Research Paper: Risks of Epidural Anesthesia in Normal Vaginal Delivery Outweighs the Benefits

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Risks of Epidural Anesthesia in Normal Vaginal Delivery Outweighs the Benefits

Impact of Epidural Anesthesia on the Health/Medical State of Mother

Impact of Epidural Anesthesia on the Health State of Baby

Impact of Epidural Anesthesia on the Psychological Well-being of Mothers

Social Disadvantages of Epidural Anesthesia for Mothers and Babaies

Anesthesia is a part of general medicinal practices that are commonly employed in present times. Its vital purpose is to reduce the pain/discomfort during surgery or any pain inflicting procedure under medical scenario. Furthermore, Epidural anesthesia is one of the most familiar types of anesthesia that are being performed currently. It plays a significant role in reducing pain experienced by women during labor and childbirth; however, it encompasses several risks that cannot be disregarded at any cost. Usage of epidural in normal vaginal delivery is one of the current controversies in the field of medicine. The aim of this paper is to discuss and debate over this controversy by highlighting the potential risks and benefits of Epidural Anesthesia when used for the purpose of normal labor and childbirth. Furthermore, my stance discussed and concluded in this research paper concerning the issue is that an epidural poses great risks to the overall health of mother and baby and fundamentally outweigh its benefits. Therefore, I disagree with its usage specifically in the process of normal delivery.


Since time immemorial, people have benefited largely by medicinal practices. The field of medicine has contributed immensely to improve the health conditions of people and to provide comfort by treating ailments and reducing pain. Furthermore, continuous research and advancements in this regard have begotten to newer techniques of treatment and cure. Anesthesia is one of these practices that are primarily and widely used to alleviate pain during medical processes such as surgery, getting stitches, and so forth. Additionally, it reduces shock/fear that commonly victimizes the patient during a painful process (Barash et al. 2012).

Anesthesia can be given in any part of the body; however, if it is given by administering anesthetic in a region around spinal cord known as epidural space, then it is termed as Epidural Anesthesia. It is generally categorized as local anesthesia because it makes a particular part of the body insensitive to any sort of feeling; thus, pain is also not experienced in that region (Orebaugh 2011). This practice finds its traces of discovery from long time ago and is indeed not a new practice in the field of medicine, which I will discuss in the following section of the paper. Nevertheless, it has obtained immense importance since it has been used for abating pain in labor and childbirth.

Amongst many of its applications, epidural anesthesia is commonly and chiefly administered to reduce the pain experienced during normal vaginal delivery by women. The tolerance capacity of every individual female differs from each other; therefore, in case of strong contractions that one may experience during labor and finds it unbearable, may be given epidural anesthesia. It inhibits the transmission of nerve impulses between uterus and spine; thus, causing numbness in the sections of reproductive system. During the process of epidural anesthesia, generally labor is not disturbed; rather, it continues to occur normally coupled to reduction in pain (Halpern and Douglas 2008). Nevertheless, researches tell that exceptions do exist, which are dangerous/risky for mother and baby. This controversy will be debated upon in the dissertation part. The topic under discussion is very important to look upon in detail as a controversial issue because the technologies related to childbirth are advancing and they are being implemented by doctors and midwifes greatly nowadays. It is necessary to study these technologies including epidural anesthesia for analyzing its benefits and potential risks to the health state of mother as well as baby.

Several benefits are associated with epidural anesthesia as argued by several experts; however, multiple risks and disadvantages are also incorporated with it. These aspects will be discussed and compared in the third section of the paper. The principal purpose of this research paper is to highlight that the risks of employing epidural in normal vaginal delivery are much severe and largely surpass its benefits. Furthermore, it imposes great risks to the health condition of mother as well as fetus; therefore, my stand in this regard is that epidural anesthesia should not be administered in normal vaginal delivery. My standpoint in the dissection part will portray that I disagree with administering epidural in normal delivery.


Epidural anesthesia was discovered by medical researchers more than a century ago during 1900s but its usage was limited at that time. The function of epidural space was first studied by Corning during the first year of twentieth century. This was followed by further researches that led to the general use of epidural anesthesia by the medical practitioners. Couple of decades after the work of Corning was published; Fiedal started using epidural as a mean of pain relief for his patients. Many experts then studied about this topic and gradually extended its usage in numerous fields in the years that followed until the present time (Middleton, 2006).

Furthermore, Middleton (2006) notifies that an obstetrician named Kreis had employed other drugs for relieving labor pain before the discovery of epidural anesthesia, which showed successful results. Nevertheless, it took more than four decades for epidural anesthesia after its discovery to be employed for the purpose of reducing pain during the process of labor and normal childbirth.

The era when people became immensely interested in knowing about different aspects of childbirth was the actual time when epidural anesthesia gained acknowledgment. Additionally, extensive knowledge from research work had enabled the obstetricians to deal with complexities associated with epidural with more specification and ease. As a result, this technique of anesthesia began to be employed widely in normal vaginal delivery by the specialist doctors for reducing pain in most of the developed countries (Middleton, 2006).

Middleton (2006) and White, Duncan and Baumle (2012) discuss that the procedure of administering epidural anesthesia couple of decades ago was critically different from what it is nowadays. It was difficult to perform; as the medicine was then injected further down the spine where inserting a needle was complex. Moreover, this way of giving anesthesia required larger quantities of medicines to attain the desirable effects. In addition to it, the position of insertion was such that it held a risk for fetus; since there was a chance that needle together with medicine may mistakenly get pierced into fetus' skull. Considering this aspect, experts studied this technique further and concluded that it imposes less risk if the medicine is injected through lumbar region of the back.

The basic procedure of administering epidural anesthesia as discussed by White, Duncan and Baumle (2012) begins when labor pain is triggered.

Furthermore, before injecting the needle, the outer skin is cleaned using an antiseptic medicine in order to kill pathogens that may be present there and also to restrain the development of infections. This is followed by making a small region in the lumbar area insensitive by application of external anesthetic. This assuages the pain that otherwise would be immense when the needle along with a catheter is inserted through that numbed region into the epidural space (White, Duncan and Baumle 2012).

When the anesthesiologist supposes that the needle and catheter have reached the required part, he takes out the needle while catheter still remains inside. In order to assure that the catheter is at the correct position, a small test is performed in which a small quantity of anesthetic is inserted through catheter and heart beat of the patient is monitored closely. If the catheter is placed in correct position, it is secured to prevent it from dislocating (White, Duncan and Baumle 2012). The effects of anesthesia curb down and diminish after few hours of stopping the inflow of medicine.

Taylor (2003) explains that gestation stage is generally based on nine months with variation of few days; therefore, a child who is born after this time period through the birth canal or vagina of his/her mother is said to be delivered normally. Labor precedes the birth process in which biochemical changes are caused to the uterine layers that in turn generate contractions. Furthermore, the amniotic membrane becomes ruptured together with expansion of cervical region that allow the fetus to be delivered. All these events initiating from labor till the birth are majorly painful for mothers; hence, obstetricians use epidural anesthesia to relieve this pain.

The trend of using epidural anesthesia as described by Taylor (2003) has largely increased during couple of decades. Despite of the fact that this technique is expensive and most importantly have adverse impacts on the health of mother and baby, many obstetricians and women (patients) prefer this technique in majority of the developed countries.

Moreover, doctors or midwifes who perform the delivery often prefer administering the patient with epidural anesthesia especially in the case of untimely labor. Also, if the women experience excessive tension or anxiety prior to the… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Risks of Epidural Anesthesia in Normal Vaginal Delivery Outweighs the Benefits.  (2013, June 8).  Retrieved December 8, 2019, from

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"Risks of Epidural Anesthesia in Normal Vaginal Delivery Outweighs the Benefits."  8 June 2013.  Web.  8 December 2019. <>.

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"Risks of Epidural Anesthesia in Normal Vaginal Delivery Outweighs the Benefits."  June 8, 2013.  Accessed December 8, 2019.