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Epidurals During Labour

The majority of healthy pregnant women can expect the natural process of labour to result in the birth of a healthy baby without the need for many of the interventions that now form part of modern obstetrics. Epidural analgesia is now one of the most common interventions in the birth process and the most popular method of pain relief during labour in the         westernised world. However the benefits of epidurals come with significant risks for the labouring woman and her baby.

The Maternity Services Consumer Council has produced a pamphlet to provide you with evidence-based information about epidurals during labour.

Information in the pamphlet covers:

  • What is epidural analgesia?
  • How is an epidural given?
  • The benefits of epidurals
  • The disadvantages of epidurals
  • Side effects to the baby
  • Caesarean section
  • The hormones of labour
  • Positive birth experience
  • Minimising the risks of epidurals

Before you give consent to an epidural it is important that you are aware of and understand the risks and benefits of this form of pain relief. While the use of epidurals is widespread and there are now a variety of different regional analgesia techniques available, there is still much that is unknown about the adverse effects of epidurals, particularly potential long-term adverse effects.

If you would like to receive a copy of our pamphlet or wish to order copies for your practice, then please contact us at mscc@maternity.org.nz or download a copy of our order form.