Will you or won’t you get an epidural? It’s a standard question you’ll get while pregnant so be prepared!
Epidurals aren’t the only pain management option for women in labor, but they are the go-to method for more than 50% of women giving birth in a hospital. As far as pros and cons, there are plenty of each, which is why you should research the choice ahead of time.
Even though epidurals are the standard nowadays, there are serious risks. I’ve had three epidurals and the latter two times, the rundown of risks scared the hell out of me. The first time I was in so much pain they could have told me they were cutting off my legs and I would have agreed.
That being said, when you choose to get an epidural, you are agreeing to the following risks:
- Your blood pressure may suddenly drop.
- You may experience a severe headache caused by leakage of spinal fluid. This is the risk that made me think twice because the thought of that happening was terrifying although it happens in less than 1% of women.
- You may experience side effects such as shivering, a ringing of the ears, backache, soreness where the needle is inserted, nausea, or difficulty urinating. The epidural placement was actually the worst part of my labor and delivery. The catheter initially went to one side and had to be placed again. My back was also sore afterward.
- Pushing may become more difficult due to lack of feeling and may require further intervention.
- For a few hours after the birth, the lower half of your body may feel numb.
- In rare instances, permanent nerve damage may result in the area where the catheter was inserted.