Effect Of Labor Epidural Anesthesia On Breast Feeding Mother

Gamal Al-Barassi, Manal (2019-03-12)

Epidural anesthesia is regional anesthesia that blocks pain in a particular region of the body. The goal of an epidural is to provide analgesia, or pain relief, rather than anesthesia, which leads to a total lack of feeling. Epidurals block the nerve impulses from the lower spinal segments. This results in decreased sensation in the lower half of the body. Epidural medications fall into a class of drugs called local anesthetics, such as bupivacaine, chloroprocaine, or lidocaine. They are often delivered in combination with opioids or narcotics such as fentanyl and sufentanil in order to decrease the required dose of local anesthetic.[1] This produces pain relief with minimal effects. These medications may be used in combination with epinephrine, fentanyl, morphine, or clonidine to prolong the epidural’s effect or to stabilize the mother’s blood pressure.


Mothers who receive an epidural for labor pain should still be able to breastfeed, especially if you have experience of breastfeeding problems a baby previously. In recent years there was an increase of epidural analgesia for pain management during labor. Several studies tried to find an association between epidural analgesia and breastfeeding .Some studies have suggested that epidural anesthesia might inhibit breast-feeding and results are mixed. Studies may show that higher doses of the opioid medication fentanyl (most commonly used opioid in epidurals) may impact breastfeeding, but lower doses don’t seem to make breastfeeding more difficult. In addition, other aspects of epidural use for pain relief may impact breastfeeding success. The mother may receive fluids through her IV to help stabilize blood pressure, and this lead to swelling of breast tissue. Sometimes this makes it difficult for the baby to latch on and for the milk to “come in” over the next days. There may also be small changes in the levels of the hormone oxytocin and this may have effects on early breastfeeding right after birth.

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