What is analgesia and anesthesia and how do they differ?
Analgesia is simply the loss of one's ability to feel pain. Sensations of touch, pressure and the ability to move generally remain intact. The patient also remains awake. Accordingly, labouring patients with epidural analgesia feel pressure and have muscle strength to push when the time comes. Anesthesia is loss of all sensation. It includes loss of touch, loss of certain reflexes and loss of one's ability to move. With general anesthesia the patient is also asleep. Anesthesia is primarily used for surgery.
Is anesthesia harmful for childbirth?
If administered carefully, it is not harmful for the mother or the baby. It is essential for C-sections and appropriate for some complicated deliveries. Usually, it isn't used for normal deliveries.