When you are in labour, there might occur a situation when some amount of pain management is essential. For example:
- The baby might be in breech (If the baby is in any position other than heads-down)
- Your labour is not progressing
- A caesarean operation is required
This is when an epidural comes into play. Epidural is a catheter that is inserted into the space surrounding the nerves in the back in order to relieve labour pains. The medicine, a cocaine derivative, is injected through this catheter.
When it is continuously injected into the body it helps to remove the sensation of pain once contractions begin. In fact once this medicine has been injected in the body, your legs might feel numb and you may even fail to feel the contractions.
For its full effect to begin, it might take around forty to forty five minutes. However, given that you need to be very still when the epidural is pushed in, if you have progressed to very advanced stages of labour then this might be avoided. This is because in the advanced stages pushing in the catheter becomes difficult.
An epidural can be done for normal birth as well as during induced labour or even when birthing happens through forceps, vacuum or even a cesarean. However if you do not wish to have an epidural then you can tell your doctor so. Other methods of painless delivery also exist.