The first woman to receive anesthesia during labor had a difficult time believing that she had given birth. Dr. James Young Simpson gave her chloroform on a handkerchief and, on January 9, 1847, became the first physician to deliver a child while the mother was under anesthesia. Since then, many women have chosen to use some type of drug to ease labor pains. The most popular of these drugs is epidural anesthesia.
According to the book “What to Expect When You’re Expecting,” more than 50% of women giving birth request an epidural by name. Epidural anesthesia is injected directly into the spine to block spinal nerves from registering pain. This, in turn, helps to relieve labor pains in the lower back, pelvis, womb and perineum. Receiving an epidural can be somewhat uncomfortable, but some women prefer this temporary discomfort in lieu of greater pain from a natural birth.
An epidural can be a great way to ensure that the mother is engaged in the delivery process. Because her pain is manageable, she can focus on pushing and bringing her child into the world, rather than becoming distracted by the pain brought about by her contractions.
If you decide to bypass an epidural, relaxation techniques may help to keep you calm and focused during your baby’s delivery. Many women learn breathing exercises, the most popular being Lamaze. More radical trends include hypnosis, water births, or having a masseuse on hand to give comfort and assistance during the labor.
Whatever you decide, make sure you are well informed. The most important thing is that you are calm and collected for your delivery. As long as you are comfortable with the decision that you make, you will be better prepared to handle the ups and downs of your delivery. Contact the experts at Contemporary Women’s Care in Orlando we’ll be sure to help you make the best decision for your pregnancy!