About epidural labor
In response to the wishes of the expectant mothers, we offer “epidural labor”, by mainly using epidural anesthesia.
We hope that you will understand the risks and costs as well as the benefits of this procedure before making your decision. We hold “Epidural labor class” as an information session. Those who will undergo epidural labor must participate after applying at the antenatal checkup. We perform pain-relieving delivery during daytime from Monday to Friday.
When do you perform a pain-relieving delivery (epidural labor)? Is it completely painless?
The timing of the anesthesia is consulted with the pregnant woman while watching the opening of the uterus.
The idea is to relieve the pain so that the delivery can proceed. The effect of anesthesia varies depending on the individual.
What is Planned Delivery?
In Planned Delivery, the hospitalization date and the scheduled delivery date are set in the outpatient department. Labor pains are systematically caused, and delivery is performed.
We recommend that you have an epidural labor according to the Planned Delivery at our hospital. One of the advantages of the Planned Delivery is that anesthesia can be started immediately after labor onset. In spontaneous labor, there are cases where anesthesia could not be administered in time because the baby was already in labor when the patient came to the hospital (the baby was delivered before the anesthesia was fully effective). However, this situation rarely happens in Planned Delivery.
Is it necessary to use oxytocin during epidural labor?
In planned labor, oxytocin is used to induce labor before the onset of natural contractions.
Even during epidural labor caused by natural contractions, if the labor interval and, consequently, the delivery are prolonged by anesthesia, it may be necessary to use oxytocin.
Will I be able to give birth in my own power in epidural labor?
Even if your pain is well controlled, it is possible to feel the uterine contractions and to push entirely on your own.
However, in some cases, the anesthesia is so effective that you may not be able to feel the contractions, or you may not know when to push.
In these situations, we will temporarily reduce the amount of anesthetics or interrupt the administration of anesthetics to prevent the anesthetics from becoming too effective and guide you to a smooth delivery.
If you do not know when to push, your doctor or midwife will advise you on the timing.
In addition, depending on the size of the baby and the size of the birth canal, forceps delivery or vacuum extraction (a method of pulling the baby out using an instrument) may be necessary if you cannot deliver the baby by your pushing. Even in this scenario, please consider this approach as a supplement to your pushing power.
What are the effects on the baby in an epidural labor?
Compared to other anesthesia methods, epidural anesthesia can be used safely during delivery. The anesthetics agent itself has almost no effect on the baby. However, if the mother’s blood pressure drops rapidly due to the anesthesia, the blood flow to the uterus will decrease, which may have a temporary effect on the baby. Therefore, we measure the maternal blood pressure frequently and manage the delivery by preparing for an immediate response if a drop in blood pressure occurs.
The epidural anesthesia itself may cause uterine contractions and weaken the pregnant woman’s ability to push.
This phenomenon increases the possibility of forceps delivery or vacuum extraction (a method of pulling the baby out with instruments).
Forceps delivery or vacuum extraction is also performed in general deliveries other than epidural labor. These techniques ensure the safety of the baby. In rare cases, the baby may be injured and will be in need of treatment.
What are the restrictions during an epidural labor?
During the delivery, including an epidural labor, any patients may need an emergency cesarean section due to maternal complications or sudden deterioration of the baby’s condition.
If you have had something, you need to be very careful because the risk of anesthesia during a cesarean section will increase. There are no dietary restrictions except for a certain period before and after the epidural anesthesia is started. However, if we assess that the possibility of a cesarean section has increased due to the condition of the baby or mother during the delivery, there will be dietary restrictions.
During the administration of anesthesia, the movements of the lower part of the body are paralyzed and the patient may not be able to stand or walk as expected.
If there is a risk of falling when walking to the toilet, the midwife may place a catheter in the urethra to drain urine.
What are the advantages of an epidural labor?
Epidural labor’s greatest benefit is that it eases labor pains and allows the mother to feel more relaxed and physically ready to give birth.
In addition, if the stress of childbirth fear and the labor pain are extremely strong, the mother’s mental state before and after childbirth, and on childcare after childbirth may be adversely affected. If the flexibility of the birth canal is weak (e.g., advanced maternal age, etc.), epidural labor might be more beneficial as it removes the tension from the birth.
Epidural labor is also advantageous in preserving physical strength for postpartum childcare.
Mothers often mention that they feel more motivated to raise their children because the burden of childbirth is lessened.
Who can receive an epidural labor?
Pregnant women with blood clotting difficulty have an increased risk of epidural hematoma due to the epidural anesthesia procedure.
Therefore, we examine the clotting tendency of blood by taking blood samples in the late pregnancy.
It is also difficult to place an epidural catheter if there is a strong deformity of the spine, such as a history of disc herniation.
Pregnant women who are allergic to anesthetics may not be able to have an epidural labor. Pregnant women who are concerned that they may not be able to have an epidural labor due to some complications or pre-existing conditions can consult with an obstetric anesthesiologist at Obstetric Anesthesia Clinic.