More than 50% of women giving birth at hospitals have a labor epidural. The pain experienced during labor and delivery can prompt a number of bodily responses that can affect both the mother and the baby. Epidural anesthesia is the most popular method of pain relief during labor. Women request an epidural by name more than any other method of pain relief.
Epidural anesthesia blocks pain. If you choose to have an epidural, one of our anesthesiologists or anesthetists at Kentucky Anesthesia Group will insert a needle and a tiny tube, called a catheter, in the lower part of your back. The needle is then removed and the catheter left in place for delivery of the medication through the tube as needed. An epidural can begin at any time during labor.
An epidural provides anesthesia that creates a band of numbness from the bellybutton to the upper legs. It allows the patient to be awake and alert throughout labor, as well as to feel pressure. The ability to feel second-stage labor pressure enables the patient to push when it’s time to give birth. It can take about 15 minutes for the pain medication to work. You can receive pain relief throughout an epidural for as long as needed. The amount of medication received through the epidural can be increased or decreased as necessary.
During a labor epidural, your blood pressure may drop and will need to be checked often. If it drops, you may be treated with a medicine to raise it. If you notice warmth, tingling and numbness, this is normal. Contractions will seem a little shorter and less intense. You will receive medicine during labor so you stay comfortable until the baby is born. Epidural anesthesia will allow you to relax during labor. A side effect is that itching can occur. If so, you may be treated with a medicine to relieve the itching.
It’s normal to worry that you’ll still feel some pain after you’ve been given an epidural. Kentucky Anesthesia Group knows that most women experience great pain relief with an epidural, but it won’t be 100 percent pain-free. Many women indicate feeling pretty comfortable after receiving an epidural. However, there’s also some pressure felt when contractions occur and you need to push.
If labor doesn’t move along with pain-free pushing, Kentucky Anesthesia Group can adjust the medication so you feel your contractions more strongly again. Likewise, the medicine can be bumped up post-delivery as any perineal tears are repaired.
The benefits of an epidural include:
Kentucky Anesthesia Group is committed to providing the best care throughout every procedure, from putting every patient at ease before the procedure, to providing compassionate care in the recovery room.