Let’s be honest, childbirth is no walk in the park.
Who would blame any woman for choosing some kind of pain medication during labor?
But there are some important side effects and risk factors to consider before making your decision. As we’ve said before, you should always discuss important pregnancy decisions with your primary care physician.
Types of Medication for Laboring Women
The most common pain medication used during labor is an epidural.
Some other common choices are spinal blocks,opiate drugs (such as demerol and morphine), or a combination called a spinal-epidural.
Possible Side Effects and Risks of Medicated Birth
There aren’t many risks of using opiates to lessen the pain, but they’re less functional because they don’t provide complete relief and can only be used in the early stages of labor. If they’re used later on, they can negatively affect your baby’s reflexes.
Epidurals, spinals, and spinal-epidurals have very similar side effects and risks. Here’s a list of the main concerns:
- Itching, dizziness and nausea
- Shortness of breath
- Low or sudden drop in blood pressure
- Drop in baby’s heart rate
- Spinal headache
Most of the time, these side effects are temporary. A small adjustment in the amount or type of medication can typically resolve these issues quickly.