Doulas and Epidurals Info by Jennifer Vanderlaan
Professional labor assistants, doulas, are popular companions for the expectant family who is attempting a natural childbirth. What if you are not interested in natural childbirth, is a doula still valuable for a family who knows they want an epidural?
The administration of an epidural requires you to sit without moving for several minutes, and generally through a few contractions. Having a doula, who is both familiar to you and experienced with the procedure, can help you remain calm and relaxed during the placement of the catheter. This can help the anesthesiologist achieve a good placement faster, allowing you to have the comfort of an epidural faster. Positioning
Many women do not anticipate the full extent of interventions involved in an epidural. In addition to the catheter in the back dispensing the medication, an epidural comes with IV fluids, continuous monitoring and monitoring of blood pressure. It is common for women with epidurals to also have artificial oxytocin, bladder catheterization and oxygen. A doula can help you understand the interventions being used, and can give suggestions for techniques to help avoid interventions you would rather not have. OtherInterventions
Rather than a type of medication, epidural refers to the placement of the medication. Because of this, you may experience any number of side effects depending on the medication used. These side effects range from itchiness and shivering to nausea and fever. Doulas are prepared to assist you in managing any discomfort from these side effects. Unexpected Side Effects
A common problem with epidurals is the mother's inability to push effectively. Two issues work together to make pushing ineffective. One is the mother's inability to feel her muscles working. The other is the way the epidural prevents the normal increase of oxytocin when the baby's head puts pressure on the pelvic floor. A doula can assist you if you are unable to push in several ways. One option is for the doula to assist you in letting the epidural wear off so you can feel the contractions and gain some control of the pushing muscles. Ineffective Pushing
Doulas understand the fear of becoming a mother, or becoming a mother again. Doulas do not forget you are in labor just because you are not in pain with contractions.