Nowadays a mother’s comfort during childbirth is the key element during the birthing process at any hospital, both due to the advantages for the mother and the hospital staff attending to her.    

In this sense, the wider use of epidural anaesthetics in delivery rooms has made a reat advantage for the women dealing with the birthing process, where pain isn’t the main worry, which means there is much less stress.

The advancement in infusion technology, like the one offered by Arcomed, has made the implementation of epidural techniques that further improve a mother’s comfort during birth whilst minimising the adverse effects from pain relieving drugs possible.  We are going to speak a little about these advancements below.

PIEB and PCEA: Improving comfort for mothers during childbirth.

The Arcomed Chroma infusion pumps, in line with our “all-in-one” philosophy have advanced epidural functions, not only during childbirth, but also in surgeries on the lower limbs that do not require a general anaesthetic.  Speaking of two specific functions: PIEB (Programmed Intermittent Epidural Bolus) and PCEA (Patient-Controlled Epidural Analgesia).

Both can be used as separate techniques, or they can be combined to ensure greater comfort for mothers during childbirth.

The PIEB method programmes analgesic epidural boluses by intermittently administering them, generally after a first bolus dose.  Depending on the physical characteristics of the mother and the type of medication used, the anaesthetist can define the frequency and volume of the bolus that will be administered, allowing the infusion pump to automatically carry out this task, although without losing out on the possibility of administering further boluses manually where necessary.

The PCEA allows for the mother to be in control of her own pain by requesting the analgesic boluses using a button. The pumps have safety mechanisms that prevent overdoses or excessive requests for boluses. Controlling one’s own pain, as is the case with the PCA method for patients that receive intravenous analgesics, doesn’t only ensure better results and comfort, but it also benefits the patient psychologically by giving them control over the analgesics that he’s receiving (within the pre-established safety limits), as there are no tools to measure the level of pain properly as it is a subjective feeling that varies from person to person.

When the pumps work in the PIEB method, the option to request boluses directly can be given to the mother. In this case, the programmed administration of boluses is automatically adjusted so as not to exceed the prescribed dosage limits.

Besides the benefits regarding greater comfort for the mother during childbirth, multiple clinical trials vouch that PIEB significantly reduces recovery time from epidural analgesics and minimises their possible side effects.