Post # 1
I am not pregnant yet, but trying. There is something I don’t quite get about an epidural. I hear all the time about them wearing off right before the birth, or only working on one side. Also, I hear that sometimes there is just no time for one. My question is, in any of the above cases, if an emergency C section is needed, how do they numb you on time? I hope this isn’t a dumb question!
Post # 3
My friend went through 12 hours of labor with an epidural and when they found out they were going to have to give her a section they put in a spinal block. Not sure if it’s the same for everyone but she’s had a scheduled section after that one and was given a spinal block for that as well.
Post # 4
If it is a true emergency, a general anaesthetic may be used, as it takes time to initiate an epidural or spinal anaesthetic.
The epidural, once in place can also be used for the C-section.
Here’s a link to the information we use on epidurals.
Post # 5
well sometimes it wears off just before birth bc they turn down the dosage so the mom can feel enough to know how and when to push. But like pps said, in a TRUE emergency, they may use a general anesthetic and put you to sleep. In a non-life threatening emergency, they can use the same epidural or do a spinal block
Post # 6
Well, in the case of real emergency, they would just put you under general anesthesia; like if the baby needs to be out with a matter of minutes, they would just knock you out completely. If it’s an emergency, but they have more a little more time, then they might give you a spinal instead of an epidural (depending on your hospital); or they might give an epidural first and then administer a spinal, if the epidural fails (which happened to my sister). If the spinal fails, they’ll probably just put the woman under general anesthesia.
I think the stories about women not getting one in time usually have to do with hospital policy, not that there’s actually no time to administer it; it only takes a few minutes for the doctor to administer it and for it to start working (maybe 15? if I remember right). My hospital would only give an epidural if I was dilated between 4 and 8 centimeters (no more, no less) so if I was dialated more than that by the time the anesthesiologist got to my room, I wouldn’t have been able to get an epidural, even if I still had hours left of labor/pushing.
Post # 7
I think they usually use the epidural to administer the spinal block. Apparently most “emergency” c-sections are not true emergencies – only a small percentage of the unplanned, coming during labor c-setions are really emergencies – where they would administer general.
Post # 8
My epidural kept wearing off on one side (whichever side I wasn’t laying on) so I kept having to flip over. I couldn’t lay directly on my back because it was just uncomfortable. The nurse said that my epidural kept “falling” to one side and that caused me to only be numb on the side I was laying on. It was odd but when it came time to push it didn’t really matter. My anesthiologist (sp?) was a magician. He made it so I could still feel pressure and I could actually move my legs by myself (and feel it) but I couldn’t feel the pain. PP’s are right about the emergency situations.
Post # 9
I have a girlfriend who didn’t get hers on time because the baby came TOO FAST, and another one who wanted a non-medicated birth and when she gave up on that and asked one, the anesthesiologist (SP!?) was busy and wasn’t available and it just didn’t work out.
Post # 10
I believe if it’s an emergency, they put you under completely, which they can do in under 60 seconds. If you already had an epidural in place, they give you a spinal block.
I am one of moms who was “too late” for an epidural! Well sort of. The hospital’s policy and my OB’s said that it would always be made available if a patient requested it. But my labor progressed very quickly. I spent most of the morning at home wondering if I was actually in labor and if I was really experiencing contractions. So by the time I got to the hospital and into the delivery room, I was already about 7 out of 10 cms dilated. I was uncomfortable for sure, but wasn’t dying or in agony and in between contractions, I felt surprisingly normal. At that time, the anethesiologist on call was just getting out of surgery. They called him to my room just in case, but by the time he got scrubbed up and ready to prep me (about 15 or 20 mins later), I was ready push. Since things moved along so quickly, an epidural would have slowed down the delivery so at that point, it wasn’t recommended. And the docs and nurses all convinced me that if I could make that far without any drugs, I could make it all the way. So I did. And survived!
Post # 11
Oh boy! I labored at home for quite a long time, so by the time I made it to the hospital I was 8cm, and they told me theres no time for an epidural. My stern response was “Oh theres time”. LOL. They basically said they’d give it to me but wouldn’t guarantee that it would kick in before my sons arrival! But it did – thank GOD!
Just make sure you or whoever is with you in the room is very aware of your surroundings and is watching where everything comes from (i mean as in sterile). My hospital used a unsterile catheter on me, and ended up giving me E-coli. I had no idea I had it for the first week after birth, so it ended up leading to septic shock. I’m lucky to be alive! I was in the ICU and known as the sickest person in our hospital for 9 days – Nine days away from my newborn that ill never get back!! So just be cautious and very aware!
Post # 12
My mom had one and it didn’t work so it was a natural birth. These are good questions to ask your dr.
Post # 13
Thanks everyone! I feel better now!
Post # 14
We were told (in our hospital’s class on epidurals) that there’s really no “too late” for an epidural/spinal short of the baby actually coming out – it’s just that a lot of women wouldn’t be able to sit still enough to get one. They also said they can regulate how much you feel or how little.
Luckily our hospital has 2 anesthesiologists and 2 CRNAs dedicated to L&D to avoid the chance of one being unavailable.
Post # 15
@camrie: yup, that’s pretty much it in a nutshell.
I had an epidural for my son and, well, it didn’t work because of a joint being out of place. Let’s just say I wanted my leg broken in the hopes it would stop hurting. and I was being given MORPHINE. I was eventually wheeled into the OR and given a spinal block even though he was in the birth canal. NOT easy to do when you gotta bend over and there’s a baby in the way, lol.
It’s actually the contractions that make getting the epidural difficult because you have to be perfectly still for the needle to go in and, well, with a contraction it isn’t easy. My anethesiologists was able to figure out when I was having a contraction so he knew when I was gonna jump. LOVED my Jolly Green Giant, lol. (what? he was wearing green scrubs and around 6′ tall!!!)
A spinal block will numb you from waist down. It worked perfectly even with my joint out of place. It’s way more powerful than anything they can give you during a epidural because while trying to deliver, you have to be able to feel what you’re doing. Not try with the spinal block. With that, the point is to NOT feel.
Feel free to email me or PM me. 🙂 I’ve had two VERY different pregnancies, labors, and deliveries. And I also remember them VERY vividly, lol.