Epidural anesthesia in Labour

Every mother has a birth story and most of it revolves around labour pains.

Although there are a few women who love having labour pains and smile through all of them,most of them say its their worst night mare ever.

Thankfully, these days most of the hospitals have the option of Epidural analgesia during labour.But there have been lots of doubts and fears among pregnant women to opt for them or not.

Lets get to know about it in detail then.

What is epidural analgesia in labour anyway?

It is a way to deliver an anesthetic drug into your epidural space which covers your spinal cord there by numbing the pain sensations caused by labour pains.

So,there wont be no pain at all?

Yes,although it depends on the amount of anesthetic drug used. Based on the dose you can either have a little pain or no pain at all.

How exactly is epidural given?

A special needle is used and a thin plastic tube is introduced into the epidural space of the lower lumbar area .

This tube is used to administer the anesthetic.

A single of anesthetic is enough for the entire labour?

No,a single dose isn’t enough.

The doctor may keep administering a small dose of the drug after the effect of the given drug weans off.

Sometimes,instead of this a pump is attached to the tube which continuously administers a small amount drug.

How long will it take for the pains to reduce?

It takes around 10-20 minutes for the epidural to act and decrease the pain intensity.

Are there any side effects?

  • Itching-a few drugs cause itching due to allergy,but changing the drug can be done then.
  • Low BP-there are chances of nausea and dizziness due to low bp
  • Headache-sometimes,the dura are punctured leading to leaking of spinal fluid causing headache,but the chances are less.

You will be catheterised with a foley’s catheter as there will be having difficulty in urinating.

Does epidural affect the baby?

Any drug given to the mother will reach the baby via umbilical cord,but this doesn’t have any effect on the baby.

They say,epidural leads to caesarean,is that true?


Although it prolongs the labour process,it doesn’t always lead to caesarean section.

The chances of instrumental delivery are high when epidural is used.

Delivery may require ventouse or forceps to extract the baby.

Why instrumental delivery,can’t I push?

Actually if you are well prepared you can push.

Some doctors prefer giving a bit of pain stimulus during the last stage delivery so that you get an idea whn exactly to push.

Otherwise usually your contractions are monitored on CTG machine and the doctors will let you know when to push.

I fear I may have back pain in the future due to epidural.

It is a general myth that women who take spinal or epidural get back ache in the future but it is FALSE.

There aren’t any long term side effects due to epidural.


Labour is a very stressful process,there are many warrior moms who like to endure the pain stating not only it is natural but also the only right way to deliver.

Remember,you are no less a warrior for taking epidural analgesia.Not everyone has the same tolerance to pain and its no crime to ask  for epidural.

After all the baby will be better taken care of if the mumma is feeling better.Right?

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