Post # 1
For those that got an epidural, how painful/uncomfortable is it? I was reading up about it and read online that sometimes they have to put a catheter into your back and leave it in there, is that true? Is that very uncomfortable? I would just like to be informed about it incase I need it in the future although I am hoping I can avoid it if possible, I hate needles and the idea of a needle in my back horrifies me. Also are there any other pain meds that can be taken in shot [not into your back]
Post # 3
The only uncomfortable part was actually sitting there while they were doing it. you have to sit up with your head down and well contractions don’t like to stop just b/c you’re supposed to be still and my neck started hurting alot.
When they were done though I didn’t feel it, and I had the catheter b/c they were prepping me for a c-section so the rest of my meds for surgery went in through there.
My friend got the epidural for a regular vaginal birth and her main complaint was still being numb and not being able to move her legs for hours after the birth… I had this too (for about 10 hrs) but I was completely numb for surgery so that made sense to me.. kinda. lol
Post # 4
@bells: I had one with my first 2 pregnancies and they put a small catheter in my back and hooked it up to an IV pole. I had continuous meds and didn’t have to use a pump. The only part that I thought hurt a little was the local they give you first. All in all it really wasn’t bad. I completely numb from under my boobs to my toes. It was great 🙂
Post # 5
It didn’t bother me, I was having contractions and hanging onto my husband and the contractions felt a gagillion times worse than the needle.
Two annoying things were that the epidural made me itchy, not horribly, but a bit annoying, and my butt swelled to gigantic proportions from the IV fluid they were giving, which felt awkward.
Post # 6
It was like a dream. It didn’t hurt going in, provided the needed level of comfort and I got feeling back pretty quickly once it was turned off. I can’t say enough good stuff about it!
Post # 7
I had mine 13 years ago. But it was just pressure on my back, no pain. It felt like they were drilling, but again it was pressure, no pain. I did have to wait a few hours after my son’s birth to walk around, but it wasn’t too bad.
Post # 8
I think you’ll find a lot of variance on this, mostly because different hospitals use different pain medications in the epidural and people react differently to medications.
Most epidurals (all epidurals?) are administered by placing a catheter in your back; the catheter will stay in place during the entire birth. It wasn’t at all uncomfortable for me; I couldn’t even feel it. The worst past was trying to stay still during contractions, as the anesthesiologist placed the epidural. You won’t be able to see the needle, and after an initial small prick, you (likely) won’t be able to feel it. I was also up and moving within about 2 hours after birth (after the baby and I were done being checked out/cleaned up/etc…).
There are lots of medical alternatives to an epidural. Narcotics are often used early in labor, and are administered through your IV, or sometimes shot directly into your leg. Laughing gas is really popular in Europe and Australia, and some doctors will special order it for you, if you’re interesed in that. Also early in labor, I’ve heard of doctors prescribing oral narcotics or sleep aides to help with particularly long labors. And, of course, there’s a myriad of natural methods, including the use of TENS units.
I really recommend the book The Birth Partner by Penny Simkin for an extensive list of pain/coping options during labor and a great discussion of when certain methods may/should be used.
Post # 9
Thanks for all the answers so far, so if you have the catheter in you back can you still lie down?
Post # 10
@Mrs. Spring: yeah I’ve heard a few people that I know in england mention the laughing gas option although from what I’ve heard its more of a pain reducer than a total pain killer.. but I will definitely look into that book
Post # 11
@bells: Yes, they tape the catheter into place so it doesn’t move, and you can lay down, turn over, etc… you just have to be aware of the wires/tubing that is connected to the catheter.
Let’s see… The book Our Bodies, Ourselves: Pregnancy and Birth has a really great section on using laughing gas during pregnancy. When used correctly, you’ll actually be (temporarily) blacking out during the peak of your contractions, so in that regard, yes, you’d still be feeling some pain.
Post # 12
Mine was AWESOME. It felt like a bee sting when they numbed the area then pressure as they actually administered the epidural. It worked really quickly and I was so happy to finally get some relief.
The catheter is tiny and well taped down (I was removing stickiness from the tape for about 3 showers after giving birth).
Post # 13
Didn’t really feel it going in, but I certainly felt the needle in me once it was there.
To be perfectly honest? The epidural didn’t do SQUAT for me. No pain relief, nada. Only the really really awesome crap-tastic feeling of something being IN my spine (it wasn’t painful, but it was certainly uncomfortable). Also wasn’t until later that I was even informed that epi’s can make delivery take longer/be harder etc. So that sucked too.
Oh and I had an allergic reaction to the pain meds they gave me, because the geniuses attending didn’t read my chart. So yeah next time, I am definitely going to be looking into alternatives because I def don’t want to experience that again.
Post # 14
When mine was put in it felt like my right leg was being electrocuted. Did anyone else feel this? They warned me, but I was still like WTF. Also, my epidural stopped working. make sure you bag is full before you transition. that’s all i’m sayin.
Post # 15
Because I had a csection before I started actual labor, I had a spinal block instead of an epidural. With a block there is no catheter. I was in zero pain when I got it and it want that bad at all. I too felt like ther was a jolt of electricity running down my leg (my left one) but it wasnt bad at all
Post # 16
Just wanted to clarify–an epidural is pretty much just an IV in your back. IV allows medication to go directly into your veins, whereas an epidural deposits the medication into the epidural space (where nerves enter and leave the spinal cord).
Like an IV anywhere else in your body, there is no actual needle that stays inside you. A needle is used to puncture the skin, then a catheter (which is a small flexible tube) slides in. The needle is retracted and the little tube stays in…so there’s no needle that actually stays.
When people hear the word “catheter” most picture the “pee tube” but a catheter really just means any tube and they come in lots of different sizes. So having a catheter in your back doesn’t mean there is a gigantic pee tube coming out of your back. It is referring to a smaller, finer tube (even smaller than the catheter you see in an IV).
Think of an epidural as an access port to that space in your spine. Medicine may not always be running through it, but it is there so that if you decide you need it (or need more) it is easy to deliver the medicine and you can get more medicine without having to get poked again.
There is something called an intrathecal which is an injection that puts the medicine in the same spot as the epidural. The difference is that if you decide you want more you would have to get another shot. With an epidural, they just push more medicine through the catheter.
I don’t know if there are meds that can be given through a regular shot or given through your IV, but I do know that any medicine they give you that way will take a little longer to kick in. Epidurals seem to be preferred by most because they work FAST and give the ability to just get pain med continuously throughout the labor. I’ve heard many stories where people opt for an intrathecal injection, then the labor takes an unexpectedly long time, so the medicine wears off then they go through the rest of labor with non pain meds at all. YIKES!
Hope that wasn’t overkill.