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|Posted on May 23, 2014 at 3:22 PM|
In light of a research study published this week, we are highlighting this blog post today, originally written on May 28, 2013.
An excerpt from the article New Research: Direct Correlation Between Labor Pain Medications and Breastfeeding:
As stated below, this information is shared in the interest of true informed consent. If a mother adds another piece to the puzzle, she may decide to choose other pain relief tools aside from pain medication, or do everything to delay pain medication as long as possible in order to give her and her baby their best opportunity to get breastfeeding off to a good start.
I am sharing the information below in the interest of furthering our goal that all our students have true informed consent: knowing all the benefits and risks of a drug or procedure. It is very rare for anyone to read the drug information insert that comes in all drug packages. To save you time and squinting, we are doing a “drug warning labels” series for the most commonly used drugs during labor and birth. There will be two more installments in this series. Next week we will look at the drugs used for induction, and we will conclude with drugs used for augmentation of labor.
We are passionate about helping families have their Best Possible Birth. By that we mean the path that leads that individual family to a Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby outcome. We want families to have a toolbox full of tips and techniques that help them manage the ebb and flow of labor. We want them to be comfortable with the path of a normal, low-risk labor. We want them to have true informed consent by having an open line of communication with their care providers.
Why do we spend time and energy preparing couples for natural birth, even when some of them will end up choosing an epidural, or maybe needing a cesarean for their Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby outcome? We know that the longer drugs can be delayed or avoided completely, the less likely it is that mother and baby will be exposed to drugs that have never been proven safe for mother and baby. As one of my favorite class handouts says, “When used wisely and at an optimal time, an epidural can give a laboring woman much needed relief and sleep. But if you are not prepared for some of the risks, you may end up wishing you had known a little more.” (read in more detail about epidurals HERE and HERE)
Unfortunately, some families don’t know the side effects or possible complications of the drugs that are used in childbirth today. We assume that since they are offered, they must be safe. After all, our care provider would not purposely put us in harm’s way, right?
Did you know that most drugs used in childbirth is used “off-label”? There is no drug that has been proven safe for childbirth – you can’t run a control study on pregnant women by allowing some to be drug-free and then having others use the drug. It would be highly unethical as the difference in outcomes might be devastating to the women and children involved.
In today’s post, I have pulled out five of the most common drugs used for epidural anesthesia. I am not passing judgment on families that choose an epidural. There are definitely times when the benefits outweigh the risks. Each family has to make the choice that is right for them.
To be clear – we are not anti-care provider or anti-drug. We are grateful for modern medicine that saves lives in circumstances when Mother Nature needs help. It exists for a reason, and we are thankful for the opportunity to meet all the Healthy Moms and Healthy Babies when we hold a class reunion.
Please read and consider this information as you prepare for the birth of your baby. I included the link to find the complete drug label on-line. Everything underneath the drug name is in quotations because I *literally* pulled it off the label available online and onto this entry.
LIDOCAINE: Category B
BUPIVACAINE: Category C
CLONIDINE: Category C
FENTANYL: Pregnancy Category C
SUFENTANIL: Pregnancy Category C
DEMEROL: Pregnancy Category: B; D if used for prolonged periods or near term
This concludes the highlights I pulled out from the drug inserts. I encourage you to click on the links and read the whole insert for yourself. Going in with all the information may help you make the right decision for your family.
I want to re-iterate that our perspective (Krystyna & Bruss) is that drugs are a tool, to be used wisely and at the optimal time, i.e., when the benefits outweigh the risks. If you are going to use any of these as a tool, then educate yourselves on dosage. You can ask questions like, "Is mom going to get the suggested dose all at once or over a time period?" "What can we do if she needs more than the suggested dose?" "Are there any other options?"
We have had students use an epidural as a tool after a prolonged and/or especially painful labor. The epidural provided the rest and/or relief they needed, and some of them went on to have a quick progression to second stage and a vaginal birth. Their births are no less "Bradley" than our mothers who had epidural-free births. All the couples used their communication skills to make the Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby choice for their family.
It all boils down to the same question, "Which choice is right for our family in the unique instance of our birth?" When you choose with a Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby filter, you can help clarify which choice works for you.
The material included on this site is for informational purposes only.
It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult her or his healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation. Krystyna and Bruss Bowman and Bowman House, LLC accept no liability for the content of this site, or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided. This blog contains information about our classes available in Chandler, AZ and Payson, AZ and is not the official website of The Bradley Method®. The views contained on this blog do not necessarily reflect those of The Bradley Method® or the American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth®.