You will have your blood drawn, if it has not been drawn previously at this hospital visit. You will also be given an IV in your arm. This is to give the medical team access to your veins in case emergency medications are required. It is also used to help keep you hydrated since you will not be allowed to eat or drink with an epidural in place.
One of the procedures before an epidural is also to ensure that you are well hydrated. You will be given fluids, usually at least 1 liter, prior to the placement of the epidural. This is to expand your blood volume to prevent your blood pressure from dropping dangerously low and harming you or causing fetal distress when the epidural medications are started. You will get continuous IV fluids for the duration of your labor and birth.
You will be attached to electronic fetal monitoring (EFM) prior to the epidural to check your baby's baseline heart rate. You will most likely have continuous electronic fetal monitoring to ensure that your baby is responding well to the medications of the epidural.
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