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What are the risks of an epidural?

Pregnancy and childbirth is a rewarding and exhausting process that many people will experience plenty of ups and downs during. The pain of childbirth is one thing that most people do not want to experience, though.

Fortunately, with modern medicine and technology, it is sometimes possible to numb out that pain through epidurals. However, while they are overwhelmingly safe, there are still chances for things to go wrong.

Risks to the mother

Stanford University discusses the risk associated with epidurals. First, it is important to understand how they work. Epidurals get injected through the spine, wherein the medication flows out and saturates the liquid around the spinal cord. This blocks pain signals from reaching the brain.

It is possible to request an epidural for either a vaginal birth or a cesarian section. It is possible to still experience some pain even with an epidural, but many people will not experience any.

However, as a type of anesthesia, it is possible for the epidural to carry risks. Primarily, paralysis is the biggest potential risk. It is possible to sustain an injury to the nerves around the spine or the spinal cord itself due to the area of injection. The damage that comes along with this type of injury is sometimes permanent.

Risks to the baby

Babies may also experience injury due to the use of epidurals. For example, an epidural can lower the mother’s blood pressure which can in turn cause the baby’s heart rate to drop dangerously low. Other distress-based issues can cause potential harm, too.

In such situations, it is possible to gain compensation for the damage that occurred due to the epidural or its placement.