Labor and Delivery

Premier Health providers answer frequently asked questions about labor and delivery.

What is an epidural?

Dr. Juan Reina explains what an epidural is. Click play to watch the video or read the transcript.

What is an epidural?

It’s a procedure done by the anesthesiologist at the labor and delivery area and they come in at a certain time of the laboring process when the patient has been pre-treated with some IV fluids to prevent drops in blood pressure and they place a small needle in the patient’s back in a special place where they can inject some medication, an anesthetic, that will help numb those nerve endings from the waist down thus creating that relief of pain when the patient needs it most which is the birthing process.

 

An epidural is a type of anesthesia that is delivered through a catheter to the lower back, numbing most of the area below the waist, according to the American Association of Family Physicians [Add off-site icon with alt tag: You are leaving the Premier Health website, link to http://www.familydoctor.org/ in a new window] (AAFP). Sometimes used during childbirth, an epidural allows the health care provider to increase or decrease the amount of medication as needed, according to the AAFP.

Epidurals are pain blockers useful for childbirth because they take effect in 10 to 20 minutes and are well-suited for lengthy procedures, according to the National Institutes of HealthOff Site Icon (NIH). Epidurals allow the mother to remain awake and alert without feeling the pain of labor, according to the NIH.

Talk to your doctor about epidurals and labor pain management.

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Source: Judith Burichin, MD, Hilltop Obstetrics and Gynecology; Juan Reina, MD, Hilltop Obstetrics and Gynecology; Stephen Guy, MD, Womens Health Specialist and Midwives of Dayton