side effects of epidural after birth
Women's Health

Epidural Side Effects After Birth

What Are Epidural Side Effects After Birth? 

side effects of epidural after birth

With every medication there is chance of side effects. Same is the case with Epidural injection which is given in labor. Epidural side effects after birth are very rare but possible.

Epidural side effects include:

  • Low blood pressure of the mother,
  • Headache,
  • Nausea and vomiting,
  • Fever,
  • Problems in urinating/ loss of bladder control,
  • Loss of strength in legs,
  • Itching

Low blood pressure of mother

When an epidural is given to a mother in labor her blood pressure drops. This low blood pressure can weakness can stay for a while even after birth. This is the reason for which fluid drip is attached to the mothers arm.

Headache

One of the most common epidural side effect after birth is headache. The major cause of this headache is the rupturing of fluid sac which surrounds the spine. It can happen accidentally. There is a proper treatment of healing this rupture and your doctor will help with this if you have severe headaches. Some women don’t really need this treatment and can heal on their own.

Nausea and vomiting

After epidural a women feels sick which is categorized as nausea and vomiting. It can happen due to low blood pressure.

Fever

Women taking epidural during labor can have fever later. The exact reason for fever is not known but according to PubMed Health, 23% of women taking epidurals can experience a fever later.

Problems Urinating/loss of bladder control

Due to the nerve block injection given to the mother her sense of bladder control is lost until the epidural wear off. You may not feel that your bladder is full as the nerves surrounding the bladder are numbed. For this reason a catheter is attached.

Loss of strength in legs

You feel numbness of legs even after birth if the epidural effect has not completely gone. You will not be able to walk properly. But this is not a problem as after few hours you will be normal.

Itching

The medication or medicine used in epidural can cause itching. You can consult your doctor about it.

Rare Epidural Side Effects

In severe conditions which is quite rare epidural side effects include:

  • Nerve damage,
  • Breathing difficulties,
  • Infection

Nerve damage

Nerve damage can be permanent or temporary. The epidural injection is inserted in the epidural space and it is rare but possible that in can damage the nerve. The epidural tube or the epidural needle can cause this problem. You may not feel your lower body or can feel numbness but there will be strength and movement in your legs.  This type of damage is temporary and can wear off in few days, weeks or even months.

Permanent nerve damage is very rare. In this scenario the nerve is permanently damage and it might affect 1 or both legs.

Breathing Difficulty

Epidural can affect chest muscles responsible for proper breathing. But this is very rare.

Infection

As you epidural is given with a needle and a tube so it is possible to have an infection after the needle and tube is removed. But this also is quite rare.

Epidural safe or not?

Epidural in labor is totally a mother’s choice. If you want to take epidural then you should discuss every aspect of it with your doctor or healthcare provider. Take an epidural if you want to but with all its pros and cons understood. It is usually safe but as it is a medication, so it is possible that some side effects can come after birth.

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