Epidurals may lower risk of complications after birth, study hints

Epidurals during labor not only reduce patients’ pain but may also lower the overall risk of severe complications during childbirth and in weeks just afterward, a recent study finds.

Epidurals involve injecting a drug, usually an anesthetic, around the lower spinal cord to provide pain relief and reduce the sensations of labor and childbirth. The general consensus from experts and clinical guidance is that people benefit from epidurals during labor itself — but until now, there has been limited data on whether the injections have benefits for people at risk of complications after pregnancy

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