How to push in childbirth with an epidural

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It is totally normal for doubts to arise about pregnancy and childbirth, especially before childbirth, and especially in new mothers, who do not know what they are going to face and even some are afraid. A very frequent doubt that usually appears at the time of delivery is related to the epidural, since many do not know if they should push or how to do it. Epidural or spinal anesthesia is the most popular method used to relieve pain during childbirth.

How to push in childbirth with an epidural

In this article we want to solve all your doubts about this method, so we explain how to push in childbirth with the epidural, as well as its advantages and risks so that you can go calmer to your expected moment, knowing what you are going to find, so keep reading.

How to push in childbirth with an epidural: tips

There are many women who wonder if they really have to push in labor having the epidural or spinal anesthesia, how to do it in case of using this type of local anesthesia and if they will feel how the baby comes out or not.

The answer is that although the epidural is an anesthetic, it is used to delay the push, so you will not have to wait for complete dilation enduring the pain and the doctor will give you instructions to rest for 1 or 2 hours before you start pushing, thus delaying the delivery, which does not usually matter to women. In addition, it decreases the sensation of pushing, since it anesthetizes you below the waist, and in turn decreasing the pain.

It's not hard to give birth with the epidural, so you don't have to obsess, you'll simply have to follow in the footsteps of the doctors and support people around you during that time. The steps to follow are basic and simple, which will be indicated by the doctors present.

The best advice you can follow is to stay calm and patient. Having the epidural the baby will descend through the contractions, which will control the doctors too, and when finally, the head begins to come out, it will be the perfect time when you will have to start pushing, since you will notice it more.

Also do not worry, because they will be supervising you at all times. A trick that is normally used is to instruct the future mother to position her hands on top of her belly, and that when it gets hard and begins to swell, take all the air you can and release it, making directed pushes with all your strength, without releasing that air.

A very important point to keep in mind during childbirth is breathing, since in addition to increasing the amount of oxygen for the baby and for you they will help you cope with the contractions. The importance of not losing the good rhythm of breathing in childbirth is because if you enter a state of nervousness, your oxygen will decrease and the breaths will be shallow and fast, you may even feel uncontrolled and dizzy if this happens, which will complicate the delivery, and although this is not frequent it could happen. You can practice breathing for childbirth at home so that when you get to the moment it will be easier for you. Close your eyes and focus on your breathing, breathe in and pause before exhaling, and then make a deep and steady exhalation.

As you can see it is simpler than you imagine and the nurses, along with the entire support group, will be there in case you have doubts about anything, telling you when to push and when not.

If you want more tips, in this other article from we explain how to prepare for childbirth.

What is the epidural and how it is applied

The epidural, as we have mentioned before, is a local anesthetic which numbs a region of the body, inhibiting pain, but without making you lose sensation completely, unlike normal or general anesthesia, which blocks all types of pain and sensitivity.

How the epidural is put

This anesthetic is administered directly into the spine, paralyzing the lower part of the body. Before applying it, doctors will disinfect the region of the skin where they are going to insert the needle, so that there is no risk of infections. Doctors will tell you the position you need to acquire to remain motionless during this process, usually with your back arched, either sitting or lying on your left side. It is very important that you do not move, because if you move with any gesture, especially if it is abrupt, during the process it could cause damage to the spine. Finally, the doctor will inject the epidural and you will only feel a small puncture like any other injection, even sometimes some topical local anesthetic is put so that you do not feel anything at the time of insertion.

The overall satisfaction of women who have used this method during childbirth is quite high.

Advantages and risks of the epidural

The epidural has a number of advantages and disadvantages. We will start by explaining the advantages, since surely you are interested in knowing about this, and then we will talk about its risks and disadvantages.

Advantages of the epidural for childbirth

  • You can rest if labor is prolonged. Doctors will tell you how to do it.
  • You will have a positive experience of childbirth since you will not feel pain or it will be minimal.
  • If you need to perform cesarean delivery, using this method you can stay awake and participate at all times.
  • In most cases the postpartum period is less painful.
  • Feeling less pain and discomfort helps you stay alert and active throughout the moment.

Risks and disadvantages of the epidural in childbirth

  • It can cause a decrease in blood pressure, so you will need to be given fluids if this happens.
  • A leakage of cerebrospinal fluid (fluid from the brain and spinal cord) may occur and you will feel a headache, although it is rare.
  • Two hours after birth you will need help walking, as your legs will still be a little anesthetized.
  • You may experience chills, ringing in the ears, nausea, difficulty urinating, or back pain as side effects.
  • Once the epidural is placed, you will have to alternate the sides to lie down.

Despite this, studies have been carried out where it has been concluded that the advantage-risk relationship of the epidural is very favorable.

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