Pain management is a universal concern for women in labour. Though it’s a big topic to discuss on this platform, I would just like to share some thoughts on a single important method of labour pain relief and that is about Regional Analgesia.
Epidural and spinal analgesia are the two types of regional analgesia (pain relief). Spinal injection or intrathecal injection is a single shot procedure using opioids. Epidural on the other hand involves the placement of an indwelling catheter in the epidural space and the laboring lady receives continuous infusion of local anesthetics with opioids. Combined spinal – epidural analgesia, also known as walking epidural, is a technique that gives rapid onset of pain relief. The basic idea is to attempt to take away pain and at the same time provide sufficient motor function for the patients to move around. So that they can feel the contractions or tightness without pain.
Complications with regional analgesia though not common but may include a fall in blood pressure, local back soreness for a few days and post dural/meningeal puncture headache. Rare and serious complications could be social haematoma or epidural abscess. There may also be a rise in rate of instrument assisted vaginally delivery and the concerned physicians need to understand the contraindications and risks of complications.
Labour analgesia options should be found out or explored early in the prenatal period!
…. More later…. Till then Happy Pregnancy!