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Expectant Mothers

Labor Epidural

A labor epidural is used to control and minimize pain during labor. A highly trained anesthesiologist places a very small catheter in a specific space in the laboring woman’s back, and through this catheter an infusion of mild numbing medication is injected. It usually causes some “pins and needles” in the legs and buttocks, but typically does not inhibit movement. Contraction pains are reduced to the point that they often are not felt for many hours.

Your anesthesiologist will explain exactly what to expect before placing the epidural so that you are comfortable with the plan of action and understand the benefits. You can also discuss the benefits of having an epidural with your obstetrician.

Having an epidural does not typically slow down or hinder the birthing process. It does, however, limit a laboring woman’s discomfort so she may fully enjoy the birth of her child.

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Spinal Anesthesia

Spinal Anesthesia is a form of regional anesthesia that is used for surgery below the navel. A very fine needle is used to place a local anesthetic in the spine, which numbs the nerves that serve the lower body. Both sensation and the ability to move the lower extremities are blocked. A sedative is often given prior to the spinal to reduce any pre-procedure anxiety.

The length of the spinal’s effects on the body and the type of anesthetic used will be determined by the procedure that is performed.

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Caesarean Section

Many pregnant women will go to the hospital for a planned birth through a caesarean section (C-Section). Planned C-sections typically use spinal anesthesia for the procedure.

A hair-thin needle is used to inject an anesthetic in the back to numb the abdomen and legs. It is a more potent form of anesthesia than the typical labor epidural and will cause inability to move the lower body for several hours. Although you will feel numb, you may continue to feel touch, but not pain.

The anesthesiologist will remain with you during the C-section to keep you comfortable and safe through close monitoring.

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