There is a lot of debate surrounding whether an epidural is the right choice for delivery. Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference. This is even truer knowing that epidurals are one of the most effective and safest ways of managing the discomfort of labor. There's a reason why doctors are so comfortable with giving them out. But this doesn't mean that there aren't aspects of the epidural that are a tad worrisome.
In fact, there are a number of things about them that may cause a mother to want to skip getting them. It's important to be informed on the issue, which is precisely why we've created this list. Every entry on it is researched using legitimate medical sources that can be found below. But, for now, this is certainly a good start. Without further ado, here are 15 reasons to skip the epidural.
Getting the epidural means that you will be having to endure a longer recovery than you would normally. Given that a woman has less control of how she feels during the labor, thanks to Mr. Epidural, a lot of opportunity for uncomfortable results can occur. This means that they can over-exude themselves and therefore have to spend a long time recovering from the intensity of the day.
Another side-effect that some moms experience after getting an epidural is lightheadedness. This often isn't a cause for concern but it's something that moms should let their doctors and nurses know about. Feeling a tad dizzy is a direct result of the function of the epidural, but it's usually not all that bad. Epidurals are there to take the edge off and relieve any possibility of discomfort. And sometimes that means feeling like you're in the crowd of a legalization rally.
Moms who want an epidural like the fact that they won't feel much of what's happening down there while their baby makes their debut. But what this also means is that a mother will have very little clue if she's pushing her not. The nurses, as well as the monitors that show the contractions, will tell a mom whether it's a good time to push or not. Otherwise, the mom will absolutely have no clue.
Long-term side-effects are what moms should be thinking about when it comes to getting the epidural. Most of the time, these side-effects don't happen at all. However, some moms complain that they have numbness in the spot on their back that the epidural went in. Additionally, they can also feel a bit of discomfort in that precise spot for a long period of time. Again, this is highly unlikely but it's certainly a possibility.
It's true, certain medications pose issues when mixed with epidurals. However, doctors just won't go forward with an epidural if there is a possibility that it may mix poorly with something else you're taking. Because of this, pain management through an epidural may not be an option for women on certain medications. But it's always possible for a doctor not to know about every one of your medications (especially if you don't tell them). This means that there's a very slim chance of the epidural not reacting well.
Side-effects can happen with just about anything. But one that can occur after getting an epidural is a bit of a fever. It only happens in about 19% of women. However, the fever can increase the baby's heart rate and therefore cause doctors to determine that a C-section is the safest course of action. Every mom should know that this is unlikely but still a possibility.
There's actually a very specific place on your back that the epidural needs to go into. Sometimes it can be challenging for the anesthesiologist to find the epidural space. If they can't place it properly, they won't go through with it. But because of this slim chance, you may want to skip the epidural altogether and avoid the possibility of having to change your plans at the very last minute.
Epidurals are used so often because they have a very high chance of working without anything going wrong. But that doesn't mean that bad things can't happen or that the epidural will always be effective. That's right, there have been times when the epidural didn't do what it was supposed to do and the mom felt absolutely everything. It's always possible to up the dosage, but it can still be a bit of an inconvenience if the epidural isn't doing its job right from the get-go.
It's possible to be allergic to almost anything, therefore it's possible for a mom to be allergic to the epidural. If it's discovered that a woman is allergic to the anesthesia used in the epidural or even in similar anesthetics, the healthcare professionals won't go through with it. However, odd allergic reactions can occur if nobody was aware of the possibility of an allergy. Again, this is supremely unlikely.
Anything that goes into a mother's body will almost definitely find its way to her unborn baby. Some moms find this pretty concerning when it comes to an epidural. But there are no definitive studies that show that the baby is impacted in any way when their moms get an epidural. Nobody is even sure that the baby is receiving any of it at all. Still, on the off-chance that they are, this might be a reason why a mom might want to skip getting an epidural.
There is a link between c-sections and epidurals that is to do with a previous entry on this list; fevers. Because getting a fever can happen when a mom reacts negatively to an epidural, a c-section can be necessary for the safest of the baby. C-sections are also the quickest way of getting a baby out without distressing the mom and baby further. So, if you want to avoid any chance of having a c-section, you may want to skip the epidural.
There's no way any of us can be taken back by the fact that epidurals can actually slow down the labor process. After all, a woman is completely numb when it comes time to push, meaning that she won't really know when she's actually pushing. This can mean that the entire process can take far longer than it would otherwise. Additionally, actually getting the epidural and waiting for it to work can also take a while.
Some people are really uncomfortable with the feeling of numbness, even when they have to get a cavity fixed at the dentist. If you're the type of person who doesn't like to feel numb, then perhaps the epidural isn't for you. After all, the epidural is far more full-on than a bit of novocaine. An epidural targets the entire lower half of the body and makes mobility particularly challenging. Additionally, it will feel like you have no lower half.
Due to the fact that an epidural completely numbs your lower half, it can be almost impossible to move. This means that getting up to go to the bathroom is something you definitely can't do on your own. This is why bed-pans and catheters are set up or assistance to the washroom is needed. But it's unlikely that you will even know that you are actually going to the bathroom in the first place.
If you have a lower back tattoo, getting the epidural may not be for you. Research on tattoos and epidurals is limited; but theoretically, the ink can be spread to the insides via the epidural device. This has been theorized to link to pretty problematic issues. However, there isn't enough research that proves that the issues are directly linked. You may want to skip the epidural if you're concerned.
Even the thought of the epidural device can be enough to make moms stress out. It's not a pleasant experience for those who had a problem with getting similar items poked into their skin as a child. And the truth is, this device is significantly bigger and more impactful than any of the previous ones you have been likely to come across. However, it is very effective and will eventually make everything far less uncomfortable.
Breastfeeding can be challenging enough without adding in other external factors. Studies have shown that there is a very slight chance that a woman might have more difficulties feeding her baby shortly after having an epidural. This obviously isn't the case for every mother but it has been shown. This factor, however, usually only lasts for the first 24 hours after getting an epidural.
Feeling itchy is a typical short-term side effect of an epidural and can cause some women to feel pretty uncomfortable. This is a pretty unexpected symptom to have from an epidural and the extra irritation can make an already challenging time even more so. But this is pretty unlikely and can be quelled with certain creams that the hospital can give you.
One reason you may want to skip getting an epidural is that there are other alternatives for pain management that you may not know about. This is why speaking to your doctor about all of your options is a great thing to do in the lead up to labor. You want to be as informed as possible before going in. Otherwise, you could pick something that will make you more uncomfortable than you need to be.
Finally, one of the biggest reasons why some women skip the epidural is that it feels "unnatural". After all, throughout history, women haven't been giving birth without the discomfort of labor. This is a rather new trend of the 21st century. However, all of this is in the eye of the beholder. Ultimately, you need to pick something that feels right for you and takes your health into consideration. That means you may want the epidural or you may want to skip it.
Sources: NHS, Am. Pregnancy, Obstetrics & Gynecology, Mayo Clinic, Baby Gaga, Mommyish.com, VeryWellFamily.com, ThisWestCoastMommy.com, DCUrbanMom.com, MumsNet.com, AmericanPregnancy.org, Boards.Hellobee.com, BabyandBump.Momtastic.com, CircleofMoms.com