0

What is epidural anaesthesia?

by Guest
Posted August 25 2010 03:02pm
Filed under:

A medication is placed in the epidural space in the lower back. This medication numbs the nerves in the lower back.  This is similar to when the dentist numbs the nerves in your face before doing a filling.  Epidural has been used since the 1960’s to provide pain relief during labour.

There are two types of epidurals available.  A standard epidural (block) can be used for either a vaginal birth or a Caesarean Birth.  With a standard epidural you will not be able to move your legs and may only feel pressure but no pain. A light epidural sometimes called a ‘walking’ epidural is used for a vaginal birth.  With this type of epidural you will be able to move your legs, you will feel pressure and pain will be diminished.

Epidurals offer excellent pain relief, they allow you to relax and even sleep during labour and they allow women who are having a caesarean birth to be awake.  The light epidurals also allow you to change position, walk and move around - all measures that help labour to progress.

When can an epidural be given?
Since only a specialist can give an epidural, it is a pain measure that is only available in hospital.  Once your labour is progressing and the neck of your cervix has opened to about 4cm an epidural can then be given.  An epidural may not be appropriate for some women due to their medical history, talk with your doctor before you go into labour to discuss what pain relief measures would be best for you.

How is an epidural given?
A specialist doctor called an anaesthesiologist gives the epidural by having you lay on your side in a curled position or has you sit up bending over your abdomen. He freezes your skin first by injecting a medication-then he places a needle into the epidural space. A thin, flexible plastic tube (catheter) is threaded through the needle; the needle is removed and the catheter stays in place until after your baby is born. The specialist then inserts medication or a combination of medications through the catheter and into the epidural space.

Like any medical procedure epidurals do have some disadvantages.

For mom these include:

  • Possible fever in mom for several hours after birth
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Some women experience shivering 
  • May slow labour
  • Diminishes urge to push
  • Diminishes urge to pee (urinate)
  • Reaction to the medications used i.e. nausea, vomiting, headache, itching
  • Requires the use of intravenous (I.V.) fluids, fetal monitoring, frequent checks of vital signs and possible urinary catheter to empty the bladder.
  • Paralysis is extremely rare.
  • Lingering back pain is a common complaint; however research to date does not support the epidural as the source of the pain.

For baby disadvantages include:

  • Changes in baby’s heart rate
  • Changes to baby’s temperature
  • Changes in baby reflexes for first few days after birth
  • Baby’s sucking reflex may be affected by medications
  • Fussiness
  • May cause hypoglycaemia in baby (low blood sugar)

Talk to your health care provider before you go into labour about the options for pain relief and any concerns that you have about them. 

0 comment(s)
Login or register to post comments
0

Testing for Jaundice

by Guest
Posted August 25 2010 04:24pm
Filed under:

Nearly all newborns have some jaundice that usually peaks between 3-5 days following birth. Jaundice is caused by the excess build-up of a yellow pigment called bilirubin, under the skin. A nurse will assess your newborn for jaundice and, if it is suspected, then there will be an evaluation of serum bilirubin levels through blood tests. Blood will most likely be taken from your baby’s heel.

 

0 comment(s)
Login or register to post comments
0

What Pain Management Measures Are Available in the Hospital?

by Guest
Posted August 25 2010 03:04pm
Filed under:

There are usually several different measures used to manage the pain of your labour in hospital.  These include narcotic analgesics (pain killer medication), nitrous oxide gas and epidural anesthesia.  Not all hospitals provide all the measures, so be sure to check with your health care provider and your hospital to learn what is available in your birth setting before you go into labour.  If your hospital offers a tour of the labour and postnatal area for parents this is a good way to find out what pain relief measures are used.


0 comment(s)
Login or register to post comments
0

Blood Tests For Baby After The Birth

by Guest
Posted August 25 2010 04:25pm
Filed under:

Routine blood tests are performed on your baby within the first few days of birth. Blood is drawn from your baby’s heel to measure blood glucose levels. As well, genetic screening is done for many rare and serious disorders such as hypothyroidism, galactosemia, phenylketonuria (PKU) and more.

Yes, the heel stick is somewhat painful for your newborn—just like for some adults who have their blood taken. Be there to cuddle and comfort your baby after the procedure. You may also ask to breastfeed your baby during the procedure or allow the baby to suck.

The number of tests for genetic screening varies, as required by law. As of September 8, 2005, the tests required in Ontario have now increased from the minimum of two (PKU and Hypothyroidism) to include testing for 21 rare genetic diseases. Blood for these tests is taken all at once. These tests are done so treatment can be started right away if it is needed.

 

0 comment(s)
Login or register to post comments

MOST POPULAR STORIES

One of our temperament traits, our innate reaction to the world, is First Reaction. Some people love novelty and change while others react with caution to new situations.
Read More »
You can use a variety of Comfort, Play & Teach strategies that are tailored to different temperament traits.
Read More »
What comes to mind when you hear the phrase Positive Parenting? Positive Parenting is the approach to parenting that we believe best supports all aspects of healthy child development.
Read More »

parents2parents
syndicated content powered by FeedBurner

 

FeedBurner makes it easy to receive content updates in My Yahoo!, Newsgator, Bloglines, and other news readers.
Learn more about syndication and Feedburner »

http://feeds.feedburner.com/parents2parents