Delivery and anesthesia: Are there alternatives to the epidural?

Delivery and anesthesia: Are there alternatives to the epidural?

If you want to avoid the epidural or you do not have access for medical reasons, you can consider other analgesic techniques during childbirth. Also think of gentle techniques to avoid anesthesia (or reduce the amount of anesthetic used).

Anesthesia and Delivery: Epidural Alternatives

  • When one can not or does not want to resort to the "classical" anesthesia, to understand the epidural, the use of analgesic gases can be proposed by the anesthesiologist of the maternity.
  • Nitrogen protoxide or halogenated gases are generally used: these are known to have fewer adverse effects than nitrous oxide (eg vomiting, nausea), but also more difficult to assay. They must be administered by the anesthesiologist while nitrous oxide can be administered by a nurse or midwife (sometimes the mother can even use it herself). In practice, a mask is applied to the mother's face before each contraction to allow her to inhale the gas. It is removed at the end of the contraction. No risk of falling asleep with this method: the gases just help to calm the pain of childbirth.
  • Another possible drug technique is the morphine pump. In this case, the mother herself supports the device when it hurts too much: it delivers a mini-dose of morphine intravenously. Rest assured: the product is too low dosage to be dangerous for you and your baby.

How to limit the use of anesthesia in the delivery room?

Some birth preparation techniques may help to completely or partially pass anesthesia during delivery.

  • These include sophrology exercises, which, on D-day, help the mother to better manage the pain of contractions.
  • Another approach that is increasingly used to prepare for childbirth: hypnosis, which acts on both anxiety and pain. One can even speak of self-hypnosis, because at the end of the preparation sessions, the mother is usually able to "dissociate" herself from her body and mind to less perceive the pain.
  • The exercises of yoga or prenatal singing can also help to do without anesthesia during childbirth ...
  • If the above techniques have distinct characteristics, it must be remembered that they all give an important place to breathing: work on the breath plays a vital role in the management of pain.
  • In a different register, we can mention homeopathy: this soft medicine would have a positive effect on stress and pain, but also on the speed of delivery.
  • Finally, we must also remember acupuncture, already practiced in several maternities: if it does not completely remove the pain of contractions, it can however greatly reduce those located in the lower back (often the most painful). It could also speed up childbirth.