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Response to Parenting Magazine Article Downplaying Epidural Risks

Easy Steps to a Safer Pregnancy - View e-book or Download PDF - FREE!
An interactive resource for moms on easy steps they can take to reduce exposure to chemical toxins during pregnancy.

Other excellent resources about avoiding toxins during pregnancy

These are easy to read and understand and are beautifully presented.


Among the findings: 15 % of those who had epidurals developed a fever, raising a red flag about their infants' health; only 1 % of the new moms who had other forms of pain relief or none at all had fevers.
Note that an epidural appears to make it 15 times more likely that you'll have a fever.
. . . (April's note: How many of these infants were separated from their mother's for extended periods of time...having all sorts of tests performed on them??)
Many of them. I have heard a "full septic workup" described as culturing all orifices and doing a lumbar puncture. And then they wonder why they get meningitis.

Newborns with infections rarely develop infections (such as a temp rise), so maternal fever is one of the few signs that an infant may be ill. And an infection that's harmless to a new mom, if untreated, can be fatal to her newborn. Some docs, erring on the side of caution, draw blood from these babies for testing and give them shots of antibiotics, which often prolongs their hospital stay up to three days--only to find that most are perfectly healthy. In the study, 86 % of the babies who were tested for infection and 87 % who received antibiotics were born to mom who had epidurals. But of those tested fewer than 1 % were actually ill.
The issue of newborn infection is a hot button for me. If the mom and baby are kept together, and it is primarily the mom holding the baby, chances are very good that the baby won't be exposed to anything the mom isn't exposed to. So the mom's system will very cleverly manufacture antibodies for the baby and pass them along in the breastmilk.

Issues are probably different for preterm babies who can't breastfeed, but for full-term babies who are able to breastfeed, it makes no sense to me that they separate the mom and the baby, depriving the baby of the best immunity possible.


This puts expectant moms in a quandary: whether to go for the epidural or to pass on the one pain alleviator that will allow them to experience the ecstasy of childbirth without the agony. . . .
Actually, since the epidural numbs the sensations, the mother's body won't be producing the endorphins that provide that lovely post-birth ecstasy.

The solution to the quandary is to support the laboring woman with non-drug comfort measures - hydrotherapy, massage, hypnosis, emotional and positional support.


. . . Experts caution against forgoing an epidural solely for this reason; however, because a new mom's temp may rise even without it. "If a woman labors in a heated birthing room for many hours, the physical effort alone may result in a slight fever, " says David Birnbach, MD, director of obstetric anesthesiology at St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital in New York.
This is a great example of talking out of both sides of their mouth. Unless it happens that women getting epidurals are all put in the hottest birthing rooms, the risk of developing a fever in labor is still 15 times greater with an epidural.

And, by the way, where are the woman's birth assistants who should be holding cool cloths to her forehead? And, in a room as hot as he describes, I'd have them around her shoulders and hips as well.


Besides, experts agree that epidurals are the best labor-pain relief available. So that expectant women won't have to factor in the possibility of a fever when considering an epidural, researchers hope to find ways other than a mother's temp to determine whether a newborn has an infection.
Well, this would be nice. But what about in the meantime?

Oh, here, they have all the answers.


Meanwhile, if you're expecting, your doctor should go over all the pros and cons of having an epidural so when the time comes you'll be prepared to make the choice that is best for you.
It would be nice if information alone were enough to help moms cope with labor. However, I've found that good labor support goes a lot further towards avoiding an epidural than information alone.

I think they're trying to put "a spin" on the epidural fever studies.

I think they're really saying, "We've got a problem. We don't have a solution. We're working on it."

I don't know why they don't mention that homebirth moms never get epidural fevers. :-)

This Web page is referenced from another page containing related information about Epidurals and Other Drugs


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