Use of Epidural Anesthesia in Labor Research Paper

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Epidural Anesthesia

Use of Epidural Anesthesia in labor

"Epidural Anesthesia: Restrictions and Unintended Medical Intervention with Use"

"Epidural Anesthesia: Restrictions and Unintended Medical Intervention with Use"

The utilization of epidural anesthesia during labor has increased exponentially over the last 30 years. The practice offers individuals increased comfort and reduced pain during delivery and is a very popular option for women and for the doctors and nurses who aide in their deliveries. "In the United States, epidural anesthesia has become the most commonly employed tool to manage the pain of labor. Indeed, 71% of a representative sample of women in America who used pain medication during their vaginal birth labors reported having had an epidural" (De Sevo, M. & Semeraro, 2010, p. 11). Epidural anesthesia is recommended to nearly every pregnant woman, impending delivery unless such treatment is primarily contraindicated by some other medical condition. For many the use of epidural anesthesia is a medical breakthrough that allows women to almost completely avoid the pain of labor with very limited risk to herself or the child. While conversely there is much evidence that epidural anesthesia has a long list of potential and real complications that once administered require additional medical intervention and seriously impede movement outside the short list of passive positioning sitting, semi-sitting and side lying in bed.

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Unintended Medical Intervention and Restrictions Correlate to Epidural Anesthesia

Research Paper on Use of Epidural Anesthesia in Labor Assignment

Optimal positioning or walking during labor may be limited for many reasons associated with epidural anesthesia, which is associated with increased use of IV oxytocin, poor fetal progression and rotation down the birth canal, prolonged late stage labor, lower apgar scores for baby and increased use of continual fetal heart rate monitoring, continual urinary catheterization and increased use of mechanical labor interventions such as vacuum suction and forceps, (De Sevo, M. & Semeraro, 2010, p. 11) (Stremler, Halpern, Weston, Yee & Hodnett, 2009, pp. 391-392). Nursing and cultural expectations also play a role in limiting movement during labor "….because of caregiver reluctance to allow women to ambulate, because some women prefer to labor in bed… and because cultural expectation may be to lie in bed for labor (Stremler, Halpern, Weston, Yee & Hodnett, 2009, p. 391).

More and more research as well as anecdotal knowledge of the increased use of epidural anesthesia has surrounded the fact that the practice often creates unintended side effects and may limit the ability of the laboring woman to achieve optimal labor, i.e. smooth labor and delivery, with positioning comfort being offered as well as limited fetal disturbances due to the limitation of the laboring woman to both reposition, to achieve a better progression of delivery, avoid catheterization and most importantly avoid medical and mechanical intervention. Many of these unintended consequences have been over time directly related to the use of epidural anesthesia. This is not to exclude a short but important list of far more serious side effects associated with epidural anesthesia including short or long-term femoral neuropathy (Peirce, O'brien & O'Herlihy, 2010, pp. 203-204), infection and contamination at the site or in the spinal fluid (Welliver, Welliver, Carrol, & James, 2010, p. 197), potential risk of severe "spinal" headache and the previous list of potential labor complications already discussed.

Several researchers also discuss the issue from the nursing perspective, associating the expectations of nurses and the ease of nursing care associated with epidural anesthesia as well as some of the measures that accompany it as mandatory, such as… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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