What is Painless Delivery
In case you are going to be a mother for the first time, we’re sure you’ll be experiencing mixed feelings of excitement and fear. Once you conceive, you’ll start to think about eating good and will opt in for a healthy lifestyle to give your growing baby the best possible nutrition. But as the due date edges closer, you would probably begin to feel a little tense every day, thinking about how you will give birth to your baby. And what the options could be for your delivery; whether a vaginal birth or a c-section.
Almost every woman knows the intensity of pain a woman endures during natural birth; considered to be the most painful form of pain. Some women endure more pains than others during delivery and C-sections have become a blessing for many women who couldn’t easily deliver their children naturally and for those with high-risk pregnancies. But over the course of recent time; many women have started opting for c-section in order to avoid the pain of natural birth anyway.
And if you count yourself among those who would choose to have a c-section because of the fear of labour pain or if you want to have another option to bring your baby into this world without going through pain, you can opt for a delivery called a “Painless delivery” or an “Epidural delivery”.
What exactly is a Painless Delivery?
Painless delivery is the same as a normal natural delivery but with negligible pain experienced during labour labor. So basically, painless delivery is a normal delivery, without the pain! With the administering of epidural anaesthesia; mothers in labour are spared the pains of a normal delivery and this is the most commonly used method for painless labour during childbirth.
So how does an Epidural work?
During labour, the uterus contracts and expands with great force to push the baby out. The contractions in particular, are the main reason for labour pain. As labour commences, the uterus begins contracting and the cervix begins to expand to make way for the baby. During labour, the pain caused by uterus contractions travels through nerve signals from the uterus to the brain via the network of nerves in the backbone or spine.
An epidural is a regional anaesthetic and when an epidural is injected near the spinal cord, the anaesthetic numbness in and around the genital, abdominal, and pelvic areas. The loss of sensation in these parts because of the epidurals will prevent the intense sensations and stop the transmission of pain signals to the brain. So it’s all in all a normal delivery, without the pain!!
The Process of Painless Delivery
The process of a painless delivery is the same as a normal delivery, save for receiving the epidural to almost eliminate labor pains. But, as a mother to be, every woman wants to make sure each and everything is in order when planning for the birth of her baby, so here is the process of painless delivery explained.
After the active labour starts and prior to the administration of the epidural, the mother will be given IV fluids; about 1 – 2 litres of fluids will be given throughout labour and delivery.
Before administering the epidural, an anaesthetist will ask you to take a comfortable position which will make it easier to inject the right place and increase the effectiveness.
After cleaning with an antiseptic, a small amount of a local anaesthetic will be injected into your lower back to numb the area and a catheter will be threaded through the needle into the epidural space (the area between the bones of the spine and around the spinal nerves).
The epidural injection will take around 5 to 30 minutes to take full effect.
Women can go for a normal delivery sans pain and and they’ll be conscious during the procedure:
- Labour pain induces the secretion of stress hormones in the mother that distress both mother and child. This will not be so in painless deliveries.
- The duration of the delivery is significantly decreased.
- Blood pressure, pulse rate and heartbeat are kept under control.
- It is easier to do a c-section if needed as an emergency.
- In very rare cases, there can be sudden and unexpected drops in blood pressure.
- Epidurals can cause some backaches, dizziness or shivering.
- Mothers may experience headaches after the procedure.
- Urination might be difficult for a while.
- Because of the numbness, the normal pushing ability of woman during labour is lesser. So a vacuum may be used for pulling out the baby or the surgeon may opt to perform a c-section.
Consult your gynaecologist before assessing what is best for you and your baby to be.
Dr. Madhulika Sinha
Obstetrics and Gynaecolog