Apprehensions, anxiety and fear about the labour pains have always existed. This perception of pain is gradually getting changed with the introduction of labour analgesia for painless labour. Some women can control their pain by breathing, focusing or relaxing techniques while for others the pain is very severe, anxiety further acts as an additive factor. In some cases, the labour may be short i.e. 4 to 8 hours, but in other cases it may go on up to 24 hours, especially in first pregnancy. This new technique of making labour a painless experience has been appreciated and acknowledged by all those patients who have opted for this procedure. Epidural Analgesia is the very popular and is being used safely for more than 20 years. There are other methods of pain relief but they are not as safe and effective as this one.
In this method patient’s back is cleaned with an antiseptic liquid and the area where the catheter is to be introduced is numbed with a local anaesthetic. The needle is then passed into the epidural space (space surrounding spinal column), small doses of medicines is introduced into the lower back spine through a fine plastic tube. This medicine so injected relives pain while labour and descent of the baby continues.
The early mild labour pains have to be borne by the patient Epidural analgesia is given only when labour is well set and the cervix or the opening of the uterus is at least 3-4 cm. This requires close monitoring by a team of Gynaecologist and Anaesthetist. Drug is introduced at regular intervals depending on the requirement and intensity of the pain. This procedure is SAFE for both the baby and the mother.