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Readers Respond: What is it like getting an epidural?

Responses: 89

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Updated November 15, 2009

Epidural anesthesia is a very popular form of pain relief for labor. Just over half the women in the US choose an epidural to numb the pain from contractions. When did you decide to get an epidural? Did your doctor recommend one? Was the anesthesiologist helpful when it came to informed consent? Did your family get to stay with you? How much could you move after the epidural and how did you feel postpartum? Did you have any complications from your epidural? WHat position did you have to be in to get an epidural? Share Your Epidural Story

Epidural shot during labor

I highly believe the man who gave me the epidural shot was not qualified at hospital gave birth two years ago and my back pain has not gone away. First my doctor told me to lose weight and I did...still I wake up with back pain, I cannot do any lifting. I might have to be unemployed for a very long time because I cannot stand for long, cannot sit for long, cannot walk or exercise for long. I am 5.4 and 125Ibs. Nothing is helping.
—Guest Ash

Misinformation Re: Efficacy of Epidurals

This article is missing some very important information. You fail to mention that: -many hospitals have policies to turn off or turn down your epidural (often without informing the patient or getting consent) -if your epidural fails, staff may choose not to 'top it up' or fix the problem, instead forcing you to have an unmedicated/analgesia free birth This type of misinformation is very harmful! I had an extremely traumatic delivery as I had no idea that an epidural could fail and not be fixed, and that I would be forced to birth "naturally" against my will. It was extremely important to me that I not feel or experience the pain of childbirth; I researched this before deciding to get pregnant. Not a single book or website I read included this very important information. EXPERT ADDS: Please be sure to see this link on what to do if an epidural fails: http://pregnancy.about.com/od/epidurals/a/What-To-Do-When-The-Epidural-Does-Not-Work.htm
—Guest melw

to guest maria

To guest maria who said after your epidural you had chest pains under your breast and pain in your back when you breathe can be temporary. That's sounds like symptoms from having gallstones, a lot of women get them after having a baby. My sister had the same symptoms after her baby and had a ultrasound and cat scan that showed gallstones.
—Guest missy

Best thing ever invented

I loved the epidural it was a small pinch afterwards I was numb from waist down I only fell a small cramp while pushing the button was truly my best friend I'm expecting as I write and I will gladly do it the same a million times if I had to I had no problems pains or issues.
—Guest Deanita Diltz

Induced twice, had an epidural twice

I was induced with both of my kids the day before they were due. Very similiar experiences- given Pitocin and my water broken by the nurses. The Pitocin made my contractions strong, and breaking my water intensified them. I progressed very quickly. I literally received my epidurals right before I was ready to push. I was totally numb through both deliveries and for 4 hours afterward. Had to use a catheter because I couldn't walk. This time-due Nov.20- I'm refusing interventions so I can let my body do the work and avoid the epidural altogether.
—Guest Shannon

emily e

yes i had an epidural 17 years ago when i had my son i was distressed as with a new baby as well to cope with
—Guest emma

2 intrathecals, an epidural and a spinal

I've had 4 kiddos so far- with the first, I was asked by the doc if I wanted an epidural and then given an intrathecal by the anesthesiologist- and yes, it wore off way before delivery of my 10#6 oz daughter- very painful! And horrible spinal headache to boot! 2nd daughter got offered an epidural, chose an intrathecal and delivered shortly afterwards- was a much better experience. 10 years later, in labor with my son, got offered an epidural, got an epidural and thought, "wow, this is what I was missing??". Ended up having a c-section (no fault of the epidural, just fetal positioning problems). With my last daughter, was a planned c/s so had a spinal- had to stop after they got the numbing medication due to a possible emergency case before me- an hour later when we got the okay, got the numbing meds again and spinal went in...itched really bad but no pain (which is the goal, right?). Have four beautiful babies to show for!
—Guest asa

Not very good

Well I never had one and I had three non epidural births and I never want an ep in my life. It might sound nice, but pushing unmedicated is best. Some babies are born with problems from it. Sometimes it can harm the Mother,too. Sometimes it is fine for breech babies, but I think it is much healthier idea to maybe have a V-back, C-sec, or pushing unmedicated.
—Guest Rose

epidural nightmare

My epidural worked at first wore off quickly and the next one numbed my upper body only i could feel everything i couldnt even hit the call button becuz my arms and hands were numb felt the dr cut me it was awful
—Guest diane

Epidural/ To Guest Marie

In response to your comment Marie, after i had my daughter i had sharp pains around my rib cage, under my breasts, upper back, and chest, i also felt as if i couldn't breathe. That went on for about 8 months or so until i finally asked them to check my gallbladder out. Sure enough that's what it was, i had to have it removed. You may have gallstones or a blockage. Those "attacks" get worse so i would def have it checked out. As for the epidural i have had 3, the last one i had i didn't even feel the needle, probably because of the intense pain i was having, but it was great. They turned it off when i was ready to push, pushed for 15 min and my baby girl was born!
—Marie211979

Too risky for me

I've delivered all four of my children at home (most recently 6months ago) so pain medication has never been an option. I used meditation and hypnosis. The risks associated with an epidural have always been more than I was willing to take on. Labor is painful for sure, but never anything I couldn't work through.
—Guest Kitty

Worked great!

Only pain I felt from it was when it was first being put in. It did make me feel very cold and gave me the shakes. Took an hour for actual pushing and delivery. Didn't have to have any assistance (forceps, vacuum, etc.)
—Guest NinjaKitty

epidural nightmare

when i got my epidural it numbed the upper part of my body i couldnt move my arms to notify nurse but i could feel every contraction it was 2nd one 1st one wore off extremely quick but it did work which is why i knew something was very wrong anyone else?
—Guest dianediane

Epidural Time!

I was shocked to find out that I would have to get an epidural. I was supposed to give birth in a birthing tub but my baby was breech. I was scared for her and me at the same time. When I heard the news, I was in shock. The epidural felt like a stinging sensation. I had a great c-section delivery. Baby Emma May Collins was born a week ago at 10:00 in the morning on Saturday March 30, 2013. She weighs 8 pounds 2 ounces and her and I are still in the hospital. She was in distress. She is all better and her and I are staying in the hospital until my recovery is done.
—angelmybaby

Epidural Success

I had prostaglandin gel inserted the evening prior to my delivery with the intention of softening my cervix in order to have a successful induction with oxytocin. I was 11 days overdue with a 9lb infant at this point and have small bone structure so we induced to avoid a potential c-section. I went into labor on my own and began contracting around 3AM, with my water breaking on its own at 5PM that evening. Required no pain management up until this point as I was able to breathe through the contractions. They suddenly became very intense and I opted for an epidural shortly after. They got the needle in on the first try and within ten minutes was numb from the bottom of my ribcage down but was still able to freely move my legs. Dilated to 10cm by 8PM and after 2 hours of entirely painless labor and being able to nap briefly between contractions delivered a 9lb 4oz baby boy at 10:30PM. I recovered quickly and was up and walking two hours later. Would do it again 100 times over.
—Guest amberdsweet

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