Understand Epidural: Painless Delivery Techniques

Using epidural to eliminate pain during natural childbirth is known as painless delivery. Reducing the suffering of labor pains allows the delivery to be carried out more calmly and quickly. Because this delivery technique using epidural includes paralysis as a potential side-effect, it is essential that a hospital with a dedicated anesthesiologist carry out the procedure.

What is Epidural Delivery?


Using epidural as a means of eliminating pain during the childbirth is called painless delivery. Epidurals are one of the safest methods of reducing pain during natural childbirth. With a portion of the spine numb, the sensation of pain is eliminated. Pain is reduced from as low as 5% to as much as 20%.

No pain is felt when anesthetized, but you are otherwise fully conscious. The second phase of delivery and natural childbirth are the same, the delivering mother still must exert herself to force the fetus from her body.

Apply Anesthetic after Cervical Dilation

The epidural space can be found in the continuous area between the neck and buttocks. In general, anesthetic is administered when cervical dilation reaches 5-6cm for first-time mothers, and 3-4cm for women who have given birth previously. If anesthetic is applied too soon, it will limit uterine contractions and prevent cervical dilation. Thus, even women undergoing this procedure must endure the initial labor pains.

When regular uterine contractions begin, a thin needle is inserted into the epidural area and anesthetic is then slowly released. Anesthetic must be re-administered depending on how long it lasts.

Reducing the Length of Labor Pains and Degree of Suffering

When anesthetic is administered, the body's muscles relax and the cavity of cervix softens. Generally, a labor that would last 15-16 hours can be shortened to 7-8 hours. Furthermore, using anesthetic can reduce abnormal uterine contractions resulting from excessive pain. Their use can also prevent low fetal oxygen resulting from excessive breathing on the mother's part. Anesthetic allows for smooth blood circulation in both mother and fetus, which is helpful for premature births, mothers with preeclampsia or diabetes, and other high-risk pregnancies. This is to say nothing of normal fetuses.

Paralysis and Other Side Effects

An anesthesiologist should carry out the procedure. The outcome of the procedure varies with how familiar a physician is with the steps involved. If the anesthetic is administered improperly, the nerves controlling both sensation and movement may be paralyzed, leaving the mother completely unable to exert any force with her body. This circumstance will leave doctors with no choice but to conduct a cesarean section. Low blood pressure is another possibility. Allergy to trace amounts of anesthetic can result in nausea and vomiting.

Rely on an Anesthesiologist

An epidural delivery requires a general hospital with a dedicated anesthesiologist or with a large-scale maternity ward. In terms of costs, epidurals are not covered by insurance, meaning you may have to pay RMB 5,000 more than a regular delivery.

Grey Box in Left Corner

Despite the fact that the technology exists to perform a completely painless delivery, doctors suggest that it is better to feel a small amount of uterine contraction. This allows the delivering mother to exert the proper amount of strength more easily and speed up the progress of childbirth. Around 85% of women who undergo painless childbirth feel no residual pains; 12% feel an appropriate level of relief, but there is still a 3% failure rate.

A Little Information: A New Tocolytic Delivery Technique Using Birth Balls

Have the delivering mother move continuously on a soft, elastic ball. This is a delivery technique that reduces labor pains and aids delivery. The delivering mother can have the birth ball on her hips, or she can be sitting on it or hug it to her chest, as long as the delivering mother feels comfortable. She should be in a pose that is either comfortable, or which aids the movement of the fetus towards the pelvis, or allows the fetus to rotate more easily. Not only does this technique reduce pain, it allows for a more relaxed delivery process. The round ball stimulates, strengthens the pelvis and promotes blood circulation.

Using an epidural depends on the mother if she wants to feel the whole labor and delivery process or not. You can also seek the husband’s advice.

Sandra Henderson

Editor-in-chief at Babiology and a proud mother of four passionate about sharing pregnancy and baby growth knowledges

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