Epidural for Labor
What is an Epidural?
An epidural is a comprehensive, pain relieving technique for labor pain. It is usually placed once the laboring mother is in an active phase of labor (usually about 4 cm dilated). The procedure is a means of placing a needle and then a small plastic catheter near the main nerve roots just after they come off the spinal cord. The skin in the low back is numbed, then the needle is placed so that local anesthetic can be injected at the nerve roots. The lower half of the body will then become partially numb to where little of the labor pain will be felt. A small plastic catheter is left in this position through which additional local anesthetic can be injected. Therefore, the pain relief can last many hours, if necessary.