Does pain affect my baby?
Pain may cause very high adrenaline levels in your bloodstream. If you are in
great distress and breathing rapidly, your baby may actually suffer from a
fall in blood flow to the uterus. This condition results in decreased oxygen
delivery to your baby. This may stress your baby. Making you more comfortable
can help to prevent this from happening. By helping you to relax
and regain better control over your labor, anesthesia can ensure the lowest
levels of stress to your baby. If needed during labor, your physician may
order pain medication given into a vein or muscle to "take the edge off'
contractions. For some mothers, this mild medication may be enough.
Others may benefit from another type of pain relief such as epidural
anesthesia. In any case, there is never any reason for a woman to feel that
she has failed if she needs medication to relieve pain. Your health and the
safety of your baby are our chief concerns. At your request, a member of
the anesthesia care team will work with your physician to determine which
type of anesthesia, if any, is best for you and your baby.