By Asmau Ahmad with NAN Report
Abuja, Dec. 30, 2014 (NAN) Dr Shola Jamgbadi, a consultant anaesthetist at the National Hospital, Abuja, has advised women in labour not to shy away from taking epidural analgesia, a pain reliever. Jamgbadi, in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Abuja, said epidural analgesia could keep women awake, comfortable and painless while labour and dilation lasted.
According to him, epidural analgesia is a technique of securing pain relief by injecting a local anaesthetic agent into the epidural space; an area around the back bone. Jamgbadi said it was not only used during delivery of babies but also in pain relief therapy through operations done below the belle button, such as surgeries on the legs and hip bone repair, among others.
“Ultimately, it can only be administered on a woman in labour, if she desires it; and labour must be established with cervical dialation of 3-5cm,’’ he said.
According to the consultant, general analgesia could put a patient to sleep while regional analgesia could keep the patient awake during operation.
“Epidural is a regional analgesia that keeps women awake while in labour, it enables them to watch movies, read novels, sleep or talk,
“They are encouraged not to walk around, as there could be weakness on the legs, and babies could suddenly drop on the ground while standing or walking,’’ he explained.
The consultant said that the usage of epidural analgesia cut across all age groups and could be administered throughout the reproductive life of a woman, if she so desired. According to Jamgbadi, epidural analgesia could not be administered on patients, who might react to local anaesthetic agent. Speaking on its awareness among Nigerians, he said “the technical ability to execute the procedure is a major factor that limits its awareness.
“However, specialists are being trained in various centres and awareness is picking up,” he said.
Jamgbadi added that due to cultural impediment, women were made to believe that “if they do not go through the normal labour pain of delivery, they are not complete”.
He explained that complications could arise by a drop in the blood pressure, which could be managed by introducing injections and drips before the administration of epidural injection. Jamgbadi said complication could also arise through a total spinal block, due to overdose of the epidural fluid into the spinal bone space, which could paralyse the nerves and shorten breathing.