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Tell me about epidurals...

28 replies

ExpectoPatronummmm · 27/01/2017 19:21

I've given birth naturally twice with only gas & air (because the hospital didn't do epidurals)
And MY GOD it was painful.

Third pregnancy now and I'm getting so scared about the pain... however the hospital now do epidurals!!

However I know nothing about them?
How long do they take?
What is it? An injection?
Do you literally feel nothing?
Any side effects?
Any bad points to having them?

OP posts:
Embarrassed34687 · 27/01/2017 19:23

I've had lots (multiple caesareans) and the worst bit is the local-it stings!
You can't feel it once it's done and you quickly go numb. I only had a problem with one where I had severe headache after for over a week

ElspethFlashman · 27/01/2017 19:25

There's lots online about them. You sit on the bed and have to curl forward to separate your discs and the anaesthetist puts a long needle into your spine and you have to stay very very still for a minute whilst he does it.

Then there's a tail coming out of your spine which comes over your shoulder and is plugged into an IV. And that's where the drug is.

And they are AMAZING.

Fintress · 27/01/2017 19:26

Didn't have one when I was in labour but I've had 2 since for major knee surgery. Weird feeling going in but not painful, you don't feel a thing afterwards for a hour or so. I didn't have any side effects.

RedLemonade · 27/01/2017 19:35

They are AMAZING! Like a drip but into the epidural space along the spine.

People often say the local is all you feel but I have to say I didn't even feel that (had the same Anaesthetics consultant for my two babies and she is my new God).

I actually snoozed for a bit after my first one went in. The BIZZ!

ExpectoPatronummmm · 27/01/2017 19:36

I had heard... you can't use your legs for about 12 hours after wards as you'll flop to the floor like a fish. And u pee and poo without knowing.

Is this a load of crap?

OP posts:
PastysPrincess · 27/01/2017 19:36

It hurts when its done but to be honest nothing like labour. Mine worked 100% so I couldn't feel anything it was heaven. I did have some trouble moving the next few days but that wore off.

smilingsarahb · 27/01/2017 19:36

One of my labours I used an epidural. You arch your back like a cat (a pregnant cat with contractions) and an anaesthetist injects it in your back. I'm pretty sure he numbed my back first and it seemed to work quickly. I wasn't actually a fan of it as it affected my blood pressure badly and I got these massive shakes, and my babys heart beat dropped which scared me lots so I didn't get it topped up when it ran out - . However, despite not getting it topped up it still worked a little bit, it never completely ran out. I gave birth about 6 hours after. I didn't need forceps or any of the labour complications like it being slow, could feel to walk and push so in terms of pain relief it was good. I just didn't like the side effects. I don't know if everyone gets them or a I was unlucky (I was induced)

ElspethFlashman · 27/01/2017 19:47

They put in a catheter bag with epidurals so wee goes into that.

With my first it had to be topped up 3 times (baby was back to back and that can make epidurals patchy I.e. work on one side better than other etc) and by the end my legs were entirely dead.

But that wore off fairly quickly afterwards. i had sensation but I wouldn't have been able to walk for about 8 hrs - but I didn't give a shit as you just lie in the bed feeding the baby anyway and I had the catheter bag so never needed to pee.

With the second it was only usual dose of epidural and I would have been able to walk fairly quickly afterwards, though legs would have felt wobbly.

musicmomma · 27/01/2017 19:51

I've been wondering about epidurals as I have been recommended to get one due to disability issue. I was wondering, do you HAVE to have a catheter? They really freak me out!! Blush

ricecrispies16 · 27/01/2017 19:51

Depending on your pain threshold, when push comes to shove and you're in labour the pain of the epidural won't bother you in the slightest, in fact it's a doddle compared to contractions. I've done it both ways, with and without. Without because labour progressed too quickly to have it. No side effects for me, apart from it taking me a long time to push the baby out.

RayofFuckingSunshine · 27/01/2017 19:54

Had two, both during labour when I've already been pretty far gone (didn't want one with either but never ruled it out as I'm chicken shit).

Never felt either of them going in and felt relief pretty much immediately with my last one. Was walking within 30 minutes of having each of them taking out. Midwives will catheterise you once you have it as they like you to empty your bladder frequently during labour, and you could poo yourself during the pushing stage without an epidural.

insertimaginativeusername · 27/01/2017 20:00

Everything flashman said! They are AMAZING!

Difficult labour 2nd time round, 1st used gas and air only.

Some pain with the needles but it turned my labour around so I would consider another if I was having a 3rd.

Music my midwives told me to have a catheter as you can cause damage with a full bladder in labour.

ElspethFlashman · 27/01/2017 20:04

music they put it in after the epidural so you're not really aware of the catheter bag at any stage. In fact at one point I looked down and was surprised to see it there!

And you don't feel it when they take it out as it's got so much lube around it, it just sliiiiiides out. Grin

Jojo13 · 27/01/2017 20:10

Don't remember if it was painful as baby was half way out by the time they had to emergency forceps me!
It was amazing relief as went numb very quickly but actually found it really weird trying to push when you can't feel anything. Also didn't like not being able to move from the waist down for ages after and having to have the nurses come and clean me up every so often and I couldn't even roll over.

Notsure1234 · 27/01/2017 20:15

I didn't even realise I had a catheter or had it taken out. I'm not sure if I pooed though!

My epidural was amazing and I didn't feel it going in. I was surprised it wasn't instant relief. Mine was one where I could control it myself with a little switch which was nice. At first it took the weakest part of each contraction away, the beginning and end, until the middle most painful part became shorter and shorter then eventually gone if that makes sense? Took about an hour.

I won't hesitate to have one again

ZuzaPa · 27/01/2017 20:17

I had an induced labour from help. Had myself all prepared for a natural labour &-nothing went to plan! I had a tonic contraction & was in a world of pain I can't even describe. Rushed for an epidural & all I can say it was like magic. I could still feel the contractions but was completely bearable with gas & air. Legs completely numb & I really couldn't feel when she was born. I hated that I couldn't move around & push properly. Ended up baby in distress with venteusse delivery. Horrible experience but thank christ for the epidural!

I have since had low back pain, I didn't ever link it to the epi but saw a nmt who said that 'might' be the cause.

teddygirlonce · 27/01/2017 20:19

My first birth involved an epidural (I fought long and hard not to have one but after a very slow-progressing labour of 36 hours I capitulated). but it was a bad experience. I had lots of break-through pain so felt as if I would have been better off without it.

By contrast second birth experience (gas and air and only six hours from start of contractions to delivery of DC2) was a walk in the park in comparison, although painful.

ZuzaPa · 27/01/2017 20:20

Oh & I barely felt it. At that point I would have given myself a cesarean so it was just like a pinch.

GreenGoblin0 · 27/01/2017 20:21

there's no way could have got through labour without epidural as was given inducing drugs (whatever they are called) to speed up labour as was overdue and labour had started but wasn't progressing fast enough plus baby back go back so extra painful. didn't bother me going in. relief of epidural was amazing but it can slow down labour and in my case I was not able to push once full dilated as couldn't feel anything. I think they sometimes wait for epidural to wear off a bit to help with pushing but due to baby being in distress st that point wasn't poss to wait which meant having to have emcs. epidural then wasn't effective enough for c section as cover was patchy so had to have general anaesthetic - partner had to leave room so neither of us withnessed birth and by time I woke up baby was on different floor for observation. catheter really not an issue. legs are really floppy afterwards though.

sorry this is not to put you off but this was my experience. wouldn't say no to epidural this time around necessarily but will try it manage without it I can.

if you have already pushed before you may not have pro lem of having trouble pushing with no feeling as you know what you're doing.

flumpsnlumpsnstuff · 27/01/2017 20:22

I've had spinal blocks and epidurals no clue what the difference was but they are great. You have a catheter but I was up and showered and dressed with dd1 3.5 hours post c section dd2 was nightmare different scenario but not epi fault I think it depends and it only worked on one side to start with which was funny as they kept rolling me side to side Grin

Insertwitticismhere · 27/01/2017 20:41

I had one with my first as waters had gone 24hrs earlier and I'd developed an infection so needed the induction drip )even though labour started spontaneously) plus all sorts of other drugs...

The epidural was blissful, instant release and dh says that within 5 mins of it going in he had his wife back. I hadn't been making a lot of sense prior to that. On the down side it was so effective I had no urge to push so a midwife had her hand actually inside me so she could issue instructions! Ended up with an episiotomy and very wobbly legs for several hours after.

Dd2 is 6 weeks and had her in the pool with just g&a. Despite her being well over 11lb (unexpectedly) the pain was manageable and the recovery has been so much quicker.

RedCrab · 27/01/2017 20:55

That they can run out!! I had no idea. I had been in labour for thirty hours and DS was back to back. The pain was too much and I asked for an epidural. Such sweet relief. But it took another 12 hours to get to 10cm, by which time it had run out. I was in the awful position of being on my back with my feet in stirrups, numb in my legs and no contraction pain but immense back to back pain. Pushing was completely ineffective because of position and lack of contraction sensation but afraid of the back pain.

I ended up having a spinal because they got him out with forceps but if I had known the initial epidural could wear off, I would have prepared myself for it mentally. I had no clue and it was a complete shock.

HughJarss · 27/01/2017 21:13

They're like off-switches for labour pain. Bloody marvellous. Mine could be topped up by the midwife. Highly recommended by me.

SockQueen · 27/01/2017 23:02

I didn't have one, Expecto but I'm an anaesthetist, so I give them to women in labour. Overall I think they're great, and for most women provide excellent pain relief, but they aren't without complications.

This site is run by the Obstetric Anaesthetists Association and has lots of info on pain relief options for labour, including epidurals.

anotherBadAvatar · 28/01/2017 07:27

sockqueen I was just about to recommend the OAA website too!

I'm an anaesthetist and did have one. It was great.

Side effects can be common, but the serious complications are pretty rare.

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