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Epidurals...are they as bad as they sound?

(28 Posts)
Kitty30 Wed 01-Dec-10 13:34:49


let me first tell you that I hate needles! And I had a dream that I couldnt cope with having an epidural, although I needed one.

Just wanted to ask mums out there who have had epi's... are they really painful? Does the doc usually give you a small injection first to numb the area before inserting the big epi injection?

onlyjuststillme Wed 01-Dec-10 13:38:50

i never saw a needle for my epi! All the prep ect was done litterally behind my back and i never felt it go in it was fab. BUT i did have a needle in the back of my hand not sure if that was part of it or that was for the synto? I think it was both.

skydance Wed 01-Dec-10 13:40:16

Believe me you won't even feel it, honestly.

You won't care either.

That's coming from someone who said they weren't having one, and is normally very mild mannered and polite, who then resorted to shouting really loudly, 'where's my epidural, I WANT MY EDPIDURAL', hmmm not my finest hour.

If you get to the point of needing one, you truly, truly will not care or feel it. And yes I think they do numb the area first with a small injection.

clarabellarocks Wed 01-Dec-10 13:41:37

If you need an epidural you really won't care but let me put your mind at rest - they really don't hurt! Just don't look at the needle - I didn't!!! I was bent over concentrating on my contractions and not moving so didn't feel a thing. They ask you to sit over the side of the bed and lean forward, clean your back with antiseptic then give you a small local anesthetic, then administer the epidural. My labour had gone on for so long I was exhausted and having an epidural was just wonderful. It gave me a rest and meant I could push my baby out on my own. I'm convinced it I had not had the epidural I would have been too tired and needed a section.

I could still wiggle my toes and they kept checking it was okay and topped it up as and when I needed it. I don't remember them taking it out either. It was topped up at my request before I had to push as baby was stuck so I needed ventouse and episitomy so v pleased I had one.

So I think they are fab and not remotely painful to have.

winnybella Wed 01-Dec-10 13:46:09

I had it twice and it was lovely. I didn't feel the injection. Pain from contractions stopped within a few minutes. Delivery fine. Felt fine afterwards.

Kitty30 Wed 01-Dec-10 13:47:10

Thats ladies! That does put my mind at rest :-)

maktaitai Wed 01-Dec-10 13:47:35

I think they have got loads better at epidurals since, say, the 70s. I didn't have one during birth as labour was very short, but did have a spinal block for stitching afterwards. i was in despair at the thought of more pain after giving birth but the anaesthetist said, the worst bit will be the one in your hand, and I barely even felt that. It was amazing tbh. Best wishes.

cardamomginger Wed 01-Dec-10 14:35:06

mine was a godsend. i wanted to marry the anaesthetist.

kingfix Wed 01-Dec-10 14:37:27

sorry to but in, but how does having an epi affect the labour (apart from stoppign the pain)?
Did you have to lie down? On your side, I guess if you have something in your back?
Can you feel to push?

kingfix Wed 01-Dec-10 14:44:52

ach, sorry just seen the link on the right that explains all this, ignore me!

Cleofartra Wed 01-Dec-10 16:58:17

The only bit which hurts is the injection of local anaesthetic you get before they insert the epidural. It stings. But after that it's all fine. You'll feel like someone is using their thumb to push into your back - that's the introducer going in. But nothing else.

You'll be smiling all over your face once your epidural takes effect!

Alibabaandthe40nappies Wed 01-Dec-10 17:03:59

No they are brilliant.

I can assure you, that if you are at the point where you need an epidural, the pain of a needle going into your back is going to be the last thing on your mind!

japhrimel Wed 01-Dec-10 22:10:28

Do be aware though that they don't always work and that they do have risks associated with them. Some people get a horrific shock when the epidural they think is going to take away all their pain and make everything wonderful only works on one side, or causes excruciating headache for days or causes lasting nerve damage. Most do work, but you should know the risks before asking for one IMO.

expatinscotland Wed 01-Dec-10 22:19:26

I never saw any of the needles.

And I was in so much pain, the local anaesthetic needle going in barely registered.

KangarooCaught Wed 01-Dec-10 22:23:19

The area gets numbed first and you feel intense pushing and then cold as the liquid goes in. Mine was fab.

Oscalito Thu 02-Dec-10 12:45:44

I hate anyone fiddling with my spine but was offered one on Sunday night after being in on-again off again labour since Thursday. I deep breathed through the injections and thought about other things; it was such a relief at that point and made the rest of the labour bearable. Good luck.

triplechoc Thu 02-Dec-10 20:59:45

I was absolutely adamant I was not having an epidural, couldn't bear the thought of having a needle in my spine.

After 3 days of contractions (back to back baby not going anywhere fast) I finally gave in and agreed to have it so they could give me the drip (with hindsight I think everyone knew we were heading for at least an assisted delivery - had a CS).

And it was utter, utter heaven. Can't remember feeling the needles at all and definitely didn't see them.

To start with it took most of the pain away but I could definitely still feel things, then the anaesthetist came back and topped it up, it felt like warm water being poured over my back, and for the first time in 3 days I was pain-free...bliss.

As you can see, I'm a convert!

ReshapeWhileDamp Thu 02-Dec-10 23:37:44

I hate needles too, but being in considerable pain with contractions takes your mind off them! grin Gas and Air helps - gives you something to concentrate on. The cannula in my hand had already gone in for a synto drip (which wasn't actually connected until I had my epidural) but I asked for EMLA cream which numbs the skin, because I find back-of-hand cannulas agony.

The local for the epidural did sting a bit, felt like little bees having a go at me! I'm sure they injected at more than one site. However, it lasted mere seconds. The epidural going in doesn't hurt but feels very odd, so get some distraction while that happens. And then they introduce the liquid, icy feeling down your back, and after that you should be happy!

Kitty30 Fri 03-Dec-10 10:30:05

Thanks Ladies! I will see how it goes. I think by that stage I hopefully wont care about needles if I need one.

SkaterGrrrrl Thu 09-Dec-10 18:42:11

Epidural is FABULOUS. Believe me after strong contractions a needle is nothing. After I had mine I started to enjoy myself. Honestly, go for it.

Tootingbec Thu 09-Dec-10 21:12:03

No - they are a fricken medical miracle....

Honeybee79 Fri 10-Dec-10 15:46:46

I didn't see the needle. All was prepared behind my back. I don't remember feeling anything so it can't have been that bad! I was in so much pain anyway that either I didn't notice it or it just didn't really hurt.

My DS was back to back so the labour was horrible. I had to wait ages for the epidural but once they got it in it was great.

TheBreastmilksOnMe Fri 10-Dec-10 15:51:59

When the time comes for you needing an epi, you will be in so much pain you won't care about any phobia or feeling it go in!

As it happens I had one before the pain really kicked off and yes I felt it go in and I also felt the shooting electricity senstation go down my leg after they inserted it into my back and it didn't work very well for me either despite it being repositioned several times I still felt all the pain in my back so I would never have another for that reason. I would prefer to be in agony and be able to move around then be in agony and paralysed.

EatingAngelPie Fri 10-Dec-10 15:55:57

indeed 1 in 8 women still request further pain relief after an epidural (obv, sometimes this is becausse it has been allowed to wear off)

mrsmusic Fri 10-Dec-10 22:09:45

Mine didn't work (ended up with cs anyway). That's not to say next time I won't be asking for one if it comes to it!!

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