When a patient has been admitted to the labor hall and evaluated, her obstetrician will determine when she is ready for an epidural. A patient can expect the following protocol:

  • An IV will be placed. One liter of fluid is administered to prevent an occurrence of low blood pressure.
  • An Anesthesia evaluation will be done, including allergies and a review of lab results.
  • We will then work with you, getting you into the properly seated position and safely placing the epidural, making you as comfortable as we possibly can during labor.

Some of the most frequently asked questions about epidurals by our patients include:

The epidural medicine dilates blood vessel which cause low blood pressure. Giving a liter of fluid right before your epidural slows the drop in blood pressure.

Where we place the epidural, there is no spinal cord involvement, only nerves.

 The first dose lasts about an hour and additional medication can be continuously given by a pump.

 This can happen but your anesthesia professional will make every effort to resolve this rare situation.

This occurs as the baby descends. Right before you start pushing, the sacral nerves that cover the birth canal get activated. If you have perineal pain, this often means that you are close to delivery and more medication may be given.

An epidural is a small tube that constantly delivers medicine between the "bones" and spinal nerves. It takes several minutes for an epidural to work. An epidural needle is relatively large, so we can place the catheter tube. A spinal needle is very thin and actually goes further than the epidural needle, putting medicine directly into the spinal fluid.