Health and Fitness

Here are a few things you should know about an epidural

Vaibhav Rai

June 25, 2021 10:38 PM

During labour, epidural anesthesia is the most common method of pain relief. The epidural is the method of pain relief requested most often by women. The majority of women who give birth at hospitals receive epidural anesthesia.


What is Epidural?


An epidural is a procedure in which a local anesthetic is injected into space around your spinal nerves in the lower back.


Pain from labor contractions and during childbirth can often be blocked with this anaesthetic. When you have an epidural, you are usually able to move and push your baby out.


How does an epidural work?


You will feel a numbness running ‌ from your belly button ‌ to ‌ ‌your ‌ ‌ upper legs resulting from anesthesia during an epidural.

Through this process, you are awake and alert while in labour and feel the pressure. As your baby approaches birthing time, you can feel second-stage labour pressure, making it possible to push. The pain medication usually starts working after about 15 minutes.


Are epidurals always effective?


  • Epidural pain relief is not possible if the physician cannot easily locate the epidural space. This exception is usually rare. 

  • An epidural may not be able to be used if labour begins too quickly. 

  • In some cases, epidural anesthesia results in blotchy numbness, with some areas of the abdomen numb, while others are not.


Who can have an Epidural?


An epidural is generally safe for most women. However, women who have undergone back surgery, heart or blood disorders, or are allergic to caine medicines should discuss these concerns with their doctors or anesthesiologists.


Epidural (vs) Natural birth


Around 60% of women choose to have an epidural for pain relief during labour. However, it is not necessary to have an epidural to give birth.


It is your decision to use an epidural or not during childbirth, but it is important that you remain as open-minded as possible. In some cases, a doctor may need to administer a spinal epidural or another form of pain relief, for instance, during c-section deliveries.


Advantages of an Epidural


  • Epidural is usually very effective and safe.

  • You will not have to endure more pain during labour, birth or an episiotomy.

  • In contrast to some other drugs, it does not make the mother drowsy during or after delivery.

  • It helps you sleep and regain strength when you have a long labour.

  • Only a small amount of medicine reaches the baby.

  • It may encourage a pregnant woman to feel more confident if the hospital staff observes you closely.

  • Reduces the risk of postpartum depression.

  • Effective in long-term surgical procedures.


Disadvantages of an Epidural

  • Your lower half may remain numb for a while after giving birth.

  • You may be at greater risk for a perineal tear. 

  • You may have trouble urinating.

  • You may have little control over your body and may not feel the birth process. It may interfere with mother-infant bonding.

  • You may need constant intravenous fluids and electronic fetal monitoring.

  • You may have to stay in bed with your head at the same level throughout labour.

  • As you have difficulty moving and using gravity, the second stage of your labor may be slowed down.

  • May elevate your blood pressure during labour. 

  • You may completely have to rely on nurses, midwives and doctors for your basic physical needs.


Side effects 


  • You may suffer from Itchy skin

  • You may often feel sick

  • You may experience headaches or pain in the head 

  • Slow Breathing 

  • May cause temporary nerve damage and at rare cases, permanent nerve damage 

  • A possible cause of infection

  • In rare cases, seizures (convulsions) and breathing difficulties may occur.


Post Epidural


You may experience some numbness after an epidural as a result of the anesthetic. Usually, this occurs in the lower body. To prevent injury, rest until the numbness subsides.


Although you may not want to sit still when you have regained feeling in your lower body, you should abstain from certain activities after an epidural.

Return to activities when you feel it up. Spend quality time with your bub. Shop online for baby clothes if you enjoy shopping. Take it easy and move around. You can take a few short walks whenever you feel like it. Relax and do not overstrain.






 Author Bio

I am Andrea Micheal, a post-graduate in humanities and communications, and an inquisitive person who loves writing. I’m working for Tiny Twig and my forte is digital marketing and everything that has to do with phones and screens. I am someone who believes that one person can make a change, and that’s precisely why I took up writing, which is the best tool to communicate these days. I have a decade of experience in writing and marketing, and I still find myself learning new things about it, which I want to share with my readers.