10 Epidural Myths and Facts: What You Should Know
Pregnancy and labor can be a stressful time for many expecting mothers, and many have heard a thing or two about epidurals that may have left them feeling a bit nervous and confused. Here are 10 epidural myths and facts to help put your mind at ease and inform you of the many facts behind this popular form of pain relief.
1. Myth: You Can’t Move During Labor With an Epidural
Fact: This is not true. Many women who have had an epidural are still able to move and get into comfortable positions during labor. Your doctor will likely let you know the best positions for your stage of labor.
2. Myth: The Epidural Will Make You Feel Numb
Fact: Typically, an epidural will not make you completely numb. Most women report a decrease in feeling at the area the epidural is placed, but it is still possible to feel some sensations. You will likely be able to tell when you are having a contraction and when you are pushing.
3. Myth: Epidurals During Pregnancy Weaken the Baby
Fact: The anesthetics used for epidurals are low doses and, in most cases, will not likely have any effect on your baby’s development.
4. Myth: An Epidural Will Cause Short-Term or Long-Term Issues
Fact: While there are some side effects that may be linked to having an epidural, they are generally temporary and don’t cause long-term issues. Some of the side effects include headaches, nausea, and blood pressure changes.
5. Myth: An Epidural Will Slow Down Labor
Fact: While it is true that an epidural can cause your labor time to be longer, this is not always the case. The length of labor is impacted by many factors and the epidural may not be the only cause for a longer labor.
6. Myth: An Epidural Is Dangerous
Fact: Complications from an epidural are rare and generally not dangerous; however, there can occasionally be some risks that your doctor will discuss with you ahead of time.
7. Myth: You Should Avoid An Epidural if You Have Back or Neck Problems
Fact: If you have a history of back or neck pain, it does not necessarily mean that you can’t opt for an epidural. Your doctor can help determine if an epidural is right for you.
8. Myth: An Epidural Will Increase the Risk of an Infection
Fact: Infections after an epidural are rare and typically only occur if the area around the epidural is not properly cleaned and sterile before the epidural is administered.
9. Myth: An Epidural is Painless
Fact:An epidural can cause some mild discomfort, although this generally only lasts for a few seconds. Your doctor or anesthesiologist should let you know what to expect before the epidural is administered.
10. Myth: An Epidural Will Make You Tired
Fact: There is no evidence that suggests that an epidural will make you more tired or drowsy than normal. As a matter of fact, for many women, an epidural can actually help make you more alert and awake by reducing the pain that can make you exhausted.
Overall, epidurals can be an effective method of pain relief during labor and before delivery. It is important to discuss any concerns or questions with your doctor before opting for an epidural. It is also beneficial to become familiar with the myths and facts of epidurals before making your decision.