I'm actually wrote this post around a year ago, but since I'm moving my website and blog to a new address, I wanted to bring it along with me!

'And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in
Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and 
make you strong, firm and steadfast.' 1 Peter 5:10

For me, the birthing year is the time in which you are
pregnant, give birth and thereafter learn to care for your new little blessing.
All parents, especially first time parents, have many unanswered questions
during this part of their lives. In the future I plan to write about many
different subjects for each part of the birthing year, and today I want to talk
about something that I've always included as part of my teaching in both my
childbirth and breastfeeding classes.

A lot of people don't realize all of the effects of
medications available during labor on mother and baby. This is something that I
really feel strongly about sharing, and I sincerely hope that it encourages
those who read on to make wise decisions concerning their baby's birth.

Most medications that are given during labor and are
given in the first stage. Barbiturates, or sleeping pills, are often given to
help the mother rest, and even sometimes to see if she is in true labor. There
are many side effects for mom, including drowsiness, nausea, low blood pressure,
disorientation, and decreased pulse rate. Effects on baby include respiratory
depression, decreased muscle tone, decreased responsiveness and decreased
sucking ability. Narcotics are often given in labor to take the edge off of the
pain. The side effects of narcotics for mom are the same as those found with
barbiturates, and dry mouth or respiratory depression. Respiratory depression is
also a side effect for baby, as well as decreased sucking ability.Tranquilizers
are sometimes given to reduce tension and anxiety, relax muscles and even to
enhance the effects of narcotics. Some side effects are drowsiness, difficulty
concentrating, low blood pressure and dry mouth. For baby, decreased
responsiveness and slow adaptation to feeding.

Regional anesthetics are most often given to laboring
women and affect only one portion of the body. An epidural is the most common
form of anesthesia that is routinely asked for by name. Most women who request
this drug aren't aware of the serious side effects (low blood pressure, fever,
itching, longer labor, increased risk of operative vaginal deliveries and
cesarean deliveries, and even a risk of paralysis to name a few). When
considering whether or not to get an epidural, one should also consider that
epidurals have a 3% failure rate. The effects on baby can include a drop in
fetal heart rate and an impact on early breastfeeding. Intrathecal narcotics are
also given in the same manner as an epidural (with a smaller needle), and may
cause itching, nausea, vomiting, low blood pressure and respiratory depression.
Intrathecal narcotics can also affect breastfeeding in the same way epidural
anesthesia can.

I include this information in my childbirth classes for
obvious reasons, and after reading this I hope you can see why I include it in
my breastfeeding classes as well. Medication given during labor can greatly
affect baby's ability to nurse. Labor is painful, but as quick as it begins it
will also end. After your baby is born it will all be just a memory, an
experience that I'm sure you would gladly relive considering the end result!
This is why it is so important to learn all you can and make the right decisions
for you and your baby. Do what makes you feel safe... and if a natural
birth is what you want, there are plenty of ways to make it a joyful experience
without the use of modern medications.



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