10 Major Pros and Cons of Epidural

10 Major Pros and Cons of Epidural

by / Comments Off / 68 View / Jan 8, 2015

Labor pain is integral to the birthing process. It is very rare for a would-be mother to experience very little or no pain. In most cases, labor pain can be unbearable. It is natural to look for pain relief solutions to get rid of the immense and often excruciating labor pain. One of the most popular pain relief solutions available today is the epidural.

Epidural is basically a process of administering an anesthetic on or around the dura-mater. A would-be mother is injected with the anesthetic in between two vertebras in the lower spinal column. This numbs the limbs from waist down. As a result, the mother to be doesn’t feel any pain at all. There may be some sensations during the final stages of labor and during birth but it wouldn’t be the brutal pain that is associated with childbirth.

Epidural is a very common procedure. There are millions of couples who sign up for an epidural even before heading for labor. Some couples sign up for the procedure at the time of checking into the maternity wards. Whether you are predetermined or not, you should know a fair bit about epidural pros and cons to know if you should opt for it. There are many women who don’t mind bearing the pain associated with labor and childbirth. There are some women who would prefer an alternate solution. Today, many couples are opting for laboring in water and even water birth. There are options available but you need to know them in detail so you can make an informed decision.


1. Epidural works wonders as a pain relief solution. If a mother to be is experiencing extreme pain, then the whole labor and birthing process can be a very unpleasant experience. It will not only be troubling for the mother but even the child will have a traumatic birth because the mother would not be comfortable with the pain and thus there would be bodily reactions, from cramped muscles preventing a smooth birthing to more tearing of the tissues. Epidural is a great solution to get instant pain relief. The process has been proved to be a success for many years now.

2. Epidural allows the cervix to be dilated to its optimum ability. The pain relief solution allows the mother to relax and that allows the muscles to be more flexible. The vaginal muscles are more relaxed and that can easily facilitate a better functioning of the perineum. Epidural also helps in cases where the baby is facing the belly instead of the backbone.

3. Many mothers to be become exhausted with pain and by the time contractions have to begin it is likely that the mothers to be would be completely tired. Epidural can facilitate a quick nap during labor. This helps because the mother to be would be fresh and strong at the time of final contractions.

4. Epidural helps in countering various other health challenges or changes in vital signs. Blood pressure can spike up during labor, there can be a risk of stroke and normal heart rates also skyrocket during contractions. All these can be better managed with an epidural.

5. Epidural also helps in forceps or when a vacuum cup has to be used to facilitate childbirth.

6. If a mother to be is opting for a C section or a cesarean, then epidural helps in the process. A mother can stay awake and yet be numb where she is being operated.


1. Epidurals are known to offer considerable or complete pain relief but in some cases, it may not offer the desired relief. There have been reported cases where epidural has failed to provide any significant pain relief, some cases have recorded mothers to be reporting that only one side from their waste down had been numbed and not the other.

2. Epidural will make most mothers to be considerably immobile. This limited mobility is a concern for many. One wouldn’t be able to move around the room, hall or even the bed. It is likely that following an epidural, a mother to be would be connected to a fetal monitor and an IV, thus making one more immobile.

3. Epidural reduces one’s ability to push. Contractions often require voluntary control to an extent. Since the body from the waist down would be numb, it is difficult for any mother to be to exert considerable control or to increase the thrust of the pushes. The lack of this ability or limited ability often makes forceps or vacuum cups necessary.

4. Fever, spinal headache and breathing troubles are quite common after an epidural. The blood pressure drops in most epidurals and that can also lead to a lower heart rate of the baby. It is also difficult to urinate once an epidural has been administered.