One of the most beautiful and scary things a woman will go through in life is pregnancy. However, the most painful, beautiful, and of course, stressful times in a woman’s life is labor to bring your beautiful child into the world. While most women, if not all, have intentions of a natural birth, a good chunk of women always end up opting for an epidural block to help get through the excruciating pain of contractions. Whether you are a mom to be and have decided on an epidural block, or have children and you have another baby on the way and you’d like to have an epidural this time around, read below to see what all you should know about an epidural during labor.
The number one thing you should know is what the epidural block actually is. This injection is a pain relieving injection that is a form of anesthesia. The doctor (or anesthesiologist, depending on your hospital) will give you the injection in your lower back. From there, you will only feel pressure when you are fully dilated and ready to push. You are completely awake, alert, and relaxed, you just won’t feel anymore contractions or real pain during the delivery portion of your labor.
The epidural has been around since the 1970s. Prior to this, women had to go through a lot of pain during the dilation period and actual labor. Though the drug was created in 1921 by a Spanish military surgeon named Fidel Pagés, it wasn’t popularized until the late sixties by Italian surgeon Achille Mario Dogliotti. The first epidural was used in the United States in the 1970s, and grew in popularity between the mid-1970s and early 1980s.
Thirdly, there are several ways you can get the epidural block. The most popular route is the injection in your lower back. However, it can be done via epidural catheter which can be patient controlled and small doses can be injected through the catheter as needed. This option lasts up to 36 hours, or longer.
If you are going the Ceasarian route, or having tubal litigation after labor, you can still get an epidural. The epidural will last through both surgeries so you will be relatively pain free. In these cases, the doctor will go over which epidural will be best for your c-section or tubal litigation surgery so you are comfortable during both medical procedures.
Labor is an amazing and life changing time, for both parents as they get ready to bring their child into the world. It doesn’t have to bring you a world of pain. If you choose an epidural block for your labor, be sure to remember these important things about epidurals.