An epidural (also known as an epidural block or epidural anesthesia) helps relieve pain during labor and delivery for both vaginal births and C-sections. If you get an epidural, you’ll feel numb from the bellybutton down and remain awake to deliver your baby.
Dignity Health North State offers personalized care to women planning to give birth with an epidural in Northern California. Find a Doctor online and talk to them about your options for pain relief during labor and delivery.
Getting an Epidural for Labor Pain at Dignity Health
Birth epidurals are used:
- To decrease labor pains. You can get an epidural at any point during labor and delivery for continuous pain relief.
- To help you rest. An epidural helps you to relax — even sleep — through some contractions to save energy for when it’s time to push.
- To assist a C-section. If you get an epidural, you can be awake during a C-section.
How Does the Epidural Work?
An anesthesiologist or nurse anesthetist will take 15 to 20 minutes to perform an epidural. Within a few minutes, you’ll feel relief from labor pain.
A nurse may insert an IV into your arm to administer fluids. Your blood pressure will likely be monitored with a cuff around your arm. A special belt known as a fetal monitor may be secured around your belly to monitor your baby’s heart rate.
You’ll sit on the side of your bed or lie on your side and arch your back. After your back is cleaned with antiseptic, local anesthesia will be injected to numb the area. Your practitioner will then insert a tiny needle and thread a thin tube (known as a catheter) into the epidural space of your back, which surrounds your spinal cord. The needle is removed and painkillers are sent through the catheter into your back.
Your health care providers will ask for your level of sensation and pain to check the effectiveness of the epidural. They’ll also monitor your blood pressure and your baby’s well-being.
Most women spend the remainder of labor in bed. You’ll probably still be aware of your contractions, but they won’t feel painful. If your pain increases, let your provider know. More medication can be added.
Birth Epidural Side Effects & Risks
Health care providers at Dignity Health North State will work with you to make getting an epidural in Northern California a safe, empowering experience, supporting your physical, mental, and spiritual needs.
Numbness in your lower body is common for a few hours following delivery. You may also experience some discomfort in your lower back for a few days after birth.
Less than one percent of women experience a serious headache caused by spinal fluid leakage. In very rare cases, an epidural can cause permanent nerve damage.
If you’re interested in having an epidural during childbirth, talk to your doctor today.
Dignity Health North State offers comprehensive maternity care with humankindness, including epidural for labor pain, in Mt. Shasta, Red Bluff, and Redding, CA.