Birth Injury Blog

Are There Risks Associated with Epidurals?

Posted By Beam & Raymond || 8-Oct-2016

Epidurals are so commonly administered to women in labor that they are often viewed as an expected part of the birth process. While they are generally considered safe, epidurals are not without significant risks and should be considered thoughtfully and carefully before determining if they are right for you.

What are the Potential Problems Epidurals Can Cause?

Epidurals work by interrupting nerve signals between motor and sensory nerves located in the area surrounding the spinal cord, lessening the sensation of pain in the lower body. While it is effective at helping mothers manage the pain of childbirth, it also inhibits the release of beta-endorphins. Beta-endorphins are hormones that a woman’s body produces during labor, which are natural opiates that produce pleasurable feelings in the body. They are also responsible for the release of another substance called prolactin, which is necessary for breastfeeding and helping mature a baby’s lungs.

In addition to interfering with the release of beta-endorphins and prolactin, epidurals also limit the production of another essential hormone called oxytocin. During labor, oxytocin is naturally released by the body to stimulate the uterine muscles and facilitate the labor process. It is also responsible for the contraction of the uterine muscles after birth to prevent postpartum hemorrhaging. With a decrease in these chemicals, an epidural actually makes the mother work harder to give birth, and babies are four times more likely to present in a posterior position at the time of delivery. This is why delivery aids like forceps or vacuums are more commonly used among women who have received epidurals, consequently increasing the chance that the newborn will suffer a birth injury.

Additionally, epidurals lengthen the birthing process, which can be dangerous for mothers with certain medical conditions, like high blood pressure or diabetes.

Have You Suffered Complications After Receiving an Epidural?

Your doctor should consider your personal health and medical history when determining whether an epidural will increase the likelihood of adverse effects to you and your baby. Failure to consider and disclose all risk factors could constitute a breach of duty if their negligence results in a birth injury.

If your child has suffered a birth injury due to the negligence of your physician, call the Chicago birth injury lawyers at Beam & Raymond as soon as possible. You have the right to hold your physician or other care provider accountable by pursuing compensation for past and future medical bills related to your delivery. While no amount of money can ever make an error like this right, it can help ensure that your child’s future care and wellbeing is provided for.

We are committed to protecting the rights of injured children and dedicate ourselves to doing whatever it takes to secure justice on their behalf. Our attorneys are available to take cases nationwide. For a free case review with our compassionate team, please call us at (866) 766-3806.

Categories: Birth Injury, Epidurals
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