An epidural, or epidural block, is a type of regional anesthesia given during labor and birth to relieve pain while keeping the mother awake and alert to deliver her baby.
Dignity Health Southern California hospital doctors and staff are dedicated to your health throughout your pregnancy and childbirth. As part of our anesthesia services, we offer epidurals in Southern California.
To request a consultation, Find a Doctor at one of our convenient locations:
Are You Eligible for Epidural Anesthesia?
An epidural blocks pain in the lower part of your body and is used to:
- Facilitate your C-section, allowing you to be awake during the procedure.
- Help you rest during delivery. Your labor may last several hours. With an epidural, you may be able to rest and even sleep between contractions, giving you more energy to push when it’s time.
- Decrease pain. An epidural can provide continuous pain relief throughout labor and birth.
What to Expect from Epidural Block at Dignity Health Southern California Hospitals
An epidural provides pain relief within a few minutes. During the procedure, anesthesia and painkillers are fed through a thin tube and into the space around your spinal cord. Epidurals are performed by an anesthesiologist or nurse anesthetist.
An epidural can cause your blood pressure to drop. To prevent this, a nurse administers fluids through an IV in your arm and monitors your blood pressure throughout the procedure. You’ll also be connected to a fetal monitor or wear a special belt around your belly that monitors your baby’s heart rate.
Throughout delivery, your providers will ask you to report your pain and sensation level to make sure your epidural is effective.
With an epidural, you’ll likely spend the remainder of your labor in bed. Your contractions will be noticeable, but not as painful. Tell your doctor if your pain level increases. You’ll receive more medication as needed.
Recovery After Epidural
The lower portion of your body may be numb for several hours after you give birth. You may also have some discomfort in this area for a few days after the procedure. A small percentage of women have serious headaches after an epidural. This is caused by leaking spinal fluid. Tell your doctor if you have any of these symptoms in the days following your epidural.
Dignity Health offers complete pregnancy care, including pain relief with epidural, in Southern California.