Health Risks to your Baby? Meds During Birth

Health Risks to your Baby when Using Medication During Delivery

Labor can be painful. For some women, it is beyond endurance. This is the reason why doctors give medication during labor so that the pain is lesser. Before labor itself your doctor will tell you about the various drugs that can be used during labor. After that he will tell you about the risks and advantages of each so that you decide beforehand what you want to go for. Claim Your 20 Free Pregnancy Tests – Click Here

Medications used during delivery can affect you as well as your baby. The most common medications used include intravenous anesthesia, epidural, paracervical blocks, and so on. The reason why these can have effects on your baby is that the medications have the ability to cross your placenta and reach the baby.


Intravenous anesthesia is used once you enter labor. Respiratory depression is one of the biggest health risks of using this medication. If the medication enters your baby, your baby will find it really hard to breathe.

Harmful medications include Nubain, morphine, Fentanyl, and Demerol. While Fentanyl does not stay for more than an hour, Nubain and morphine can stay for as long as six hours and this can be really harmful. This is the reason why doctors try not to go for this drug.

A few more health risks include loss of heart beat, decreased heart rate, accelerations in the heart beat, and so on. If there is respiratory depression, your doctor may give Narcan to reverse the effects.


Epidurals are given in the spine in the epidural space. This anesthesia works to block the pain in your nerves. Epidural is the most common drug given during delivery. In more than 98 percent of the cases, epidural is given.

Low heart rate, decrease in the heart rate temporarily, deceleration, and so on are some of the health risks your baby may face due to this drug during delivery. Also, the chances of a cesarean delivery will increase when epidural is administered. Maternal fever is also another heart risk.

Paracervical Block

Paracervical block, as the name suggests, numbs the cervix. Thus, during dilation you won’t feel any pain. Bradycardia is main effect of this medication. In this case, chances of fetal death are as much as 15 percent.


As you can see, each medication comes with its own health risks. Some of the health risks are indeed severe and can cause a lot of harm to your baby. Do you really want to take that risk? Of course not. Be well informed, and know that you can alternatively have a drug-free, natural childbirth.

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Maureen Stephens, BS, RN
Maureen Stephens, BS, RN | ConceiveEasy
Ms. Stephens has spent over twenty years in the healthcare world, specializing in obstretical and medical/surgical nursing. She joined ConceiveEasy as she has a strong interest in educating and empowering women and promoting fertility awareness.