Narcotic pain medication (e.g. Demerol, Morphine, Stadol) is often given during early labor to mitigate pain and help mothers relax. With IV administration, these medications are safe to use because they wear off quickly. However, if labor accelerates and the baby is born quickly, the baby’s breathing may be depressed by the narcotic.
After delivery, epidurals may result in a mother’s temporary loss of movement or inability to pass urine. Headaches and difficulty breastfeeding after epidural anesthesia may also occur. Additional complications include dizziness, seizures, and — if the drug enters the spinal fluid —difficulty breathing. Permanent nerve injury, paralysis, and meningitis (infection of the fluid surrounding the spinal cord) are rare complications of an epidural. Nevertheless, they can occur.
While rare, some patients are genetically predisposed to bad anesthesia reactions. If you had a poor reaction (such as a severe spike in blood pressure), your anesthesiologist or other healthcare providers may not have thoroughly investigated your patient history — a crucial step in ensuring your health and safety.
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