There are, however, downsides. An epidural literally paralyses you and the effects of it can be, according to the National Childbirth Trust, "an increase in assisted vaginal birth rate". There is some evidence that "sleepiness arising from the opiate may delay successful breast feeding". Some mothers also complain of having headaches and/or debilitating drowsiness for days afterwards. The natural-birth lobby will tell you that 23% of women will experience complications. The pro lobby will tell you that an epidural is one of the safest anaesthetics around.
I have to say I felt pretty cock-a-hoop straight after my epidural but, some hours later, my head felt as though someone large and heavy had been sitting on it. The next three times I gave birth, I had them all drug-free and at home. Did they hurt? Hell yes, but I felt so much better afterwards.
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
How Safe Are Epidurals?
The Guardian posted a recent article, "How safe are epidurals?":