necessary (we are talking about some chronic diseases, such as bronchial asthma and malfunctions already in the birth process).
As for caesarean section, epidural anesthesia is used for both emergency and planned interventions. If in the process of natural childbirth suddenly an irresistible glitch arises and the obstetrician-gynecologist decides to operate a woman, another, more concentrated anesthetic is introduced into the already installed catheter. Preparing for a planned operation, experts choose between 3 types of anesthesia: in addition to the epidural, there is also a spinal, when the drug is injected into the spinal canal of the expectant mother, and the spinal-epidural.
Compared with the first, the second one acts faster, moreover, during the operation, the expectant mother does not feel the touch of the doctor. Spinal-epidural anesthesia combines the advantages of its “predecessors”, but due to the high cost of this type of anesthesia, not every clinic can afford to use it.
Today, doctors often use epidural anesthesia during childbirth, believing that it has a positive effect on the process of childbirth and does not have a negative effect on the baby. And yet, like any method, it has both positive and negative sides.
When do doctors use epidural anesthesia? First, if in the 2nd half of pregnancy, the expectant mother had preeclampsia (hypertension, edema, protein in the urine); secondly, if the child is located ass or legs forward; thirdly, the baby hurried with the birth.
Another plus of the method is the emotional state of the future mother: thanks to epidural anesthesia, the woman remains conscious, can participate in childbirth, and immediately after the birth of the baby – begin to communicate with him. Other methods of anesthesia (first of all – in general, they are administered intravenously or intramuscularly) can cause severe drowsiness and a feeling of disorientation.
After all, they act on the body as a whole and include a complex of sedatives, painkillers and antispasmodics.
And epidural anesthesia makes the process of attaching the baby to the breast more natural. And the young mother will be an active participant, and the child will not receive “portion” of pain medication with milk.
A special case: during natural childbirth it became necessary to make a cesarean section. In this case, the operation can be performed under the same epidural anesthesia, and the woman will be able to immediately see the baby and attach it to her chest!
At the same time, it happens that epidural anesthesia increases the duration of labor; In addition, it requires special preparation, for example, setting a dropper for the introduction of the solution, which is not always liked by patients. In addition, this method has contraindications: epidural anesthesia is not done, if there is inflammation at the puncture site, the patient has problems with blood coagulation, not everything is fine with the spine, and there is also a high risk of onset of bleeding during labor.
Do not forget about the complications (headaches, dizziness, weakness in the legs in the first days after birth), which are not often, but still happen. So what to do? Consult a doctor.
Knowing all the subtleties of epidural anesthesia, the doctor, the leading childbirth, and the anesthesiologist will decide what kind of anesthesia can be used. You will need to rely on specialists who, like you, are interested in the safe flow of labor.
By the way, in order to make it easier for you to agree with your doctor, you should get to know him in advance: knowing the characteristics of your pregnancy, he will be able to provide you with more adequate help.
The painkiller is injected into the spinal canal when the cervix dilates 2-4 cm. When the medicine works, the doctor inserts a needle at the level of the 3-4th vertebra and passes the catheter through it.
He attaches the other end of it to the woman’s shoulder: through him now, in small doses, he will receive a desensitizing person.