MILAN - On the average day in the United States over 11,120 babies are born. That means that there are more than 3 million women in the United States that are pregnant on any given day. Although giving birth to a new baby is a momentous and extraordinary event, it is often times painful to go through, and some times quite difficult to recover from.
For the 30 percent of women who give birth in the United States via C-section, including Kelly Bleile Dete of Sandusky who gave birth to her first child two months ago, recovering from childbirth can be even more challenging. Dete recalls, "When I was pregnant with Joslyn Elizabeth and was told that a C-section procedure would be the best way for me to deliver, I had many questions for my doctor. I was told that the surgical incision would be sore and most women report that walking the first few times after birth is very painful. Most women I knew needed narcotics to cope with the pain, but I was concerned about how that would affect the baby and me. When Dr. Dorman told me about a new non-narcotic therapy that was being used in lieu of narcotics and would keep me pain free, I did some online research and decided because of the positive patient experiences I read about, I decided to give it a try."
"Women undergoing C-sections will feel pain from the surgery and it's important to deal with it early on, because the less pain you feel the more likely you are to be up and moving about, which is key to a speedy recovery," said Sharon Dorman, D.O. an OB/GYN doctor at Fisher-Titus Medical Center. "It used to be that the only way to cope with the pain after the procedure was through narcotic analgesics, which essentially are drugs meant to dull the pain felt after a surgical operation.
"An issue with taking narcotics after a C-section is that the pain relief comes with a price, in the form of narcotic side effects, such as grogginess, nausea, constipation and sedation," Dorman added. "Narcotic pain medications can slow the healing process and may produce a groggy feeling for the new mother which in turn decreases her ability to move about and tend to her infants needs."
So, what alternatives do new moms have besides immense pain or narcotic relief? Currently, there is another alternative to dealing with pain after surgery. A relatively new medical device, called the ON-Q PainBuster system, exists that allows the incision site to be bathed with local anesthetic, which is the same non-narcotic numbing medicine that is used on the site while the operation is taking place. Traditionally, after the surgical site was closed up, there was not a way to delver the local anesthetic to the site, but through a small tube-like catheter, ON-Q, makes it possible to deliver the local anesthetic to the site for up to five days following surgery, usually meaning fewer or no additional narcotics are needed.
"I tried the ON-Q PainBuster on Kelly's C-section procedure because it has been clinically validated as a safe and effective alternative to narcotics to treat patients' pain. In this case, Kelly required fewer narcotics and found that she was able to get on her feet faster and slowly begin the healing process," Dorman said. "Additionally, in terms of obstetrical patients, telling a woman that she can take a few less narcotics while she is breastfeeding makes ON-Q an important option for new mothers."
Dete recalls being surprised that she wasn't in very much pain: "This being my first child, I didn't have any previous C-sections with which to compare; however, the nurses who tended to me were absolutely amazed at my recovery with the use of the ON-Q. I delivered Joslyn at 8 a.m. and by 3 p.m. that same afternoon I was able to get out of bed and walk around my room, I wanted to walk more at that time but they would not allow me to just then, explaining that I should wait a while since I just had major surgery. They were amazed later that night when I convinced them to allow me to take my rolling IV's and walk a few laps around the maternity ward. My pace, albeit, was somewhat slow, but I was up and I was moving, which is what they say is key to recovery, with very little pain."