Sound Off: Overuse of Epidurals

April 27, 2011

I believe epidurals are overused in obstetrics because not enough women receive hands-on labor support, and the side effects and risks are not well described to women.

I believe epidurals are overused in obstetrics because not enough women receive hands-on labor support, and the side effects and risks are not well described to women. The birth process is inherently challenging but is manageable without pharmacologic  pain relief for many women, and yet the vast majority of women in the DC Baltimore area are offered  epidurals at their most vulnerable moments. There is also a cost incentive to add this expensive item to billing. Also, the impact of hours of epidurals with narcotics such as fentanyl on newborn ability to breastfeed successfully is underestimated.

Lily Fountain, MS, CNM

blog: http://birthnbabynews.blogspot.com

 

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