Epidural side effects

Epidural analgesia is said to have many side effects, how true are they?

Epidural analgesia (EA) is reliable and effective way to relieve labour pain. Pain relief is achieved by the injection of local anesthetic drugs through a small tube into the epidural space of the lower back. This is performed by an anaesthetist.

Although epidural reduces labour pain substantially, some pain may still be felt, especially when pushing of the baby.


Experienced OBGYN Dr Tan Thiam Chye shares science-backed facts in the face of epidural myths.

Epidural Myths vs Truths

Myth #1. “There are side effects associated with epidural

Some minor side effects may occur but they are often transient. These includes:

  • Loss of sensation and weakness: Numbness of the legs and lower part of the body is expected. The urge to urinate may also be lost. As the epidural effect wears out, sensation and strength are restored in the legs.
  • Nausea: This may result from a drop of blood pressure or effect of the epidural drugs. It can be treated with medication.
  • Shivering: This occurs although the woman may not be feeling cold. This is harmless and does not require treatment.
  • Itch: A mild itch on the body is more common. This is self-limiting and will subside very soon.
  • Headache: There is a 1% chance of headache after EA. The headache occurs after delivery and is worsened by the upright posture. Medications and a procedure called epidural “blood patch” can be used to treat severe headaches. In most cases, the headache resolves with time.

Myth #2. “Epidural causes chronic backache

Studies show no link between chronic back pain and epidural. Backache is common after childbirth, with or without EA. Proper back care during pregnancy and after childbirth is important.

Myth #3. Epidural harms the baby

Epidural is safe although some transient change in the baby’s heartbeat may occur.

Myth #4. “Epidural can cause paralysis

This is actually very rare. The risk of permanent damage is 1 in 50,000 – 100,000. The risk of paralysis is 1 in 1,000,000.

Myth #5. Epidural prolongs labour and leads to C-section

EA does not result in a greater chance of C-section. There is slightly increased chance of instrumental delivery.

This article is contributed by Pregnancy Singapore < https://www.pregnancy.com.sg/>

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How to have a healthy weight gain during pregnancy?

Discover the foods to avoid to achieve a healthy diet during pregnancy.

Healthy diet throughout pregnancy is the best thing you can do for your baby. Good nutrition optimizes the growth and development of your baby and safeguards your own health. During pregnancy, your energy requirement increases by only 300 kcal a day. On average, every woman needs 1700 kcal a day. So eating for two is a myth!

Requirements for micro-nutrients (folate, calcium, vitamin D and B vitamins) are significantly higher. Make smart choices by choosing nutrient-rich food, rather than just eating more food!

foods to avoid during pregnancy

Foods to avoid during pregnancy

Food safety is important during pregnancy. This is because bacterial toxins and certain harmful heavy chemical such as mercury can pass to baby and cause undesirable outcomes. Avoid these food items.

  • Unpasteurized milk; soft cheese, e.g Brie, feta, Camembert and Roquefort; liver pates. These foods are prone to Listeria infection, a bacteria, which may result in miscarriage and stillbirth.
  • Raw seafood and meats e.g. raw oyster, cockles, sashimi and sushi; and raw or half-boiled eggs: Raw and undercooked animal foods contain germs, bacteria and parasites. Especially when your immunity is now weakened.
  • Avoid swordfish, shark, tilefish and king mackerel. Limit canned albacore tuna. This is to avoid heavy metal poisoning.
  • Alcohol: Mothers who drink excessive alcohol have higher risk of miscarriages and stillbirth, and may result in fetal alcohol syndrome, including facial mal-development, small baby and mental impairment.
  • Unwashed salad and raw vegetable sprouts, including alfalfa, clover, radish and mung bean: Unwashed salads may be contaminated with bacteria from the soil, while raw vegetable sprouts contain high levels of germs, which can be harmful to health.
  • Durians (an Asian delight!) contain excessive calories and potassium. So eat in moderation.

This article is contributed by Pregnancy Singapore < https://www.pregnancy.com.sg/>

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Feeling a little queasy? Wondering why your breasts are so tender? What about those crazy mood swings?

Am I possibly pregnant?


You may suspect that you are pregnant when you have unusual pregnancy symptoms after missing your period. For a start, check out your suspicion by using an urine pregnancy test kit. There are many brands of pregnancy test kits available in the market, which are reliable. These are available at our local pharmacies or stores. Alternatively, you could go to your doctor for a test.

#1 What is hCG pregnancy test?

During pregnancy, a hormone called human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG) is produced, which circulates in the blood and is also present in the urine. The pregnancy test kit detects the presence of hCG in your urine. Most pregnancy test kits are sensitive and will detect hCG between 4-5 week of pregnancy. This means that for those with regular cycles, the test should be positive once you have missed your period by a few days.

#2 Should I test with first-morning urine?

Although you can test at any time of the day, your first-morning urine specimen is the most concentrated urine sample and most accurate. Go for it.

#3 When should I take the test if I suspect that I am pregnant?

You can test your urine as early as one week past ovulation but testing after the first few days of your missed period is recommended for better accuracy.

#4 Do I need a blood test to confirm my pregnancy?

Blood tests for hCG are more accurate in detecting HCG and they can also measure the actual levels of the hormone. These tests may be useful to tell a miscarriage when the blood hCG will drop with time. In a healthy pregnancy, the blood hCG level will double every 2 days. A blood test for progesterone hormone can also be useful as a good level would signify a healthy pregnancy.

This article is contributed by Pregnancy Singapore < https://www.pregnancy.com.sg/>

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Early Pregnancy Symptoms

Do you know the early symptoms of pregnancy?

From nausea to fatigue, know what to expect.

There are many common symptoms in pregnancy. You may or may not experience every one of them. These are associated with the hormonal and physical change of pregnancy. It is important that you are aware of these symptoms so that you will not worry unnecessarily.

early pregnancy symptoms

#1 Nose bleeds during pregnancy

Nose bleeds tend to occur more often due to the increased blood supply to the mucosa of the nose. This increased flow leads to increased pressure, which ruptures the delicate blood vessels. Nose bleeds are usually harmless and stop spontaneously.

#2 Headaches during pregnancy

It may be common to experience mild headaches due to stress or migraine. However, seek immediate medical attention if the headaches worsen despite painkillers. Other associated symptoms such as vomiting, vision blurring or weakness may suggest serious medical conditions. Also, headaches could be a sign of high blood pressure. Be wary.

#3 Aches and back pain during pregnancy

There is an increase elasticity of the ligaments to prepare for delivery. However, the joint instability can result in pain. The affected joints involve the back and pelvis (pubic bones). Occasionally, as the baby grows bigger, you may even experience some discomfort in rib cage. Aggravating factors include pre-existing back pain or excessive physical strenuous activities during your pregnancy.

#4 Constipation and bleeding in my stools

It is common to experience constipation and develop piles during your pregnancy. Both conditions can have blood in your stools. Nonetheless, do inform your doctor of any bleeding especially if it is persistent. A referral to the colorectal doc may be necessary.

#5 Navel (belly button) pain during pregnancy

Belly button (umbilical) pain is common. Your abdominal wall is the thinnest around the navel. This increased pressure due to pregnancy may cause sensitivity and pain in this area. This is harmless and will come and go.

#6 Blocked ears during pregnancy

This is due to swelling of the inner ears and block the ear tubes. Simple measures such as decongestants or nasal sprays prescribed by your doctor may be helpful.


This article is contributed by Pregnancy Singapore < https://www.pregnancy.com.sg/>

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