Having a baby is an exciting experience, but many women have concerns about what to expect when they go into labor. Be sure to discuss your options for managing labor pains with your OB doctor in advance.
If you decide to get an epidural to ease the pain of labor, a friendly North Florida Anesthesia Consultants anesthesiologist will meet you in your hospital room and explain everything, including the risks. They have performed hundreds of epidurals for moms in labor. For mothers who are having a scheduled C-section, a slightly different type of anesthesia is used. Learn more below.
Preparing for Regular Labor & Delivery
When you are admitted to the hospital in labor, you will meet the nurse anesthetist and anesthesiologist who will be taking care of you. They will be glad to explain the procedure and answer any questions you may have. Generally, we would place an epidural once you are having regular contractions and your obstetrician is happy with how your labor is progressing.
What is an Epidural?
An epidural involves a small tube called a catheter, which is placed between the bones in your back into the epidural space near your spinal cord. The catheter is hooked up to a pump that infuses a local anesthetic that helps decrease the pain of labor.
Once the epidural is in place, it usually takes about 15 minutes to completely set up, and it will continue to run until your delivery. You will notice that your legs will feel warm and weak with the epidural, and your contractions will feel more like pressure rather than sharp pain. If your epidural needs to be adjusted in any way, a nurse anesthetist or anesthesiologist will be available.