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RaMa Mama Doula Share: Epidurals - What Happens and Are They Safe?...

Birth is known to be a very powerful time. There is more Love that births on the day of delivery than most any other day in one's life. Where there is Love, there is always sacrifice. In birth, that sacrifice manifests as physical pain. Pain comes from the birth itself, but other times there is severe pain before active labor based on where the baby is sitting and how the baby moves through the mother's body. Every birth is so unique, and there is no "one way" for everyone.

Epidurals are anesthesia medicine applied by an anesthesiologist to the mother's spine that creates a band of numbness from the belly to the thigh. This helps the mother to feel contractions without the pain that comes with them. The ability to be relaxed results in less tearing and less trauma from the birth itself. The procedure is pretty safe, but it is not without consequences if not done properly. Some people experience side effects.

In the spinal injection, the mother receives either an anesthetic or a steroid into the epidural space (the liquid sleeve around the spinal cord) around the spinal nerves. This procedure stops the pain signals from traveling to the brain from the spine. When the body experiences pain, that area sends a signal that travels through the spinal cord. When the spinal nerves are numbed temporarily, then the pain is blocked.

The benefits of epidurals are that one can remain conscious without completely losing awareness of what is happening. This is so important to a new mother who wants to "be there" when the baby arrives. Epidurals also take away the fear of pain and the inability to soften or relax the pelvic zone for the baby to pass through. When you are clenching with pain, it is hard to push something out, and this resistance creates a much longer birth experience.

On the other hand, there are consequences to eliminating the natural pain that comes from birth. Some mothers lose complete feeling in the legs and feet for many hours past the birth itself. Some complain that the contractions slow down and the birth experience lasts much longer. Others say that they had no feeling and couldn't push or help in any way. This was a bother to some who really didn't want to have to use a vacuum or forceps to get the baby out. Either way, the baby is closely monitored and safety is the number one priority. Some complain of nausea, headaches, light-headedness, hot flashes, rashes, bleeding, blood clots, nerve damage, or loss of control of the bowels. The worst thing that could happen from an epidural is infection, permanent nerve damage, convulsions, breathing problems, or death - but all of these are very rare. Every body is different, and what is most important is that you are basing your decision on need and intuition. There is a higher purpose and meaning for everything in life. Tap in and tune into the Loving frequencies that are guiding us all to our highest and greatest good. When we are truly in the present, the gifts of life are able to unfold Divinely.

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