Can I Have an Epidural at the Birth Center?
If you or someone close to you has ever experienced a hospital birth, you have probably heard of an epidural.
What is an epidural?
An epidural is a surgical procedure that involves inserting a needle into your lower spine, through which a catheter is passed that pumps pain relief medication directly into your spine to block pain pathways.
Like every other surgical procedure, an epidural also has benefits and risks and needs to be performed by an expert anesthetist. It is a sensitive procedure and needs to be carried out under sterile conditions to avoid any risk of infection.
What are the risks of an epidural?
Some risks of epidural insertion include infection, incorrect insertion, bleeding, extreme headaches, among others. Patients receiving an epidural must be closely monitored for such effects since they must be managed in time to avoid serious repercussions.
What are the benefits of an epidural?
Some benefits of an epidural are obvious. Since it blocks the pain receptors from the lower back down, it creates a band of numbness that takes away the pressure and uncomfortable feelings women experience during labor. It can provide relief when exhausted mothers are in need of a break during a strenuous labor.
Can I have an epidural at the birth center?
While a birth center has many options for pain relief, it differs from a hospital setting. We do not have the same facilities and equipment as a hospital and rely on natural methods to administer care.
We are not able to offer any narcotic pain relief methods at a birth center since you need to monitor their side effects and manage them accordingly. We also believe in the natural ability of a woman’s body to birth their baby.
We do not offer epidurals since we don’t have the equipment or the expertise to administer it. We also don’t have the facilities to effectively manage risks associated with epidural administration.
What can I do instead?
While we can’t give you an epidural, we do provide other tools to help you cope with labor pain:
Immersing your body in water during labor helps take off some of the pressure from your lower back and eases labor pain. The buoyancy also helps you relax by providing a soothing environment.
Freedom of movement
Unlike a hospital, you don’t need to be confined to a hospital bed and have the freedom to move around your birthing suite. Try different yoga or workouts that are known to help with labor pains.
Eating and drinking
Since we are doing everything naturally, there is no reason you need to restrict eating or drinking. You can always take food or drinks that will help you relax.
You have the opportunity to bring in a doula or whoever else you want in your birth suite to provide you with comfort.
If you are interested in learning more about unmedicated childbirth in a birth center setting, send us a message!