Manage Pain During Labor
Labor is one of the most challenging times that women have to go through during childbirth. Many techniques have been introduced as a way of managing pain during labor. Epidural is one of the common choices for a good number of women as it is considered to be a safe option. If you have not taken this route before, you may be having millions of questions, and one of the crucial ones is the best time to get an epidural during labor. We will be glad to look at this issue in detail and help you make an informed decision.
What is an Epidural?
Before getting into the details of the best time to get an epidural during labor, it is essential to start with the basics. So what is epidural? This is a numbing agent or anesthesia which will be injected into the spine. The target area is the epidural space between the membrane covering the spine and the ligament covering the vertebrae. Ideally, the numbing agent works from the waist downwards, which means that you will be awake during childbirth.
When to Get an Epidural During Labor
The question of the best time to get an epidural during labor is common. Generally, you can get it as soon as you need one, irrespective of how far you have dilated. However, you have to be still when the shot is being administered. This may make it a little harder for the anesthesiologist where the contractions are too close apart. It is, therefore, advisable to request an epidural early enough.
If you have started dilating, you get an epidural when you are about 4 centimeters and have active labor pains. The procedure takes about 40 minutes to take full effect, so the timing is important. Taking the catheter will take 15 to 20 minutes, and the pain will start reducing. After placing the catheter, you will experience the full numbing effect after about 20 minutes.
Does Epidural Affect Newborns?
While most moms think of the best time to get an epidural during labor, the question of the effect on their newborns still lingers. Experts confirm that there are no proven effects of epidural on a newborn. However, recent studies showed that newborns whose mothers get an epidural during labor get better Apgar scores than those who do not. Prolonged labor is not suitable for newborns.
As far as the effects on the breastfeeding abilities of the baby after an epidural goes, it is not apparent. Some experts claim that the babies may have difficulty breastfeeding, while others claim no studies support this school of thought. All the same, it is good to have a discussion with your doctor in advance.
Focus on Safe Delivery
Are you wondering when the best time to get an epidural during labor is? Talk to your doctor, and they will be able to address all your concerns in this regard. The primary focus should be delivering your newborn safely.