Page 49 - Great Expectations

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Great Expectations – 49
All expectant mothers and their sup­port persons are encouraged to attend a
prepared childbirth class. This will serve to educate you about the birth process
and take away fears. The classes will serve every laboring couple, even though
some may elect anesthesia. Each person has a different tolerance to pain
and you should not feel a sense of failure if you request, or your healthcare
provider suggests, medication for pain relief.
Many types of medications and anesthetics are available to reduce the
discomfort of childbirth.
There is not a single technique of pain relief that is
appropriate for everyone.
After labor begins, your healthcare provider will give careful instructions
about the dosage and timing of the various medications (if required) so as
not to slow your labor or cause your baby to be sleepy at birth. If you desire
not to take pain medication, please inform them prior to or during labor.
Each woman’s labor is unique and the amount of pain felt by one woman can
be quite different than that felt by another woman. Each may require different
techniques to get pain relief.
Anesthesia and
Pain Relief
Two Major Types of Anesthesia:
Regional anesthesia
is given in the birth canal or the lower region of the back near the
spinal cord. The different locations of administration produce various numbing effects.
Local block
– anesthetic given just prior to the birth, if necessary, to numb the lower
birth canal.
Spinal or saddle block
– anesthetic injected into the lower back just prior to the birth
producing numbness of the lower abdomen, legs and birth canal for
Epidural block
– anesthetic injected through a catheter in the lower back producing
numbness of the lower abdomen, legs, and birth canal for
labor and birth
General anesthesia
is not frequently used for vaginal births unless a complication
arises. It is more often used for cesarean births in emergency situations.
Levels of numbness created by
regional anesthesia (spinal or
epidural blocks)
Cesarean Birth
Vaginal Birth
Epidural anesthesia provides pain
relief during both labor and birth.
Regional anesthesia