7 doctors weighed in:

Will an epidural effect the baby? Will an epidural effect the baby? Is being born without an epidural healthier for the baby?

7 doctors weighed in
Dr. Richard Pollard
Anesthesiology
2 doctors agree

In brief: See below

The epidural will not affect the baby.
It is not healthier for the baby to be born without an epidural. Please talk to an anesthesiologist prior to labor to get the facts. Good luck.

In brief: See below

The epidural will not affect the baby.
It is not healthier for the baby to be born without an epidural. Please talk to an anesthesiologist prior to labor to get the facts. Good luck.
Dr. Richard Pollard
Dr. Richard Pollard
Thank
Dr. James Henning
Anesthesiology
1 doctor agrees

In brief: No & No

A routine labor epidural placed by an experienced anesthesia provider, assuming no co-morbid (unusual or chronic medical) conditions, will cause very few, if any, effects on the baby.
Unless unusually large doses of anesthetic are given, there is no significant fetal uptake of regionally administered anesthesia drugs. No, a laboring epidural does not pose unusual fetal health risks.

In brief: No & No

A routine labor epidural placed by an experienced anesthesia provider, assuming no co-morbid (unusual or chronic medical) conditions, will cause very few, if any, effects on the baby.
Unless unusually large doses of anesthetic are given, there is no significant fetal uptake of regionally administered anesthesia drugs. No, a laboring epidural does not pose unusual fetal health risks.
Dr. James Henning
Dr. James Henning
Thank
Dr. Cheyenne Babcock
Anesthesiology
1 doctor agrees

In brief: Prior

Prior to epidural pain relief in labor, the choices were limited to intravenous medications with multiple side effects.
These include opioid medications (morphine and cousins) and others that, when given iv, also circulate to the fetus via the placenta. These medicines can affect the baby directly and when given close to the time of birth can cause respiratory depression (less drive to breath) and blue babies. When epidural analgesia came along for laboring mothers, we found an option that allowed us to give comfort to mothers without significantly affecting their newborns. The local anesthetics and much smaller doses of opioids we use in the epidural are much safer. Obstetricians and anesthesiologists are still debating what effects epidural use may have on the length of labor, and like many controversial areas there are studies that point in both directions. Despite that, the advantages of sparing your newborn from the effects of powerful sedating drugs are tremendous compared with the small risk. That is why so many laboring women choose epidural analgesia and still have happy, healthy babies.

In brief: Prior

Prior to epidural pain relief in labor, the choices were limited to intravenous medications with multiple side effects.
These include opioid medications (morphine and cousins) and others that, when given iv, also circulate to the fetus via the placenta. These medicines can affect the baby directly and when given close to the time of birth can cause respiratory depression (less drive to breath) and blue babies. When epidural analgesia came along for laboring mothers, we found an option that allowed us to give comfort to mothers without significantly affecting their newborns. The local anesthetics and much smaller doses of opioids we use in the epidural are much safer. Obstetricians and anesthesiologists are still debating what effects epidural use may have on the length of labor, and like many controversial areas there are studies that point in both directions. Despite that, the advantages of sparing your newborn from the effects of powerful sedating drugs are tremendous compared with the small risk. That is why so many laboring women choose epidural analgesia and still have happy, healthy babies.
Dr. Cheyenne Babcock
Dr. Cheyenne Babcock
Thank
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