Fear of a catheter putting me off having an epidural - am I being ridiculous?

(56 Posts)
Pinkflipflop Tue 11-Dec-12 20:38:38

I don't really know what a catheter is but it sounds horrific. I feel that it must surely sting and weigh you down, plus wont everyone be able to see my wee? blush

Anyway I'm terrified of having a catheter put in, so that means I can't have an epidural, doesn't it?

Am I being ridiculous? Should it be enough to put me off?

I due early in February so need to start thinking seriously about my option.

Any advice greatly appreciated!

mrscrimbobash Tue 11-Dec-12 20:42:17

I think people seeing you wee will be the least of your worries.

You don't feel anything with a catheter being put in, I'm no nurse but if I remember correctly it was put in post-epidural anyway so you'd be mostly numb anyway.

If you're happy enough to have a needle stuck in your spine for the epidural then the catheter is nothing to worry about at all.

girliefriend Tue 11-Dec-12 20:42:41

I had a catheter put in but that was because I had an emcs, not sure if you have an epidural you have one automatically? Infact I wouldn't have thought so as they would rather get in the way of pushing a baby out wouldn't they?! confused

sorry not helpful!!

However I can say that the catheter was not a big deal for me, obv didn't feel it going in (as had a spinal block) and it came out pretty quickly the following day.

I don't know about the epidural side of it but having a catheter is fine and nowhere near as horrific as you are imagining.

Mine din't sting or weigh me down, in fact I barely even noticed it. I slept comfortably (although that may have been the morphine grin), and it wasn't uncomfortable when they took it out either.

TheOldestCat Tue 11-Dec-12 20:44:38

I didn't have an epidural, but I did have a catheter put in as I was unable to pass urine. It really wasn't bad - I hardly remember it - it certainly wasn't painful - and I was 'only' on gas and air.

tasmaniandevilchaser Tue 11-Dec-12 20:44:58

Hi, I was never very keen on the idea of a catheter, so I can understand where you're coming from. But, I had a catheter and really they just popped it in, I didn't feel it as The epidural numbed that area. Tbh, it was the least of my thoughts at the time! I was induced wih the drip and I couldn't have coped without an epidural. Don't know if a catheter is compulsory with an epidural, I didn't have one for ages, I remember going back and forth to the loo. My only advice would be to be flexible, you can't always control what happens unfortunately, otherwise I would have ordered a labour where you sneeze and the baby pops out!

MerryMarigold Tue 11-Dec-12 20:45:16

I loved having a catheter. After getting up to go to the loo every 2 minutes (it felt like) when heavily pregnant, I could laze in bed just gazing at my baby and not worrying about heaving myself off to the loo. Loved it. And no, it didn't hurt.

I had an epidural but no catheter smile.

PMMummy Tue 11-Dec-12 20:47:05

I had a catheter after an epidural due to also have an episiotomy - think this is the reason you're given them. I didn't feel anything when they put it in and yes it was a bit of a pest when walking around to take it with you. BUT when sat in pain it did its job and once they removed it I soooo wanted it back - weeing over stitches is far far worse !!!

AfterEightMintyy Tue 11-Dec-12 20:47:19

You will not feel a thing. NOT a THING. Honestly, not one tiny little iota of a jot of a nanosphere of a thing.

goralka Tue 11-Dec-12 20:47:19

I had an epidural and have no memory of a catheter.....I don't think you would feel it anyway.

OddBoots Tue 11-Dec-12 20:47:46

I had an epidural but no catheter, I did need to use a bedpan though.

CanIHaveAPetGiraffePlease Tue 11-Dec-12 20:50:08

I really am phobic of all things attached to me (the epidural, the drip, everything else that happened..) and to be honest the catheter was least of my worries simply as you can't really see it (canula though freaked me so I hid that under a sheet!).

They put it in when the epidural is already in so you honestly don't feel a thing. When its in and you're awake you are aware of the tube touching your leg if you move your leg. I desperately wanted it out as I don't like being attached to things but I wasn't actually aware of it. I was terrified of it coming out and it wasn't at all painful. Sort of aware of the sensation (bit like you're aware of doing a poo, but it doesn't hurt. Not the feeling but a simple awareness of movement.)

Honestly - I'm a complete phobe so would be honest with you. That bit is fine!

LifeIsBetterInFlipFlops Tue 11-Dec-12 20:50:16

I had an epidural and no catheter.

MoaningMingeWhimpersAgain Tue 11-Dec-12 20:50:26

If it helps, OP, I hated the idea of a catheter. I'm a nurse and have put in and removed a million of them and didn't fancy one much TBH.

But, they generally put it in after you had the epidural, so you feel nothing at all. Plus they use a lubricant with local anaesthetic in it generally.

I had one twice, during/after sections - and it was fine . Doesn't hurt coming out either, although it does very very odd indeed.

And you won't usually be able to walk in the first few hours after an epidural, so getting up for a wee isn't needed, you can stay resting and sniffing staring at your lovely new baby.

Yika Tue 11-Dec-12 20:51:22

I didn't have a catheter when I had my epidural, never heard of anyone who has. My epidural was put in some time in the wee hours (no pun intended); I then had a nice little snooze, was woken at around 6 I think to get ready to pop the baby out, had baby at 7:50, ceased epidural top up, recovered feeling. Wouldn't have needed a catheter during that time. The anaesthetists at my hospital give regular talks about epidurals to expectant parents; I never heard catheters mentioned.

VivaLeBeaver Tue 11-Dec-12 20:53:25

If that's policy at your hospital just tell them you decline consent for one and will use a bed pan instead. I'd be surprised if they do use one for epidurals due to the risk of introducing infection. A bed pan is far less risky in that respect. Most hospitals are now making staff think about whether a catheter is really needed or not to try and minimise use.

GoldenGreen Tue 11-Dec-12 20:56:01

I was terrified of having one (and scared of having a canula, too!) and gave birth without an epidural both times.

In the event, I had to have a catheter when I haemorrhaged after giving birth to dd and it did sting a little going in but nothing too bad. Didn't hurt at all coming out.

fishcalledwonder Tue 11-Dec-12 20:57:46

I had an epidural and no catheter too. smile

Pinkflipflop Tue 11-Dec-12 21:00:18

I'm so glad I posted this question! Tbh I felt a bit silly even admitting this on here, so you lot have made me feel lots better.

emsyj Tue 11-Dec-12 21:01:32

I had crash emcs with general anaesthetic and they put a catheter in with no anaesthetic etc whilst they were prepping me - I didn't have any pain relief other than gas & air before they wheeled me into theatre. Like you, I was terrified of the idea of a catheter but it was fine, didn't hurt going in and didn't hurt coming out.

I was actually more relieved about the super emergency-ness resulting in no epidural/spinal block! grin Nothing would scare me more than the prospect of a needle in the spine!

MrsApplepants Tue 11-Dec-12 21:04:38

I had an epidural, no catheter though

Giddypants Tue 11-Dec-12 21:05:21

Honestly it's not a big deal, I had a GA and they put a catheter in when I was asleep, so no idea about it going in, but was fine when it came out, I'm prone to water infections and I didn't get one with that, which I was very impressed with.
Just don't do what I did, just getting mobile again, forgot I had it in, and left it attached to the bed and walked off! Not far I may add!
Having a planned c section this time (if all goes to plan) and I'm honestly more worried about the 10cm needled poking around my spine than anything else!

iwillsleepagainsomeday Tue 11-Dec-12 21:09:04

sorry to disappoint but after birth I had to have a catether because my DD1 's head was so huge she messed up my bladder on passing through. (no epidural). I basically couldn't wee, or better, FEEL THE URGE to wee for at least a week so I had to have a catether. they had to put it in and out for a couple of times to see if things were getting better, which they didn't, and I have to say that the pain of putting the thing in depended largely on who did it. I had a great (male) midwife who was very delicate, I had also a terrible midwife who made me scream from pain and stinging.

cheekyginger Tue 11-Dec-12 21:09:45

I had an episiotomy so ended up with a catheter.

They put it in when i was awake didnt feel a thing.

I have to say it was brilliant. Didint have to get up to pee!!!! Although i did do what giddypants done and walked away without picking my bag up!!

Have to say you wont give a flying feck that people can see your pee after you've had your baby!!!

mamalovesmojitos Tue 11-Dec-12 21:10:37

God, I didn't even notice getting one! And I'm nervy at the best of times. Ive had a lot more pain plucking my eyebrows. Dont worry smile.

MoomieAndFreddie Tue 11-Dec-12 21:13:34

no, i was the same OP when i had my first dc (planned cs) - the thought of a catheter terrified me more than being cut open

but to echo others, you WONT feel anything

it doesn't even hurt coming out


SeedyM Tue 11-Dec-12 21:15:44

I had catheter after spinal block for a section. Didn't feel it going in or while it was in or coming out. They had the collection bag v discreetly under the bed clothes. Couldn't have got up for a wee and bed pan seems worse. Besides I don't think you can feel if you need one for a while after a block. Only down side was got a bladder infection which I'm sure was from that though hospital said not.

aprilrain Tue 11-Dec-12 21:16:19

I had a catheter popped in to drain my bladder before I could push the placenta out. Felt slightly odd but not in the slightest bit painful. I had not had any pain relief other than gas and air.

LynetteScavo Tue 11-Dec-12 21:18:35

I did't know about caheters - had never heard of them, didn't know they existed.

I had an epidural after 12 hours of painful labour. I had a catherter fitted, but had no idea that it had been fitted.

The epidural was brilliant.

If you need an epidural, you wont give a fuck about the catheter.

MrsHoarder Tue 11-Dec-12 21:40:23

I had several: they didn't leave one in whilst in labour, but when I got to pushing they put one in to empty my bladder (couldn't feel it, couldn't feel to pee). I then had to have them for 24 hours afterwards (they took it out so I could try to pee), bit irritating but nowhere near as bad as the general state of my undercarriage.

bellechristmas Tue 11-Dec-12 21:43:43

Honestly it doesn't hurt, do try and notice if they forget to empty it though, or you'll end up with wee going back up (which isn't good). Only happened once and nurse was terribly apologetic.

CanIHaveAPetGiraffePlease Tue 11-Dec-12 21:46:11

Ah yes - I was goiing to mentio nthat. It can lead to an infection, so its very important to empty it/have it emptied. I got obsessive about checking it!

QTPie Tue 11-Dec-12 22:17:41

Loved my catheter.... (ELCS). Was quite sad when they removed it (and the epidural - had a mobile epidural in for post-op pain relief). Rather nice not worrying about going to the toilet. Felt a bit odd coming out, but not painful

Off for laparoscopic surgery tomorrow (endometriosis and endometriomas and a D&C to clean-up my uterus I think) - another catheter then smile

miarosemum Tue 11-Dec-12 22:26:33

I had a mobile epidural so no need for catheter, would have again tomorrow smile

BuntysFestiveCollocks Tue 11-Dec-12 22:37:00

I LOVED my catheter. DS bruised my bladder in his attempts to escape, and so I couldn't pee for 2 days. They removed the catheter the night of the day I had my emcs, and had to re-catheterise me the following morning. Didn't feel a thing except sheer relief. Also quite handy not to need to pee all the time --would quite like one now at 37+ weeks)

duletty Tue 11-Dec-12 22:41:40

When (if) your catheterised they use something called instagel which is part lidocaine (to numb), lubricant, and I think it could have something antibacterial in it. I have had three...cause I'm unable to get past 4cm without being on the ceiling, much to my annoyance and have had epidurals with my three...amazing stuff.

Okay you do have a bag of wee....but it won't be bursting to the max....it's being monitored the amount you pass and will be emptied, anyone else on the ward will not give you a second glance as you manoeuvre around.

The catheter itself is a plastic tube which is inserted up the urethra and a small balloon is inflated with some fluid so that it is positioned in your bladder to continually drain your urine.

I think the catheterisation is actually done after the epidural so you shouldnt feel a thing anyway.

What's the main thing that's putting you off though?
Have you had a though about internal examinations when you are in labour to assess the cervix and dilation? How do you feel about this?

rainrainandmorerain Tue 11-Dec-12 23:33:34

I had a catheter with the spinal I had for my elcs - but requested it was put in after I had my spinal, so I never felt/saw anything (it was all behind a screen at that point!). Had it in for I think 12 hours afterwards - loved not having to get up to pee, to be honest, after a month of 2 hourly night wees.

Having it out was just like someone sliding a tube out. Which is what it is. No pain.

I don't want to be alarmist, but some women are catheterised during 'normal' labour and vb, or after it. Something to do with a full bladder holding things up, or a bruised bladder not functioning properly afterwards for a while.

LadyWidmerpool Tue 11-Dec-12 23:44:32

I barely noticed mine, definitely the least of my problems post EMCS! Good luck.

duletty Tue 11-Dec-12 23:47:05

Yep...You can have an 'in/out' catheter mid labour if a full bladder is in the way of baby's descent and Your not up for getting on a bedpan

Honestly..the things you sweat over now...lady garden, screaming, people seeing your bits, baby's first photo..will be far far away in your list when our bearing down..good luck!

CatchingMockingbirds Tue 11-Dec-12 23:50:50

You're being a bit silly. I had a catheter when I had an epidural, I didn't realise when they put it in or took it out. Even thinking back now I honestly can't really remember them doing it.

MyLastDuchess Tue 11-Dec-12 23:55:10

Yes I had DD 2 weeks ago, no pain relief (we don't even have gas and air where I live) and got a catheter during labour as my bladder was full and in her way. I felt nothing, not a thing. They took it out the next day and it didn't hurt at all.

Startail Wed 12-Dec-12 00:03:27

I had one briefly to empty my bladder during DD1's birth.

Until I read this thread I had forgotten.

I didn't even notice them doing it.

DD had plonked herself on the nerves so firmly that I couldn't move, let alone get up to go to the loo it hurt so much.

DD2 was born at home because I was determined not to lie still and let her do the same thing.

Startail Wed 12-Dec-12 00:04:38

nerves to my legs
like siatica on speed, very nasty.

tasmaniandevilchaser Wed 12-Dec-12 16:28:28

You have a bag of wee?!?! How did I not notice that?! Just goes to show you will most likely hardly notice it!

Jakeyblueblue Wed 12-Dec-12 23:01:53

I had a walking epidural and did not need a catheter smile

CatchingMockingbirds Wed 12-Dec-12 23:02:27

What is a walking epidural?

Jakeyblueblue Wed 12-Dec-12 23:05:53

One that doesn't affect the use of your legs. I could still feel them and could have walked around if I wasn't attached to so many tubes. smile

elizaregina Wed 12-Dec-12 23:08:14

I was really worried about this too!!

I asked about it and got a lot of useless replies saying " its the least of your worries"

I did alot of research about my section and this was one of the main worries actually.
In the end it was fine - it didnt hurt or sting or anything, some people told me the first wee would sting - mine didnt - it was ever so slighlty weird feeling when it came out - but it lasted a second and didnt hurt.

catkind Wed 12-Dec-12 23:21:41

Now I'm feeling cross that I was told I had to have a catheter when I had my epidural. I would have been able to walk to the bathroom with one less thing to take with. And it hurt being put in. And sore for a while after taken out. Tho that may have been more to do with doctor having poked me viciously in that general area in earlier VE.
So my advice is see if you can move/control urine first, if you can you don't need the catheter, if you can't you prob won't feel it going in.

MaMattoo Wed 12-Dec-12 23:55:15

They don't hurt at all. They don't even feel uncomfortable. You will feel nothing but a 'slipping' sensation when it comes off.
Epidural needle vs Catheter tube hmm no, no comparisons!

SneezySnatcher Thu 13-Dec-12 07:45:39

I had one, although I didn't have an epidural - I just wasn't passing urine.

Well, I say I had one. I didn't realise until DH mentioned it after the birth. And this was 'just' on G&A! So I didn't feel it going in, out it during!

CatchingMockingbirds Thu 13-Dec-12 08:14:47

Can you ask specifically for a walking epidural or is it just what it's called when it only has an effect on your waist but not your legs?

sparklekitty Thu 13-Dec-12 10:51:53

I ended up having a catheter during labour as my dd got stuck and I couldn't wee (no idea why, I normally have a tiny bladder) so they stuck a temporary catheter in. At that point I really didn't care, the MW and doc had seen worse. I was worried about it hurting, it did sting a little bit (on G&A) but only about as much as having an injection. I really wouldnt let that be the reason you dont have an epidural

Saccrofolium Thu 13-Dec-12 15:11:05

I asked for my catheter to be left in as I couldn't be arsed to get up for a wee! They said no...
Catheters are great. Wish I'd had one whilst I was pregnant, is have got more sleep instead of being up every 90 mins with my thimble bladder!

Karoleann Mon 17-Dec-12 21:11:38

I've had three epidurals and no catherer.

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