Regional anesthesia that prevents pain in certain parts
of the body
The goal of having an epidural is to have some pain
relief instead of loosing feeling in your whole body
You loose feeling in the lower half of your body starting
at your lower spine down to your feet
There are two main types of epidurals
1. Regular Epidural (used by most women)
› Pumped or injected into your lower spine through a catheter
› Combination of narcotics and anesthetics (given with the epidural
to decrease the required dose of local anesthetic)
2. Combined Spinal-Epidural (CSE) “walking epidural”
- Inserted into the intrathecal area through a catheter
- Can be either a narcotic or anesthetic or both at once
- Allows you to move more freely (walk around)
- Allows pain relief for 4-8 hours
Provides pain relief while your still conscious
Before the mother receives epidural she receives 1-2 liters of IV
fluid throughout labor
For a regular epidural they lie the mother curled up on her side and
the anesthesiologist cleans your back and injecting a numbing
medicine into the spinal column (where the needle is inserted).
Then they insert the needle in the lower part of the spine through a
Throughout labor more of the epidural is periodically given after the
catheter is in place
Allows you to rest
Allows you to control the pain by adjusting the amount
Helps the recovery process
Once you have an epidural it can also be used to
provide anesthesia for a C-section or any other
complication during birth
It can cause blood pressure to drop (if this happens you
will need to be treated with IV fluids, medication and
Leaking of spinal fluid may cause severe headaches
In rare occasions, permanent nerve damage may result
in the area where the catheter is inserted
Ringing of ears
Soreness when needle is inserted
Low blood pressure
A bleeding disorder
A blood infection
Skin infection on lower back
Any allergies to local anesthetics
If you take specific blood thinning
Low platelet counts
If you are not at least 4 cm dialated
Does getting an epidural hurt?
Some women would say you would feel discomfort and
pressure where the back is numb and when the catheter is
When will an epidural be placed?
Usually they are placed when the cervix is dilated 4-5 cm
How will an epidural effect the labor?
It causes the labor to slow down and it weakens the
contractions. If your labor does slow down Pitocin will speed
How will I feel after the epidural?
After the initial dose the nerves of the uterus will begin to
numb after a couple of minutes. After 10-20 minutes you
will feel completely numb. If labor prolongs for more than
a few hours, a urinary catheter will need to be inserted
because your abdomen will be numb. As the medication
wears off some women will experience a burning feeling
around the birth canal.
"Epidurals and Labor - What Happens During an Epidural Video." How-to
Videos: How-to and DIY Videos - About.com Videos. Web. 03 Mar. 2010.
"Epidural Anesthesia : American Pregnancy Association." Promoting
Pregnancy Wellness : American Pregnancy Association. Web. 03 Mar.
"Epidural Pain Relief for Labor | BabyCenter." BabyCenter | Homepage -
Pregnancy, Baby, Toddler, Kids. Web. 03 Mar. 2010.