Child Birth: Anesthetics vs. Natural

Topics: Childbirth, Epidural, Pregnancy Pages: 7 (2414 words) Published: June 6, 2013
10 April 2013
Child Birth: Natural Over Anesthetics
There are 133 million births each year. The statistics state, four births occurs every second of every day. The process in which the mother has to undergo in order to give birth is labor. Labor takes an average amount of thirteen hours. How a mother gives birth and what she uses to cope with the pain is very questionable. Drugs are used to relieve the mother’s abdominal pain, although the use of the drugs may resort to health problems in her body or her infant’s body. Natural birth, no use of any drugs, is reconsidered due to possible illness for both mother and child. The benefits and disadvantages of the use of drugs during child labor are questionable due to the possible effects of the medication. Although the drugs give a source of comfort to the mother while in labor, the possible health effects the drugs can have on an infant and their mother are dangerous. First and for most, drugs that are used during labor are designed to relieve the mother’s pain. There are various types of drugs that can be consumed, injected, or given to the mother while in labor, some of them include: Epidurals, Tranquilizers, Demerol, general Anesthesia, spinal block, Pudendal block, and combined spinal epidural. Epidurals are injected into the lower back and make the mother numb from the waist down. A catheter is placed where the epidural was injected to control the amount of fluid entering the mother’s body, depending on the mother’s pain tolerance (Hoyt). Tranquilizers are also used in the process of labor they help mothers calm down with such tranquilizers, Phenergan and Vistraril, mothers have to be extremely anxious in order to receive tranquilizers (Murkoff 304). Another drug that can be considered is Demerol, “Demerol is one of the most frequently used obstetrical analgesics. This shot or IV-administered drug is used to dull the pain and relax the mother so she is better able to cope with contractions. It can be repeated every two to four hours as needed” (Murkoff 304). Demerol is like the drugs mentioned; it reduces pain and helps with the process of birth. General anesthesia is only used for emergency surgical births. The anesthesiologist injects drugs into the IV that puts the mother to sleep. The mother will be awake during the preparation but unconscious for as long as the delivery takes. The baby’s arrival is done as soon as possible after the mother’s injection so large amounts of anesthesia do not flow into the umbilical cord of the infant (Murkoff 304). A spinal block is very similar to the epidural; it is injected in the lower back. “… the blocks are administered with you sitting up or lying on your side while an anesthetic is injected into the fluid surrounding the spinal cord. The side effects of spinal and saddle blocks are the same as for the epidural (a positive drop in blood pressure)” (Murkoff 304). Another calming drug would be the pudenal block, “…to relieve early second-stage pain. A pudendal block is usually reserved for the vaginal delivery itself. Administered through a needle inserted into the vaginal area, the medication reduces pain in the region but not uterine discomfort” (Murkoff 304). Contributing to the procedures, a combined spinal epidural is also in existence, it gives the mother the same amount of pain relief as a regular epidural. Small amounts of medications are used to get to that pain relief goal. Very few anesthesiologists use this procedure. The medication only goes into the spinal fluid, the muscles in the legs of the mother (Murkoff 303). Although, it may help mothers to cope with the pain in labor, drugs are not helpful in the long run, the possible effects should frighten mothers so they will not participate in the act of choosing to anesthetics over natural birth. While in labor mothers have the option of choosing what drug they will resort to if the pain is too excruciating. Reactions to the drugs being...

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Murkoff, Heidi and Sharon Mazel. What to Expect When You’re Expecting. New York:
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“Natural Childbirth.” Baby Center Medical Advisory Board. Apr. 2012. Baby Center. Web. 9
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Stellpflug, Craig. “Epidurals- How much do they really help?” Natural News. 23 Jun. 2012:
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