The more time I spend on the internet, and writing in general about pregnancy, and childbirth… the more myths I hear. You know those old wives tales that your grandmother, and mother have handed down to you to scare the living bejesus out of you!
I always feel the need to correct women, or help them to understand why something is a myth when I hear them talk about them, or pass that myth along to someone else. Someone has to break the cycle somewhere!
False! Most women know this is not correct, but for those of us who are not familiar with epidural anesthesia, it does carry risks that are often overlooked or not even questioned for comfort measures. In fact, I have heard providers tell this to women directly which I also detailed in a recent posts on epidurals.
Some of the risks of epidurals are
- Epidurals may cause your blood pressure to suddenly drop. For this reason your blood pressure will be routinely checked to make sure there is adequate blood flow to your baby. If this happens you may need to be treated with IV fluids, medications, and oxygen.
- You may experience the following side effects: shivering, ringing of the ears, backache, soreness where the needle is inserted, nausea, or difficulty urinating.
- You may find that your epidural makes pushing more difficult and additional interventions such as Pitocin, forceps, vacuum extraction or cesarean may become necessary
- In rare instances, permanent nerve damage may result in the area where the catheter was inserted. (Which personally happened to me with my epidural in my first birth.)
- Dosages and medications vary, so concrete information from research is lacking. Studies reveal that some babies may initially have trouble "latching on" among other difficulties with breastfeeding. While in-utero, they may become lethargic and have trouble getting into position for delivery. These medications have been known to cause respiratory depression, and decreased fetal heart rate in newborns. Though the medication may not harm the baby, the baby may experience subtle effects like those mentioned above.
This is another great publication about the risks to mother and baby, by Dr. Sarah Buckley. Or if you would like a more common known resource, there is the American Pregnancy Association's website.
False! For many women hospitals may be the best option, especially if they are in the high risk pregnancy category, but more information and studies are coming out including home, and free standing birth centers to be as safe as hospitals when it comes to low risk patients.
"Researchers found women who had planned a home birth had lower risk of obstetric interventions, including a C-section, or complications like hemorrhage, compared to those who delivered in hospitals."
Which many of us know. Some of the benefits of having a home birth also include, no separation between mother and baby which increases the risk for breastfeeding difficulties, no risk for unnecessary interventions which result in cesarean sections, less risk for an infection or illness picked up from the hospital, and you have less of a risk for fetal death (again at cited in the article).
For more pregnancy related myths busted, visit Being Pregnant.