The majority of healthy pregnant women can expect the natural process of labour to result in the birth of a healthy baby without the need for many interventions. Epidural analgesia is now one of the most common interventions in the birth process and the most popular method of pain relief during labour in the westernised world. However the benefits of epidurals come with significant risks for the labouring woman and her baby. The Maternity Services Consumer Council has produced a resource to provide consumers with evidence-based information about epidurals during labour.
- What is epidural analgesia?
- How is an epidural given?
- The benefits of epidurals
- The disadvantages of epidurals
- Side effects to the baby
- Caesarean section
- The hormones of labour
- Positive birth experience
- Minimising the risks of epidurals
Before women give consent to an epidural it is important they are aware of and understand the risks and benefits of this form of pain relief. While the use of epidurals is widespread and there are now a variety of different regional analgesia techniques available, there is still much that is unknown about the adverse effects of epidurals, particularly potential long-term adverse effects. This resource helps enable women to make an informed decision about an epidural.