How Safe Are Epidurals?


Among many mothers, epidural anesthesia is one of the most popular forms of pain relief during labor. However, there are risks that come with epidurals. We’ll examine a few of them here.

How Does Epidural Anesthesia Work?

The word epidural actually refers to a variety of different medications delivered into the spine so that pain in a particular region of the body is blocked. Essentially, they block nerve impulses in the lower parts of your spine.

The epidural is administered through a catheter that’s carefully inserted into the arched back of the mother. Through the catheter, the pain relief medication is delivered continuously or in periodic injection.

What Are the Benefits of an Epidural?

There are actually a host of reasons why epidurals are so popular for moms-to-be. Among them are:

  • Allowing the mother to rest during a prolonged labor even while helping her to remain alert and active during delivery
  • The assurance of continuing to provide anesthesia if a cesarean section delivery is ultimately required
  • The ability of delivery room personnel to control or tweak the dosage as the labor progresses

What Are the Risks of an Epidural?

It’s crucial that epidurals be administered by professionals with the proper experience, education and training. However, mistakes by the medical team in handling the epidural can and do happen. Some of the more common mistakes include:

  • Injecting the needle in the wrong place
  • Administering too much anesthesia
  • Failing to monitor for distress in the mother and child
  • Administering before correct cervix dilation of the mother
  • Giving to a mother who is a user of blood thinners

For both mother and child, there are potential risks associated with having an epidural.

Risks to the mother include:

  • Developing seizures and dizziness
  • Rapid lowering of blood pressure
  • Nerve damage
  • Long-term back pain
  • Infections

Risks to the child include:

  • Dangerous lack of oxygen, which can lead to serious health issues such as cerebral palsy
  • Coma
  • Poor muscle tone
  • Low Apgar score

If Your Child Experienced a Birth Injury, Call The Fitzgerald Law Firm

A child’s birth should be one of the happiest times for a family. That’s why it’s absolutely heartbreaking to learn that a newborn has been a victim of someone else’s negligence.

If your child experienced a birth injury, we want to talk with you about legal action.

The first consultation is always free, so call The Fitzgerald Law Firm at 800-323-9900.