Pregnant women wish for safe deliveries, one without complications. Giving birth should be a blissful and beautiful experience. But the prospect of delivery may give some women anxiety because of the anticipated pain and risk.
Women have the right to choose the method they prefer to deliver their child but it is best when they discuss it with their doctor or midwife to determine which method is best for the child. Alot of factors have accounted for the methods used in delivery most of which are associated with overall health of the mother, pain tolerance level, intensity of uterine contraction, size and position of the baby. So it is best the doctor makes the expectant mother understand all the options available to her to ensure a safe delivery void of complications.
Expectant mothers often have a difficult time deciding between a normal birth and a caesarean section (C-section). Most mothers doesn’t want to feel the elements of delivery and wouldn’t want to opt for C-section at the same time due to the risk involved. C-section have been linked with greater risk in contrast to vaginal birth, it is a major surgery with a range of potential complications such as hemorrhage, infection, and an increased risk to future pregnancies. It is estimated that nearly half of C-section complications are unavoidable. But performing C-section might not be avoidable in some serious cases.
Pains in vaginal delivery can be properly managed with epidural and spinal block. Women with low pain threshold and can’t stand a natural birth can opt for epidural block during labor. Epidural is convenient, kills labor pain effectively and has minimal side effect if done by an experienced anesthesiologist.
During epidural block, the doctor inject a powerful pain killer at the lower part of the mother’s back along the spine which will relieve the labor pain 5-10 minutes after administration. Epidural and spinal block combine both analgesic and anesthetic effect which numb the waist region leading to a painless birth. The mother will lose some feelings below the waist but will be awake and ready to push the baby out safely; It also slows down the second stage of labor.
Epidural and spinal block makes labor less painful. Both procedures are however not without risks. The medications used can have mild side effects such as itching, lowered blood pressure and headache. Nerve damage has been recorded in some very rare cases.
Theoretically tight or strong pelvic floor muscle may impair the progress of epidural labor and leads to instrumental labor. In this case the mother may be assisted with a vacuum or forceps. Research proved that about 39% of women with epidural delivery were instrumentally assisted while 16.5% without epidural were instrumentally assisted.
Mothers who opt for epidural labor are advised to meet with their anesthesiologist before their due date to know the type of pain relieve plan that will work for them.
Remember there are other choices other than epidural labor.
Written by Ahmad Abdullah, University of Ilorin, Kwara State, NIGERIA✍️