You will be asked to assume a position that will help the anesthetist find the landmarks on your body needed to place the needle correctly. This maybe sitting up on the edge of the bed leaning over and pushing your back outward or it may be laying on your side curled up in a ball, also pushing your back out. The position is uncomfortable because of the belly in the way. Most moms worry a lot about having to stay still during contractions. Be sure to talk to those with you about this fear. They will tell you what you need to do to ensure that they know when you're having a contraction, so it is well timed.
Your back will be washed and a shot of a numbing agent will be given before the epidural. Then the epidural needle is placed into the epidural space around the spinal cord. A test dose is given to ensure that the epidural is in the correct place. Once this test is done the medications are set to a continuous drip. A small catheter is left in place to deliver the medications continuously throughout labor. This catheter is taped up your back so that it is difficult to remove without trying.
You may be asked to lay in certain positions for awhile as the medication works with gravity. You will also have your blood pressure monitoring every few minutes, continuous fetal monitoring and other monitoring to ensure you react well with the anesthesia.
Once you are numb, a urinary catheter will be placed because you can't go to the bathroom.
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