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Epidural risks

(30 Posts)
saranga Fri 02-May-14 10:40:13

Has anyone got a link to an NHS/government (i.e. official) leaflet or website on the risks of an epidural? I've been googling and come up with a couple of things, but want to get more reading done.

Thank you johull smile she is 35 hours old and has only spent about an hour max with her eyes open so far!

They didn't try to stop me but weren't encouraging either, understandably I suppose as it's resource-heavy. I think I was only about 4cm when I screamed asked for it. More screams when they said there were four women waiting already and again when it was finally sited and the anaesthetist said it would take 20 mins to work! Bliss when it did though.

squizita Sun 04-May-14 10:02:01

And interestingly the risk of death from a general is about the same as the risk of paraplegia from an obstetric epidural. Now this is the kind of fact we need to hear, as I really feel 'political' motivation makes some online sources and even hcp (who will be believed) exaggerate the risk.

I got off the natural bus the day we discovered I can only carry on blood-thinning meds, so 'our bodies are designed to do this chemical-free' doesn't even apply to me. That ship has sailed. With regards to my birth plan webairn I think pain relief instructions are going to be "apply common sense and see how I am doing".

Jcb77 Sun 04-May-14 16:49:47

Part if the problem, as we all know, is that dr google spouts such rubbish. I've been horrified by some of the frank mistruths I've read about stuff i know about. I have to assume that stuff I know nothing about has the same level of rubbish written - I just don't know which is which. There is obv a lot of good stuff about labour and birth and analgesia out there but it can be difficult to understand without a stats degree or in depth understanding of how to read a paper (I'm rubbish at both). And of course, none of it applies to YOU. If you're the 1 in a squillion, you're still that one. Doesn't make it a squillionth as awful.
On a similar note, a lot of people on here seem to think that decisions to treat/not to treat are made for funding reasons. Clearly at the top of the tree this is an issue and it filters down to cover things like staffing levels (which has a direct impact on care) and which kit each trust buys (ditto), but when it comes to coal-face decision making about what is right for each patient, esp in labour and delivery, nope. If someone wants an epidural and it's clinically appropriate (whole other thread), it gets done. There might be a wait if the manpower is stretched, there are risks involved so the providers need to be sure it's what the woman wants and is appropriate, but not one anaesthetist I have ever met has made a decision about it based on cost. I would say the same for all the midwives and obstetricians and nurses I've spoken to too, at the coal face. Sure, you try not to drop things so you don't have to open another pack for example, and use sensible economy in what you do, as you would at home, but that's it. I suppose you do the best job you can in the safest most efficient way, but bottom line is the job gets done regardless of cost require once you're at that stage. Please don't go away thinking you've been denied an epidural/chance to labour in your own time because of costs. It just doesn't enter that bit of decision making. They are made on a clinical basis.

theborrower Sun 04-May-14 20:09:29

JCB77 great posts, particularly re the natural vs intervention issue.

mollysmum2012 Sun 04-May-14 22:45:42

an epidural is a personal choice when the individual weighs up the pros and cons. When faced with a prolonged labour, a malposition or an induced labour, it can be a godsend.It is not, however, a life saving treatment. A general anaesthetic is reserved for dire emergencies where mother or baby are at serious risk. This is because it is so much higher risk in pregnant women, not to mention that the baby effectively gets a general anaesthetic and will need help with breathing etc after birth. Even if you are entirely healthy, a general anaesthetic is no minor undertaking in pregnancy and it is absolutely wrong to compare it with an epidural. As Jcb77 says, the risk of death is rare but higher than the non-pregnant population, and greater than that of serious epidural complications. You would certainly never be offered one for pain relief as it would be bordering on malpractice.

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