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Routine Epidural Turns Deadly

This is an article I've gotten several times through emails or my doula groups, so I thought I would pass it on and share. It's a pretty sad tale, but I think it speaks more to hospital cleanliness & care than to the actual epidural procedure. Still, given the number of folks who make such flippant comments as "There's no risks with epidurals", it pays to be aware.

Julie LeMoult's Story

Also, take a look at the following:

Epidural Risks & Side Effects

Medical Risks of Epidural Anesthesia During Childbirth

Epidurals can be a blessing for women in labor, but it always pays to review both benefits and risks in order to decide what's best for each family. The misconception that epidurals are prefectly safe needs to be addressed. It's so sad to see a momma make a comment like, "I want my epidural when I get to the parking lot of the hospital!" Or even worse, the constant "Are you ready for your epidural now?" by nurses. Taken too early in labor, epidurals can slow labor progress and lead to even more interventions. With an epidural you immediately have: continuous fetal monitoring, catheterization, IV, and you must remain in bed. All too often, it also leads to more interventions like artificial rupture of membranes (to try to 'speed up' labor if it stalls as a result of the epidural), vacuum/forceps if mother can't feel well enough to push, episiotomies, and even cesareans.

I have supported mothers who received epidurals, and it allowed a much-needed rest. They certainly have their place in the birthing room, but let's make sure that the misconceptions are banished, and that the choice is truly an informed one.



Jun. 19th, 2006 06:50 pm (UTC)
Oh god, so sad. I read that with my mouth hanging open & chills all over. What a sad, sad story. :(
Jun. 19th, 2006 06:52 pm (UTC)
Oh, and P.S. It's interesting, I've never even considered an epi just because the thought of a giant needle being stuck in my *spine* terrifies me!! In my mind that's always seemed more nightmarish than any labor pain.
Jun. 19th, 2006 08:50 pm (UTC)
Oh, I know. It tore my heart apart. And if the docs or nurses had listened to her complaints, rather than blow them off as 'from the birth', who knows, the outcome may have been much different. :(
Jun. 19th, 2006 09:13 pm (UTC)
I've known women who've ended up with terrible headaches after their epis, for days. Maybe they just assumed that's what it was & so just offered painkillers. But, with the fever! You'd think THAT would've finally prompted someone to worry!

And that poor husband....and that poor mama-less baby.... :( :( :(