Science, bitches! The epidural and you

A visit to the anaesthesiologist has been quite a contrast to a lot of the hippy, all-natural message we’ve been getting about labour pain relief. I get it, I have nothing against the all-natural childbirth and child rearing mindset. But it always bothered me that ‘it’s natural, and therefore better’ never seemed to be backed up with anything more concrete. It’s different to preferring breastmilk over formula, there’s proper peer reviewed science out there for that recommendation. But avoiding the epidural? None whatsoever. In fact, if the epidural is avoided and mum ends up needing general anaesthetic, it’s actually a bigger risk for the baby. While there are some potential, rare side effects from the epidural, none of them affect the baby. Gas and air, the common fallback, has the potential to affect the baby.

So, unless someone can give me a scientific, peer reviewed benefit to a ‘natural’ childbirth, it looks like science and a medical professional are likely to have the upper hand over anecdotes and the magical power of ‘surely it must be better, right?’.

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