Updated: Feb 10
What kind of delivery did you have? My pregnant clients often ask me these questions during consultations with me. Something enchanting about pregnancy and how a baby is delivered captivates everyone's interest. Is there no reason not to? There is a sense of unreality or magic about it.
In today's blog, I will discuss painless delivery and its myths. However, before I do that, let's take a moment to clarify the different options expectant mothers have when it comes to welcoming their babies into the world. An uncomplicated birth with a well-executed birth plan is optimal. Even the most well-planned delivery may take unexpected turns. Be prepared for alternate delivery methods:
The most frequent and safest method of childbirth is vaginal delivery. Vaginal delivery comprises four phases of labour: the shortening and opening of the cervix in the first stage; the descent and birth of the baby in the second the delivery of the placenta in the third; and the fourth stage of recovery, which lasts until two hours after the delivery. You've undoubtedly heard the phrase "natural childbirth" used to describe a vaginal delivery without using pain relievers or medications to initiate or speed up labour. Some women will still need additional medical assistance during labour, such as a heart monitor for the baby.
Not all births go as planned. Other means of delivery are possible if difficulties emerge. A cesarean section, sometimes known as a C-section, is the surgical birth of a baby through an incision in the mother's abdomen and uterus. In some cases, a C-section is planned ahead of time. In others, it is done as a result of an unexpected problem. Events that may need a C-Section:
Multiples (twins, triplets, etc.) (twins, triplets, etc.)
A huge infant
Previous uterine problems, such as C-sections,
The baby is breech (bottom first) or transverse (sideways).
Previa of the placenta (when the placenta is low in the uterus and covers the cervix)
Extraction Using a Vacuum
Vacuum extraction is a treatment that is occasionally used during vaginal delivery. During vacuum extraction, a healthcare worker applies suction to the baby's head to help guide the infant out of the birth canal.
Delivery Using Forceps
A forceps birth is a form of vaginal surgical delivery. It is occasionally required during vaginal deliveries. A forceps delivery occurs when a healthcare worker puts forceps on the baby's head (a tool fashioned like a pair of giant spoons or salad tongs) to help guide the infant out of the birth canal.
What is "painless delivery," and when does it require a mention?
Here is a simple answer; a painless delivery or labour analgesia (epidural) is a procedure that uses a very particular concentration of medication. Although the medicine alleviates pain, it does not impair your ability to push your kid out via the delivery canal.
While many women choose epidurals (pain relief medication) for a more pleasant delivery, many prefer "natural" or unmedicated deliveries. There is rising concern regarding the risks of medicated deliveries and epidurals.
To establish which approach is best for you and your child, consult your doctor or midwife.
When should an epidural be used?
An epidural relieves pain in a specific location, in this case, the lower body. Women frequently opt to have one. It's also occasionally medically necessary if there are difficulties, such as necessitating a cesarean birth (C-section). An epidural takes around 10 minutes to put in and another 10 to 15 minutes to work. It is administered by a catheter inserted into the spine. The most significant advantage of an epidural is the possibility of a painless birth. While you may still feel contractions, the agony is substantially reduced. You can move about and know about the birth with a vaginal delivery.
An epidural is also necessary for a cesarean birth to alleviate discomfort from the surgical procedure.
Is painless delivery painless?
Once you are in active labour, the epidural is administered by numbing your pelvic area and everything below it while you remain awake. It does not provide complete pain relief.
Now let's bust some myths associated with painless delivery
Myth 1: If I chose painless delivery, would I have a higher chance of needing a C-section
Fact: Painless delivery may increase the likelihood of requiring apparatus like forceps and a vacuum to extract the baby, but only in a few situations. The argument that it increases the possibility of a c-section, on the other hand, is entirely untrue.
Myth 2: The epidurals used in painless delivery can result in permanent back damage or paralysis in the mother.
Fact: While it is highly unusual, epidural surgery can result in long-term problems such as permanent neurologic deficiency owing to the spinal cord or nerve root injury. Chronic pain as a result of the spinal cord or nerve root injury caused by the epidural injection
Myth 3: Painless delivery can cause significant harm to the baby.
Fact: There is no scientific significance or evidence to support this statement. Mothers frequently express concern about their infants but must be assured that a painless birth is as safe as any other alternative.
Myth 4: With the epidural in a painless delivery, I won't be able to push the baby out.
Fact: The injected epidural causes freezing in the body and results in limb numbness. Regardless of the weakness generated in the body, you can comfortably push the baby.
Myth 5: Painless delivery can cause severe and unbearable headaches after delivery
Fact: Severe headaches following an epidural may develop if the epidural needle is inserted too deeply, resulting in a dural puncture. Find out more about this symptom.
While we are on this topic, I would also like to talk about the pros and cons of painless delivery, as it's essential to know all the details before you choose this option. Here are some pros and cons of effortless delivery
Labour pain is the mother of all aches, and if you can have a great delivery experience without the agony, why not? Epidurals can assist a woman in coping with postpartum depression or tiredness.
If your baby is not facing your backbone and is not moving from the position where it meets the belly button, an epidural can assist. The epidural injection relaxes your vaginal muscles, allowing the baby to descend.
A painless birth through an epidural reduces the mother's blood pressure. This is advantageous since the woman has high blood pressure during natural childbirth.
An epidural makes it easier for the doctor to perform a forceps delivery or an emergency C-section.
Epidurals, according to research, reduce injury to the pelvic muscles that would otherwise occur during expected delivery.
Epidurals can induce back pain, disorientation, and shivering.
A drop in the mother's blood pressure during labour can cause the baby's heart rate to stall, and if it does not return to normalcy after drugs/fluids, it calls for a c- section.
A mother-to-be may also experience severe headaches due to spilling the spinal fluid.
There is a risk of irreversible nerve injury in exceptional circumstances, albeit this is extremely unlikely.
According to specific research, babies born with a painless delivery process may be delayed and have difficulty nursing.
After birth, an epidural will likely produce numbness in the lower extremities. Because of the numbness, you may require assistance walking.
However, the epidural remains the most popular painless delivery option. Whether provided one or not, it is a good idea to familiarise yourself with your alternatives before D-Day. It would help if you also inquired with your expert about how epidurals are administered. Because knowledge is power, being informed about the entire method is advantageous.
Due to the complexities of labour, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to giving birth. These are only a few of the criteria doctors and midwives evaluate when making a recommendation The mother's general health and emotional well-being, the size of the mother's pelvis, the mother's pain tolerance level, the intensity level of contractions, and the baby's size or position.
Book an online appointment at Polaris Healthcare for instant expert care to ensure a healthy and comfortable journey to motherhood.
About The Author: Dr. Ujwala Patil
Dr. Ujwala Patil provides specialist advice in gynecology and obstetrics. She is the founder of Polaris Health Care and is an experienced gynecologist. She completed her M.B.B.S. from the renowned B.J. Medical College, Pune, has undergone F.O.G.S.I. training in Infertility and is certified in Cervical cytology and colonoscopy. She has also been empaneled as a gynecologist at Surya and Life point hospitals. She has handled many high-risk obstetric cases and has conducted more than 1000 deliveries. Her expert advice dipped in care is accessible to women from all walks of life.