To Epidural or Not to Epidural…




How is an epidural given?

Intravenous (IV) fluids will be started before active labor begins and prior to the procedure of placing the epidural. You can expect to receive 1-2 liters of IV fluids throughout labor and delivery.

An anesthesiologist, a physician who specializes in anesthesia, an obstetrician, or nurse-anesthetist will administer your epidural. You will be asked to arch your back and remain still while lying on your left side or sitting up. This position is vital for preventing problems and increasing the epidural effectiveness.

An antiseptic solution will be used to wipe the waistline area of your mid back to minimize the chance of infection. A small area on your back will be injected with a local anesthetic to numb it.

Then a needle will be inserted into the numbed area that surrounds the spinal cord in the lower back. A small tube or catheter is threaded through the needle into the epidural space.

The needle is carefully removed leaving the catheter in place so medication can be given through periodic injections or by continuous infusion.The catheter will be taped to your back to prevent it from slipping out.