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7 Myths About Epidural During Childbirth Busted

Epidural myths during childbirth: Epidurals block the nerve impulses from lower spinal segments and provide relief from pain during childbirth. It makes contractions less painful.

7 Myths About Epidural During Childbirth Busted

Epidural does not harm the baby and makes childbirth less painful for the mother


  1. Epidural is widely-used forms of pain management for women in labor
  2. Having an epidural does not slow down labor
  3. It does not affect birth experience either

Epidural anesthesia is one of the most popular methods of pain relief during labor. However, there are myths about epidural during childbirth which need to be busted. Women request an epidural more than any other method of pain relief during childbirth. More than 50% of women give birth in hospitals using epidural anesthesia. Epidural anesthesia is a regional anesthesia which blocks pain in particular region of the body. The idea of epidural is to provide analgesia or pain relief, and not exactly anesthesia. Anesthesia leads to total lack of feeling and sensation when injected in the body. Epidurals block the nerve impulses from lower spinal segments. This reduces sensation in lower half of the body. The American Society of Anesthesiologists has stated that epidural is the safest, most effective and widely-used forms of pain management for women in labor. Despite technological advancement and research, myths regarding epidural have continued to exist.

child birth

Epidural is popular method for pain relief during childbirth
Photo Credit: iStock

In this article, we bust myths about epidural during childbirth

Myth 1: An epidural can harm the baby

Fact: A number of women are under the misconception that epidural can be harmful for the baby. Some women even believe that epidural can cause cerebral palsy. However, there is no evidence which support these claims. In fact, the amount of medicine which reaches the baby from epidural is really small and harmless.

Also read: 7 Foods You Must Avoid During Pregnancy

Myth 2: Having an epidural will slow down labor and increase risk of having a C-section

Fact: There is no scientific evidence which shows that epidural can slow down labor or increase risks of a C-section delivery. If a woman has a C-section, it is mostly because of other factors such as having a large baby or a slow progression of labor because of other underlying health conditions.

Myth 3: Having an epidural can affect birth experience

Fact: This is one of the most popular misconceptions regarding epidural. It is a mere myth that your legs will be numb or you won't be able to contractions or know the push during childbirth. In the past few decades, epidurals have improved significantly. While you will be given enough medication to relieve the pain, your ability to move and experience childbirth will still remain intact. Then, epidurals aren't supposed to make you feel groggy. They are not supposed to make you feel dazed, weak or unsteady. You will feel the contractions, but they won't hurt. Additionally, epidurals help you push more effectively.

labor pain

Epidural do not affect the experience of childbirth in mothers
Photo Credit: iStock

Also read: 5 Best Ways To Induce Labor Naturally

Myth 4: Epidurals can cause permanent back pain, paralysis in mother

Fact: The fact is that incidence of complications from an epidural are extremely rare. Some women may experience some discomfort in the lower back where the catheter was inserted. This discomfort lasts for a few hours or days after the epidural. It is not something which stays with the mother for lifetime.

Myth 5: You have a limited window-period in labor to have epidural

Fact: Epidural can be given anytime during labor - in the beginning, middle or towards the end. It is safe to have epidural anytime during childbirth.


Epidurals make it easier to push during childbirth
Photo Credit: iStock

Myth 6: Epidural makes pushing difficult

Fact: The combined spinal epidural (CSE) is a procedure which makes pushing in fact easier. A spinal is an injection directly into the spinal fluid. The spinal is given along with epidural during childbirth. With the help of CSE, the catheter which delivers the drug is left in the epidural space until childbirth. It helps in continuous administration of the medication. CSE allows lesser medication to be given with an epidural. Lower dose of medication makes pushing easier as compared to higher dose of epidural. It even reduces the likelihood of vacuum-assisted delivery or forceps.

Also read: Depressed After Childbirth? Here's How You Can Deal With It

Myth 7: Epidurals don't work

Fact: only 5% of women have been found to get unrelieved labor pain after receiving an epidural. Some cases where epidurals might not work are when the baby's position is complicated. At times, the pain is relieved only on one side of the body because catheter is not positioned well or is dislodged, or because the mother has been in the same position for too long. The incidence of all these cases is quite low.

Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.


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