How many of my readers had an epidural during the birth of their children? How many had to sign a "release form" in order that they be given this form of anesthesia? For those who did sign the release form, can you tell me -- did it look anything like the description below? Did your release form contain the following information?
See full video below. Transcript is as follows:
Lady # 1: I just got back from my O.B. appointment. My doctor just gave me an epidural release form. She wanted me to see it before my birth so I can be informed.
Lady # 2: (interested) That’s great! Why don't you read it to me?
Lady # 1: Ok. I understand that the pain from labor causes my brain to release beta endorphins. These are natural pain killers which can be likened to natural morphine or heroin. These opiates are so powerful that they can cause women to have an “out of this world”, or “high” feelings in between contractions, and they also have been known to cause euphoria during and after birth.
Lady # 2: Wow, that's great!!
Lady # 1: When I receive an epidural, I understand that my baby will feel the pain of labor more intensely because my body will stop producing and circulating these pain killing hormones mentioned above. I understand that that my baby will feel the pain of labor more intensely.
Lady # 2: (Surprised) Whoa! Are you sure they should be telling you this?
Lady # 1: I am aware that use of these drugs will depress my baby’s breathing and they will most likely lead to the need for resuscitation and breathing assistance for my baby at birth.
Lady # 2: (Thoughtful) I have heard that epidurals are harmless. This doesn’t sound harmless.
Lady # 1: I understand that once I have an epidural, I must have a fetal monitor screwed into my baby’s head. I am aware that this screw in my baby’s head will be pulled with every contraction, and tugged at when I move around.
Lady # 2: (Remembering) My baby did have a black and blue spot with a scab on his head when he was born. I have always wondered about that…
Lady # 1: I understand that all epidural drugs currently used during birth where never studied for their long term effects on the development of the fetus or on babies. I choose to use them anyway.
Lady # 2: Wow, I gave up wine and coffee for my pregnancy... imagine that!
Lady # 1: I understand that having an epidural increases my risks of needing pitocin. Pitocin is a synthetic form of oxyticin, which is a hormone that causes uterine contractions among other things.
The side effects can be increased uterine contractions, multiple unrelenting contractions, and contractions powerful enough to tear my uterus.
Lady # 2: At least you won't feel it. You will have the epidural.
Lady # 1: I understand that there are studies linking Pitocin use with autistic disorders.
Lady # 2: I never heard of that. I will have to Google that and see if it is true.
Lady # 1: I understand that the use of Pitocin has been related with decreased maternal-infant bonding. Pitocin use causes the brain to stop producing its own oxytocin in both the Mother and baby.
Lady # 2: Isn't oxytocin is the hormone of love and attachment?
Lady # 1: I don't believe in attachment. Let me keep reading, there is more.
I understand that after receiving the epidural, my baby may experience, an increased heart rate and fetal distress.
Lady # 2: I wonder what a distressed baby looks like? Does that mean the baby is crying? Can they cry in the uterus?
Lady # 1: Quiet I am reading.
I understand that because my baby has an immature liver the use of epidural drugs will most likely will cause effects such as: increased incidence of jaundice, behavioral problems, drowsiness at birth, poor sucking reflex and poor muscle strength and muscle tone in the first hours of life.
Lady # 2: I guess that is why you want doctors nearby in the first place.
Lady # 1: I understand that the use of epidural anesthesia leads to more cesarean sections.
Lady #2: I wonder if that is true? That can’t be true. I will have to do a Google search for those
Lady # 1: I understand that a side effect of an epidural may be leaking spinal fluid may cause a headache. This will necessitate that I lay flat on my back so the spinal casing can heal.
Lady # 2: I guess the baby can go to the nursery. You will have years to get to know each other.
Lady # 1: Hmmmm. It says here that Epidural use will make it so I won't be able to pee! I will need a catheter inserted into my bladder.
Lady # 2: Ouch.
Lady # 1: I understand that this could affect my ability to breastfeed, hold and care for my baby.
Lady # 2: I hear that the La Leche League prints up special instructions with tips to help support epidural babies and breastfeeding.
Lady # 1: I understand that decreased touching, holding and not breastfeeding during the immediate minutes after birth may decrease my body's release of mothering hormones. This will increase my risk of post-partum depression. It may cause problems with breastfeeding success.
Lady # 2: Post-partum depression? I know lots of people who have had that. Isn’t it normal?
Lady # 1: By signing this release, I have been told of the risks and the possible effects of this drug on my baby and I agree to hold harmless this hospital and my society for any problems related to using epidural anesthesia now or in the future.
Lady # 2: ( angry) Your doctor should not have scared you with this information.! Why would she show this to a pregnant woman?
Lady # 1: Hmmmmm. Well? What do you think?
Lady # 2: I don't know. What do you think?
Lady # 1: I think there is no reason for me to suffer when I don't have to. The baby will be out in the end just the same.
Lady # 2: You don’t think that you should look into this more?
Lady # 1: Look into what?
Lady # 2: Never mind. Let’s go buy some baby clothes.
Lady # 1: Ok.
Epidural Release Form