Mary - posted on 01/19/2012 ( 69 moms have responded )
I came across this article the other day, and found it rather fascinating:
I know that this is a topic that has been debated ad nauseum over the years, but this article had a slant that I found to be rather interesting. It is not an actual study, but rather one mother's conclusions based on all of the research she did into this topic.
"To find answers, I dug into the dozens of studies that doctors have published on epidurals. What I discovered is that there aren’t many clear answers—epidural research has been fraught with methodological problems—but in sum, the concerns voiced by natural birthers are exaggerated."
I didn't find this opinion piece to be overwhelmingly pro-epidural or anti-"natural" childbirth. As an L&D nurse, what really struck a chord with me was her (personal) conclusion that much of what the die-hard non-interventionists state are negative impacts on mother, baby, or the labor process are rather out-dated. Epidurals have really only been widely used for pain relief in labor since the 80's. However, they have changed (and improved) greatly over the years. Many of the "issues" caused by the average labor epidural back in 1995 are, for the most part, not a widespread issue in the epidural of today. I can tell you that from my own personal observations, this is very true. I started in L&D in 1997, and the epidurals given today are vastly different from those administered back when I first started. As the author points out, the amount of both anesthetic and narcotic are significantly decreased from what they once were.
Yet whenever I hear or read any anti-epidural spiels, it seems as if they are still arguing about side-effects and issues of the earlier generation epidurals, without ever acknowledging that many of these things have changed over the years. Concerns that were very true and valid 15 years ago aren't so much anymore, and yet they still pop up in the current debates on this topic.