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Ottawa hospitals not affected by epidural supply chain shortage

Expecting mothers should know there are other pain-relieving methods that can be used during childbirth.
epidural catheter
Expecting parents are encouraged to discuss pain management options with their care providers in advance of delivery. File photo.

Catheters used for epidural kits are being affected by the supply chain shortage. However, those expecting to give birth in Ottawa should not be affected.

Robyn Berman, the clinical lead midwife at the Ottawa Birth and Wellness Centre, told The Sam Laprade Show with guest host Derick Fage on Thursday, August 4, that there are many options to relieve labour pain, but epidurals are the most well-known.

"I'm sure that folks are becoming more aware of the shortage or are worried about that, but they should know they have other options if they need to rely on something else," she said.

Epidurals are a pharmacological method used to relieve labour pain, Berman explained, but there are many non-pharmacological resources, too, and it's ultimately up to the person in labour to decide.

Berman said other pain relieving options include water therapy, nitrous oxide or laughing gas and sterile water injections, which interrupt the receptors that go to the brain when people have severe back pain.

Approximately 85 per cent of labouring people choose to use an epidural, with that number dropping to around 20 per cent for those that use a midwife, she said.

Listen to the full interview with Robyn Berman below:

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