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Readers Respond: What is it like getting an epidural?

Responses: 67


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?

Back pain

Ever since I got a epidural my back been hurting. I'm not sure what I should do.
—Guest Tiffany

Numb Toes from epidural

I have had 3 children and 3 epidurals. With the third all was fine except that my back directly after childbirth hurt worse than normal. That pain subsided but now I have 2 toes on my right side that keep going numb!
—Guest Misty

Worked for me

I had my daughter in 2010. I went the first 11 hours of labor without any pain medication in hopes of delivering natural. Was only 5 cm, and lost my will to calm during the contractions. Had a wonderful nurse and doc handle the procedure. My contractions were 2-5 minutes apart from the start so I was very scared about getting the needle. I even had a contraction start to hit right about the time the doctor was putting the needle in, but I prayed to God and miracolously the contraction went away for the first time since my water had broken. The only down side to the epidural was that I had blown out my neck stressing too much during the first 11 hours, and once I couldn't feel the contractions I did feel my neck strain. Saw my chiropractor after delivery to fix that issue. Otherwise, the remaining 11 hours went by quickly, daughter was alert and very active from moment one. Numbness went away after about an hour after delivery. Been fine ever since.
—Guest Megan


I love the discussions about epidurals. Anesthesiologists are your advocates during labor and delivery, REGARDLESS of whether or not you want an epidural. Don't believe the hype! We want you and your newborn to be happy, safe, and comfortable during labor.
—Guest Dr. Joe

5th time's a charm... Almost.

The first anesthesiologist tried twice unsuccessfully to plant the needle. The second tried twice with the same results. Each time i felt the needle grinding against bone. These women then tried to convince me they couldnt get it in because I have scoliosis (which I dont). My nurse, clearly agitated with them, called for an older male dr who got it in no problem on his first try. And after all this, only my right leg got numb and I felt everything as if it was all pushed to the left. Clearly it didnt work out for me.
—Guest MsJ

The good and the bad

I've had 3 kids and I had the epidural with all of them. The good...the epidurals worked great...no pain at all. The bad...get alot of lower back pain, tends to be more painfully during the cold season...going on 15 years. My advice...try to do childbirth without it.
—Guest Denise

Pain and after effects were not worth it

At first the epidural was wonderful, but when I started feeling the pain and the Dr gave me a button to push when I felt pain caused more pain and burning in my upper back and shoulders was told it was normal. The pain only intensified as they pushed more medication thru the epidural. Once They started my C section I couldnt get numb and felt everything, they gave me so much my blood pressure bottomed out and had to be knocked out. I still to this day dont know why it hurt so bad when the first time i had it worked great. Drs dont seem to care how us patients feel. I still have no feeeling in my lower abdomen and have headaches. If anyone has any information of what caused the pain I would greatly appreciate it you notifying me.
—Guest Adrianna

it went up to my brain

I have 3 kids had an epidural with all 3 my first they had to do it 3 times the first time it went to one side then again and then finally to my right but then wore off and I has pain so bad on one side the delivery. Then my second child it was fine. On my third child I had an epidural and I thought my pain went away which in fact it did but when the nurse came in there was something wrong she immediately called for the doctor and he was looking at me at my face it was sinking my eye kid was drooping and a side of my lip was sinking I couldn't feel on my whole upper side and really all over the epidural went up to my brain in pregnant again and do not want an epidural again but you never know with that pain I just don't know what to do this time. I am actually very scared.
—Guest sarah


Technology is an amazing thing. I was induced and it wasn't too long before I was having intense contractions. I was in the hospital obviously, so I remember being cold and a little overwhelmed by the pain. In fact, my parents came to visit me while I was laboring and for some reason I don't even remember it. Once the epidural kicked in, the difference was like night and day. They gave me the epidural, covered me up in blankets and it wasn't long before I was in heaven. I was relaxed, warm, and there was no more pain. I was able to get some sleep and await my baby. I admire women who have given birth naturally. In fact, many of my friends/family members have done it. But for me, it was amazing to be able to just make the pain go away. I didn't see any reason to suffer if I didn't have to. My baby came quick, the birth was amazing and pain free. My son was alert after birth, eyes open. Neither of us suffered any side effects, just a small headache for me .
—Guest Kate

Worst decision I have ever made

I had my first epidural in 2002. It did not work at all and I got no pain relief. Once you have had an epidural you have to be constantly monitored so I wasnt allowed to move and my labour was horrific. In 2005 I went into Labour determined not to have an epidural as no faith in them whatsoever. I failed to progress and they wanted to give me syntocin along with an epidural and they talked me into it, assuring me that this time it would be effective, no such luck, absolute hell but luckily much much quicker. Would not reccomend in a million years
—Guest Kim

I had a epidural and my leg feels numb

It's been eight days now I had a epidural and my left leg feels numb. My baby passed stool inside me so I had a c section.
—Guest lider carter

Don't Remember

I was in so very, very much pain from the extremely fast labor that I don't remember any problems or pain from the epidural. I was told it was probably too late to have one, then I got one anyway. I remember the midwife helping me lean forward, and then I remember the pain going away. I was so very happy to be back in my head a little bit and free from the agony. The anesthesiologist who did it was wonderful, and I didn't have any side effects. I was numb and exhausted for some hours after the birth, but it was more than worth it.

Dont get an epidural

I would never have one ever again. The surgeon burst the fluid bag in my back twice which is conected to the fluid in your brain. When i tried to sit up all the fluid from my brain drained away i had to get two blood patches where they inject blood into your back which nearly paralised me. That never worked so i had to lie down flat for 3 weeks and couldnt even hold my new baby. If your thinking about getting one dont do it.
—Guest Kym

Loved epidural will do it again

I was 41 weeks and was induced, after they broke my water I had severe contractions within the hour my epidural was put in by an amazing professional and after that I felt nothing and my baby came within 4 hours of my water breaking! Now both mom and bBy are happy and healthy would not even question getting an epidural. !!!
—Guest Andy


its been about a month and a half since I had my son, I did have a epidural and recently been having sharp chest pains under my breasts, my back tends to hurt to where I can't breathe, I went to the my doctor who said it was cause I was low on iron. But recently went to an appointment, the nurse told me that my iron levels where good, so I dont know what to do now because the pains are excrutiating, and last up too 20 to 30 mins, If someone has answers please respond as soon as possible!
—Guest Marie
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