Pregnancy: Pain Relief Options for Birth (cont.)
In this Article
- Pain relief options for labor and childbirth introduction
- What pain relief medications are available for labor and childbirth?
- What is the difference between an epidural and spinal anesthesia?
- How is regional anesthesia given during labor and childbirth?
- How soon can I get the regional anesthesia during labor?
- Will the anesthesia affect my baby?
- How long does it take for anesthesia to work and how long will it last?
- Will I feel anything after getting the anesthesia?
- Will I have to stay in bed after regional anesthesia?
- Will regional anesthesia slow my labor?
- If I have regional anesthesia, will I be able to push?
- Are there any side effects to regional anesthesia?
- Find a local Obstetrician-Gynecologist in your town
Will I Feel Anything After Getting the Anesthesia?
Although you will feel significant pain relief after getting anesthesia, you may still feel mild pressure from your contractions. You may also feel pressure when your health care provider examines you.
Will I Have to Stay In Bed After Regional Anesthesia?
Not necessarily. Your anesthesiologist can tailor the anesthesia to allow you to sit in a lounge chair or walk. Walking or sitting may even help your progress in labor. If you are interested, ask your anesthesiologist about a "walking epidural." Keep in mind, however, that your personal labor situation may not allow this type of epidural.
Will Regional Anesthesia Slow My Labor?
In some women, labor and contractions may slow after regional anesthesia for a short period of time. Most women find that regional anesthesia helps them to relax and actually improves their contraction pattern while allowing them to rest.
If I Have Regional Anesthesia, Will I Be Able to Push?
Yes. Regional anesthesia allows you to rest comfortably while your cervix dilates. It should not affect your ability to push; instead, it will make pushing more comfortable for you.
Are There Any Side Effects to Regional Anesthesia?
Your anesthesiologist takes special precautions to prevent complications. Although complications are rare, some side effects may include:
- Decreased blood pressure. You will receive intravenous fluids and your blood pressure will be carefully monitored and treated to prevent this from happening.
- Mild itching during labor. If itching becomes bothersome, your anesthesiologist can treat it.
- Headache. Drinking fluids and taking pain tablets can help relieve headaches after regional anesthesia. If the headache persists, tell your anesthesiologist and additional medication can be ordered for you.
- Local anesthetic reaction. While local anesthetic reactions are rare, they can be serious. Be sure to tell your anesthesiologist if you become dizzy or develop ringing in your ears so that he or she can quickly treat the problem.
WebMD Medical Reference
SOURCE: American Pregnancy Association.
Reviewed by Mikio A. Nihira, MD on July 09, 2012
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