Recovering from childbirth is never easy, but if you’re experiencing major headaches, it could indicate that you have a problem outside the norm. It also could indicate that something went wrong with your epidural during labor. The fact is, there are certain mistakes relating to anesthesia during delivery that can cause severe headaches and other complications for mothers. To understand if this is what happened to you, consider the following information about how anesthesia relates to the birthing process.
Types of Anesthesia Used in Labor and Delivery
At this time in history, most of the anesthesia given during labor and delivery is regional anesthesia, the kind that is delivered near the region of the spine. There is the epidural, literally meaning “outside the dura,” where a needle is inserted between the mother’s spinal canal and the dura creates a space for a tube to be placed where medication is administered to numb the surrounding nerves. There is also spinal anesthesia, which goes directly into the spinal canal where the fluid is; it works similarly to the epidural but more directly. Quite often now, many anesthesiologists are doing CSE (combined spinal/epidurals) where both types of regional anesthtics are given at the same time.
While all three are generally considered safe methods of anesthesia, there are rare cases where mistakes or complications cause problems for patients. Sometimes the epidural makes it hard for the mother to push, leading to forceps, vacuum or Caesarean section births. Sometimes the numbing agent goes the wrong way and instead of providing pain relief near the pelvis and uterus, it heads toward the upper body and can cause a woman to have a cardio/respiratory arrest which can cause her to stop breathing and her heart to stop. Also, in some cases, the administration of anesthesia in the wrong place can cause a great deal of pain and discomfort for the mother, including bad headaches.
When There Are Problems with the Epidural
When mistakes are made with anesthesia in labor and delivery, all kinds of problems and consequences can arise. When medical professionals are administering the epidural, they may have a hard time finding the right insertion space. So what they may wind up doing is putting the needle right into the dura, the space where the fluid is, and sending the medication directly there. The problem is that sending medication directly into the dura can cause the mother to have major headaches and other complications. For example, she may need to have what’s called a blood patch, where a little bit of blood gets put on the space in order to form a clot that keeps fluid from leaking out of the spinal column.
If you think you suffered or are suffering from delivery-related headaches, contact an experienced birth injury attorney at Ross Feller Casey.